Kaine/Kilgore debate transcript.

Bacon’s Rebellion provides a PDF of Saturday’s Kaine/Kilgore debate. I’ve converted it into ASCII to make a little more portable and readable. Free free to reproduce it, of course.

MR. MEATH: Ladies and gentlemen, please come in and take your seats.

I realized when I was walking up here that I am going have to stand sideways, lest I chose a podium to stand behind, so pardon me, if it gets a little awkward.

Good morning to everybody. My name is Jim Meath, and I am the president of the Virginia Bar Association. And I want to welcome everybody to the 115th summer meeting of this association.

We are very, very pleased to present what has now become the traditional opening debate for the gubernatorial election.

I want to extend to each and every one of you our invitation to attend a reception which follows this event. It will be held in the Chesapeake Room, which is down the hall to my right. This will afford everyone an opportunity to meet the candidates as well as our moderator and our distinguished panelists. I want to take time now to do something which, unfortunately, I failed to do at the proceedings last night.

None of this would be possible were it not for the tremendous dedication and work of the staff of the Virginia Bar Association.

I will tell you, ladies and gentlemen, these people spent countless hours setting up the arrangements for this meeting — and the meeting itself is enough work, but to put on the debate and all of the things that go along with that has really been incredible and they have done a tremendous job, and I would like to publicly recognize them and have you all help me do that.


MR. MEATH: This morning’s debate will be moderated by Professor Robert Holsworth. Bob Holsworth is a Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, and he is the director of the Center for Public Policy of Virginia Commonwealth University.

He is a regular political analyst for WTVR-TV. He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He teaches courses in Virginia politics, American politics and political theory. He is extensively published. He comments regularly on Virginia politics and his observations and his comments have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, and the U.S News and World Report and others.

In 1997, Bob received the State Counsel of Higher Education Outstanding Faculty award.

We are very, very pleased, and I will ask you to help me welcome Bob Holsworth.


MR. HOLSWORTH: Good morning, and welcome everyone.

Let me begin by introducing our panel. First we have Jennifer Wishon, who is the Richmond Bureau Chief for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke. And this is Jennifer’s first gubernatorial election.

The second panelist is cub reporter Tyler Whitley, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This is Tyler’s eighth gubernatorial election.

And our third panelist is May-Lily Lee, who is host and senior producer of Virginia Currents on the Comunity Idea Stations, and this is May-Lily’s fifth gubernatorial election.

Our timekeeper this morning is past president of the BBA, Doug Rucker, and you will all see his — see him from the back and the panelists — the participants this morning will be seeing yellow, green, and red signs, depending upon where they are in their discussions.

So right now, what I would like to do is to introduce our two candidates for governor who are participating this morning from the Democratic and Republican parties of Virginia.

We are very fortunate this year to have candidates who have significant statewide experience.

So let me first introduce Lieutenant Governor, Tim Kaine.


MR. HOLSWORTH: Secondly, let me introduce our former Attorney General, Republican candidate for governor, Jerry Kilgore.


MR. HOLSWORTH: I would like to spend just a minute going over the groundrules of the debate today. We’re going to begin with two-minute opening statements by each candidate, and then we are going to go to a three-phase question period during the heart of the debate.

The first phase will be questions put forward by our panelists. We will have a question, a response — or a two-minute response, a two-minute rebuttal, and a one-minute surrebuttal. We will have six questions asked that way.

Then the candidates will each question each other. There will be two questions that they will address to each other for a total of four questions during that period.

Each candidate will have two minutes to respond to the questions, and then there will be a one-minute rebuttal.

And then, finally, I will have a set of questions that have been drawn primarily and culled from questions that members of the Bar Association put into the kitty yesterday, and that we went over and tried to combine and kind of tweak for the last set of questions here.

Then finally there will be two-minute closing statements by each candidate.

And all of this has taken place in terms of coin tosses that have determined the various orders of questioning, and the like.

So we’re going to begin right away. But before that, let me just make one other comment here: The candidates have agreed to a set of rules. They have agreed to no props. We ask the audience to refrain from applause, demonstration, and other visible shows of support, disapproval, anxiety or concern.

And both Mr. Kaine and Mr. Kilgore — I will try to enforce rules as best I can to be fair to both of you during the course of the debate.

So let’s begin with a two-minute opening statement from Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Good morning to you-all. It is good to be here with the VBA, with the panel, with you, Jerry.

I hope this is the first of many opportunities we will have to stand before Virginians and share our visions for the Commonwealth.

Virginia needs a strong leader to be its governor — a strong leader who can bring Virginians together around the right priorities to move this Commonwealth forward.

I have been that kind of strong leader during my adult life — values forged as a missionary when I took a year off from law school to work in Central America, values forged as an active leader in my community in church and civic affairs, values forged as a practicing lawyer.

I know many of you, and I have had cases with you as an award-winning lawyer and as the managing director of my law firm.

And then I went into public life in 1994, and led, in my community in a tough capacity, as a city councilman and mayor of our capital city, and now as Lieutenant Governor.

We have been proud to have a strong leader in the last three-and-a-half years in Governer Warner, and I have been a full partner in moving this Commonwealth forward.

You remember where we were when this debate last occurred, four years ago — stalled economies, bond rating about to be downgraded. Budget — the budget problems between the legislature and the governor — couldn’t agree on a budget.

Bitter partisanship on Capital Square that made the simple things hard, and the hard things nearly impossible.

Four years later here is where we are: Second fastest job growth in the United States, third lowest unemployment rate, restored AAA bond rating, historic bipartisan investments in education and other priorities.

I want to make sure as governor that we keep moving Virginia forward. I’ll use my leadership experiences to help local governments have resources and tools to target property tax relief to homeowners. I’ll tackle the transportation challenges using the experiences I gained as a mayor in a city that had huge transportation needs.

I’ll fight for an education system that is world class in a world economy, and I’ll keep our economy moving forward.

Virginia needs to go forward — not backwards.

Thank you very much.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: Good morning. I want to thank the Virginia Bar Association for hosting this third debate between my opponent and me.

Today I ask for the privilege to serve as your governor — to serve as your governor to bring a Commonwealth of opportunity through honest reform.

Honest with reforming our education system so that we do have better pay for better teachers, so that our children do get a better education, bringing more dollars to the transportation system, but trusting the people in the region to set their own regional priority needs, creating jobs and opportunity, by keeping our taxes low and our regulatory regulations even lower, to make Virginia the place businesses want to locate and expand.

I am glad to be on stage with my opponents today. And, yes, I said “my opponents,” because, just like you, I am anxious to see which Tim Kaine has shown up today — the Tim Kaine that says he is a liberal and proud of it, or the Tim Kaine that is masquerading as a conservative all around Virginia.

The Tim Kaine that proudly supported an increase in the gas tax, or the Tim Kaine that says, “We’ll wait and see.”

The Tim Kaine that has a long time of activism against death penalty, even calling for a moratorium, or the Tim Kaine today that says, “I can carry it out.”

The Tim Kaine whose crowning achievement as Lieutenant Governor was supporting the largest tax increase in Virginia history, or the Tim Kaine today who says, “I’m going to be a tax-cutting governor.

Folks, Virginia wants a governor they can trust. Virginians want a work horse, not a show horse.

I am ready to go to work.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Our first question is from Jennifer Wishon to Mr. Kilgore.

MR. WISHON: Mr. Kilgore, there is national debate about whether or not creationism or intelligent design should be taught alongside the evolution theory in public schools.

Do you think intelligent design should become part of Virginia’s curriculum?

MR. KILGORE: I support Virginia’s standards of learning. And in Virginia’s standards of learning, we focus on the science, and I continue to support the standards of learning, because the standards were created during Governor Allen’s tenure as governor. And those standards have brought great quality to Virginia’s public education system.

I will plan to improve education in our Commonwealth. My “better pay for better teachers” plan will bring performance pay into the public education system.

I believe that if we reward those impact teachers in our school systems, we will deliver a better education system for our children.

I am committed to giving parents tax credits — up to $500 per child — to empower them to purchase tutoring or other educational supplies. I want Virginians to have a world class education.

And that stands in stark difference with my opponent. When he was in charge of the Richmond Public School System, he oversaw the second-worst performing school system in the entire Commonwealth. That is not what Virginia needs.

When he served as mayor of the City of Richmond, we saw budget overruns. We have yet to see an education plan that will make a difference in the lives of all of our children and our parents.

He equates spending more money with raising the standards.

That is not the way it works. And it is certainly not the way it worked in the City of Richmond — more money per student than almost any locality in the entire state, yet they had the second lowest performing school district in the entire state.

I will move Virginia forward. I will move Virginia forward, because I believe better pay for better teachers.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, I am glad to hear you say you support public education because your record as Attorney General, and as a public servant has been consistently to fight against public education at every turn.

