Virginia Notebook

Virginia Notebook: Questions to Answer in a Gubernatorial Debate

By Anita Kumar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 17, 2009


Virginia's gubernatorial candidates, Democrat R. Creigh Deeds and Republican Robert F. McDonnell, will face off in the second debate of the general election Thursday in McLean.

Hundreds of business executives will gather at the Capital One Complex for the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce's traditional post-Labor Day debate. As the race heats up and voters start to tune in, here are five questions to consider while watching:

-- Whose transportation plan will better appeal to Northern Virginians?

McDonnell has been critical of Deeds for not having a funding plan in a state that is always on the lookout for money for roads and bridges.

Deeds has pledged to come up with a statewide, long-term solution in his first year in office but has offered no details. In the past, he has backed a number of plans to pump money into transportation, including new taxes, many of which did not pass the legislature.

McDonnell has proposed paying for transportation by shifting state money and relying on funding sources that don't involve tax increases, such as privatizing the state's liquor stores and adding tolls on some highways. He helped negotiate a landmark transportation package in 2007 that was designed to put $1.1 billion each year into transportation, but the state Supreme Court ruled part of it unconstitutional.

Deeds and others have criticized McDonnell for offering a plan that would take money from public education, public safety and other core services.

-- How will Deeds respond to questions about federal issues?

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