The Hampton Roads Chamber hosted a Senatorial Luncheon Forum on October 19 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. Senatorial candidates George Allen and Tim Kaine spoke to more than 300 local business and community leaders, each using their unique experience and insight to explain how they want to solve Virginia’s most pressing issues. The candidates also answered questions on topics such as economic success, fiscal responsibility, and government transparency.
Allen served Virginia as the state’s 67th governor in the state legislature and in both bodies of the U.S. Congress, winning election to the Senate in 2000. Allen said he is running because Virginia needs a governor that is on their side, saying, “I worked ‘till my very last day as governor to get more jobs for Virginia.” Challenger Kaine served as the 70th governor of Virginia and as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011. Kaine also believes that job creation is a top priority, stating, “The key to economic success lies in growth, talent, and balance.”
Kaine also stressed investment in infrastructure for economic success. “Dealing with our crumbling infrastructure has costs but will also have a long term benefit,” Kaine said. Allen also believes that infrastructure is important, but argued, “The last thing we need to be doing is raising taxes and oil prices. People are really suffering.”
During the Q & A session, both candidates were asked what they would do to make sure that Virginia’s voice is heard in Washington. Allen said, “I have a record of doing this with welfare reform, tax cuts, and on the U.S. Senate, I kept taxes down.” Kaine countered, “My goal is jobs for Virginia and for America. If I thought things were great in Washington, I wouldn’t be running. We need to get back to basics.”
Kaine also expressed frustration with the lack of fiscal responsibility in Washington and his belief that the United States can tackle its budget without losing balance, while Allen told the crowd, “We need to unite as Americans to send the message: America is open for business now.”
The Chamber encourages residents to vote in the November 6 election.