When we fought for budget reform in 2004, at the very heart of budget reform was two needs: the need to save the state’s bond rate, which you opposed, and the need to invest and catch up with unmet obligations in our public schools.

By the end of the Gilmore administration, the state was down nearly a billion dollars a year in funding the public schools of the Commonwealth. That is nearly $800 per child.

And I’m selfish about this one, Jerry, because I have got two kids, who are here with me, who are in the public schools — who are in the public schools of Richmond.

I saw as you fought against budget reform for school funding. Thank God, budget reform ended up passing with your twin brother’s support, because the Scott County schools that educated you received 5 million dollars more in state funding because your point of view was not listened to.

You have said you wanted to roll back budget reform, which would hurt education funding. You have said you want to repeal the state lottery, which would pull 400 million dollars a year out of education funding.

And you have even said, directly with me, in a place like this a couple of years ago, that fully phasing out the car tax is a more important priority for Virginia’s future than fully funding the educational needs of Virginia’s kids.

I know this: In a world economy where we are not competing against North Carolina and Maryland, but we are now competing against Maryland — against India, against China, against nations all over the world, we can’t afford to put the educational leadership of this Commonwealth in the hands of one of the most persistent foes of education funding there is.

I believe not just in funding, but in accountability. That’s why I visited schools in 118 of the 134 school districts of Virginia. That is why I have promoted comprehensive evaluations of teachers — something that is lacking now.

You have to be honest about the funding. You have to be honest about accountability. That is the way to take us forward.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: Let me be clear: Raising taxes does not equal leadership. I worked with Governor George Allen. I watched as Governor Gilmore — both governors raised, and increased funding for K through 12 education without raising taxes. In fact, they put more money into K through 12 education than this administration has. More dollars went in without raising taxes. That is the type of leader I am going to be. That is the type of governor I am going to be. I am going to make public education a priority in our state budget. I’m going to bring a “better pay for better teachers” plan so that our children do get a better education.

I am just not going to grade our teachers. I am going to reward our teachers with bonuses, and improve the quality of education for Virginia.

I don’t think we want someone serving as governor who oversaw the second-worst performing school district in the entire Commonwealth.

MR. HOLSWORTH: A question from Tyler Whitley to Mr. Kaine.

MR. WHITLEY: Mr. Kaine, let’s get on the subject of transportation here.

You say you would veto a tax increase for transportation, unless you were sure the Transportation Trust Fund is not violated.

If the General Assembly sends you a plan with a tax increase that does not raid the trust fund, would you sign it?

MR. KAINE: I will veto any tax increase that is sent to me from the General Assembly unless the Transportation Trust Fund is locked up. I will veto any such increase.

And the General Assembly has not proposed and has not shown me any indication that they are yet willing to lock up the Transportation Trust Fund.

Let me explain why this is so important.

When I was the mayor of Richmond, I had this as part of my supervision. I had city roads; I had regional roads. I had a port system. I had airport authority.

We restored rail service to downtown Richmond. We had the port of Richmond and other transportation venues. I know how to have transportation work together to succeed.

But we have a Transportation Trust Fund in Virginia. And the legislature has put trust into that fund for a reason. We are guaranteed that when money is paid at the gas tank, when we pay our seventeen-and-a-half cents a gallon, or the other transportation revenues, that those monies will only be used for transportation.

I was outraged when I was elected as Lieutenant Governor and found that through backdoor language in the budget bill, the legislature could pull money out of the Transportation Trust Fund and use it for other priorities. And that has happened. That has happened over the last decade.

And so I have been on a mission starting a few years ago — and it has been lonely at times — but the mission has been to lock up the Transportation Trust Fund, and to make sure that the legislature will never pull money out to use for non-transportation purposes.

And so I have said, with respect to transportation: We need to do some things. We need to be urgent in expressing interest in the challenge of this problem. We need to make sure we plan land use and transportation better.

There’s no way to tax and pave our way out of the transportation problems that we now have. We need to recognize the multiple modes of transportation.

But as far as financing goes: Unless and until the Transportation Trust Fund is locked up, I will not entertain requests for new revenue.

I will use surplus funds as we did last year to draw down more federal dollars and expand transportation investments. I’ll earmark the auto insurance premiums that you pay, that the legislature has earmarked for transportation, and make sure those funds are used as advertised.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: Let me be clear.

I will veto any budget the General Assembly sends to me that raids the Commonwealth Transportation Trust Fund.

Likewise, I will veto any legislation sent to me by the General Assembly that attempts to raise taxes without asking the people first.

I trust the people. I always have. I always will. I trust the people in the regions of this Commonwealth to work with us to set their own regional priority needs.

I have a transportation plan that will work, will bring more dollars into the transportation system by using general fund dollars — those dollars that come from your income and sales tax.

We have seen 2.2 billion dollars in new growth. I would rather build roads and bridges, fund my “better pay for better teachers” plan. Let’s see something for that revenue, rather than create new programs.

I’ll make sure that we are innovative in the area of transportation. And I’ll make sure that people are involved in making these decisions.

My opponent’s plan is a wait-and-see plan. He is going to wait and see if the General Assembly and the voters lock up the Commonwealth’s Transportation Trust Fund.

I have told you what I’ll do. I’ll veto legislation that comes to me that raids that Commonwealth Transportation Trust Fund.

His plan can be summed up with one phrase: Stuck in traffic, get used to it.

There is going to be no dollars coming into transportation under his plan.

My plan is a plan that works, because my plan involves the people, my plan involves the regions. We are going to get transportation moving again in Virginia.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, I am glad to hear that you now support transportation and your transportation plan has two elements to it.

First, you say that you would like to let regions have regional referenda to raise their own taxes for transportation.

But as you and others in this room remember, the regions did just that in 2002. And you opposed the referendum.

I have heard of voting for something before you vote against it, but I’ve never heard of proposing as the centerpiece of your transportation plan, something that you oppose. And you have continued to say even recently that you will oppose the regional referenda for transportation that you are making the centerpiece of your transportation plan.

The second thing you talk about is vetoing any increase in any revenues unless there is a referendum requirement.

I don’t know why you would want to trade out a budgetary system that was designed by Jefferson and Madison and trade it for a California system of referendum — government by referendum that has failed miserably.

If you like California, visit California. But don’t turn Virginia into California.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Question by May-Lily Lee for Mr. Kilgore.

MS. LEE: Mr. Kilgore, you have said on many issues that you may be in more agreement with Democrat Mark Warner than Mr. Kaine is. What are some of those issues?

And, if elected, how would Governor Kilgore be similar to or different from Governor Warner?

MR. KILGORE: Thank you for your question.

I have worked with Governor Warner over the last three years on issues that we could agree upon. And we have agreed upon many issues that affect the Commonwealth — from making sure that we go out and champion the Higher Education Bond Referendum that will bring more buildings, more structures to our colleges and universities as well as our museums around the Commonwealth — to work with him on battling gangs in Virginia.

I appeared at a press conference with him to recognize the growing problem of gangs –to not only champion the increased penalties, but to champion community involvement –getting the federal, state and local authorities to work together.

Working with his administration on our innovative Meth-Watch program that controls methamphetamine, and its use — a program that was lauded by the Virginia State Police Superintendent just months ago.

We have worked with the governor on some very important issues. I disagreed with him from time to time, but we have worked with him.

Now, my opponent has a history of having the governor disagree with him. Appearing at a joint press conference in 2001, the Governor felt obliged to distance himself from my opponent on the issues of my opponent’s opposition to Second Amendment rights, his opposition to the death penalty — he even called for a moratorium — and his support of civil unions.

Mark Warner felt the need to distance himself from my opponent then.

I worked to move Virginia forward. I’ll continue to work in a bipartisan method to move our Commonwealth forward, agree on issues on which we can agree upon, and disagree when we cannot.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, you really need to be straight with Virginia voters when you stand here and say that you worked with Governor Warner. Because there has been no more persistent and vigorous opponent — and even sort of extreme in your language in the way you characterize Governor Warner — than you.

I remember a letter that you sent out to thousands of people that you signed, saying Governor Warner was a liar, and attacking Governor Warner in a whole series of different ways.

And so now here at the end, when you see this administration has gotten Virginia moving forward — we have the second-fastest job growth in America, and a AAA bond rating — you have opposed all of those things. Suddenly you say you have worked closely with Governor Warner. Well, the facts would tell otherwise.

The key event of the Warner Administration was the budget reform in 2004. That was a bipartisan budget reform.

We were faced with losing our AAA bond rating. We had unmet obligations to our public schools that were nearly a billion dollars a year. And the legislature, in a bipartisan way — Democrats and Republicans alike — came together to solve Virginia’s budget problems under the leadership of Governor Warner.

