tv Virginia Senate Town Hall CSPAN September 24, 2018 12:01am-12:51am EDT
the british parliament was in recess this week. prime minister's questions will not be seen tonight. now, virginia democratic senator tim kaine and republican challenger corey stewart take part in the first of two town hall events hosted by liberty university and hampton university. the topic of this townhall was domestic policy and the economy. this runs just under one hour. c-span is your primary source for campaign 2018. >> good evening and welcome to tonight's u.s. senate town hall between the democrat, senator tim kaine and his republican challenger, corey stewart. brought to you by the center for law and government at liberty university and hampton university's center for public policy. events like tonight's are extremely important as we head into a crucial midterm election. tonight's townhall will focus
primarily on domestic issues. the next townhall, at hampton university, will focus more on foreign policy and military. we are live in the beautiful concert hall at the center for the music and worship arts at liberty university. i'm len stevens, executive director of communications at liberty university. mark: i'm mark spain. anchor at abc 13 news in lynchburg. thank you for being with us. tonight we will bring the candidates out one at a time. each candidate will begin by answering questions from me right here for the first half of their appearance. i and my co-moderator, len stevens, are the only two who have seen these questions. after that q and a, we will send it to you. len: data is when things get much more interactive. i will be with dozens of liberty university students who hail from all over the country. they will be allowed to ask questions directly of the candidates. when that segment has ended, each candidate will have one minute to make a closing statement.
mark, i know these young voters have thought a lot about the issues. they are ready to go. mark: we want our studio audience to refrain from cheers or applause during the question and answer sessions. it is appropriate to applaud, however, when we welcome each candidate to the stage. ladies and gentlemen please , welcome corey stewart. [applause] >> it is good to see you again. mr. stewart: great to be here again. >> we interviewed with each other several weeks ago, so it is our second time in the last month or so. we planned the whole thing out ahead of time. [laughter] that is a joke. all right, we have important issues to get to.
the nomination of judge brett kavanaugh to the supreme court is under fire. as you know. dr. christine blasey ford alleges that kavanaugh sexually her nearly 40 years ago. you've called the investigation "a bunch of crap." the president said, it is hard for me to imagine anything happened. you say that democrats are trying to derail his nomination for political gain. but what is your message to women voters especially in this "me too" era. mr. stewart: thank you. first of all, i would like to thank the university for hosting this event yet again, and thank you, mark. look, how many times have we been through this? in the 11th hour. whether you are a republican, democrat, liberal, conservative, that all this time goes by and, on the week the committee is set to vote, then this comes up. i just find the timing highly suspect, and i'm not the only one. i think most of you do, too.
and then you have senator feinstein. she knew about this weeks ago. why didn't she come out with it back then? why did senator feinstein not inform the fbi or other law enforcement officials? why did she do nothing. why did she sit on this allegation until the week the committee was set to vote on it? frankly, it has become very typical of the left to do this. at the 11th hour in a very dirty trick to try to take down a very good man who even the dean of yale law school, not exactly a conservative, said is an eminent scholar, lawyer, judge, and is qualified for the supreme court. mark: should the fbi do an investigation? mr. stewart: i think it's time to vote. i think americans are frustrated with all of these. it's become a circus. they are tired of republicans and democrats bickering, these
dirty tricks. they just want an up or down vote. americans want to move on. mark: along the lines of the court, with judge kavanaugh, if he makes it through this process, there is some thinking that roe v. wade could be gone by the wayside. is that something you would like to see happen? mr. stewart: yes. and i will tell you why. it was wrongly decided. there is at this point -- let me say this. earlier this year, senator kaine, who, when he was running for governor -- i don't know what happened to him in the meantime -- when he was running for governor, he said it was a moral imperative to limit abortions in the late term. but suddenly, he runs for vice president and something happened. now senator kaine wouldn't even vote for a bill to limit abortions up to the ninth month of pregnancy.
