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Race to Richmond

Creigh Deeds (D-Va. State Senate)
Creigh Deeds (D-Va. State Senate) (By Steve Helber -- Associated Press)
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Creigh Deeds (D)
Virginia State Senate, Candidate for Governor
Friday, May 29, 2009; 12:00 PM

Virginia State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) was online Friday, May 29, at Noon ET to discuss his campaign for governor of Virginia.

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Race to Richmond

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Creigh Deeds: Thanks for joining me today! There are only 11 days until the June 9th primary. Still lots of work to do.

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Chester, Va. Senator Deeds,

In Virginia, and across the country, college graduates graciously accepted the fact that their college tenures have ended and are now entering the job market. However, for people like me who are preparing to ENTER college in the next few years, the sagging economy and rising bills only put a strain on what colleges are in reach and out of reach. My question is: How can middle and lower class Virginian families hope to get help sending their kids off to college in the next few years under your (hypothetical) administration?

Creigh Deeds: Thanks for the question. The reason we have a public system of education is to lift people up. And sadly, the dream of higher education is less affordable and less accessible than it was just a few short years ago. That's the reason I have developed a "Better Schools, Better Jobs" plan to remove cost as a barrier to higher education and to increase access for every Virginian. I invite you to look my website at http://www.deedsforvirginia.com/files/BetterSchools.pdf for details.

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Alexandria, Va.: Who are you backing for Lt. Governor?

Creigh Deeds: Both Jody Wagner and Mike Signer are good friends of mine and either would do an excellent job as Lieutenant Governor.

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washingtonpost.com: Better Schools. Better Jobs.pdf

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Ashburn, Va.: Very few topics directly impact the quality of life in NoVa like traffic. Would you please comment on how big a priority mass transit is for you, especially extending the Metro to Dulles.

Good luck!

Creigh Deeds: The first job of the next Governor is to restore confidence in the economy, and there is no quicker way to do that than to address our serious transportation problems. Those problems are most acutely felt in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. We have to figure out how to move more people and things more efficiently. We have to incorporate ideas like bus rapid transit, high-speed rail, light-rail, and conventional rail into our system. I'm determined to see that Metro is extended to Dulles as quickly as possible. I think part of the reason the Post endorsed me is because I have a record of bringing people together from all parts of the state and from both political parties, and I will bring people together on the issue of transportation.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Creigh -- Long time fan and transplant from the political scene in Richmond. If you had to pick, what are the one or two key differences between your and Del. Moran's and Mr. McAuliffe's campaign platforms? What makes you confident you can win next week, and in November?

Best of luck to you!

Creigh Deeds: My platform is pragmatic and Virginia-focused. On issues of policy, there are not many major differences between us. But on the issue of experience there is -- I have been an effective legislator for 18 years. I know how state government works and I know how to get things done. I'm the only candidate in this race who has run statewide, although I lost by 360 votes, I proved I can win statewide. I'm the only candidate in this race who has had to reach out to get Independent and Republican votes. I'm the only Democrat with a track record of winning tough elections.

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Roanoke, Va.: Mr. Deeds, how do you plan to pay for the estimated $1B per year needed for new roads' construction in Virginia?

Creigh Deeds: That's an excellent question, and one that has befuddled Governors and the General Assembly for years. I'm not running for dictator, I'm running for Governor. I intend to bring people from all parts of the state and from both political parties to build consensus around a transportation solution. There is not a more central issue related to getting our economy moving again than finding a statewide solution to transportation.

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Virginia: The first time I met you I asked about redistricting. I was pleasantly surprised to hear your record on that. But it seems like it is still just a side issue. What can you do as a candidate and perhaps later as governor to bring this issue the attention it deserves?

Creigh Deeds: People should choose their representatives, not the other way around. That's why I have been a leader in the State Senate on reforming the redistricting process in Virginia. I know as Governor this is an issue I can address. The redistricting plan has to be signed by the Governor, and is subject to amendment or veto, like any other bill. I know I can fix this process for 10 years, but my goal is to fix it for the next 100 years, and it will continue to be a priority for me as Governor.

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Alexandria, Va.: What's your view on true high speed rail in Virginia? If you agree with it, will you make a pledge here today for it to be something you advocate for on the stump if you do become the nominee? My vote is yours if you do so and I will personally sign up as a volunteer as well. Best of luck to you!

Creigh Deeds: High-speed rail must be part of our transportation solution. Over two years ago, I sat down with executives at Norfolk Southern and sketched out where the high-speed rail could go throughout Virginia. High-speed rail would reduce carbon emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons a year and change the growth patterns in Virginia. I think high-speed rail would revolutionize our economy. The first line must link the population centers of Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Northern Virginia. I am determined to forge public-private partnerships to make high-speed rail a reality in Virginia.

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Alexandria, Va.: What role do you see career and technical education playing in economic development and recovery of Virginia? Should career and technical education play a bigger role in the education of all Virginia students?

Creigh Deeds: To work properly, the economy needs plumbers, mechanics, cooks, waitstaff, electricians, brick layers, and in general, many people who benefit from career and technical education. Not only do we need to reinvest in our vocational schools, but we must work to ensure that our community colleges have the tools necessary to provide training for the 21st Century workforce. Please view my proposals for career and technical education in my "Better Schools, Better Jobs" plan at http://www.deedsforvirginia.com/files/BetterSchools.pdf

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Fairfax, Va.: The Dillon Rule takes a lot of the blame for NOVA counties' budget and policy concerns. At the same time, it has certain benefits (local politicians would much rather blame problems and taxes on the states). Would you be in favor of trying to restructure how counties can generate and diversify revenue?

Creigh Deeds: The Dillon Rule is important from an economic development standpoint. Out-of-state prospects can look at one source, the Code of Virginia, and find out what range of regulations and taxes they will face in any corner of Virginia. There are important aspects of the Dillon Rule. But I think we ought to be constantly about the process of reinventing ourselves, including revisiting our tax structure, and I would be open to ideas about how we can more efficiently and fairly generate revenue for the operation of local government.

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Crystal City, Va.: Hello Sen. Deeds! What do you like to do in your spare time?

Creigh Deeds: Spare time is an interesting concept. When I used to have spare time, I would go fishing or coach soccer and t-ball. I'm on the road seven days a week. My iPod keeps me company on long trips across Virginia. When I get a rare moment to myself I read.

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Anonymous: Terry McAuliffe is running in part on a pledge to attract business to our state based on his vast wealth of contacts. 1) Is he overstating his case? 2) What is your plan to attract more businesses to Virginia?

Creigh Deeds: We've never had a hard time with businesses wanting to come to Virginia, but we have had a hard time getting them here because of our failure to adequately invest in infrastructure to support economic growth. That's why I'm focused on building a transportation system that becomes a model for the rest of the nation and building the smartest workforce in the world by making higher education more affordable and accessible for all Virginians. If we build it (a transportation system that makes sense and the smartest workforce in the world) they (the jobs) will come.

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Creigh Deeds: Thank you all so much for the questions. Sorry we couldn't get to them all. Please visit my website at www.deedsforvirginia.com or text JOIN to 64274 to get text message updates!

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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