All politicians make promises, and that is no different in the Virginia governor's race.
But the state's teachers discovered at last night's debate, Terry McAuliffe's pledges are particularly soaring.
During the course of the hour-long debate he pledged:
- "I'm going to create more jobs than any governor in United States of America."
-"I promise you folks: when I'm done as governor, no surrounding jurisdiction will pay more to their teachers than the Commonwealth of Virginia."
-He said he would ensure "every child can read by the time they leave 3rd grade. That is my promise to you."
-"If you go agree to give us two years, if you go work in a high risk area, I will have a program Virginia will pay off your four years of college loans if you give me two years."
Later in the debate, he went further on that point:
"If you go to a high need area, I have a program, that we will help pay off your mortgage for you. I have program to help you buy a car if you go to a high need area. I have a program that I will pay for all your loans from college if you go to a high need area."
On that last program, some teachers afterward seemed dubious. Car loans? Mortgages? Sounded too good to be true.
But according to his campaign, McAuliffe has a plan to forgive college loans for those who commit to teaching or to other public service for two years following college. He also wants to provide loan guarantees for teachers in their 3rd to 6th year in the classroom. Hence, the paying off of mortgages and car loans.
The two other Democrats on the stage, who are vying for the nomination, also had promises to make. Sen. R. Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran both promised to pay teachers more, fully fund Virginia's Standards of Quality, protect the teacher retirement fund, lower class sizes and expand preschool education.
Moran promised teachers he would personally deliver the Virginia House to Democrats in November, which he said would be critical to boosting funding for education.
"No one knows those six districts we need to pick up better than I do," Moran said. "I know those candidates, I know those districts, I know how we will win them and we will win them with me as the Democratic nominee."
Teachers walked away from the event wondering just how much all these promises might cost.
McAuliffe has promised the last of his six-chapter "Business Plan for Virginia," which he has been rolling out chapter by chapter, will include cost estimates for his proposals and explanations of how he plans to pay for them. Today, he put out chapter five, outlining proposals for improving transportation. Chapter six will be out soon, his campaign promises.
April 24, 2009; 3:38 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Rosalind Helderman , Terry McAuliffe
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