The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Staff Photo by Joel Turner:
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, was introduced by William Stanley, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Committee.
Friday, August 1, 2008
By JOEL TURNER - Staff Writer
Former Gov. Jim Gilmore, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, brought his "working families tour" to Franklin County Wednesday, and called for oil drilling in Alaska and offshore to help reduce gasoline prices.
Gilmore said he supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, although many Democrats oppose it, because he said Americans are struggling with high gasoline prices.
He also called for offshore drilling to help the United States achieve energy independence from Middle East countries and oil speculators.
At a meet-and-greet session at the Olde Virginia Barbecue restaurant, Gilmore said "it is time for a change in Washington," adding that national energy
policies must change.
Gilmore is running against former Gov. Mark Warner, the Democratic candidate in the Senate race. Warner campaigned at a Democratic breakfast buffet in Rocky Mount last Friday.
Gilmore said there are two issues in the Senate campaign: energy and oil prices, and trust.
Gilmore criticized Warner on the issue of trust, accusing Warner of breaking his word on raising taxes when he was governor.
Warner promised during his campaign that he would not raise taxes, Gilmore said, but he approved a $1.4 billion tax increase.
Warner served as governor of Virginia from 2002 to 2006. Gilmore served as governor from 1998 to 2002.
He said Warner "opposes drilling in ANWR, and he (Warner) is all over the place on offshore drilling."
At the campaign stop in Rocky Mount last week, Warner
called for Congress to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling and allow states to make their own decision.
But Gilmore said that Warner vetoed an offshore drilling bill that was passed by the General Assembly while he was governor.
Speaking to nearly 100 people at the campaign event, Gilmore said he is a candidate "who does what he says he will do."
"I said I was going to cut the car tax, and I did it," he said.
"I kept my word on the car tax."
When he was running for governor, Gilmore said he promised to put 4,000 additional teachers in the state's classrooms and to create more jobs across the state.
"I kept my word. I do what I say I am going to do," Gilmore told the audience.
But Gilmore said that Warner does not keep his word.
"When he (Warner) ran for governor, he said he was for car tax relief," Gilmore said. "But he (Warner) became an opponent of car tax relief when he became governor."
The issue in the campaign is "who will keep his word," he said.
Gilmore said Warner is "trying to divide the Republicans" politically in the campaign, but he said that the GOP is unified.
Both are running for the Senate being vacated by retiring Sen. John Warner, who is no relation to Mark Warner.
Gilmore said Virginians are hurting financially because of the high gasoline prices.
In addition to drilling, Gilmore said the United States must look to alternative energy sources, including solar, nuclear and more use of coal.
In Rocky Mount last week, Warner said the federal government should offer tax credits for renewable energy projects and fuel-efficient vehicles.
"We've got to get ourselves off foreign oil," Warner said. "It will take alternative energies, as well as drilling, to accomplish that."
Warner expressed support for nuclear power, saying it shouldn't take 30 years to get a nuclear plant online in this country.
But Gilmore said that Warner is aligned with national Democrats who have supported energy policies that have hampered the development of new nuclear plants and oil refineries.
"We've got to have a change in energy policies in Washington," Gilmore said.
Virginians are stressed by the high gasoline prices, and they are concerned about their families, he said. Some people are spending $300 a month to commute to work, he added.
"This is one of the issues in the campaign," Gilmore said. "Gas prices are on people's mind."
Gilmore said his campaign is going well, and he has already visited 40 cities and counties. He urged those in attendance to put Gilmore bumper stickers on their vehicles, and seek the support of Democrats who are struggling with high energy prices.
"Remember, Democrats buy gas and food, too," he said.