Sen. Ralph Northam in downtown Roanoke.
As all visiting politicians have learned – lunch at the Weiner Stand is an essential part of campaigning when visiting Roanoke. Senator and Doctor Ralph Northam the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor stopped in for lunch with tour guide Mayor Bowers. After some chit-chat there he walked the Farmers Market and stopped into the Corporate Image Barbershop on Church Street.
Democratic candidate for Roanoke City Sheriff Tim Allen, councilman Sherman Lea, former councilman Rupert Cutler, and former state Senator Granger MacFarlane paid an obligatory visit.
Dr. Northam hailed the passing of the transportation bill saying “it will bring Amtrak right here to Roanoke as a part of the package – my opponent (E.W. Jackson) doesn’t support that.”
Following Governor Bob McDonnell’s highly publicized Star Scientific lapse in ethics that has brought national attention to Virginia’s weak ethics laws, candidates and legislators are scrambling to push for ethics reform. Attempts at reform have failed in past sessions. It takes a high profile ethics lapse that hits national news before it has been taken seriously.
Ralph Northam drops in the Corporate Image Barbershop
Dr. Northam along with his ticket mates support limiting legislators to gifts of no more than $100. A commission will be set up that will have teeth in it he said. “It will be set up to investigate and prosecute ethics violations.” Legislators intentions are good and it remains to be seen just how much “reform” takes place in the 2014 General Assembly session.
The Virginia Senate is a “very collegial body” said Northam. He plans to keep it that way. “I’ve had good relationships on both sides of the aisle.” He doesn’t expect Senate redistricting to rear its ugly head again. “It went over like a lead balloon” in the last session.
Northam admitted that down ticket gets less attention than the gubernatorial contest. There is no dispute that a win at the top of the ticket in large measure helps all others on the ticket.
In this election there is such a stark difference in philosophy and ideology – Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam and Mark Herring are the progressive ticket and Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson and Mark Obenshain are seen as extreme tea party ideologues though they have been moderating their message in hopes of muffling past rhetoric.
On Education Northam highlighted a major difference with his opponent E.W. Jackson. Jackson is campaigning on school choice by eliminating from the Code of Virginia that all state funds be directed to public schools. By eliminating that – state funds that would go to public schools could be siphoned off to private schools and homeschoolers.
Northam, Mayor Bowers and Tim Allen candidate for Roanoke City Sheriff
Northam strongly defends public schools. “It should be the crown jewel of Virginia. Anything that would defund or take money away from public education I would certainly not support,” he said. Diversity in education is a choice but not at the expense of public education. He hopes to garner more funding for public education including funds for Pre-K and vocational/technical training at the high school level.
Virginia needs to be an all-inclusive and “have the lights on showing that we are open for business,” said Northam. Assaults on women’s reproductive health – “there’s no place for it in Virginia.” Northrop Grumman came very close to not relocating their corporate offices in Virginia because of it. “This social agenda if you are obsessing with that then we’re not going to come to Virginia,” Northam claimed they said. “It took Governor McDonnell to convince them that “we’re not going to emphasize that.”
Dr. Northam has served in the Senate since 2007. He is a pediatric neurologist and serves as Assistant Professor of Neurology at Eastern Virginia Medical School and has ten years of volunteer service as Medical Director for the Edmarc Hospice for Children in Portsmouth.
The election is November 5.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Election 2013, Elections, Politics, State Politics
Tags: democrat, election 2013, Elections, Lt_Governor, Northam