Lt. gov. candidates discuss priorities ahead of Democratic primary

Each candidate will be on the general election ballot with no party affiliation denoted.
Each candidate will be on the general election ballot with no party affiliation denoted.(WDAM)
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 11:37 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -The Democratic primary is just under a week away and candidates for governor and lieutenant governor are kicking it into high gear.

The latest Wason Center poll at Christopher Newport University says 64% of Virginians are undecided about their candidate for lieutenant governor.

With travel picking up and masks coming off, it is no doubt life has returned to normal for many, but the effects - from health to business closures-- will linger on. Each candidate discussed how best to handle that recovery.

“I think it’s important for us to think through COVID recovery. The healthcare, education, and small business recovery portions of it to really focus on how we can unite the different regions. There are a lot of regional disparities,” Delegate Sam Rasoul said.

“We instituted a program almost immediately called Open Norfolk. Trying to help our small businesses reopen, particularly our restaurants, and hospitality businesses who really suffered to ensure that they could get outside as quickly as possible, and we cleared through a lot of red tape to make it easier on them. Right now, we’re working on an eviction mitigation program,” Andria McClellan said.

“People were hurting financially before COVID arrived. COVID made it worst. People are struggling to pay the taxes at home, the elderly, people with disabilities, or right now trying to buy a home. The biggest wealth generator is home ownership,” Xavier Warren said.

“So healthcare is a priority for me. A lot of folks who’ve seen my commercial have seen that I use to work at a gas station with no safety net, Medicaid saved both me and my son’s life. We would not be here today without it,” Delegate Hala Ayala said.

Voters will be looking for what sets each candidate apart.

“I’ve been proud to be able to champion lots of progressive causes,” Rasoul said.

“I’ve got 30 years of experience in business, in nonprofit leadership, in broadband, in the environment, in local government and I can hit the ground running on day one. I’ll be an active partner to the governor,” McClellan said.

“As an entrepreneur, I started a very successful federal grants business that has secured millions of dollars for schools, hospitals, and local governments to be able to help folks in need. That’s the experience I want to bring to lieutenant governor, the reason I want your vote. I’m someone who has lived and worked in both rural and urban Virginia,” Warren said.

“I’m in leadership. I’ve worked in both chambers. I can hit the ground running day one. I have worked across both chambers, I’ve formed relationships, and no matter who the government candidate is, no matter who he or she may be, I will hit the ground running because I have relationships with all the gubernatorial candidates,” Ayala said.

The Democratic primary is Tuesday, June 8. Saturday, June 5, is the last day to vote early.

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