Jerry, where were you in 2004? Where were you when Governor Warner stood up to do the right thing with many of us in this room.

You first said that there was no budget problem. You next said that if there was a budget problem, maybe we should borrow a lot of money to fill the hole.

You encouraged legislators to back away from the table of bipartisan compromise and throw the budget out to a public referendum for the first time since Jamestown.

You then encouraged legislators not to support the ultimate budget deal, and you couldn’t even convince your identical twin brother, who serves in the legislature, and voted for the bipartisan budget.

Since the budget deal that is the centerpiece of the Warner Administration, you said you want to roll it back when you’re governor.

You have stood against us in all of the reforms that we have made to turn Virginia around and be fiscally responsible, to be pro-business, and to move this state forward.

And I cannot believe that you would stand here now and claim that you are Mark Warner’s friend and supporter.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: I have to wonder if he even believes, sometimes, what he says.

I have worked with the Governor. He knows that to be the case. I have worked with him on very important issues in a bipartisan manner that does move Virginia forward.

I didn’t support the largest tax increase in Virginia history. And I am proud for not supporting that tax increase, because I wanted to trust the people. I have been proven right that the tax increase wasn’t necessary. I think we need to trust the people before we ask them to pay the bill.

On the gang issue that I worked with Governor Warner on, you went AWOL — Absent Without Leadership.

You haven’t stepped up to the plate and offered any solutions. We have offered solutions. We have increased penalties. We have taken the steps to bring after-school programs for our children. We have even proposed expanding the death penalty, so that those gang leaders that order gang members to commit murder will be subjected to the same penalties as the trigger man.

That is our leadership. That is how we work together.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Our next question is by Jennifer Wishon, for Mr. Kaine.

MR. WISHON: Mr. Kaine, you say that you are personally against the death penalty and abortion, but that your beliefs would not affect your policy decisions and that you would uphold Virginia law.

In thinking about leadership, how can Virginians determine when your beliefs will count for them?

MR. KAINE: Thank you, Jennifer. It is a very important question.

I had an experience when I was a young man, and it was a transformative experience in my life. When I was 21 years old, I decided to take a year off of law school and go work with missionaries in Honduras. And I worked with a guy by the name of Jim O’Leary, who became my life hero. He gave 40 years of his life to serving the poorest of the poor. He taught me about faith and about faith in action. And that made a public servant out of me.

I came back from Honduras, having worked with poor kids with a renewed respect for the sanctity of life. And not because my church teaches it — but because I have come to believe the teachings of my church through my adult life, I believe life is sacred.

And I haven’t hesitated to state consistently over the years that I am against abortion and the death penalty.

And I have stated since I first got into public life: I am not going to change my religious view to get elected to public office.

And I won’t let anybody push me around for my religious views or question them.

But beginning in 1994, I have taken on the role of public servant. And I have had to put my hand on a Bible, affirming everything I believe, and raise my right hand and swear that I will uphold the laws of the Commonwealth and of the United States.

And I view that oath like my wedding oath. I view it as an oath that I am not going to break, and I wouldn’t take it unless I could carry it out.

So I am not shy about saying what my positions are. I am a crime fighter who has come up with programs like Project Exile, and a whole series of things to cut crime.

I believe there are very common-sensible thing that we can do to reduce abortion. For example, enforce the restrictions we have, pass a ban on partial-birth abortion, insure that women having access to health care, including contraception.

I don’t believe we should criminalize women’s health care choices. But I believe that you can do things that are consistent with my views. But at the end of the day, I’m going to carry out my oath of office. I will protect women’s rights to make their reproductive choices. I will carry out a death sentence handed down by a Virginia jury, and I will not use the clemency powers of the governor in any way other than those that other governors have seen fit to use.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: I support the death penalty. I always have. I always will.

I have seen the deterrent effect a death penalty can have on a criminal justice system. You see, I served as a federal and state prosecutor, as Secretary of Public Safety and as your Attorney General.

I understand how to carry out the fair and equitable death penalty sentences handed down by juries for the most heinous of all crimes committed in our Commonwealth.

My opponent has a lot of time of activism against the death penalty. He asks us today to trust him that he can carry it out. But he has argued for a moratorium on the death penalty because he believes it is unfair. He is represented — and every death row inmate is entitled to representation — but he has volunteered to represent — on a pro bono basis, death row inmates arguing again that the system was unfair.

We only have to look to Illinois to understand what a governor can do, given the power, to commute sentences.

At that point, Governor Ryan had nothing in his past to indicate that he was against the death penalty, yet he commuted the sentence of everyone on death row. And the voters and the public in Illinois could do nothing about it.

So he stands before you today and says, “I’ll carry out the law.”

But let me clue you in on what the law says. The law says in Virginia that a governor, for any reason or no reason at all, can commute the sentence of a death row inmate.

I have been solidly in favor of the death penalty, because I recognize the deterrent effect.

And on the abortion issue, I fought for reasonable safeguards.

My opponent claimed he was pro-choice in 2001, and yet is running ads in western Virginia today claiming to be pro-life. You can’t trust him on either of these important issues.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry’s point is simply this: You can’t trust a person of faith to follow their oath of office.

I have a religious opposition to abortion and the death penalty. I follow my oath of office. And I will.

And yet again and again what Jerry tries to do is suggest that, well, because he has a religious belief, you can’t trust him to follow an oath of office.

People of faith take oaths of office all the time. People of faith can be trusted to follow their oaths of office, and my career in public service will show that I follow my oath of office.

It is interesting to stand here with somebody who was Attorney General and who wants to be governor, and have him attack me for twice in 18 years accepting court appointments to represent people on death row — accepting court appointments. That is what Jerry Kilgore is attacking me for.

Just like he is running ads on radio stations in rural Virginia, attacking me for representing African-American families who are seeking fair housing rights. This is something that Jerry Kilgore rejects and doesn’t believe in.

Now, I have been a crime fighter — Project Exile — we cut our homicide rate by 55 percent — and I will be a crime fighter.

But I am not going to change my religious view because a political opponent wants to beat me up about it.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Our next question is by Tyler Whitley for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. WHITLEY: Mr. Kilgore, if the people you trust so much put a referendum on the ballot, will you urge the people to vote “yes” or “no,” and if they vote “yes,” would you approve it?

MR. KILGORE: Tyler, thank you for your question.

My philosophy is that I trust the people. I trust the people when it comes to taxes. The most important relationship between a citizen and its government — I don’t consider that it is government’s money; I consider it is your money.

That’s why I’m going to trust the people on taxes. And before any tax can be increased — the sales, income, or gas tax — I’m going to demand that the General Assembly put that to a vote.

Let’s be honest: No politician running for office says that they are going to run for office and raise taxes.

My opponent sure didn’t in 2001. And many others didn’t. But yet they take office and they raise taxes.

That is why I am going to get the people involved, because it is their money. And when a referendum comes to me on taxes, I think the people understand my view on taxes — that I believe that we ought to be about growing our economy. We ought to be about creating jobs and opportunity. They will understand where their governor is when it comes to raising taxes.

But at the end of the day, I will trust the people to cast their vote.

This stands in stark contrast to my opponent’s view of today. He called anyone that opposed the regional referendum, the right to vote by the public, in 2001, “arrogant.”

Yet, today, in the tax debate, two sessions ago, he compared the public to an angry mob.

I trust the people. I always have. I always will. The people will make the right choices for Virginia.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, I know you can say you trust the people.

The question for this election is why they should trust you? Why they should trust you?

You fought against education funding at every turn, and now you are going around saying you want to fully fund education.

You say you’re against all taxes, and want to yoke all taxes to a referendum reform. But just on stage in the first twenty minutes, you have talked about expensive tax credit programs and fully funding education. You want to run up the expense side of government, while claiming to be an anti-taxer.

You say you’re for transportation, but you proposed regional referendums that you yourself have opposed in the past and said recently you would continue to oppose.

And, Jerry, if you trusted the people, you wouldn’t have been afraid to stand on a stage and debate your primary opponent, George Fitch. You wouldn’t have been afraid to stand on the stage, between now and election day, and debate the third candidate, Republican Senator Russell Potts.

And you wouldn’t be afraid to stand on the stage with me in a televised debate.

This very debate, VBA members — this very debate — we walked into the session to talk about the rules and said: Let’s allow both sides to videotape the debate and show the answers and show the candidates to anybody they want to.

Because no Virginian can be here — or very few Virginians can be here in West Virginia at 10:30 on a Saturday morning in July.

The response of the Kilgore camp was: If this debate is videoed, and the tape is distributed, it’s a deal breaker. We will not participate.

That doesn’t sound like trusting the people, Jerry. Leaders don’t hide. Leaders don’t duck. Leaders don’t hand off tough decisions to referendums. They have the backbone to make the decisions themselves, and then stand before the electorate and justify what they have done.

