Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Former President Bill Clinton and gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe get a warm Roanoke welcome

Clinton_McAuliffe2_webWaiting in line were Mark and Sharon Lazar of Roanoke. Mark Lazar said he use to be proud of both political parties but he can’t say that has been the case recently. He wants to see a complete change and believes a lot of other people feel the same way.  The Republicans “are entitled to their own opinions but not entitled to their own facts,” said Mr. Lazar.

It use to be different said former President Bill Clinton Wednesday afternoon to a crowd of 400 frustrated voters in Roanoke’s Charter Hall. He was stumping for Terry McAuliffe who leads in the polls anywhere from 4 to 15 points heading into election day Tuesday, November 5.

Clinton reminisced saying when he was President Republicans and Democrats in Washington, DC use to work together. “We would sit down and figure out what was best for America.” McAuliffe has often been negatively referred to as “the dealmaker” said Clinton. But since the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis he said “send me a dealmaker” any day that would break the gridlock in Washington.

For the unemployment rate to go down and wages to rise you need more jobs, change in the mix of jobs and to train people for those jobs said Clinton. “That’s what community colleges are for,” he said.

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton

McAuliffe has visited all 23 of Virginia’s community colleges. “When the jobs of the future require specialized skills we must invest in our community colleges … they are engines for workforce training,” he said. He advocated for Pre-K education and vowed that no money would be diverted from public schools to private schools.

McAuliffe said he is “laser focused on the issues that matter to Virginians – great schools and economic opportunity for the middle class.” Eliminating the corporate tax is not the way to do that as his opponent Ken Cuccinelli is campaigning to do he said.

Clinton, the “explainer-in-chief” plugged for Medicaid expansion in Virginia. “It has nothing to do with welfare … it goes to hardworking people.” McAullife supports Medicaid expansion and Cuccinelli does not saying that the federal government could not support funding it for the long term.

Former Republican state Senator Brandon Bell

Former Republican state Senator Brandon Bell

Former Republican state Senator Brandon Bell surprised all when he took the stage and threw his support behind Terry McAuliffe for governor. He said McAuliffe would be bipartisan and put Virginia first. Bell praised McAuliffe for bringing Senate and House Democrats on board to support the transportation bill.

His opponent Ken Cuccinelli was against the transportation bill saying that it raised taxes.

Later I caught up with Mr. Bell to ask why he was supporting McAuliffe. He said McAuliffe had called him in the spring, met with him and asked him for his support. It came down to “where’s the focus going to be,” said Bell. “Ken’s [focus] won’t be in Virginia – it will be on the next political opportunity.” He’ll be on FOX news and I don’t think that’s where we need to focus said Bell. “We’ve got to get back to working together.”

As far as down ticket Bell likes Democrat Sen. Ralph Northam for Lt. Governor but is leaning toward Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain for attorney general. He says that will retain some Republican Party influence and keep the pendulum from swinging too far in the other direction.

“We need a vibrant two-party system and I don’t like what I’ve seen as the Republican Party has continued to drift to the hard right.”  He conceded that either Obenshain or Democrat Senator Mark Herring would serve as good attorney generals.

Mark and Sharon Lazar talk to Sen. Mark Herring candidate for attorney general.

Mark and Sharon Lazar talk to Sen. Mark Herring candidate for attorney general.

Senator Mark Herring arrived downtown early as the line formed to enter Charter Hall. Herring is showing a lead of 2-3 points in the polls – within the margin of error. He took a minute to say what he’d be doing to pull off a win from his opponent Mark Obenshain.

Herring said he wants to get his own record out so voters could compare it  with Mark Obenshain’s extreme right voting record against women’s rights.

Herring said, “[Obenshain] is running away from his record and he doesn’t want people to know about it because he has figured out that when voters learn about his extreme divisive social agenda that he pursued as a state senator voters will not support that – voters are sick of the tea party agenda.” Obenshain has bragged that he and Cuccinelli are “like peas in a pod,” said Herring.

“I’ll be responsible, pragmatic and a problem solver,” he said. “The momentum is with us.” (CLICK here to see previous interview article for more.)

Obenshain bragged about being Cuccinelli’s seatmate in the Senate. (CLICK HERE to read more about that.)

Terry McAuliffe

Terry McAuliffe

McAuliffe called it disgraceful that out-of-state energy companies were taking methane gas from Southwest Virginia landowners property while Cuccinelli’s office was secretly helping the out-of-state companies in their effort to defeat the landowners.

A federal judge called Cuccinelli’s office’s actions “shocking.”  While the out-of-state companies gave over $100,000 to Cuccinelli’s campaign for Governor while his office was helping them avoid paying Virginia landowners. “That’s not standing up for Virginians.”

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Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2013, Elections, Politics, State Politics

Tags: , , , , ,

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