Could this be the year that the Democratic party can beat Virgil Goode in the Fifth Congressional District? He was elected to the seat twice as a Democrat before becoming an independent in 2000 and switching parties in 2002. Ever since, Democrats have been looking for a way to knock him off.
This year, two candidates are vying for the right to challenge Goode in the general election. Goode defeated Al Weed in 2004 by a 64 to 36 percent margin, but Weed says he has learned valuable lessons. Bern Ewert is the former city manager of Roanoke and county executive of Prince William County, and says his economic development skills and name recognition in Southside will help win voters. The two met for the first time in debate at a Democratic breakfast on January 21, 2006. The Charlottesville Podcasting Network is the exclusive media provider of this debate, which is provided as a public service.
(00:00 – 02:00) – introductions and ground rules from moderator Tim Heaphey
(02:01 – 07:30) – opening statement from Al Weed
(07:31 – 13:21) – opening statement from Bern Ewert
(13:21 – 17:28) – Moderator Question 1: Do you have specific plans to attract jobs to the region, especially in the Southside
(17:28 – 21:46) – MQ2: What would you do to reform lobbyists in Congress?
(21:46 – 25:41) – MQ3: Directed to Al Weed: How would Weed pay for a single-payer health care system?
(25:42 – 29:12) – MQ4: Directed to Bern Ewert: How would Ewert pay for his proposed teacher education plan, which cover the costs of teachers who sought a master’s degree in their field?
(29:13 – 34:24) – Audience Question 1: What would you do to reverse the trend towards dismantling of environmental regulations, and how would you promote environmental stewardship?
(34:24 – 38:48) – AQ2: Would you propose extricating our troops from Iraq, and what do you do as a Congressman?
(38:48 – 44:03) – AQ3: What will you do to spur development in the Southside, and how can you help Central Virginians assist their neighbors to the south? How will you get Southside voters to vote for you?
(44:03 – 48:00) – AQ4: What do you see as the role of government in addressing poverty and income disparity? How do you feel about raising the minimum wage and the “Living Wage” movement?
(48:00 – 51:45) – AQ5: What is your opinion on tax cuts for the wealthy, specifically estate tax cuts?
(51:45 – 54:48) – AQ6: How would you vote on the proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage?
(54:48 – 59:30) – AQ7: What lessons has Al Weed learned from his last campaign in 2004, and how can Virgil Goode’s popularity in the Southside be overcome?
(59:30 – 1:04:01) – AQ8: What should the Democratic party stand for? How would the candidate try to attract Republican voters?
(1:04:01 – 1:07:11) – AQ9: How much money will you need to raise in order to be competitive in the general election?
(1:07:11 – 1:07:40) – AQ10: Will you support the nominee if you are defeated?
(1:07:40 – 1:11:48) – Each candidate asks the other a quick question. Ewert asks Weed what he will do to increase jobs over the next five years, and Weed asks Ewert how he will pay attention to rural areas given that most of his work experience is in urban management.
(1:11:48 – 1:16:13) – Members of the audience stand up to ask questions. The first one concerns civil rights as it appeals the prison population.
(1:16:13 – 1:19:24) – Question for Ewert to clarify his stance on the proposed pull-out of troops from Iraq.
(1:19:24 – 1:22:03) – How will you prepare for a tough fight against a Republican incumbent?
(1:22:03 – 1:25:09) – A follow-up question on the incarceration question, would you vote to restore voting rights for felons who have served their time?
(1:25:09 – 1:28:04) – What should Congress do to investigate the N.S.A. wiretapping project?
(1:28:04 – 1:29:34) – Bern Ewert’s closing statement
(1:29:35 – 1:32:00) – Al Weed’s closing statement
This program has been edited for time and continuity. Three questions from the event were edited due to technical error.