Again, I believe that your proposal to yoke every revenue source in Virginia — except the property tax — to a referendum requirement is radical, and it would undo the progress that Virginia has made.

Why are you fighting against Jefferson and Madison, Jerry?

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: I am so excited to take this to the voters. I trust the people; he doesn’t. I want them involved. He thinks they are an angry mob.

And it is unbelievable that we are still talking about debates today when I’m here standing before you. When I talk about my “better pay for better teachers” plan, he wants to lecture me on debates.

When I talk about bringing more money into the transportation system, he says, “Let’s build in more debates.”

When I talk about bringing affordable and accessible health care, he says, “A good dose of debates will solve that.”

I am a candidate with a vision. I’m a candidate that is going to be about honestly reforming the Commonwealth. I’m ready to go to work for Virginians.

MR. HOLSWORTH: A question from May-Lily Lee to Mr. Kaine.

MS. LEE: I have a gun control question.

Mr. Kaine, when you were mayor of Richmond, you were an active supporter of gun law reform.

As a gubernatorial candidate, you seem to be saying that Virginia doesn’t need any new gun laws.

Could you explain your views and how they have evolved, and if the Assembly were to pass a bill closing the so-called “gun show loophole,” would you sign it?

MR. KAINE: May-Lily, I’ll take the series of questions there.

My position on guns haven’t changed. I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I’ve never done anything that anybody has brought any lawsuit or claimed was the Second Amendment. I am a constitutional lawyer. And that is what I do. And the Second Amendment is extremely important.

As you may know, I participated in the effort to amend Virginia’s constitution to guarantee Virginians the right to hunt and fish, which is a rare right that Virginians have. I was the legal counsel to make sure that that effort stayed on the ballot when it was legally attacked in 2000.

I learned, and was a leader in a very significant proposal — Project Exile, which has been copied by cities and states around the country, supported by the NRA and Handgun Control, Inc. — supported by President Clinton and President Bush.

That is bridge-building. That is bringing people together.

And it was a gun law, yes. It was about using existing gun laws, and targeting them at people who commit crimes. And that is what I think we need to do in the area of guns. The one instance cited by my opponents — and they try to create a big cloth out of this — is that when family members of homicide victims came to me and wanted to go to the Million Mile March in Washington, I supported them to do it with city buses.

When my counsel colleagues complained, I raised funds to reimburse the city.

My heart went out to those who have been victimized by crime, just as they do, but I don’t think Virginia needs new gun laws.

What Project Exile has taught me is we need to enforce our existing laws better — the gun show loop hole. Closing that loophole would enforce existing Virginia gun laws.

Existing Virginia gun laws say a felon shouldn’t have a gun. Existing Virginia gun laws say that a terrorist shouldn’t have a gun.

And so, yes, if there is a proposal that comes forth to close the gun show loophole, that would be enforcing the current laws of Virginia that felons should not have guns, and I would be favorable. I would want to read the bill.

The only difference between Jerry Kilgore and I on guns is this: He wants to roll back existing laws. He wants to roll back the bipartisan “one handgun a month” rule in Virginia. He has pledged to do that. And he wants to roll back the law that says you can’t bring a weapon into a bar.

Guns and alcohol don’t mix.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: I think Virginians understand. I trust law-abiding citizens. I always have. I always will.

The NRA endorsed my candidacy when I was running for Attorney General. They endorsed me in my race for Republican nomination. They gave me an “A” rating.

I worked with Governor Warner this past session to make it legal for concealed carry permit holders — those individuals that go under criminal background checks — those individuals that prove their proficiency with firearms — to be exempted from Virginia’s “one gun per month” law.

I have worked for reasonable legislation that targets criminals, not law-abiding citizens.

And my opponent, on the other hand, got an “F” rating from the NRA, and was called by the NRA — their words not mine — “an enemy of gun rights.”

He has used taxpayer dollars to send anti-gun marchers to an anti-gun rally, and only paid them back after questions were raised by the press.

When on the radio — on the NRA radio a few weeks ago, he was asked: Would you rather have the support of the NRA or Handgun Control?

He said he would like to have both of their support — didn’t want to make anybody mad. And then he acted like he didn’t understand what handgun control stood for.

Let me help my Harvard-educated friend here today. Handgun control probably means they want to control handguns.

Now, let’s be serious about Project Exile. Project Exile — I have supported time and time again — assigned a prosecutor to prosecute Exile cases. But it has amounted to a federal takeover of Richmond’s crime problem because you couldn’t control it.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Project Exile is the most copied law enforcement program in the last decade. I have the award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police sitting on my desk at home that they gave to Richmond.

Because we created a program that is unique — Handgun Control, Inc. and the NRA came together to say, this was a model for the rest of the nation — President Bush, President Clinton, cities around the country have adopted it.

Jerry, I look at your record as Secretary of Public Safety. I look at your record as Attorney General. I don’t see anything like Project Exile that is celebrated by the NRA or others as having done a significant thing to reduce gun violence.

And so that’s my record. The record is I am a crime fighter.

Yes, I was on the NRA radio. They actually asked you and I if we would come on together and debate me on issues. And I accepted. And you turned down an opportunity to debate me on NRA Radio.

And they asked me: Who would you rather have the NRA or Handgun Control, Inc.

And what I said then was, “You know, when I was mayor of Richmond, I got the NRA and Handgun Control, Inc. to agree for the first time ever that Project Exile was good.

I think leadership is about bringing people together, and even people who may seem like they may have very little —

MR. HOLSWORTH: Let’s move to the next set of questions.

MR. HOLSWORTH: We are moving to the second part of the debate. Now the candidates question each other.

Mr. Kaine to Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, in the 2004 budget reform, as I mentioned earlier — you fought against the reform. You said that we didn’t need to save our state’s bond rating. You said we need to borrow money if there was a hole. You tried to get the legislature to move away from the table of compromise and bipartisanship and throw the budget out to a referendum for the first time since Jamestown.

You encouraged legislators to oppose the bipartisan budget deal.

In the aftermath of that budget deal, with Virginia’s economy the second strongest in the nation, despite your claim that it would harm Virginia’s economy, with Virginia named the best managed state in America, with our AAA bond rating restored, and with your own twin brother, who supported the budget deal, going around the state, saying it was a good thing, and now Virginia is a well-managed state with a AAA bond rating, will you admit here today that you were wrong in 2004?

MR. KILGORE: Absolutely not. I was right to stand up for the people. I always will stand up for the people.

The tax increase has proven to be unnecessary, and it was gone about in the wrong manner. I trust the people. I think you should ask the people before you pass on to them the largest tax increase in Virginia history. We have seen growth since that time — absent the tax increase — of 2.2 billion dollars in new revenue. We have revenue forecasts that say we are going to grow at a rate of 10 percent on a budget of 66 billion dollars.

We can live within our means, and we can spend more dollars on our “better pay for better teachers” plan, put more money into transportation. We can move Virginia forward in the future without raising taxes.

So I’m proud to have stood on the side of people to stand with former Governor Wilder, to stand with Senator George Allen and ask for the people to be involved before we pass on to them the largest tax increase in history.

And I am glad you brought up the management of this state, because for the past four years you have spent your time being Lieutenant Governor, breaking a few ties in the state senate, and running for governor.

When Governing Magazine could rate your performance, your management style, as mayor of the City of Richmond, they gave the city a C-plus — recognizing the mediocre management.

We certainly don’t need a mediocre mayor serving as our governor.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, I know you like to avoid getting into tough leadership situations, but let’s come back to this question of budget.

It is a question about budget, “Were you wrong in 2004,” but it is really a question about leadership.

We had a fundamental decision that we had to make. We are going to lose our bond rating, which would make it more expensive to do business, harder to attract new business. We had unmet obligations to public schools. And on a bipartisan basis, so many of us stood together to change that, and yet you opposed it.

You were wrong then. You stand here today in 2005 and repeat your firm opposition to what was done. You’re wrong today. But most importantly, that demonstrates that you’ll take the wrong direction as governor.

Again and again you say that budget reform wasn’t needed and that you want to roll it back.

Okay, Jerry. Budget reform produced 700 million dollars of new revenue each year. How would you take away the 700 million dollars that we put into the budget reform of ’04 — 5 million into the Scott County Schools?

Would you cut deputy sheriffs? Would you cut schools? Would you cut health care?

You have never said a mumbling word about any of those things.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Our next question is from Mr. Kilgore to Mr. Kaine.

MR. KILGORE: The Washington Post recently reported that you have compared Virginia’s criminal justice system to the Gulag — Soviet Union camps that murdered and brutalized individuals, not for crimes that they had committed, but for thoughts in their head.

