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Updated: Friday, 19 Oct 2012, 8:25 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 19 Oct 2012, 8:25 PM EDT
NORFOLk, Va. (WAVY) - The two candidates running for U.S. Senate spoke to voters at a luncheon in Norfolk Friday afternoon.
The race between former Governor Tim Kaine and former Governor George Allen is among the most competitive in the country.
The candidates agreed to speak separately, at a luncheon held by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. Governor Kaine took the podium first, and left the room before Governor Allen took the podium.
Both spoke about the looming, across the board, defense cuts, known as sequestration, that the military community faces in January, if a budget deal is not reached.
Governor Kaine, the democratic candidate, proposed a three-step plan to avoid the cuts. Governor Kaine wants to let the Bush tax cuts expire for incomes over $500,000; he wants to negotiate Medicare prescription prices; and he wants to eliminate subsidies to the 'Big Five' oil companies.
"My proposal for the sequester is a little bit of fix on the revenue side with respect to the Bush tax cuts, and definitely some fixes on the expense side with the fix to the Medicare program," said Governor Kaine. "I do not believe it is possible to get to balance through imbalance. We're going to have to work on both sides of the balance sheet to make it happen."
Governor Allen, the republican candidate, says raising taxes will only cause job loss because the economy is weak. Instead, he proposes shrinking the tax rate for small businesses from 35 percent to 20 percent. Governor Allen also wants Congress to vote on any government regulation that has an impact of more than $100 million.
"What's wrong, in my view, is to use these 200,000 jobs here in Virginia as a political bargaining chip to raise taxes on job-creating small business owners," said Governor Allen. "That's not the approach you ought to take. We need leadership to make the right decisions."
Both candidates spoke about compromising with members of the opposing party. They both expressed their discontent for the current state of gridlock in Washington.
WAVY.com also asked each candidate the following question: "What is the biggest misconception about you? And, convince us otherwise."
The question is the same one an undecided voter asked the presidential candidates in the second debate. Governor Allen and Governor Kaine were not briefed on the question either.
Governor Allen said: "My opponent is running this ad about me being against mammograms, and one of the things that means most to me is fighting breast cancer. I'm wearing this pin here...I didn't know I was going to run into you and get this question. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, twice. As governor, I worked, as well as in the United States Senate, to get better screenings, detection treatment and also studying possible environmental aspects of breast cancer."
Governor Kaine said: "I don't know if it's a misconception or not, but I do see a lot of ads on TV saying things that might be misconceptions. One that's on now is, you know, Tim Kaine wants to cut defense. I got a son in the military. When I was governor, I dramatically expanded funding for veterans' services. I was a commander in chief of the Virginia Guard and went to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit Guardsmen and women, went to homecomings and funerals and wakes and deployments."
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