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Interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe

Terry McAuliffe
Posted at 8:21 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 20:21:31-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- In the weeks leading to Election Day, candidates for Virginia's highest offices will answer questions about their qualifications on the CBS 6 News at 7 p.m.

Terry McAuliffe is the Democratic Party candidate running for Governor. Scroll down for a transcript of his interview with Bill Fitzgerald.

Terry McAuliffe
FILE - In this May 29, 2021, file photo, Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe smiles during a tour of downtown Petersburg, Va. McAuliffe won Virginia's 2013 governor's race by embracing his own brand of personal politics that rely on decades-old friendships, back-slapping charisma and tell-it-like-it-is authenticity. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

BILL FITZGERALD: Tell us what is this election about?

TERRY MCAULIFFE: Listen, I think this election is about the future of Virginia, I've got 20 big, bold plans on how to take Virginia to the next level. I got us out of a crisis before. If you remember sequestration, the Great Recession, I created 200,000 high-paying jobs, personal income went up 14% and unemployment dropped in every city and county.

I want to have the biggest investment ever in education. We've got to pay our teachers above the national average.

I want a $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, paid family medical leave.

So COVID's been tough, Bill, on everybody. How do we rebuild and how do we come back stronger? And that's why everybody asked me to come back and run again, I have the experience. And I got the big ideas and ready to take it to the next level.

BILL FITZGERALD: Speaking of education, a recent comment you made about parents and schools raised a bit of a furor. What exactly do you mean to say that parents, how should they be able to tell schools what they teach their children? What's the relationship there?

TERRY MCAULIFFE:
First of all, this is all created by Glenn Youngkin. Parents are always involved in schools. I'm a parent of five children. I mean, I was very involved in it.

You have school boards, that's how you get active, that's what you do what you want to do. But, I mean, if you look at me last time, I was governor, Bill, I put a billion dollars in education, I got rid of five SOLs, I redesigned our high schools, I've got $2 billion plan a year going forward.

But you know, this is Youngkin trying to stir up this critical race theory, which I'll be honest with you, Bill, I find highly offensive.

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia. It has never been taught. It is a racist dog whistle and I'm really tired of it. All he's doing is getting parents against parents, parents against teachers. We got great education here in Virginia, we're number one in the country in higher ed, we're number four in the country on K-12.

But we're 50th out of 50 on average teacher pay as it relates to our average pay. Raising teacher pay, getting every child broadband access. So if you look at my plans on education, I'll take us to the next level. All Glenn Youngkin and his plan, please don't take my word for it. Washington Post, Roanoke Times, three independent studies have said 43,000 teachers will be cut. And he wants to take money out of public schools and put them in private. I'm never gonna do that.

So he's trying to create wedges where wedges do not exist. Parents are very involved, just as Dorothy and I were with our five children. But we got some inequities that we've seen through COVID and that's what I want to fix.

BILL FITZGERALD: Gun violence. Richmond and Henrico are seeing a spike in gun violence recently. Homicides running well ahead of last year. Are the Democratic gun laws working or do you need new laws? Or what is the story there as far as stopping gun violence?

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

Well, first of all, I'm glad we have the background checks, and so forth. I think you've seen a spike all over the country. When I was governor had the lowest major crime rate of any state in the United States of America. I put the toughest domestic gun law in our country on the books, as you know, worked in a bipartisan way.

But, you know, I like to see us ban ghost guns, they're very dangerous. I'd like to get rid of assault weapons, I like to get rid of high-capacity magazines. I'm going to, for the first time ever, have in the Patrick Henry Building and the governor's office an Office of Gun Prevention.

We got to bring a holistic approach. It can't be just public safety. It's got to be education, it's got to be healthcare. But we've got to invest the resources as I did before to keep our communities safe. Community policing, accountability, transparency, I had this before and I'll bring that back again. And that's why people understand that I had the experience as governor before and will have the experience to really take us out of some very tough situations.

BILL FITZGERALD:

And as far as equities, particularly economic and jobs, getting equity out to the communities that have suffered from a lack of equity in the past. As far as jobs and in the economy, what does it mean for small business regulation if you are able to bring in these other communities that have been traditionally left out?

TERRY MCAULIFFE:

Listen, as you know, before I recruited 1,100 economic development projects. I had a record investment. I traveled killed myself as you know, traveling the globe, 35 trade mission five continents, as you know, brought 1,100 businesses and activities back to the Commonwealth of Virginia and built a big economy.

But you're right COVID has been really tough. Forty-four percent of the small black businesses have closed. Five-point-four million women, more than half of the jobs fired were women.

If you look at what I'm proposing: $15 minimum wage by 2024, paid sick leave, paid family medical leave.

Glenn Youngkin is against all three of those.

We've got to do more money and childcare. I want to keep the schools open. He's an anti-vaxxer. I think teachers should be vaccinated. I think doctors and nurses should be vaccinated.

I've got a whole thing about rebuilding the economy for small business, investing, we'll do grant programs. We did this before. But COVID has really shined inequities and we got to help women. They've been hit the hardest here and you know, they've got to provide for their children at home, they want to get back to work. But if schools aren't open, or they can't afford childcare, they can't get back to work. And that will be a top priority for me.

Go in-depth with more Virginia candidates in our Virginia Voter Guide to the 2021 Election.

Election 2021 Mini

🗳️In-Depth Coverage Election 2021: Candidate Interviews

Virginia Governor's Race
Terry McAuliffe (Democratic)
Glenn Youngkin (Republican)
Princess Blanding (Liberation Party)

Virginia Lt. Governor's Race
Hala Ayala (D)
Winsome Sears (R)

Virginia Attorney General Race
Mark Herring (D)
Jason Miyares (R)

To learn more about key local elections, click here for the CBS 6 voter's guide.

Watch CBS 6 News at 7 p.m. with Bill Fitzgerald on TV, WTVR.com/LIVE or now streaming on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV. Just search "WTVR Richmond" in your app store.

Key Dates and Deadlines in Virginia

Friday, Sept. 17: Early, In-Person Voting Begins
Thursday, Oct. 12: Voter Registration Deadline
Friday, Oct. 22: Request Absentee/Mail-In Ballot Deadline
Saturday, Oct. 30: Early, In-Person Voting Ends
Tuesday, Nov. 2 is Election Day: In-Person Voting from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 2: Absentee/Mail-In Postmark by Date
Friday, Nov. 5: Absentee/Mail-In Delivered By Date