This guide outlines the positions of Virginia’s 2017 Republican and Democratic Governor candidates. For printable PDF and mobile versions, see campuselect.org/guides.html.
Other gubernatorial candidates include Cliff Hyra (Libertarian). Due to limited space, we can’t include his responses, but you can learn about him or volunteer at cliffhyra.com
Abortion: Should abortion be highly restricted?
Northam: No. Supports expanded access to contraception and continued access to abortion.
Climate Change: Believe that human activity is the major factor driving climate change? Support participation in U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to climate change action?
Gillespie: Acknowledges some role, but open to skeptics. [From The Hill: "I believe there is ample scientific evidence that contributes to climate change but I’m not entirely dismissive of those who have a different point of view.”] Supported withdrawing from Paris Climate Change accord, opposes joining US Climate Alliance. No mention of climate in his plan to deal with recurring flooding issues.
Northam: Yes. Condemned withdrawal from Paris accord and supports participating in U.S. Climate Alliance.
Climate Change: Support participation in interstate initiative to limit levels of greenhouse gases by putting a price on carbon?
Gillespie: No. Calls it "job-killing and cost-increasing."
Northam: Yes. Supports Virginia's participation in the initiative.
Confederate Statues: Remove from public spaces?
Gillespie: Local decision, but believes statues should remain and “be placed in historical context.”
Northam: Local decision, but will advocate for statues to be removed from public spaces & placed in museums.
Education: Increase funding for K-12 education?
Gillespie: Supports increasing teacher pay, but no clear statement on school funding. "Spending more money on education does not equate with better outcomes."
Northam: Yes. Also invest in early childhood education.
Education: Expand publicly funded charter schools?
Gillespie: Yes. Views as vehicle for parental choice. Also supports education savings accounts to pay for private schools.
Northam: No. Uphold VA's current strict regulations. Focus on fully funding neighborhood public schools and working to eliminate disparities.
Education: Increase state funding for higher education?
Gillespie: Unclear on increased funding. Supports expanding online options to hold down costs and possibly limit percentage `of out-of-state students
Northam: Increase state funding. Also supports free community college in areas of need like cybersecurity, computer/IT, healthcare, early childhood education, & construction trades, with year of public service.
Elections: Support nonpartisan redistricting to address charges of partisan gerrymandering?
Gillespie: No. Doesn't believe it can work.
Northam: Yes. Calls for gubernatorial candidates to commit to it.
Gay Rights: Support gay marriage?
Gillespie: Personally opposed. States he’ll enforce the law while “protecting religious freedoms.”
Gay Rights: Should transgender individuals have the right to use public bathrooms of their choice?
Gillespie: No. “It isn’t about bathrooms alone.” Leave to parents and local school boards rather than state or federal government.
Gun Control: Enact more restrictive gun control legislation?
Northam: Yes. Supports background checks, and bans on assault weapons, guns in bars, and concealed carry without a permit.
Healthcare: Support or Repeal ACA, aka Obamacare? Accept ACA's Medicaid expansion leading to 400,000 more low-income people being eligible?
Gillespie: “Still reviewing” Republican ACA repeal plan. Opposes Medicaid expansion.
Northam: Opposes Republican ACA repeal plan. Favors Medicaid expansion
Immigration: How to respond to America’s 11 million undocumented residents, including "DACA" recipients or "Dreamers," who grew up in the US after being brought here as children.
Gillespie: Will fully cooperate with Trump administration on enforcement measures. Opposes earned path to citizenship, in-state tuition for DACA recipients.
Northam: "Make sure ICE isn't overstepping bounds." Supports drivers licenses for illegal immigrants and continued support for DACA recipients including in-state tuition. Opposes travel ban.
Marijuana: Decriminalize marijuana?
Gillespie: No, would reconsider penalties.
Northam: Yes, decriminalize.
Minimum Wage: Raise the minimum wage?
Northam: Yes, phase in to $15/hour.
President Trump: Response to President Trump's actions and policies?
Gillespie: Doesn't always agree with President Trump, but believes Northam's attacks on him, like calling his campaign "the resistance," will hurt state's ability to receive federal support.
Northam: Considers President Trump "a dangerous man" who "lacks empathy" and "has difficulty telling the truth." Would continue to challenge his policies.
Renewable Energy: Support government subsidies for renewable energy?
Gillespie: No. Supports promoting variety of energy approaches and modernizing electrical grid.
Northam: Yes. Prioritize clean energy innovation.
Taxes: Increase taxes on corporations and/or high-income individuals to pay for public services?
Gillespie: No. Supports across-the-board 10% income tax cut.
Northam: Unclear. Would eliminate tax on food and have commission look at making tax code "more progressive," but said taxes on wealthy wouldn't pass the legislature.
Voting Rights: Support Gov. McAuliffe's restoration of voting rights to ex-felons who've completed parole and probation?
Gillespie: No. Considers it an "abuse of executive power."
Voting Rights: Support stricter voting rules such as voter ID requirements or reduced registration times, even if they prevent some people from voting?
Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a non-partisan effort to help college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders engage their schools in the election. Key sites consulted included Votesmart.org, Ballotpedia.org, OntheIssues.org, FactCheck.org , Politifact.com, and public candidate statements. For guides to local races, including Virginia's legislative races, see Vote411.org from the League of Women Voters and Ballotready.org.