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Debate Coverage

Rosalind Helderman

The Post's Virginia politics team is gearing up to bring you extensive coverage of today's key gubernatorial debate between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell hosted by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.

We'll be live-blogging the event beginning shortly before the 11 a.m. debate start time. There will also be streaming video from the venue. And we'll be fact-checking some of the candidates' claims and promises live during the debate and bringing you full coverage of the event after it ends. So join us at 11, and be sure to check back later as well.

For now, let us know what you're looking for out of this debate. What questions would you want asked?

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 17, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: Unions Help Deeds With More Than Money


To answer your question in the column, here's a question I want asked: Why did Bob McDonnell support turning down $125 million in federal stimulus money for unemployed Virginians, other than to "symbolize" opposition to President Obama for his own political gain at the expense of real people in desperate need of this help? Doesn't this put him in the most extreme group of right-wing Republican governors along with Governor Mark Sanford and former Governor Sarah Palin?

Does he now regret this, or doesn't he ever see, meet, and talk to the people who it would have helped, who are suffering for the lack of it right now, every day?

Does he believe that the other federal stimulus assistance to Virginia, past, present, or imminent, should have been turned away as well, or does he think it is helping blunt the edge of the economic crisis and promoting new jobs?

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | September 17, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse


Just a quick comment about your column this morning on the Virginia so-called "right to work law" where the following statement was used to describe that law: "Virginia one of 22 states that make it illegal to condition employment on union membership." While that statement is generally correct, it is not fully descriptive of what the Virginia law actually does.

As a former management labor relations dfirector, a long-time labor official, and most recently a third party neutral - Arbitrator and Mediator, I can tell you objectively that the Virginia law goes far beyond protecting any so called right to work.

The union "closed shop" arrangement (the real right-to-work violation) was barred by the 1947 Taft-Hartley Amendment to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)of 1935 (not by the Virginia law) which also allowed states to bar other other labor- management arrangements such as the ""union shop (where all members of a bargaining unit are required to join the recognized union) and the "agency shop"
(where all members of a bargaining unit havee the option of joining the union or else paying a fee for union representation)Virginia has barred both the union shop and agency shop.

However, under the NLRA, a union representing a bargaining unit has a "duty of fair representation" fior all members of that bargaining unit whether a dues paying member of that unit or not. That means that the union absorbs all costs for representation for both union and non-union member grievance procedures (hearing, legal, arbitration, etc.), collective bargaining costs for negotiation of wages, benfits and working conditions for both union and non-union members, etc.

Virginia Code Section 40.1-62 (a part of the so-called right to work law) creates the "free rider" problem by barring a union from collecting a "representation fee" from non-union members of a bargaining unit that the union is obligated by federal law to represent for both grievance and terms of employment issues.

Hardly a fair result, and often used as a union-busting tactic.

Posted by: TomPaine2 | September 17, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I would really like to hear how the different candidates feel about various local environmental issues, including fly ash deposits in the flood plane of the New River Valley in Giles County, water pollution in Covington by the paper mill, or in Radford by the Army Ammunition Plant. The fly ash deposit issue is particularly pressing considering the recent fly ash disaster in our neighbor, Tennessee, that destroyed an entire community.

I am interested in hearing how the governor's will deal with higher education in struggling budget times and why the state needs so many 4 year institutions at the cost of funding its 7 or 8 name recognizable institutions. I would caution them that educating more Virginians is not the answer, because the excess of institutions has caused them all to get funding cuts forcing them to admit more non-VA students. How will the next governor balance funding issues with service quality in higher education?

I would ask them about privatization of government services. Bob McDonnell has advocating privatizing ABC stores. Does he still support that? What about all those closed rest stops along the highways? I am sure gas stations and fast food would love to move in restoring these public spaces to even better than the dingy rest stops the government maintained before.

Finally, would the next governor support offshore drilling in Virginia to help with energy independence and increase local jobs, or are the environmental risks too great?

Posted by: patmmccann | September 17, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

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