RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - On June 13, voters head to the polls for the primary. They'll choose the Democratic and Republican nominees in the hotly-contested race for governor.
This week, we begin a series of one-on-one interviews with each of the five candidates. We asked each candidate to choose a location for their interview that tells us something about themselves.
The first in the series begins with Republican front-runner Ed Gillespie, who chose a scenic spot overlooking the James River and the City of Richmond.
"One of the things that makes it beautiful is the James," said Gillespie. "And as I travel the Commonwealth on this campaign, one of the great things about it is the natural beauty everywhere, the coast, the lakes, the mountains, the Shenandoah Valley."
Gillespie says protecting that beauty is important to him. He just spoke out against President Donald Trump's proposal to cut funding for clean up of the Chesapeake Bay.
"We need to make sure we get proper funding for that in the budget and obviously our lakes and our rivers are part of our assets to us here in Virginia," he said.
Gillespie's top goal would be to slash the personal income tax rate by 10 percent, if state revenue allows.
"Bringing down that top individual tax rate will help us foster long term job creation," he said.
We asked how he would offset the tax cut.
"We anticipate $3.4 billion in increased revenue coming into our treasury over the next five years," Gillespie explained. "I would set aside two billion, preserve that to increase spending on functions like law enforcement, transportation, and education. But for every three dollars we spend in increased spending, set aside two dollars to phase in that rate cut over three years."
Just last week Gillespie announced a plan to cut 1,000 state jobs as workers retire, and create an Office of Innovation and Efficiency to find $200 million in state savings.
His other priorities he said would be to improve education, hold down college tuition, and impose a gift ban for himself, his family and political appointees.
Gillespie says his experience as an entrepreneur, a counselor to President Bush, and leading the Republican National Committee have prepared him to be governor.
"I think you have to be a leader and I've been in position of leadership throughout my life and if I'm given an opportunity to serve as our chief executive of our commonwealth, I'll be a strong leader for us," said Gillespie.
Gillespie nearly upset Mark Warner in the 2014 Virginia Senate race. He faces Prince William County Supervisor Corey Stewart and State Sen. Frank Wagner in the June 13 primary for governor.
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