August 2, 2009
The Democrat running for Governor in Virginia, Creigh Deeds, is beginning a week-long tour Sunday in an effort to turn rural and southwestern Virginia into "Deeds Country." He's starting in Charlottesville.
If Deeds were elected Governor in November, he would be one of the only governors of the Commonwealth to come from rural Virginia. Deeds grew up in Bath County near the West Virginia line.
But some of the key issues for Virginians today involve transportation, and most of the worst transportation problems are in northern Virginia. On Sunday, Deeds explained his plan.
Starting at 4:00 pm, the music of the band The Gladstones could be heard throughout the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, as supporters gathered in anticipation of Deeds' arrival.
When Deeds took the podium and started discussing his transportation plan, loud cheers could be heard throughout the crowd of hundreds.
On Saturday, Deeds's opponent, Bob McDonnell, said Deeds had no plan to fix Virginia's roadways. Deeds fired back, saying his plan involves working with legislators.
"I'm running for governor. I'm not running for dictator," said Deeds, (D). "We're going to put together a commission, probably as soon as I'm elected, within the broad outline of the plan that I've got. They're going to work from that."
McDonnell's plan involves indirectly diverting money from Virginia's schools and prison system to fund road projects through privatizing liquor stores. Deeds is against education cuts, and he's for a long-term solution, but the details of Deeds's solution remain hazy.
"The first year I'm governor we're going to get a plan passed that's long term in scope, that's state-wide in perspective, and that's creative in nature, with three broad principles," said Deeds.
As for how Deeds plans to pay for the long-term plan? He didn't explicitly mention raising taxes.
"A lot of things are going to be on the table," said Deeds.
But one area where McDonnell and Deeds agree is that the 18 closed rest areas in Virginia need to be re-opened.
"There are other options for many motorists, but they aren't options on every part of the interstate. I think it was just a bad move for Virginia, and they'll be re-opened when I'm governor."
One of the hundreds of Deeds supporters at the rally say they are confident in their candidate.
"Creigh is very real and down to earth, and he's very pro-choice. He's wonderful on transportation," says Molly O'Brien, a longtime Charlottesville Democrat and recent Deeds supporter.
Deeds's tour of Southside Virginia wraps up in his hometown of Bath County. Only time will tell if the Democrat will be able to win over the rural vote.