Gubernatorial candidates clash on campaign trail in Richmond

Gubernatorial candidates clash on campaign trail in Richmond
Ed Gillespie (Source: NBC12)
Ed Gillespie (Source: NBC12)
Ralph Northam (Source: NBC12)
Ralph Northam (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The two leading candidates for governor exchanged some criticisms Thursday on the campaign trail in Richmond.  Democrat Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie are both trying to win over undecided voters in what has been a tight race.

Northam's campaign waged another attack on Gillespie's tax cut proposal on Thursday.  The lieutenant governor appeared with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Virginia Education Association (VEA) President Jim Livingston at Ginter Park Elementary School.

Gillespie has proposed a ten percent cut to the income tax if state revenue allows.  A new VEA study says that tax cut would result in $400 million in cuts to Virginia's public schools.  That includes projections of $9 million in cuts for Richmond, nearly $16 million in Henrico County, and nearly $20 million in Chesterfield County.

"Pam and I believe strongly there is power in every child, and we need to give all our children potential to reach the American dream in the Commonwealth of Virginia. That means they all deserve access to a world-class system," said Northam.

Gillespie's campaign refutes the study.

"Ed will not cut public education, and Ralph Northam and his endorsers at VEA know this because both his detailed tax policy and education policy make it clear. They can't win with Northam's bad policies, so they are fabricating attacks on Ed's plans out of thin air," said Gillespie's campaign spokesperson, Dave Abrams.

Meanwhile, Gillespie announced his health care plan today, promising to make the delivery of high need resources more efficient.

And he took voter questions at an event called InformED Decision in Richmond.

Responding to how he would help curb the opioid epidemic, Gillespie answered, "The other thing is for someone on probation to be able to come forward and say, 'I have relapsed, I need help dealing with my addiction,' without being fearful of being re-incarcerated for violating the terms of their parole."

Both candidates then squared off at the Radio One and Miss Community Clovia's Your Community Gubernatorial Forum in the evening.

Northam, Gillespie, and Libertarian Cliff Hyra will all be on the ballot for Governor on Nov. 7.

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