Saturday, November 05, 2005

Horse Race 2005: Kaine, Kilgore, and Potts on the Issues

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has run a very handy series of Q and A sessions with Kaine, Potts, and Kilgore, and I thought I'd line them up and compare how each of the candidates defines their stances on the major issues, such as abortion, transportation, and the death penalty. There are a lot of great statements on their stances on lots of different topics, but I tried to find the common threads between at least two of the interviews here.


Kilgore: "I've said very clearly that I'm pro-life. I support a culture of life. I'm not trying to hide that from anybody. I've supported the reasonable safeguards parental consent, parental notification, 24-hour wait, making sure that we ban the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. We've worked around, within the parameters of the Supreme Court rulings. I've said, I don't support criminalizing women.

I think the partial-birth-abortion statute brings penalties to bear for those medical personnel that are performing these procedures that are unlawful. I've not supported criminalizing women. Will not, in my future, support criminalizing women."

Potts: "I voted for three pieces of legislation I'd still vote for. I voted for parental consent. I voted for 24-hour wait. And I voted for the abolition of partial-birth abortion.

When [the Family Foundation] started pushing the envelope -- they were calling contraception a form of abortion and were going to ban the dispensing of the "morning-after" pill and wanted more severe restrictions on abortion clinics -- I said, "that's it, no more. You've pushed the envelope far enough on me."

I feel strongly about Roe versus Wade. I think that Roe versus Wade is good policy. I think it has served America well. If I'd be fortunate enough to be governor, I would unequivocally veto any attempt to overturn Roe versus Wade, if it were bounced back to the states.

Kaine was not questioned on this subject.

The Car Tax

Kilgore: (Eliminating the car tax) is my goal. I would work with the General Assembly to make sure we fulfill the promise.

Kaine: I'm certainly going to look for a way to (give further relief on the tax). We got 70 percent of the way across the stream, and we were standing with water lapping around our thighs. And what we've done is, we jumped up on a rock in the middle of the stream. We haven't gotten to the other side yet. There needs to be an end game, and I would like to try to find one. But we put a responsible plan on the table, and the legislature said no. And most of those guys were people who were around who had made the promise to begin with.

Potts was not questioned on this subject.


Kilgore: I want to use general-fund dollars on transportation in the future. I mean, certainly we all know that the sales tax goes into the fund anyway. So we can call it whatever we want to. I'm calling it general-fund dollars that are going to be used to fund transportation somewhat, in our future. (Note: DAMN I'm so good...I knew this was the semantical game he was playing.) So I'm willing to find the funds any way we can.

Kaine: My signature plan is to lock up the [transportation] trust fund and make sure no money's pulled out. And I'll do that from day one, by vetoing withdrawals of dollars. And I'll also work with the legislature to see if there are interim steps that can be taken, where they can show in good faith that they have no intention of removing the money. But I do know that ultimately a constitutional amendment is the most secure way to guarantee that people's dollars aren't used for other than the advertised purpose. I mean, this is something that I just think is intolerable, that the Code of Virginia says, "We're going to pay this money, and it's going to go to transportation, and it's only going to be used for transportation." And then when the mood strikes us, the legislature feels like it can use the money for other purposes. I think it's a fundamental issue of honesty. And I'm going to be about it from Day One.

Potts: We have to protect the general fund and build upon the successes of that. That's why I have responsibly taken the approach to fund transportation with [$2.5 billion in] new dollars.

We've got to create a new transportation plan. I am absolutely convinced that -- from a terrorism standpoint, from a catastrophe standpoint and from an economic standpoint -- we have to address our transportation system in Virginia. The breadbasket, as we all know in Virginia, is that I-95 corridor: Northern Virginia to Richmond to Hampton Roads.

Illegal Immigration

Kilgore: I don't support spending taxpayer dollars on those illegally in this country...we need a strong governor that's going to go to Congress, work with governors like [Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Bill Richardson of New Mexico] and say, "We need real immigration laws that are enforced." It's having a budget impact on all these states. And I think New Mexico and Arizona have experienced the worst from the budget impact. And it's causing a public-safety concern when the gangs are so much involved with those illegally in this country.