I ask you today, as Senator Durbin has recently apologized, if you will apologize to Virginia’s law enforcement officials for using the word “Gulag” to compare our criminal justice system to.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, as you often do, you kind of misstate or obscure key facts.

Jerry is referring to something that I stated in 1987 — 18 years ago — where I said, “Murder is murder whether it happens in the Spring Street Penitentiary, the Gulag, a neighborhood in Richmond, South Africa.”

Life is life. And I believe that.

And so, once again, there is an effort to come back at me because of my religious belief that life is sacred, and try to attack me for that.

Jerry — I’ll state it again, and I’ll state it clearly: I am not going to apologize to you for my religious belief that life is sacred.

Because I had a formative experience as a young man. I don’t know what your formative experiences have been. But I set aside what I was doing in law school, and I went to work with the poorest of the poor in Central America. And I learned about faith, and I learned about the value of life — even the poorest, most impoverished life.

And I came back in my 20s, very much of the belief — of the belief that life is sacred. I think life is sacred. If you have a problem with that, fine. If you want to attack me politically for it, as you have, it is a free country.

But I am not going to apologize to you or anyone else for my religious beliefs.

All I can do is, as I said, is put my hand on a Bible, affirming everything I believe, and swear that I will uphold the laws of Virginia and the laws of the Commonwealth.

With respect to clemency, I have made it very plain: I would only use the clemency power in the narrow circumstances that other governors have used it — circumstances generally involving grave doubt about someone’s guilt or innocence.

That is the way Governor Wilder, Governor Allen, Governor Gilmore and Governor Warner have looked at clemency, and that is the way I will.

But I am not going to change my religious view to get elected no matter how much you try to make that an issue in this campaign.

You have sent out letters attacking me on my faith, attacking my supporters as the enemies of faith. That is an outrageous and demagogic stunt, and Virginians deserve better.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: I wonder, again, if he even believes what he is saying about the letters I have sent.

Today’s debate is about public policy positions the two of us have taken throughout our public career. He has a lifetime of activism against the death penalty — saying that the system was unfair, saying that the death penalty was carried out in an unjust manner throughout Virginia.

He will finally be given the power, if he is elected governor to commute every sentence on death row without the public’s involvement.

Governor Ryan did it. The governor of New Mexico did it. He will finally have the ability to put into practice, into public policy practice, an issue he has championed throughout his legal career.

MR. HOLSWORTH: A question for Mr. Kaine to Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, a question about education.

You stated now that you want to fully fund Virginia’s schools, but your record demonstrates otherwise. The budget reform of 2004 tried to go into a system where the state had underfunded its education obligations for nearly a decade.

And the principal beneficiary of budget reform was school funding. As I said, 700 million dollars a year, new revenues for schools, nearly 5 million dollars for the Scott County schools where you were educated.

You fought against that.

You have stated since budget reform that you want to roll that back. You just stated now that we didn’t need those revenues. Apparently schools didn’t need those revenues.

You proposed a property tax assessment cap that would drastically limit the ability of local governments to raise funds for their own schools.

And you even said, standing with me, that it was a more important priority for the future of Virginia that Virginia fully phase out the car tax, and that we simply meet our constitutional obligations to our kids in the public school system. Why should Virginians trust you with our education system?

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: Because Virginians realize that the only person on this stage that trusts them is Jerry Kilgore. I trust the people of Virginia. I always have. I always will.

I believe that we can lower our taxes and fulfill our promise to fully phase out the car tax and increase funding to education.

Governor Allen was able to bring tax relief and increase funds to education. Governor Gilmore, the same way.

I’ll be a governor that sets priorities — that sets priorities based upon our standards of learning that went into effect within Governor George Allen.

I was a Standards of Learning parent this year, having a third-grader and a fifth-grader. And I was happy with the high standards and accountability that we bring into Virginia’s Public Education System.

I’ll champion impact teachers in Virginia, because I would not be standing on this stage, running for governor, but for the impact teachers in my life in the Scott County School System.

We didn’t spend as much per pupil as the City of Richmond, but we had dedicated impact teachers that took an interest in me, and believed that I could go on to college, and with my twin brother, Terry, become the first in our family to ever graduate from college.

I want this “better pay for better teachers” plan, because I am convinced our children will get a better education.

And back to the point where he was in charge of a school district — second worst performing school district in the entire Commonwealth.

We don’t want our test scores to go down. We want our test scores to increase all around Virginia.

Money is not always the answer, but good teachers — high standards, high accountability, that is the answer. And that’s the answer I am going to bring as your governor.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, your actions are drowning out your words — fighting against budget reform for school funding, wanting to repeal state lottery and take 400 million dollars away from the schools, capping property taxes, saying the car tax is more important than school funding.

It is great to stand on stage now and be a friend of education. But you fought against funding to your own schools, the schools of Scott County that educated you.

Meanwhile, I tackled the tough challenge in Richmond, and you point out that the system was in a problematic state when I started, and it was.

Do you know that more than two-thirds of the schools in Richmond are fully accredited now?

Do you know that when I was mayor, I built four brand-new schools, the first schools that had been built in Richmond in more than a generation, and took a historic African-American high school that had been closed and vandalized, re-opened it as a Governor’s School that is now one of the best public high schools in the United States?

I have had a track record of doing something about education, and fighting for education funding and fighting successfully for educational improvements.

It is not just talk. You have to have deeds that match your talk if you want to be a leader.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Question from Mr. Kilgore to Mr. Kaine.

MR. KILGORE: During this past General Assembly session, Delegate Dave Albo and I supported expanding Virginia’s death penalty to say that gang leaders who order gang members to carry out murders should get the same penalty as that trigger man or the gang member that actually carries it out.

The state crime commission is currently studying this legislation and will provide the legislation to the General Assembly next session.

Will you support expanding Virginia’s death penalty to include those gang leaders who order murders by gang members?

MR. KAINE: I’ll see what the legislative commission reports, but I generally don’t believe that expansion of the death penalty is a way to fight crime.

Unlike you, Jerry, I have fought crime. I have cut crime. And you do it by taking existing laws and enforcing it in a very vigorous way.

Project Exile — many of you know the Project Exile story, but let me just mention –the key was using creative partnerships between the local prosecutors and the state and the federal government, to make sure that anybody who used a gun in a commission of a felony went away for hard federal time for five years.

We were able to cut Richmond’s homicide rate by 55 percent with Project Exile.

I am a crime fighter. That is the way to reduce crime. I fought for funding, Jerry, when you were against it in the budget reform of 2004.

I was fighting for funding for prosecutors, for deputy sheriffs, for state police.

You were against that funding and remain against it today, based on your answer. You can’t be tough on crime and cheap on crime. You can’t talk tough, and then not fund the professionals who are going to help you stop crime.

And so as I look for ways to fight crime — and I’ve have got a track record of doing it. And I’m going to keep doing it by bringing our resources to bear in creative ways to drive crime down.

I think that is ultimately the most effective way for us to fight crime and make Virginia safer.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: What matters to me is that law enforcement officials all around Virginia recognize that I have been the crime fighter on this stage. I have been Secretary of Public Safety. I have been a federal prosecutor. I have been Virginia’s Attorney General.

On July 4th, when I was busy attending parades, festivals, and fairs, a police officer walked up to me, and he said, “Mr. Kilgore, I am a member of the Fairfax County Gang Unit. And I just want to thank you. Thank you for getting tough on gang members, for giving us the tools we need to further our fight against gangs.”

That is all that matters to me. I want to help law enforcement officials like I always have.

Of course you didn’t get an answer to the question I just posed, because he has a life time of activism opposing the death penalty. The death penalty would be a deterrent, stopping gang leaders from ordering these gang members to carry out murders, just like they have a green light on all law enforcement officers in the Hampton Roads area, saying to those gang members, “Find a police officer and shoot him.”

I want to impose the death penalty on those gang leaders.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Okay. We are going to go to the next round of question. And I am going to begin with a question for Mr. Kaine.

Mr. Kaine, you proudly describe yourself as a civil rights attorney, while your opponent has less positively described you as an ACLU attorney.

Gay and lesbian civil rights groups claim that Virginia is one of the worst states in protecting their rights.

Could you tell us whether, A, you agree with this assessment, where you agree or disagree with the former Attorney General on this issue, and what changes, if any, would you institute in Virginia to further protect gay and lesbian civil rights?

MR. KAINE: Sure, Bob. First a word about the label. I was a proud civil rights attorney for 18 years. I was a managing director of an international law firm with offices in Richmond, Paris and Guangzhou. I did a lot of business-related cases. I represented local governments.

But I never shirked — I never shirked from a case where somebody’s civil rights were being trampled, particularly people who are seeking to buy or rent housing, and were turned away because of their race or because of their disability.

