Republican E.W. Jackson and Democrat Ralph Northam faced off in a 90-minute debate at George Mason University’s Arlington campus Tuesday evening. Jackson, a conservative minister known for fiery remarks about gays, abortion and religion, steered clear of controversial rhetoric. But Northam, a state senator and child neurologist from Norfolk, didn’t hesitate to remind viewers of some of Jackson’s past statements. Here are the highlights from Tuesday night:
“I think we need to be careful about this. What this amounts to is a religious test. The same thing they tried to do to John F. Kennedy and the same thing they tried to do to Mitt Romney.” – Jackson, responding to questions about inflammatory statements he’s made about gays, lesbians, Democrats and, even, yoga practitioners.
“The light has to be on in Virginia that we are open for business. And, that starts with stopping the assault on women’s reproductive health care.” – Northam, opening statements.
“I’m running for lieutenant governor because I really believe that our country is heading, desperately, in the wrong direction” Jackson, opening statements.
“The Affordable Care Act is crushing the economy of Virginia. It is making it difficult to hire. It has businesses absolutely paralyzed as to what the future will be.” – Jackson, opening statements.
“The reality is that government doesn’t have any money; It gets its money from you and from me and it can continue to spend as if there’s no tomorrow. Sooner or later, and we’re seeing this with sequestration, the chickens come home to roost,” Jackson, about the possible impacts in Northern Virginia of a federal government shut down.
“It would literally bankrupt the Commonwealth of Virginia. We don’t need to go there. We need people who have responsibility in fiscal matters.” – Northam, in response to Jackson’s proposal to eliminate corporate income taxes.
“We have got to back to back to a system where people who are clearly incapable of living in our culture safely without harming others have some opportunity to be housed.” -- Jackson, advocating for institutionalizing some mentally ill people who are prone to gun violence.
“I’m sorry that you have people in your family who are mentally ill, but how sad to think that you would go visit them in an institution, Mr. Jackson,” – Northam, responding to Jackson advocating for institutionalizing some mentally ill patients and the revelation that some of his own family members suffer from mental illness.
“If the focus of education is the children, not the protection of the system, but the children, then it seems to me that the parents who choose to home school their children should be given every opportunity to share in the resources that it takes to educate those kids,” he said. “Home school parents are being treated as second class citizens.” – Jackson, advocating the use of public education funds to encourage home schooling.
“You’re looking at $110 million per year that would come out of our public education budget,” Northam said, saying he has reviewed Jackson’s education plan and crunched some numbers.
“It means the loss of 1,700 teachers, and I haven’t heard any way to make up that difference. If you are going to take away from public education, at least give us another source of income so we that we don’t have to lay off 1,700 teachers.” - Northam, responding to Jackson’s home schooling argument.
“Let me ask you all; What women in her right mind would want to come to Commonwealth of Virginia when most forms of contraception have been criminalized and when in vitro fertilization has been criminalized?” – Northam, addressing the audience while addressing attempts to reduce women’s rights in health care.
“One of the two of us is going to be overseeing approximately an $80 billion budget. I have raised my children, along with my wife, in a responsible home. I have run a successful business. I have never been through bankruptcy. I have never had liens placed against my property. I have been responsible and I have never been sued by my home town for not paying my taxes. It is a tremendous responsibility to oversee an $80 billion budget and it takes someone who has the experience who has the background to do that.” – Northam, closing statements, comparing himself to Jackson.
“I don’t believe I know it all. I don’t believe my mind can’t be changed about anything. But I do believe we need to have a meaningful discussion about issues and not attack one another and not go after one another but talk to one another as if we’re fellow Virginians and fellow Americans all wanting, ultimately, the same thing, which is the best possible life in Virginia.” – Jackson, closing statements, appealing against broad generalizations about his character.