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July 17, 2017

Gillespie visits Fauquier, promising economic revival

Photos/Lawrence Emerson
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie talks with retired federal government employees Lillian Read and Ed Worsham at Saturday’s Fauquier Cornerstone Committee event.
The candidate says hello to “Cisco Kid” and Jackie Koontz at the Fauquier County Fair.
Mr. Gillespie focuses on the economy during his remarks at the Stonebridge Events Center near Warrenton.
The stakes could not be higher and the choice before us in November could not be more clear. I know exactly where we need to go and how to get there.
— Ed Gillespie, Republican candidate for governor
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Virginia ranks 39th among states in economic development.

More people in the last three years have left Virginia than moved to the state.

If elected governor Nov. 7, Republican nominee Ed Gillespie plans to turn that around.

“The stakes could not be higher, and the choice before us in November could not be more clear,” Mr. Gillespie told about 70 people at “meet and greet” event Saturday afternoon at the Stoneridge Events Center just north of Warrenton. “I know exactly where we need to go and how to get there.”

The Fauquier Cornerstone Committee, a group dedicated to advancing “conservative principles” and educating voters on “conservatism” in the county, hosted the hour-long gathering.

Mr. Gillespie — former chairman of the Republican national and state party committees — on Election Day faces Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Libertarian Cliff Hyra for the state’s top elective office.

Mr. Gillespie spoke for about 20 minutes, outlining his positions on the economy, homeland security, education, energy and other issues.

The economy
Virginia ranks 39th among states in economic growth, Mr. Gillespie said.

“That is just infuriating to me, as I know it is to all of you,” he told the audience.

Virginia should have the fastest growing economy, Mr. Gillespie said.

“And it can, with the right policies,” he added.

For the last three years, more people have “moved out of Virginia than into” the state, Mr. Gillespie said. “This has never happened before Virginia started collecting that data in 1978.

“That reflects the lack of opportunity. A lot of those people who are moving out are young people graduating from our high schools and colleges and universities. And they’re unable to find careers here in Virginia.”

To “turn things around,” the Republican candidate proposes a 10-percent, “across-the-board” reduction in the individual income tax rate.

That would create more that 53,000 full-time, private sector jobs, Mr. Gillespie said.

“That’s a 25-percent increase over current projections,” he said. “We need those jobs. We need those opportunities, and I will get that job done.”

Homeland security
Earlier this year, a bill that would prohibit local governments from declaring themselves “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants failed in the Virginia Senate in a 20-20 vote.

As lieutenant governor, Mr. Northam broke that tie with a “no” vote. On a second vote the senate approved the measure, 21-19. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe later vetoed it.

If elected governor, “I will sign a bill that bars sanctuary cities in Virginia,” Mr. Gillespie said.

Among other things, Mr. Gillespie said he supports skills training, more public charter schools and homeschool student access to public school sports programs.

He supports President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the “Paris accords,” a global agreement to combat climate change.

“Ralph Northam wants to impose an Obama-style clean power plan,” making Virginia less competitive with states not subject to such constraints, Mr. Gillespie said.

“I will fight for our coal miners, for our factory workers and for poor families that get hit hardest by higher electricity bills that will result from his energy policies.”

On abortion and gun control, Mr. Gillespie noted he has been endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee and has an A-plus rating from the NRA.

“This governorship is not just about the next four years,” he told the audience. “It is about the next 20 to 30 years. It is about generations to come and what kind of Virginia we’re going to be and what kind of economy we’re going to have.”

Mr. Gillespie also sought to address “misinformation” about his position on the removal of Civil War monuments and statues.

“We cannot erase history,” he said. “We cannot tear down these statues. We need to learn from history. And those statues are an important part of our tourism economy. And I am opposed to taking down those statues anywhere in the commonwealth of Virginia.”

Robert Saccoman of Bealeton believes that Mr. Gillespie and state Sen. Jill Vogel of Upperville, the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor who also addressed the audience, will be good for Virginia.

“I’ve been following (Mr. Gillespie) ever since he was in government,” said Mr. Saccoman, 74, who owned a construction company. “Never met him until a few minutes ago. I always liked what he has going.

“I believe between Gillespie and Vogel, we’ve got a winner.”

His wife Beth, 73, agreed.

“I think they’re very good for the country — to help Trump get his agenda through,” Mrs. Saccoman said.

No Republican has won statewide office since 2009.

Despite that and the fact that Hillary Clinton won Virginia last November, Mr. Gillespie believes the commonwealth wants a Republican governor.

When voters compare his policies to Mr. Northam’s, “I think people are going to say that’s the right way for Virginia to go and they’re going to vote for me.”

After the Stoneridge Events Center gathering, Mr. Gillespie and Mrs. Vogel toured the Fauquier County Fair on Old Auburn Road just east of Warrenton.

In making the rounds, Mr. Gillespie introduced himself to Doris and John Fowler of Hume.

“I know he says all the right things,” said Mr. Fowler, 80. “I don’t think we’ve had a candidate in any office lately that you can trust to deliver on their promises. This guy sounds real good. But, I’m not trusting on the things he says he can deliver. I hope he can.”

Robert Chichester, 84, wants to learn more about the Republican candidate for governor before making a commitment.

“I’m for the man that’s going to do the best thing for the people,” said Mr. Chichester, a retired federal government worker who lives near Warrenton. “He’s a good speaker. And it seems to me with the standards he’s running on he’d make a good governor.”
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