Wakefield’s Shad Planking attracts candidates, supportersPublished 10:11am Friday, April 19, 2013
BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
WAKEFIELD—Creating jobs, maintaining balanced state budgets and promoting quality education in Virginia will be but a few of his objectives if elected as the next governor, said Ken Cuccinelli II. The Virginia Republican Attorney General was the main speaker for the 65th annual Shad Planking, a community fundraiser that for decades has also served as a platform for political candidates.
“I believe I can make a difference in the lives of everyday Virginians,” the 44-year-old told the Republican-dominant audience. “It’s people like you who make the Shad Planking special, and I’m so glad to be here with you.”
Improving the economy is his priority, Cuccinelli said.
“I believe we can secure Virginia’s economic future,” he said, but cautioned, “It won’t always be easy, and there won’t always be good news to share.”
Nonetheless, Cuccinelli said he wants to “clear the way for Virginians to do business and increase global competitiveness.”
Although Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe was also invited to speak, he apparently chose to be elsewhere. This gave the Republican an opportunity to criticize the opponent, calling him a “Virginia outsider and a Washington insider.”
Cuccinelli pointed out that McAuliffe’s GreenTech Automotive got started in Mississippi, but not Virginia.
“When Mark Warner was spreading his money around, at least he had the good sense to spend it in Virginia, unlike my opponent,” he said.
In addition to keeping Virginia’s budget balanced, promoting long-term quality education for every child he said is no less important to him, noting the connection between learning and employment.
Speaking of which, Cuccinelli added, “I want to protect our most vulnerable population – children.”
With the aid of four task forces, child pornographers and human traffickers will be pursued to justice.
“We’re going to start pushing back,” he said.
Other concerns for him are improving the mental health system and finding a way to correct mistakes when people are wrongly convicted, and “to bring mercy where it’s needed.”
Cuccinelli said his work as governor will be done with what he called “principled leadership.”
All this was punctuated by frequent applause and murmurs or shouts of approval from a mostly Republican audience.
Del. Roslyn Tyler, D-75th, was a guest on the stage with both Cuccinelli and Del. Rick Morris, R-64th.
“I work well in this community,” Tyler said after the speeches. “Getting on the campaign trail, it’s good to see Ken make a visit in this district. There are issues and concerns we all share, not just one party.”
Among Cuccinelli’s many supporters was Dave Guertler of Richmond, who said he’s been impressed with the candidate’s platform.
“I believe in Ken and his work…He’s a family man with integrity.