Candidates square off in Virginia's final gubernatorial debate
Moving southwest Virginia forward was the shining topic at the state's last governor's debate. Among the issues addressed included the region's economy, drug abuse problem, and educational opportunities. Monday's debate brought forth a sense of urgency in boosting the economy of rural southwest Virginia. "When you bring jobs and allow families to come here and work and raise their families, that helps with the economy," Democratic candidate Ralph Northam said. The candidates dealt with the region's challenges, including a loss of jobs and a reference to the 'epicenter' of opioid abuse. "This cannot become a partisan issue. Democrats, Republicans, Independents need to come together. We have to save lives. We have to save families," Republican Ed Gillespie said. There was no lack of tense moments in the hour-long debate. Northam said, "My opponent is actually the architect of gerrymandering in this country." "The fact is we're talking about a job that you are seeking now and you sought from us. You've got 8.4 million clients, Lt. Governor Northam, I am one of them," Gillespie said. The candidates did agree on some of the issues critically holding southwest Virginia residents back. "Our children that are working on an assignment at school, and when they go home and don't have access on the assignment, their hands are tied," Northam said. Gillespie said, "We could work with the Tobacco Commission to get funds to finish the last-mile."