And that’s a huge difference between Jerry Kilgore and me, because he is running attack ads right now, attacking me for accepting referrals from the ACLU twice in an 18-year career — one for a black family who got turned away when they tried to buy a house, and one for a woman who spoke at a Board of Supervisors meeting, and said something the Board of Supervisors didn’t like, and so they trumped up criminal charges against her.

We have a former attorney general and a guy who wants to be governor who would attack someone for representing people like that. And I am proud that I did. The Richmond Bar Association gave me their pro bono award in 1996 because of my service to the community.

On gay and lesbian rights, Bob, my position is this: I think gays and lesbians should be protected from discrimination. I have said that in the area of hate crimes and employment and housing they should be protected. I supported legal changes that were made this year to allow businesses to be able to offer insurance as they saw fit without the government getting in and telling them that they couldn’t offer insurance to gay and lesbian partners.

I do not support any change in the institution of marriage. I do not support the creation of civil unions, but I do believe that gays and lesbians should be able to contract with one another, and we should respect those contracts in Virginia law, just as we respect any contracts.

And finally in the area of adoption. Virginia has adoption laws right now that I agree with. The adoption laws say the only couple that is allowed to adopt is a married couple.

But an individual can adopt, if that individual goes through a search and review and a court determines that adoption is in the best interest of the child.

I oppose legislation to change that, because the best interest of the child is the right standard.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: I believe as Virginians we do need to respect every individual, but I believe marriage ought to be that as defined between a man and a woman. And I support a constitutional amendment making that the law of our Commonwealth.

I have opposed civil unions. I have opposed gay adoption.

My opponent has been on the other sides of those issues.

This civil union issue — Governor Warner, back in June of 2001 had to distance himself from my opponent because of his support for civil unions.

My opponent has been quoted as saying that he supports the same benefits for same-sex couples as married couples currently have in the Commonwealth.

Folks, that is civil union.

He talks about the right to enter contracts and have visitation. They already have those rights.

I support Virginia’s public policy that defines marriage as that between a man and a woman. I do not support civil union for same-sex couples. Likewise, in the arena of gay adoption, I support Virginia’s law that allows judges to determine the best interests of the child, to look at the home environment, look at lifestyle in determining that child’s interests.

I believe that we ought to make adoption easier for couples throughout Virginia. Marty and I have so many married couples that have had to go overseas simply to adopt a child. They are loving parents.

I believe in Virginia we ought to strive for the ideal — the ideal being that a child ought to have a loving mother and a loving father. That is not always the case. There are many single parents out here doing a great job raising their children every day.

But when you’re setting the public policy of the Commonwealth, let’s strive for the ideal.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry and I agree on the marriage question. Jerry and I agree on the civil union question. I have never supported civil unions.

But I do support the rights and abilities of gays and lesbians to contract with each other, just as we all do.

Jerry Kilgore, last year, in the legislative session of 2004, gave a legal opinion supporting a bill that invalidated contractual rights between gays and lesbians.

The Constitution of Virginia says that the General Assembly shall make no law impairing the obligations of contracts. But the attorney general said it was fine to invalidate contracts of people that were unpopular people that some don’t like.

And that was his position.

And in the area of adoption, I think current Virginia law is fine, but Jerry has supported an effort that would change the standard from best interest of the child, to a standard that would require a litmus test and a searching governmental review of somebody’s sexual identity, and the prohibition that anybody who is gay or lesbian be able to adopt. That is wrong, and it is mean-spirited.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Mr. Kilgore, the group that we’re in front of today, the Virginia Bar Association, has described Virginia’s funding commitment to insuring the rights of indigent defendants as one of the worst in the nation.

Do you agree with this assessment, and what specific steps would you take to remedy it, and what priority would you give this issue?

MR. KILGORE: I agree that we need to do more in the Commonwealth to deal with those — to deal with individuals who provide indigent defense.

I would submit that I’ll work as Governor with the Supreme Court, with other lawyers, the Virginia Bar Association, to increase training for those individuals who agree to represent indigent defendants.

I’ll work with the Bar and the Supreme Court to increase funding, the hourly rate that we do pay those who represent indigent defendants — I think that is an important step forward for our future.

I will be a governor that courts can count on, because I have come up through the court system as a state and federal prosecutor. I know that the surest way to get your case upheld on appeal for the various courts above you is to have good defense provided to that defendant during the trial session.

That is the surest way to insure a conviction.

I want to be a governor that promotes public safety by giving our prosecutors the tools to convict and prosecute their cases, but making sure that those indigent defendants also have the ability to defend themselves in our Virginia courts.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, you will be a candidate who will promise to fund everything and promise to cut every tax at the same time.

I am glad to hear that you think it is important that indigent defense be funded and that funding increase.

I am happy to hear that because since you have been running ads attacking me for doing court-appointed court work, I had some doubts about your understanding about the importance of indigent defense.

But you can’t stand here and say that tax reform is wrong and that we should cut every tax, and that we should yoke every revenue source to a referendum reform.

But just tote up — we will spend more for indigent defense. We will spend more for transportation. We will spend more for education. We will spend more and give tax credits to folks.

You want to cut every tax, and you want to say you will fund every priority.

We have seen that in Virginia. We have seen it in the administration that preceded Mark Warner’s, an administration that nearly drove us into a fiscal ditch, an administration that was about free lunch, an administration headed by the co-chair of your campaign committee.

I don’t think Virginia needs to go backward. We don’t need to go backward to a time when we promised free lunches to everyone, and then fight against funding and priorities that matter to Virginians.

I think the Virginia Bar Association has made a very strong case that indigent defense is underfunded. And you have made the case not simply in the abstract, but you have made it by comparing what Virginia does to other states, which is a sound and business-like way to benchmark what we do.

One of the reasons I supported budget reform in 2004 is that I knew that we needed revenue to accomplish ends like this. We were able to do a little bit better in indigent defense because of that budget reform.

We were even able to do better in funding prosecutors because of that budget reform. I stood for it because a hard decision had to be made. Jerry Kilgore stood against it, and now wants you to believe that he will fund every priority.

There is no such things as magic beans. We are not going to strike gold or strike an oil well. Leaders have to make decisions and fund priorities that matter to Virginians.

And that is what I will do.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: Once again, raising taxes does not equal leadership. The fact that he believed in it so strongly — he wouldn’t have run the first ad in his campaign to say, “I am going to be a tax-cutting governor.”

He understands, like I do, that Virginians want their government to live within its means, just like they have to live within their means.

I am leading for the people today, and I am the only one on stage that will lead for the people. I have a record of leadership that worked with the General Assembly to get 104 pieces of legislation passed into law.

Every time my opponent has held a position of leadership, he has raised taxes — as Lieutenant Governor and as mayor of the City of Richmond where he presided over what Governor Wilder terms “a cesspool of corruption.”

I will lead for the people. He has always lead to raise taxes.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Mr. Kaine, as you have noted today, you were a strong supporter of the tax package of 2004.

Many of the same individuals and groups who supported that effort are now saying that without permanently putting forward new sources of revenue — namely increasing the gas tax — it is practically impossible to do anything serious on a long term for transportation.

If you’re elected Governor and keep your pledge not to raise taxes, what specific improvements in transportation can people hope to see?

MR. KAINE: First, if Virginians want to see improvements in transportation, they should go with somebody who has some experience in transportation leadership.

When I was mayor of Richmond, we had roads and regional roads. We re-opened rail services to downtown Richmond. We had a port, we had an airport, we had a bus service.

I have worked in the third largest metropolitan area of the state to see that our transportation venues and modes worked together.

As part of this administration, we took a VDOT that had been left in shambles by the Gilmore administration with an on-time and on-budget percentage that was abysmal, and we turned it around.

Because of the budget reform of 2004, we were able to use surplus dollars this year and make an 850 million dollar investment in transportation. Those who stood against budget reform — like my opponent — were against the investments in transportation that we made this year because of the budget reform.

And so the first thing I’ll say is that I understand the sense of urgency, and I’ve tackled it as a local leader, and as a state leader.

I have pledged, Bob, as you said, that I will not support any increase in transportation taxes or revenues so long as the Transportation Trust Fund is unlocked.

I don’t think I can look voters in the face and ask them for more money for transportation if there is a hole in the bucket and the money is going to drain out.

But what I would do until such time as we can lock up a trust fund — what I will do is this: I will go around the state to convince folks of the urgency of this problem. I will convene the legislature and try to do a better job of harmonizing land use and transportation planning.

The better we do that, the more efficient we will be in spending our money.

I will continue the improvements that we made in on-time on-budget percentages in this administration so that we will get the most value out of your dollars.

I will earmark the auto insurance premiums that you pay that are supposed to be used for transportation — 160 million dollars a year directly for transportation.

