Kaine, Stewart take the stage in community forum

Tim Kaine

RICHMOND, Va. — Candidates for U.S. Senate faced off in a forum Wednesday night at the Virginia War Memorial.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Republican Corey Stewart took the stage separately for a forum, answering questions on everything from Medicaid to affordable housing.

Both Virginia men emphasized how there needs to be more work across the aisle in Washington.

“I think the elemental values of our country are at stake in this election,” Kaine said. “The divisive climate is not a ‘for all’ it’s a for a few or for some.”

“We have Republicans and Democrats both yelling but they’re not getting anything done,” Stewart said. “There’s a lot of things we can get together and we can fix problems.”

Most notably, the Prince William County Republican did not directly mention during the forum his close ties to President Donald Trump’s policies. When speaking afterward with press, the candidate said he supports “most but not all” of the White House’s proposals.

When asked about the change in rhetoric, Stewart said this election isn’t about the President.

“I’m not asking people to vote for President Trump or against President Trump, I’m asking them to vote for what I stand for,” he said.

Kaine has been in the Senate since 2013, and served previously as governor and in local government. While Kaine says he tries not to get caught up in the back and forth in name calling in Washington, he will speak out if he doesn’t agree with the President’s moves.

The Richmond Democrat maintains that he’ll keep focused on getting laws passed for Virginians in Washington.

“I’ve have 17 pieces of legislation that have ended up on the President’s desk. That he signed,” Kaine said. “So, I’m going to stand up against the President if I think he’s doing wrong for Virginia.”

A dividing topic brought up by the moderators was gun control. Kaine says more needs to be done on the federal level, like passing a universal background check.

“So that anybody selling or transferring a weapon, to make sure that the person that they’re getting it is not on the list of the 9 prohibited people who are not supposed to have weapons,” Kaine said.  

When asked the same question, Stewart focused on school shootings. A way he thinks they could be prevented from happening is by having more school resource officers to deter the violence. In Prince William County, where Stewart is the chairman of the Board of County Supervisors, a policy was put in place to put more SROs in middle and high schools.

“[School resource officers] can work together with our kids and work together in a cooperative way, it helps, it helps build trust,” he said.

While he does not encourage or condone people to smoke, Stewart also talked about how he would like to see marijuana decriminalized.

“I think it’s bad, but I don’t think people should be put in jail for mere use of marijuana,” Stewart added.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th. You can brush up on some of the candidates’ policies by watching the full community forum.

To take a look at the Facebook live the event, hosted by WRIC 8News and Radio One Richmond, click here.

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