If we are in a situation where it's going to require prompt action, I don't think our state-of-emergency laws are broad enough to cover that. It's a public-safety emergency, it's a budget emergency, and that's what you have a General Assembly for, to deal with that crisis. And I'll be on Capitol Hill talking about illegal immigration and the effects it's having on the states...I think there's a way to work this out. You know, I think we have to work with Homeland Security. You know, within the first week, I'm going to sign that agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to give my state police the authority to enforce immigration laws in Virginia. (NOTE: Small government at work!)

Kaine: I'm not out advocating that we should come up with public funding for day labor centers. That has never been my position. I would not support such funding at the state level. But I'm sympathetic to local officials trying to deal with a local problem. And so, you have the town of Herndon, that frankly, because of a massive federal default on its responsibilities to enforce the immigration laws, they're dealing with a public safety challenge.

They're trying to figure out the best way to deal with it. If they decide that the best way to deal with that public disorder challenge is to have a place where people can go inside, and not be hanging out on the street, I'm not going to grandstand against them or second-guess them for doing that. They know that reality better than I do.

Potts: The Herndon Town Council met hours and hours and hours, goodness knows how many hours, to try to find a solution for a very, very complicated problem. This is a federal problem. I think President Bush does have the right idea about documented workers. And I oppose illegal immigrants. I've consistently opposed illegal immigrants.

But I don't think that a person ought to be interfering in a local decision by the Herndon Town Council. Because the alternative is not to do anything and have these immigrants all over the place, which is impacting local businesses and [causing] some severe problems in that community.

Eminent Domain

Kilgore: I don't support that case. I thought it was a stretch of the eminent-domain law. I do, though, believe that Virginia law wouldn't allow that to happen, because we're a Dillon Rule state, and localities only have the ability to condemn with the power we give them from the state level. I'm willing to work with the speaker of the House and the Senate to tighten that up.

Kaine: I think the key for the condemnation for private development is: What is demonstrable public use, public necessity, public justification that authorizes the city or county to proceed? And I think that the definition of public use or necessity should be incredibly tight. I'm very willing to go back into the state's eminent domain law now and look to see whether the public justification definition is as tight as it needs to be.

Potts was not questioned on this issue.

The Death Penalty

Kilgore: I've seen the deterrent effects of the death penalty in study after study. Criminals understand the law. Virginia enforces the death penalty. I think it's one of those laws that does prevent future crime -- because criminals get it, and understand it. They understand it better than law-abiding citizens, usually.

Kaine: I've got a faith-based objection to the death penalty. So, there's nothing about it that makes me feel satisfied. I will say this about Virginia, compared to other states. I worked as a federal law clerk in Georgia for a year. And that's an area, in the federal circuit there, where there's a lot of death-penalty cases. Compared to other states, Virginia is a state where I think prosecutors exercise their discretion much more narrowly than in other states.

We have a small death row, relative to other states. And a relative high percentage of people on death row who are executed. And some of that is because the courts are tough on death-penalty cases. But some of it is also that I don't think prosecutors in Virginia overcharge capital cases. So while I've got an objection to the death penalty for faith reasons, I give credit to prosecutors in Virginia. They generally reserve capital punishment for the really heinous cases.

I just don't support the death penalty, from a faith standpoint. And so, there's not a lot of tweaks or changes that I would make, that would make me feel better about it. I do think one thing that there's great common ground on, is that the advent of DNA evidence gives everybody the ability to know with more certainty in more cases whether somebody's guilty or whether the guilty person is still free and needs to be gone after.

Potts: I've always been very pro-death-penalty. I strongly believe in the death penalty. I would be extremely cautious to ever grant clemency, unless there was extremely compelling evidence, DNA evidence or whatever.

Posted by crimnos @ 11:11 AM

Read or Post a Comment

Off topic, but I thought you'd want to see this. After our earlier discussions on the proposed budget cuts that cut solely into social programs,

Lautenberg filed an amendment to change the official name of the "Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act 2005" to the "Moral Disaster of Monumental Proportion Reconciliation Act."


Happy Saturday,


Posted by Blogger mikevotes @ 4:59 PM #

hah I saw, that was frickin' brilliant. I hope she can make it stick :)

Posted by Blogger crimnos @ 2:23 AM #

Thank you so much for posting all of the candidates' opinions on such key issues!! I wish the state would put up such a page for every election, for citizens to review, instead of leaving us to try to recall what someone said on a TV spot.

Posted by Blogger Mikey's Momma @ 10:51 AM #
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