And then I will do what we did last year. I will use surplus dollars and place a high priority in using those surplus dollars to draw down more federal money so that we can invest in transportation.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: For those of you keeping score, he has spent that tax increase 100 times over just today.

I’ll be the decisive leader Virginians want. I’ll be the decisive leader because I will go in and set priorities for our transportation system. I’ll form a watchdog commission that will look for wastes and inefficiencies in government. I’ll commit to spending general fund dollars — those dollars that come from your income and sales tax, through targeting budgeting — targeting the growth in our budget on things we need — things we can see, like roads and bridges.

I’ll trust the people in the regions to set their own regional priority needs, because at the end of the day, I trust the people driving on the road in northern Virginia more than I trust the bureaucrat staring at the map down in Richmond.

When a politician like Tim Kaine uses the words “so long as” in front of the word “tax,” you can take it to the bank what he is going to do. He is going to raise your taxes — so long as you’re not involved in the process. I’m going to get you involved in the process, because I trust the people.

I trust the people of Virginia to be trusted with important decisions like whether we should increase their taxes. That is the type of leader I am going to be.

Every time he has had a leadership position — as mayor of City of Richmond overseeing that cesspool of corruption — he raised taxes. His own real estate property taxes went up 40 percent.

Richmond lost its population and unemployment went up.

Governing Magazine gave him a C-plus rating, called the management “mediocre.”

I am ready to get Virginia an “A.”

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Like so much about his answers, he is not giving you the full story.

Richmond, one of the most business-friendly cities in the United States according to Forbes Magazine, built new schools, cut homicide rate by 55 percent, positioned the city to get a bond rating upgrade. Business is coming back into our city, test scores are rising.

You won’t hear Jerry Kilgore be honest about the facts, because he is more interested in the partisanship of trying to smear the capital city of the Commonwealth.

Transportation, Jerry — you’re not about trusting the people. You are not about trusting the people. What you are about is this: Handing off every hard decision to someone else. That is what you’re about.

You want to stake every revenue requirement in the state — and change a system that has worked since Jefferson and Madison — to a referendum requirement so that you won’t have to make the decision.

You want to tell regions: Look, we are not going to have leadership from the top at the state level. You can just make your own decisions. I’ll oppose your regional referendums like I did in 2002, but I’ll let you make your own decisions.

You are afraid to make a decision. Handing off hard decisions to others is not leadership; it is failure of leadership.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Mr. Kilgore, some conservative interest groups have said that Virginia colleges and universities have taken affirmative action much too far, and now discriminate against white males in admissions.

Thinking about affirmative action in Virginia, can you tell us where you stand? Do you think Virginia has about the right amount? Have we gone too far in some places? Or are there some places where we need even more affirmative action?

MR. KILGORE: I think it is important that Virginians create a Commonwealth of opportunity — a Commonwealth of opportunity for all Virginians to compete and succeed, for all Virginians to have the ability to attend a public college and University.

I had that ability, being educated in the Scott County Public School System, to go to the University of Virginia’s College of Law and then on to William and Mary.

The opportunities that education opened up for me is a door that is still providing even greater opportunity until today.

I want Virginia’s public colleges and universities in the future to look at individuals based upon their ability to succeed, and the ability to get that Commonwealth of opportunity in their lives.

I think it is important that when our colleges and universities are looking at admissions requirements, they look for diversity — diversity from rural to urban schools. Diversity to suburban schools, that we have a diverse student body in all of our colleges and universities. And you can accomplish that without looking at the color of our skin or whether we are male or female. You can be a leader.

Because I think all Virginians want this Commonwealth of opportunity where we have a better education system, where our streets and communities are safe, where we lead in Virginia by building a better transportation system and creating more jobs and opportunities.

That is the type of governor I want to be — a governor that is committed to standing up for public housing projects before the United States Supreme Court, and saying that we’re going to give you the same rights as any gated community to keep your community safe — or battling to make sure that cross burning is a crime.

I want to create this Commonwealth of opportunity where our streets are safe.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, the question was about diversity in higher education and you have ignored the elephant in the room.

The elephant in the room is this: That there was a United States Supreme Court case when you were Attorney General about how diversity should be factored in to programs and admissions in state universities.

And rather than wait for that case to be resolved, and then give advice to the College Boards of Visitors, around the Commonwealth, you had one of your chief lieutenants in the Attorney General’s office write a letter to every board member of every state college and university and tell them that they would be personally liable — they would be personally liable if any diversity program at their institution was overseen.

That was an intimidation factor. You were trying to muscle the colleges to drop their diversity programs.

And in the case of Virginia Tech, it worked. The board caved to your personal liability letter. The board dropped their diversity programs.

But then the board sat around and realized: Wait a minute. We were given bad legal advice. The U.S. Supreme Court is about to give us guidance. The guidance that the Attorney General’s office gave us was wrong.

The Supreme Court decided the Michigan affirmative action case about two months after the Virginia Tech action.

And they claimed that under certain circumstances, sure, diversity, and encouraging people to apply, and conditions in programs at universities was a good thing. We want our institutions to look like who Virginia is.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling, you still took the position, no, that you were right, and they should abandon what they were doing.

A Virginia editorial page had this very memorable comment. They said that: If we were back in times of massive resistance, Jerry Kilgore would be leading the parade because of your obstinate refusal to allow Boards of Visitors to do what was right to make sure that their student bodies look like Virginia looks.

I support equality. I support the right of all Virginians to a higher education. I think our higher ed institutions should look like Virginia looks. And I would never try to muscle Boards of Visitors who believe that that is an important Virginia value.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: I support diversity in higher education. It is a very important goal of our higher education system.

But I think Virginians want a fair system — a system where good qualified students can get admitted into a Virginia public college and university.

It is the number one complaint I hear when I am traveling in northern Virginia or Hampton Roads, when a parent comes up to me and says: My good student cannot get admitted into a Virginia college or university.

I want to work with programs like Access UVA to reach out to all Virginians and make education the opportunity available to students that otherwise couldn’t afford educational opportunities.

My opponent admitted after he was mayor that he had witnessed the Richmond Public School System become segregated again. 840 murders occurred while he was serving on counsel and as mayor — mostly African- Americans.

I want to bring a safe Virginia, a productive Virginia for all.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Mr. Kaine, President Bush is now in the process of appointing a new Supreme Court Justice, and there is much speculation that there may be more to come.

This could eventually have an impact on state politics here in Virginia.

If the new Supreme Court allowed more restrictions to be put on Roe V. Wade, and the legislature presented you with bills that could further restrict Roe V. Wade, would you be willing to sign them?

MR. KAINE: Let me first just add a point to what Jerry said, and then Bob, I am going to answer your question.

When he came back on diversity, he said he supports diversity, but he wants to make sure that quote: Good, qualified students could get in to the state’s colleges and universities.

I don’t believe that the state’s diversity programs are accepting unqualified students. You can have diversity and have qualified students there. So I would just point that out.

That’s a common myth of diversity programs, that it keeps qualified students out by letting unqualified students in. And I do not believe that that is what is going on in the Commonwealth.

With respect to the Supreme Court question, Bob, there are some hypotheticals, but it deals ultimately with the question of abortion and abortion rights.

My belief is this — as I’ve indicated earlier in the discussion with Jennifer: I oppose abortion.

And I think that there is a common ground in this area because Virginians want to reduce abortions. I have not met a single person in Virginia who wants to increase abortion. Every one I know wants to reduce abortion.

I think there are tried and tested ways to reduce abortion.

First, enforce the current restrictions that we have, the restrictions that demonstrate that abortion isn’t an appendectomy or something minor; that it is a serious moral issue.

Second, pass an enforceable partial-birth ban in Virginia. I have long supported a ban on partial-birth abortions, but I have insisted that we follow the wording and the teaching of the U.S. Supreme Court so that it would be enforceable, unlike my opponent, who has again and again pushed and supported unconstitutional legislation.

Third, we need to make sure that women have access to health care, including legal contraception, because that will reduce abortion in Virginia.

Fourth, we need to have abstinence-focused education of our kids, and we need to promote adoption alternatives in a very very aggressive way.

If we do these things, we will reduce abortion in Virginia. But what we don’t need to do — we don’t need to criminalize the health care decisions of women and their doctors. That would be wrong. It is not the way we reduce abortion. We have common ground and we can work together to achieve the goal.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: Thank you. I support a culture of life. I always have. I always will.

I supported reasonable safeguards in this arena, including getting parents involved in one of the most critical health care decisions a teenage daughter can make. Getting parents involved by working to make sure parental notification and parental consent became the law of the Commonwealth. Working to rid Virginia of this barbaric practice we call “partial-birth abortion.”

Agreeing with the American Medical Association that there is no medically necessary reason to take the life of a child just moments before it takes its first breath.

I am fighting for that legislation, absolutely, because I agree with the American Medical Association.

