“Libertarians are Republicans with guts,” said incumbent state Senator R. Creigh Deeds when asked how he plans to earn the votes of libertarian-minded constituents in his bid for reelection to the 25th district seat he has held for a decade.
Deeds, a Bath County Democrat first elected to the General Assembly in 1991, spoke to the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner moments before the start of a debate with his Republican challenger, Albemarle County tax attorney TJ Aldous. The October 25 debate, sponsored by the University of Virginia Student Council, was the only such head-to-head event scheduled during the 2011 election campaign.
No special platform
Explaining his view of libertarians as “Republicans with guts,” Deeds said that “They honestly believe in less government but also less service because lots of people want the services [but] they don’t support efforts to pay for services all the time.”
As to how he’ll win the votes of this portion of the electorate, Deeds added that he does not have “any special platform for any certain group of people. I try to speak truth about what I think we ought to be doing in government.”
He believes, he said, “that government is a tool to be used to level the playing field and give everybody an opportunity to succeed, an opportunity to advance, [and] an opportunity to live the American dream — not a promise that they’re going to live the American dream or a promise that they’re going to succeed, but an opportunity.”
Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party
Related to that, Deeds said he thought the Occupy Wall Street movement, and its offshoot, Occupy Charlottesville, was born of its members’ frustration.
“It’s frustration with the system,” he said, “the political system and the economic system.”
Deeds pointed out that “the Tea Party is the other side of that,” having its origins in “that same sort of frustration.”
The Tea Party, he went on, “launched in one direction” while “you’ve got the Occupy group in the other direction.”
At the same time, he said, “there’s significant crossover” between the two movements.
Deeds added that, “to a large extent, the Occupy movement is looking for direction but I think it’s grown out of frustration that a lot of people feel in our political and economic systems.”
Getting to know new voters
Since the decennial redistricting, Deeds has represented portions of Albemarle County that until earlier this year were represented by Senator Emmett Hanger (R-SD24). He said he has spent the last several months becoming acquainted with his new constituents.
“I’ve spent a lot of time knocking on doors out in Crozet and [its] environs,” he said, “getting to know people out there and getting to know the countryside and the issues that they’re talking about.”
The people there, he said, are “basically talking about the same kind of issues everybody else is talking about.”
Summing up his experience with the new parts of the district, he concluded: “I’ve really felt at home in Crozet and Free Union and that area.”
Elections to the Virginia General Assembly will take place on Tuesday, November 8.
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