ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WAVY) — The morning after their final debate in the race to be the Commonwealth of Virginia’s next governor, the two main candidates talked with 10 On Your Side about why they should be the people’s choice.
Meanwhile, the candidate for a third party that was formed only a few months ago has no regrets about disrupting the event Tuesday evening at Northern Virginia Community College.
Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and businessman Glenn Youngkin (R) agreed on the need for pre-K education programs — although Youngkin said the former governor would not give parents enough input on how children learn.
McAuliffe said pre-K would help an estimated 41,000 Virginia children get a solid foundation to begin their education. More broadly, Youngkin said McAuliffe’s education plan would deny parents adequate input into their children’s education. McAuliffe said Youngkin would put a “huge hole” in the state’s education budget and actually kill teacher jobs.
On the topic of vaccinations, the differences were more stark.
“I’ve gotten the vaccine. My family has gotten the vaccine. It’s the best way for people to keep themselves safe and I, in fact, have asked everyone in Virginia to please get themselves the vaccine,” Youngkin said during the debate. “But I don’t think we should mandate it.”
“He has spewed his anti-vax rhetoric on right-wing radio now for a year. He goes on the radio and tells people, ‘If you don’t want to take it, don’t take it.’ That is so dangerous. That is disqualifying for me to have somebody be governor,” McAuliffe told 10 On Your Side Wednesday morning.
We asked both candidates how they would continue Gov. Ralph Northam’s Equity Leadership Task Force.
Youngkin showed little familiarity with it, but pledged to promote representative government. McAuliffe said he “leans in every day to bring equity to criminal justice, social services and education.”
A third candidate was in the audience rather than the stage. Princess Blanding is the chair of the Liberation Party. She was denied an opportunity to participate directly in the debate, but made herself heard nonetheless.
About 10 minutes into the proceedings, her voice was heard from the audience.
“I worked very hard to get on the ballot. I should be up on the stage. I represent working-class Virginia,” she said.
“Since they’re not gonna give me the platform, I’m gonna take it. I’m not gonna play by the rules,” she said Wednesday morning.
Blanding does not appear in the latest polls by Christopher Newport University, Monmouth University or Real Clear Politics. Early voting is already underway in Virginia and election day is Nov. 2.