Virginia's Governor Candidates Visit the Valley

Both of this year's candidates for governor were in the Valley Friday, showcasing their plans to fix several of the state's problems.

During a city tour and a county fair, both Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell discussed the state budget, small business help and the million dollar question of how to get the rest stops reopened.

"The rest stops are absolutely essential for a lot of the traveling public," says Deeds.

"The citizens have said they want the rest stops open. It's like putting a closed for business sign on those rest stops," says McDonnell.

Deeds did not outlined a specific plan to reopen the rest areas, but claims he could do it in his first 60 days in office. McDonnell say he can do it in 90 days.

Three weeks ago, McDonnell sent a letter to Gov. Tim Kaine suggesting several options including the use of non-violent inmate labor at the rest stops, an adopt-a-rest stop program similar to adopt-a-highway, diverting $9 million in VDOT funds from other programs and trying to renegotiate the rest stop contract at a lower cost.

Both candidates want to offer tax incentives to small businesses, which account for 75 percent of new jobs in the state.

While in Harrisonburg, Deeds toured several small business, like the ones he vows to help.

"We've got to create a culture of entrepreneurship, one that encourages people to take chances and start businesses," says Deeds.

"I'm very strongly in favor of providing new incentives to promote tourism and film production, and those will help our small businesses tremendously," says McDonnell who stopped by the Rockingham County Fair Friday night.

Following this week's announcement of a $1.5-billion state budget shortfall, the candidates talked economic plans. Both say they would call for audits of state government agencies.

Deeds mentioned ways to save tax payers some money, and McDonnell mentioned incentives for mid-level managers to manage their businesses more effectively.


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