Northam, Gillespie vie for military veterans' votes

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, a candidate for governor, talked about his vision for finding employment for veterans and addressing homelessness of some veterans.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Battling for the votes of Virginia's 800,000 military veterans, Democratic candidate for governor Ralph Northam made his pitch Tuesday in front of the battleship Wisconsin.

Surrounded by veterans and in the shadow of the ship, Northam talked about his own experience as an Army medic in Operation Desert Storm. He laid out his vision for helping vets get jobs and ending veteran homelessness.

But it was words that Northam said a few months ago, that still irk some people: his commercial back in the spring in which he called President Trump "a narcissistic maniac."

Republican candidate Ed Gillespie and his supporters have criticized Northam's primary commercial, saying its tone could hurt Virginia.

The issue came up during a Gillespie VFW appearance in Norfolk back in July.

Gillespie said, "Having a governor who can work with a Republican House,  a Republican Senate, President Trump, Vice President Pence, the Trump administration... I think  is an asset for us in Virginia and would be good for the people of the Commonwealth."

On Tuesday, Northam said he is willing to work with President Trump, where there is common ground. But citing the president's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, Northam did not back down from his remarks in his ad.

Asked if he regretted the remarks, Northam said, "Well, I stand by what I said. And again, it's the policies that are coming out of Washington that we're concerned with."

The election is nine weeks away, on November 7.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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