BY STEPHANIE TIPPLE
As the lieutenant governor race draws closer to election day, Dr. Ralph Northam, Democratic candidate for the seat, reached out to voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia to speak about his views for it’s future.
Northam, a graduate from the Virginia Military Institute and Eastern Virginia Medical School, served as a doctor in the Army during Operation Desert Storm and state senator in the Commonwealth since 2007.
Northam served on the Honor Court at VMI and currently teaches medical ethics at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
After winning the primary race against Aneesh Chopra, the Northam campaign made appearances to ensure voters know his identity as a candidate in the election.
“We want all of the Virginians that show up to the polls this year [to] know that Ralph Northam has been a leader in the state legislature on some very important issues and that he’s interested to work with democrats and republicans to move Richmond forward,” said Grant Herring, communications director for the Northam campaign.
According to Herring, Northam has three main platforms for the elections: jobs, women’s health and ethics reform. The non-partisan group, Virginia Free, gave Northam a 100 percent rating for his work in the State Senate with legislation that created jobs, Herring commented.
Northam’s position as a doctor helped him form strong opinions on women’s health.
“We’ve watched the last couple of years with what’s happened in Richmond–this extreme social agenda–and, as a doctor, Northam doesn’t think that legislators, most of whom are men, should be making medical decisions for women,” said Herring. “He thinks that the decision should be left up to a woman and her doctor.”
Northam’s final major platform is ethics reform, which moved its way into the spotlight of the Virginia legislature recently due to the incidents involving McDonnell and Cuccinelli.
“Ethics reform is something that Dr. Northam has been a leader on. In 2010, way before this mess with Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli, he introduced legislation to set up an outside, independent ethics board to hold politicians accountable,” said Herring.
For the coming weeks, Northam is planning to run TV advertisements as well as media interviews, as he prepares for his first debate with the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, E.W. Jackson.
“Dr. Northam is going to debate to share his vision with Virginia, and how he’s going to create jobs, how he can improve our schools, how he can keep the government out of private health care decisions,” said Herring.
The first debate will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 24at the Arlington George Mason University campus at 6:30 p.m.
The Jackson campaign did not return comment in time for printing of this article.