RICHMOND, Va. -- This evening, Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) and Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie E. Locke(D-Hampton) issued the following joint statement congratulating Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ralph Northam on his debate performance.

On the debate stage tonight, Ralph Northam decisively demonstrated the clearest vision for all Virginians to succeed in our New Virginia Economy with an emphasis on investing in public education and partnering with higher education and industry, while retooling and preparing the workforce pipeline throughout Virginia. While his opponent touts a failed trickle down economic policy, Lt. Governor Northam will build on the foundation Governor McAuliffe has developed.

Dr. Ralph Northam, a native son of the Eastern Shore, understands that to strengthen our rural communities and grow our rural economies we need to focus on building a skilled workforce, encouraging entrepreneurship and startups, and leveraging and growing our infrastructure in a way that will attract businesses, jobs, and growth to every corner of our great Commonwealth.

On the other hand, his Republican opponent's shortsighted policies are proof that he does not have rural Virginians’ best interests at heart. Gillespie's proposed tax plan would gut public education funding with the schools that have the most to lose being those in rural areas. With evidence-based outcomes time and time again, we know that giving tax breaks to rich friends will not bring more jobs to Virginia. Rather, it perpetuates income and wealth disparity while depleting much needed tax revenue from state services, from education to public safety and everything in between.

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