Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Confederate Statues

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Sep 19, 2017 7:50 PM
Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Confederate Statues

Virginia gubernatorial candidates Ed Gillespie (R) and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) squared off in a debate Tuesday night, moderated by "Meet the Press's" Chuck Todd.

After both candidates' opening statements, Todd dove right into the topics voters wanted to hear. Out of the hundreds of questions he and his staff received, the violence in Charlottesville last month was at the top of the list, Todd said. How will the candidates as governor seek an end to the conflict? Do the remaining Confederate statues need to come down?

Northam believed that the controversial statues, which drew a violent crowd of white supremacists to Charlottesville, should be removed from the public square and placed in museums. 

Gillespie rejected that notion.

We may not have always been on the right side, but "our history is our history," Gillespie said. He wants the monuments to remain standing - not to glorify them, but to use them as an education tool. They should remain, accompanied by historical context.

Gillespie also condemned white supremacists as neither liberal or conservative. They have "a twisted mind set rooted in hate," he said. "They are not Virginians."

Still, liberal groups did not like what he had to say about the statues.

City officials have been covering Confederate statues with tarps since last month's violent rally. With protesters continuing to tear the shrouds down, it is costing the city thousands of dollars. It is obviously going to remain an issue for some time and one of the men on stage tonight is going to have to find a solution.

Gillespie and Northam are currently tied in the race for governor.