RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We continue our series of interviews with the five candidates running for Governor. Tonight we talk with Republican candidate and Chair of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Corey Stewart.
You'll remember, I asked each candidate to choose a location for their interview that tells us something about themselves. Stewart chose the General Robert E. Lee monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond.
After cities such as New Orleans, LA and Charlottesville, VA chose to remove Confederate monuments, Stewart has made his call to preserve them a central component of his gubernatorial campaign.
"I think Virginians need to understand their history is under threat and that there are those from around the country that want to tear down our statues in Charlottesville, and now they're coming to Richmond," said Stewart.
Stewart has been getting national attention, and even into Twitter wars with celebrities, such as John Legend and Soledad O'Brien, over his statements regarding Confederate Monuments.
I asked him why he's focused on this particular topic, rather than on other issues that might have a more direct impact on people's lives.
Stewart responded, "We are talking about those other things, the need for tax reform in Virginia, bringing down taxes, making it easy to expand or create a business in Virginia. But this is a topic people are so interested in. It is because it's more than just the statues. It's political correctness that's uncontrolled. It's shaming people for wanting to celebrate their ancestry, their heritage here in Virginia. And it's leading to the destruction of our history."
The former Chair of the Trump Campaign in Virginia, Stewart has made a campaign of stirring the pot. He raffled off an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to promote his position on gun rights.
Said Stewart, "No amount of gun control legislation will ever stop a criminal from getting a gun. We need to make it easier for somebody who is a law-abiding citizen to obtain the weapon of their choice."
Stewart says his top goal, if elected Governor, would be to cut taxes and spending.
He explained, "We have to cut about 4.39 percent of the state's budget that will allow us to reduce income taxes in Virginia by 17 percent, giving Virginians thousands of dollars more. And it will help to bring in so many more jobs."
Among his accomplishments, he says he cut violent crime as a Supervisor in Prince William County by requiring police to check the immigration status of people arrested and turn illegal aliens over to ICE for deportation.
"We led the nation's toughest crack down on criminal illegal aliens," said Stewart. "So far we've handed 7500 criminal illegal aliens to ICE for deportation."
Stewart says his thirteen years as a County Supervisor, ten of which he's been the Chairman, have prepared him to be Governor.
"I know how to lead," he said. "I have executive experience on how to bring down budgets, bring down taxes, crack down on crime, and get things done."
Stewart faces former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and State Senator Frank Wagner in the June 13 primary for the Republican nomination.
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