(Delmarvanow.com) -- Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, was campaigning on the Eastern Shore on Wednesday. He made stops in Chincoteague, Parksley and Nassawadox.
Gillespie is facing off in the November election against Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, an Eastern Shore native.
Around 30 people greeted Gillespie at the Club Car Cafe in Parksley, where the candidate spoke about the economy, education, energy and public safety.
Delegate Rob Bloxom, a Republican who is running for another term in the Virginia General Assembly, also spoke at the event.
Bloxom is opposed for the 100th District seat by Willie C. Randall, a Democrat.
Bloxom said Gillespie is "very attentive" to the unique problems of the Eastern Shore.
"It would be nice to have someone in the top office that you can call ... In this election, from top to bottom, the choices are pretty clear," he said.
Bloxom said of Northam, "Ralph is a good friend, but he has staked out his opinions and he has stated his positions and they couldn't be more on opposites than what my friend here has said — and that's right down the ticket."
Citing differences between the two parties' candidates on issues including the Second Amendment, right to work laws, the environment and government regulations, Bloxom said, "We're talking black and white ... It's very easy to look down the list and decide on the issues and pick which one you want."
Gillespie also emphasized the distinctions between the candidates.
"The stakes couldn't be higher and the choices couldn't be more clear ... The fact is, where we are in Virginia today, we all know, is not where we need to be," he said.
Gillespie said Northam is "a good guy, but he doesn't have a plan for us."
Gillespie did not mention the recent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville or President Trump during his speech, instead focusing on the economy and other issues.
Gillespie said economic growth in the state is "stagnant" and has been that way for six years. Economic growth in Virginia last year was 0.6 percent, he said.
Gillespie called for policies reflecting "conservative Constitutional principles of limited, effective government" — including lowering taxes, repealing mandates and "scaling back regulations."
"Those are the things that will unleash economic growth here in Virginia," he said.
Gillespie said he wants to cut individual income tax rates — if that happens, it will be the first such cut in 45 years, he said.
"My opponent has a long record in the General Assembly of supporting tax increases," he said.
A tax cut would make it easier for individuals to open and operate small businesses, Gillespie said.
Gillespie also spoke in support of the state's right to work laws.
"I do not believe you should have to join a union to get a job in Virginia," he said.
On education, Gillespie said, "No child in Virginia should be trapped in a failing public school. If you believe, like I do that the proper role of government is not to ensure equality of outcomes for people, but equality of opportunity for people, then you've got to make sure every child has access to a good, safe, quality school — and my policies will do that."
On energy, Gillespie said he does not agree with Northam, who he said supports a cap-and-trade policy on emissions and wants the state to adhere to the Paris accords.
"That will just result in more miners being laid off in our west, but also factory workers, and make it harder for us to foster advanced manufacturing," he said, claiming the policies also will increase electric bills.
On public safety, Gillespie said if he is elected, he will sign legislation banning "sanctuary cities" in Virginia. The term typically is used to describe places that limit local cooperation with federal immigration agents.
"I will sign a sanctuary city bill in a heartbeat ... We have got to keep Virginians safe in our neighborhoods, in our communities, in our businesses," he said.
Gillespie said the upcoming election is not just about the next four years.
"I think it's about the next 20 to 30 years ... We're going to decide what kind of a Commonwealth we're going to be and what kind of economy we're going to have in this next governor's election," he said.