Ed Gillespie V. Ralph Northam: Nonpartisan Candidate Guide For 2017 Virginia Governor's Race

09/07/2017 07:30 pm ET Updated Sep 07, 2017

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.

To volunteer, visit edforvirginia.com or ralphnortham.com

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

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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?

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.”

Northam: Yes

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.

Northam: Yes

Gun Control: Enact more restrictive gun control legislation?

Gillespie: No

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?

Gillespie: No

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."

Northam: Yes

Voting Rights: Support stricter voting rules such as voter ID requirements or reduced registration times, even if they prevent some people from voting?

Gillespie: Yes

Northam: No

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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.

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