Deeds and McDonnell addressed the Potomac Officers’ club today, with Mr. McDonnell speaking first and Mr. Deeds following immediately afterward. As expected, candidates reiterated campaign talking points and took the occasional jab at their opponent, with main areas of focus for including job creation, transportation, and education.
Both candidates emphasized the importance of creating new jobs in Virginia. Deeds criticized McDonnell’s tax credit plan by saying it requires a business to create fifty new jobs before it recieves a credit for the 51st, and saying his plan is “simple: create a job, get a tax credit,” and emphasized opportunities for “every Virginian, in every corner of the state.” McDonnell attacked Deeds’ voting record on business issues, citing McDonnell’s endorsement by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for “long standing support of small business and entrepreneurs and innovators, with a lifetime “A” rating,” and reminding the audience that Deeds has recieved an “F” rating from the NFIB but an “A” from the AFL-CIO, America’s largest labor union.
On the critical topic of education, McDonnell spoke about shifting money from school administration to the classroom, and Deeds pitched a universal scholarship program for all Virginia students who maintain a “B” average and committ two years post-graduation to “service in Virginia.”
Speaking on transportation, McDonnell provided a variety of options to fund new roads: after calling Northern Virginia a “donor region,” he mentioned keeping some of NoVa’s sales tax revenue in the area to build new roads, and earmarking more general fund money for transportation. While Deeds said that building new roads was vital to keep from “choking off” Virginia’s business growth, and said “all options are on the table,” he was adamantly against diverting any general fund money away from education to transportation. He likened it to eating the state’s collective seed corn, and, after his agricultural analogy fell flat on the suburban crowd, he reminded himself that he was “in Northern Virginia” (which drew laughs) and explained that the seed corn was “what you plant next years’ crop with,” explaining that cutting education funds would display a “lack of faith” in Virginia’s future.
Many local news outlets were in attendance, including WTOP (AM 1500), Channel 9, Channel 5, Channel 7, NBC, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and, of course, ExecutiveBiz. Noteworthy attendees included Channel 9′s Peggy Fox, Channel 5′s Joe Feeney, WTOP’s Hank Silverberg, Chris Donovan of NBC, Channel 7′s Pamela Brown, the Associated Press’s Jacquelyn Martin and Matt Baracht, and the Washington Post’s Rosalind Helderman and Amy Gardner.