RICHMOND, Va. — Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and former Virginia Congressman Tom Periello squared off Tuesday night in the “Debate for the State” held in Highland Springs.
Both men were cordial throughout the debate and agreed on many topics.
Both Democratic candidates said they support a $15 minimum wage, a path to free community college for all Virginians and universal free Pre-K care.
The biggest fireworks came when the candidates spared over how the plan to pay for some of their proposed programs — and their opponent’s political history.
“I think whenever someone tells you ‘I want to do something in the Commonwealth of Virginia,’ the first question should be, ‘how you’re going to pay for it?’ My plan calls for $37 million for two years of free community college with a give back after that. His plan calls for half a billion dollars,” argued Northam.
“I think this goes to the heart of why Dr. Northam voted for George W. Bush twice, in 2000 and 2004, trickle-down economics that he’s supported in the past does not create growth,” said Periello.
“In 2009, Mr. Periello made the comment that he was a Libertarian at heart, and the only reason he switched to being a Democrat was he could run for Congress,” said Northam.
“Dr. Northam, that’s just a pretty sad attack. In the 9th grade, I was already working on Governor Wilder’s election as the first African American Governor of Virginia. I spent 20 years of my life fighting for Progressive causes,” responded Periello.
WTVR anchor Bill Fitzgerald and WTKR anchor Barbara Ciara moderated the debate.
Both the Democratic and Republican primaries are Tuesday, June 13.