RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A final pitch in the home stretch: Virginia’s two major party nominees for governor offered divided perspectives during a candidate forum in Richmond. Both candidates were asked the same questions, but at separate times, unlike a debate format.
Polls are showing it will be Republican Glenn Youngkin or Democrat Terry McAuliffe that will be tasked to lead Virginia out of a pandemic and bolster the economy.
On vaccines, the former Democratic governor offered support for efforts to mandate shots; backing President Biden’s call for large companies to require them.
“Until we are at the point of herd immunity, I’m going to be vigilant, I want everyone to be vaccinated,” McAuliffe said.
GOP nominee Youngkin presented a different approach, saying “I encourage everyone, please get the vaccine… but I won’t mandate the vaccine, I believe that’s an individual choice,” he said.
Divided on many fronts, the pair are united on opposing critical race theory from being taught in schools. Though, they believe dark chapters are worthy of being introduced in the classroom.
“Clearly our children need to be taught our history, the good and the bad, that’s who we are as citizens,” McAuliffe said.
“America has wonderful chapters in our history, but we have abhorrent chapters in our history as well, and we must teach it all,” Youngkin said.
The pair have sparred over their stance on abortion rights, on the campaign trail and in debate settings. Youngkin and McAuliffe were asked if they would change state abortion laws already on the books.
Youngkin, who identifies as pro-life, said “a pain threshold bill is something that I would sign,” but he would stop short of implementing a law like Texas’ recent strict rules for women who are seeking an abortion.
Citing concern with three Trump-appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justices, McAuliffe said he would seek to enshrine “Roe v. Wade into the state constitution.”
Virginia school districts continue to consider implementing policies that further accommodate transgender students. Forum monitors asked both candidates if they would support one example of such policy: allowing a biological male to compete in female athletics.
“I don’t believe that a biological male should play sports with girls, I just don’t think that’s fair,” Youngkin said.
While McAuliffe did not answer if biological males should participate in female sports, he asked, “why are we picking on children? Why are we going after children who are already dealing with so many challenges?“
WATCH THE FULL FORUM HERE: