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Race to Richmond: Creigh Deeds

R. Creigh Deeds
Democratic Candidate for Virginia Governor
Monday, October 26, 2009 11:00 AM

Democratic candidate for Virginia governor R. Creigh Deeds was online Monday, Oct. 26, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss his campaign for governor and his proposals for running the commonwealth.

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Complete Coverage: Race to Richmond

Programming Note: We have extended an invitation to Robert F. McDonnell to appear in an online chat and have been working to schedule it with his campaign."

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R. Creigh Deeds: Hello. Great to be here today.

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Fairfax, Va.: Mr. Deeds, Yesterday while driving from Fairfax to Leesburg to take a bike ride on the W O and D trail with my wife I noticed many "Educators for Deeds" signs off the highway. I think you may be on to something by linking your support for public education in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates with interest by voters, especially in Northern Virginia, for quality public education. Can we expect to see any advertisements about this matter in the closing days of the campaign? Also, with the joint campaign appearance with President Obama in Hampton this week, and talks with neighbors, I am smelling upset.

R. Creigh Deeds: We're feeling the comeback too. We're going to win. And we're going to win because I'm the only candidate with a record of investing in education. I know that the most important investment we make is in young people. Public education is absolutely critical to the growth of our economy in Virginia. We've got an ad out now talking about my Virginia Forward program, and you can expect to hear more from me on the stump about education.

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It's All About The Rest Stops!: How soon after you're elected will you reopen the closed rest stops on 95 and 81? Please express your answer in specific number of days, please...

If you say "immediately" you have my vote, but then I would expect you to follow through...

R. Creigh Deeds: As I've said, it's crucial that we get rest stops back open and I'll do it in my first 60 days.

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Arlington, Va.: Through all the issues and rhetoric, perhaps the most important thing a governor actually does is the budget. What are your budget priorities?

R. Creigh Deeds: As Governor, I will lead in making sure we create economic growth while reducing spending. I've laid out a comprehensive government reform plan to create efficiencies in our state budget. I'll make sure we continue to invest in creating economic opportunities and keep Virginia schools world-class.

The transportation trust fund is in crisis. That is an issue of urgent importance to the economy of Virginia and one that I'll address my first year as governor.

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Centreville, Va.: Ideally, how many campaign appearances would you like from President Obama?

R. Creigh Deeds: President Obama is a great asset to my campaign. I was proud to appear with the President in McLean in August. And I'm excited to campaign with him on Tuesday in Hampton Roads. I've also been honored to campaign twice with Vice President Biden.

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Harrisonburg, Va.: As a candidate who understands the importance of transportation, education and jobs, how can you draw further comparisons between you and your opponent?

R. Creigh Deeds: The record is clear: I've spent my career focused on bringing opportunity and hope to all corners of Virginia. I created the modern-day Governor's Opportunity Fund in 1996, which has created or saved 80,000 jobs in Virginia. My opponent voted to slash this fund three times. I've spent a career focused on creating educational opportunities. I was proud to stand with Governor Warner and a bipartisan coalition as we made record investments in education in 2004. My opponent just said "No" to our bipartisan coalition in 2004. I'll continue my commitment to education and job-creation as governor.

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Alexandria, Va.: What interest do you have in seeing the DC United or Washington Redskins sports teams move here?

R. Creigh Deeds: Beyond being a big sports fan, I support any measure that will bring jobs and investment here to Virginia. The impact of the Caps in Arlington provides a good model for us.

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Arlington, Va.: How do you plan to reduce traffic congestion and commute times in Northern Virginia?

R. Creigh Deeds: In my first year, I will get a transportation plan passed. I'll do this by using the only approach that's worked over the last 30 years. That's why the Washington Post called my plan the only honest approach to solve our transportation crisis.

We not only need to make road improvements, we need to extend metro to Dulles, incorporated bus rapid transit into our approach, and be creative about use of tax credits.

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Ashburn, Va.: I moved to Virginia about 5 years ago from NYC. I would say that the single biggest challenge to quality of life here is the lack of adequate mass transportation. I know that Dulles Rail is on the way, but I would like to hear your thoughts on how you would like to address the traffic situation in Nova.

Thanks and good luck in the general election.

R. Creigh Deeds: Having spent plenty of time in traffic on the Beltway and on crowded Metro trains, I agree.

You're right. It doesn't stop at Metro to Dulles. In addition to the clear need to cover the backlog of road construction, we need to look at expansions to VRE, use of federal government grant funds to expand high-speed rail, and more bus rapid transit.

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Alexandria, Va.: Mr. Deeds, if you are elected governor, can gay, lesbian and transgender Virginians count on you to be a fair-minded governor, and to sign any legislation that might make it to your desk on non-discrimination which polls have indicated for over a decade to have 80 percent + support among Virginians, including over 60 percent of Republicans?

R. Creigh Deeds: I have consistently opposed employment discrimination. I'll renew Governor Kaine's non-discrimination executive order. My opponent has a very different record.

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Norfolk, Va.: Do you believe that the governor should be term-limited?

R. Creigh Deeds: I will be term limited. I'm determined to make the most of my 4 years. But I believe that the opportunity for a second term would hold a candidate accountable for their first term and would allow a governor to do more long-term planning. So I support a second term.

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Arlington, D.C.: Polling has you down around 10 points. What do you need to do to overcome this deficit and win?

R. Creigh Deeds: I'm going to win because I've got a positive message for the future of Virginia, and because I can create opportunity, prosperity and hope in all corners of Virginia. I'm used to being the underdog. In the primary, I was down 23 points with 20 days to go. And the polls didn't show me ahead until I was...

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Bethesda, Md.: What does the $50,000 contribution from Dan Snyder, arguably the most detested person in the region, to your opponent's campaign say about McDonnell's management style?

I hope Virginia will do better than the Redskins.

R. Creigh Deeds: I'm proud to have the support of Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals.

That said, Go Skins.

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Boyce, Va.: When Ohio (population 48 percent greater than Virginia) privatized their liquor sales, they received an estimated $40 million from the conversion. Do you have any idea where your opponent came up with $500 million for privatization of VA ABC stores?

R. Creigh Deeds: That's a good question to ask Bob McDonnell.

The liquor stores now put over $100 million a year into the general fund, $65 million of which goes into mental health. My opponent has yet to explain how he's going to make up for that revenue stream.

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Fairfax, Va.: What did you learn or accomplish by serving on the governor's climate change committee? Bob McDonnell acts like this was a shameful association for you, but it sounds like an honor to me.

R. Creigh Deeds: I learned a great deal of science. It's clear that we need to address climate change -- and it's a real problem. Bob McDonnell refuses to admit that climate change is real and man-made. As governor, I'm committed to reducing energy use by 5% and leading the growth of a new energy economy.

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R. Creigh Deeds: Thank you again for having me. Great questions today. I'm looking forward to campaigning today in Fairfax County. Remember to come out to vote on Nov. 3. Go to www.deedsforvirginia.com for more info. Thanks.

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