My opponent can’t be trusted on this important issue. He claimed in 2001 that he was pro-choice, yet he is running ads in Western Virginia claiming to be pro-life.

In 2001, he opposed parental consent, yet in 2005 he says he favors parental consent.

When appearing before the Family Foundation this past January before their Board of Directors, my opponent was asked the question: You say tonight you are pro-life, but back then you said you were pro-choice.

His response: I would have said that then.

He can’t be trusted on this very important decision. I support reasonable safeguards and will promote a culture of life in Virginia.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Jerry, you should answer the question.

You were asked what restrictions that you would support. You said that abortion should be criminalized in Virginia except in the interest of life of the mother, rape, or incest.

You said that you would only allow an abortion in the instance of rape or incest if the victim — the victim of domestic violence reports the rape or incest within seven days.

If a youngster raped by a stepfather or uncle wants to seek an abortion after seven days, they would be criminalized because abortion would be illegal and you would criminalize the health care decisions of women and their doctors.

That’s not the kind of leadership that Virginia needs. That’s not the kind of leadership Virginia needs. I do believe in the sanctity of life. I am pro-life.

But I believe that there are tried-and-true ways to reduce abortion other than criminalizing women’s health care decisions. I trust women to make their health care decisions. I don’t think government needs to make health care decisions for women, but we can reduce abortion if we stop making this a political game and do the things that are tested and tried.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Mr. Kilgore, a person in this organization came up to me asked me to ask this question.

Anyone who knows both of you thinks that you are two of the finest people that they have met, and people absolutely committed to the good of Virginia.

But when they look at this campaign, they see a lot of personal attacks, petty sniping between the staff, and to some degree, ignoring some of the real critical issues that face Virginia.

Do you agree with that assessment, and what steps do you think the candidates can take to insure that over the next few months this campaign addresses the key issues that are critical to the future of the Commonwealth?

MR. KILGORE: I want to thank my opponent today for being in this arena. This arena that we call “seeking public office.”

Because it is a tough life. It is tough going to all those fairs, festivals and parades, making all these speeches.

And I appreciate his commitment to our Commonwealth.

But let’s be honest. The two major political parties have nominated the two most different candidates for governor from a philosophical standpoint. We disagree on the role of government. He believes leadership is raising taxes. I support the people, trust the people.

He doesn’t support the Second Amendment rights — got an “F” rating from the NRA. I got an “A” rating.

He has opposed the death penalty — even called for a moratorium. And I’ve supported the carrying out of Virginia’s death penalty.

He has supported an increase in the gas tax. He is saying today that he is pro-life, yet he is pro-choice.

We are very different candidates running for governor.

I think Virginians deserve this change. Virginians want to learn the differences between these two campaigns.

And there are many ways to accomplish that. I have been traveling Virginia, talking about my ten weeks of honest reform, which I kicked off a week after I announced for governor — to bring better pay for better teachers, to make sure that we are committed to bringing more dollars into the transportation system and trusting the people in the regions, to get commerce moving again by keeping our taxes lower and our regulatory burden even lower, to bring greater research opportunities to our colleges and universities so that we create economic growth right on or around our colleges and universities.

I have been leading on important issues that affect Virginia. I invite you to visit my web site — jerrykilgore.com — and read about my ten weeks of honest reform, and many, many more.

Thank you.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Well, so much for positive campaigning.

We started noticing about a year ago that letters signed by Jerry Kilgore were going out to thousands of Virginians.

And in one of the letters it said, “Tim Kaine and his supporters are the enemies of faith, family, and freedom.”

He signed that letter.

Another letter said, “Tim Kaine and his supporters would take away your right to worship freely.”

In an interview that Jerry gave to a newspaper on Good Friday, he said that, “Tim Kaine never cared about his Catholicism until it was politically important for him to do so.”

This is a negative campaign. We started advertising in March with positive ads, telling my story.

The first radio ads that Jerry Kilgore put out were not talking about Jerry Kilgore. They were attacking me.

We went on the air in May with television ads that were purely positive, not even mentioning his name. Within two weeks, he had very negative TV ads up against us.

It is a negative campaign because Jerry Kilgore has fought against all the reforms that we have made. And he knows that if we look at the record of the last few years, Virginia voters who feel good about the direction of the Commonwealth will reject his candidacy.

And so he is running a negative campaign and it is just going to get more negative.

But I am going to stay on the high road. I am going to stay on the high road. Because we have led Virginia to a AAA bond rating and the second-fastest job growth in American and status as the best managed state in the country, with Jerry fighting against us every step of the way.

I have built schools. I have cut crime. I have actually cut taxes.

Jerry talks about me raising taxes. Do you know Jerry Kilgore has never cut a tax in his life?

I have cut property taxes. I have cut utility taxes. I have cut business license taxes in the tax reform of ’04.

You are paying less sales tax on food. You are not paying a marriage penalty on your income tax any more.

But it’s about balance. Leaders know about balance. We don’t rely on gimmicks.

So I would say to you that this should be a positive campaign and we will stay on the high road. But I know what Jerry and his team will do to win.

MR. HOLSWORTH: One minute for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: I know exactly what my opponent did do.

He ran the first negative campaign ad on his website. It is there — it was there for your viewing — and sent it out to all of his supporters. That is what my opponent did in this race.

While I was out leading for honest reform, better pay for better teachers, more money into the transportation system, creating jobs and opportunities, bringing greater research opportunities to Virginia’s colleges and universities, he was just saying no. Just saying no to all my issues of honest reform.

Saying no to better pay for better teachers, saying no to my plan to pump more money into transportation by using general fund dollars, saying no to trusting the people.

His campaign has been a campaign of no.

My campaign is a positive vision for Virginia.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Our first closing statement, two minutes for Mr. Kaine.

MR. KAINE: Why go backward? Why go backward? You remember where we were four years ago. You remember the fiscal mess that we were in. You remember the lack of investments in education. You remember a legislature that couldn’t even agree with the governor on a budget. And that is why you changed out the leadership team in this Commonwealth.

And you put in the Warner-Kaine administration, the leadership team that has brought this state a long, long way.

We have reformed our budget. We have created a bipartisan coalition. We have got the second-fastest job growth in America. We have the best-managed state in America.

And in all of those instances — budget reform, investments in education, investments in transportation, management reforms, Jerry Kilgore has stood against every one of our achievements. Every one of our achievements.

He has been the one standing, saying no, urging partisanship, urging division, fighting against progress.

I am running for governor for a lot of reasons. I am running for governor because I have a heart for public service that was formed in that experience I had with Jim O’Leary in Honduras 25 years ago.

I am running for governor because I care deeply about this Commonwealth and the things that we have done and the things that we can do.

But I am running for governor in some ways most passionately, because I believe we cannot take the progress that we have made in the last four years and put it into the hands of the most persistent and vigorous opponent of that progress.

We have come a long way in education — higher standards, better funding, even for the Scott County schools. But we have got a long way to go.

We have come a long way in transportation, turning around a VDOT that was riddled with problems, investing money from our surplus. But we have a long way to go.

We have come a long way in health care, putting our kids, our low income kids into a health insurance program. But we have a long way to go.

And the only way we will get there is by having a leader who knows which way to go, who knows not to go backward, and who isn’t afraid to make a decision rather than handing off decisions to everyone else.

MR. HOLSWORTH: Two minutes for Mr. Kilgore.

MR. KILGORE: I want to thank the VBA for hosting this third debate between my opponent and me. Today I ask for your vote and I ask for the privilege to serve as the next governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I want to honestly reform our state, create a Commonwealth of opportunity by bringing better pay for better teachers so that our children do get a better education. I want to bring more dollars into the transportation system. But I want to trust the people in the regions to set their own regional priority needs.

I want to create jobs and opportunities, so that Virginia, at the end of the decision making process, is the only place that a business wants to expand or locate.

You have seen two very different candidates for Governor on this stage.

One candidate, my opponent, equates leadership with raising taxes. That’s the type of leadership he is going to provide to Virginia.

He wants to raise the gas tax. He raised taxes time and time again as mayor of the City of Richmond.

So my opponent is opposed to the death penalty, even opposed to expanding the death penalty for gang leaders who have a hit out for a law enforcement officer as we speak.

He got an “F” rating from the NRA because he is an enemy of gun rights. He got a C-plus grade from Governing Magazine, who termed the management of the city “mediocre.”

Folks, Virginia needs a governor that can get an “A.” I am ready to go to work for you.

Thank you.

MR. HOLSWORTH: I want to thank our panelists and in particular thank our candidates for a lively exchange of views this morning.

Thank you very much.


Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

2 replies on “Kaine/Kilgore debate transcript.”

  1. Praise you, for your wonderful and informative transcript!

    But just exactly where you able to get it…?


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