senator kaine knows it's wrong but, for political expedients, he's willing to allow abortions right up to the moment of birth. i find that morally reprehensible. and one of our jobs, the most important job we have whether we are representing people on a local, state, or federal level, is to protect the lives and the rights of the citizens we serve. mark: the mueller probe is looking into russian interference in the 2016 election. the president calls it a witch hunt, so do you. you are for ending the investigation that has already led to five people connected to donald trump leading guilty to federal charges, and a number of indictments, including more than a, two dozen russians. why end it? mr. stewart: if you are really looking for voter fraud, for people trying to influence elections, why don't we have the department of justice looking to some of these precincts where
there were more votes than voters. why don't we look at that? if you are looking for corruption in our voting system, we have some of it going on right here in virginia. yes, we require voter id when you go to vote we don't require proof of citizenship when you go to register to vote. that is a massive loophole. and every vote by someone who is not authorized to vote, who is not a citizen or not 18 years old, every single time somebody votes twice or is not authorized to vote or they are here illegally and they vote, that is a vote stolen from an american citizen. that is a much bigger problem than all of these unsubstantiated claims about what the russians did. the russians have been spying on us since 1917. mark: you know that a number of intelligence agencies say they were involved. mr. stewart: yes, but not a single agency has said the russians actually had an impact on the national election.
mark: the census bureau's annual report on income and poverty shows that, among those who hold bachelors degrees, about 3.6 million or 4.8% were living in poverty in 2017, up from 3.3 million in 2016. bachelor degree recipients with the only education group to see the number or share of those in poverty rise among their ranks. how do you reverse that trend for college grads here in virginia? a number of people here want to hear about that. mr. stewart: i want to make some changes. we have a problem with debt. liberty is a great unit university and they have an excellent track record of making sure their graduates have jobs in the field in which they study. but not all colleges and universities can say that. and it is not just the amount of money, not just the student debt, it is something no one can ever give back to them, and that is your time.
you spent the prime of your life studying, and when you get out of school you cannot find a job, or cannot find a job in the field you were trained in where you received your education. there's a way to fix this. that is since the early 1970's, , the united states department of education has been in charge of accreditation. if you want to go to a university or college and get a student loan or a federal grant, that university or that school needs to be accredited. it's time to take that power away from the federal government and give it back to the states. here is why. the states are better positioned to work together with industry, with business associations, with chambers of commerce. ask them, work together with them, what is it that the workforce needs? what is the training, what is the education that you need as a business? and only by doing that and accrediting specific courses can
ensured that they will have a job waiting for them once they graduate from their institution of higher learning. mark: you say that every illegal immigrants should be deported, no questions asked and that if you are elected, you will oppose any form of amnesty. there are roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the country and studies suggest many of them have been here for 10 years or more. you are in favor of a merit-based immigration policy. if you get a chance to sponsor such a bill, what would it look like? mr. stewart: very simple. we need to base the immigration on merit. if you want to come to the united states, we welcome you. you can't have a criminal background. you have to be able to support yourself and your family. you need to be able to become a full-fledged proud american. right now what we have is this.
we have chaos at the border. people coming across the border. here's the big problem with that. we have no way of screening them. let alone for a terrorist past, we have no way of being sure they don't have a criminal past. they come into our communities and they murder and assault right here in virginia. the latest example, of course, the most famous example is in iowa, mollie tibbetts murdered by an illegal immigrant. here's the real tragedy about that. it was 100% preventable. what i've done on the local level is this. we check everybody's immigration status once they are arrested. if you are arrested, we check your immigration status. we don't care what language you
speak, what ethnicity, if you are here illegally and you commit a crime, we have you deported instead of released. that is how we get started. so far leading to the deportation of 8000 criminal illegal aliens in prince william county alone. that is what we need in all of virginia. that is what we need across the country. mark: you have been critical of gun free zones in schools. you believe that all schools should have guards whether they are school resource officers to help them defray the costs. you also support having teachers carry concealed weapons if they received training. what do you say to voters who believe it is a bad idea, on a number of levels, to arm teachers? mr. stewart: you know it is a bad idea? the system we have in place right now. have you ever asked yourself, why is it that we use guns to protect our money? have you ever seen a gun free zone in front of a bank? think of how ridiculous that is. so why is it any better that we
are protecting our kids with signs? we protect our money with guns, and we're protecting our kids with signs. you know what a gun free zone sign is? it is an invitation for someone , they know it is a soft target, they can go in, shoot the place up and not have to worry about being confronted by another gunman. what we need is what we did in prince william county. i get things done. that's my job as a local official. that's what i will do in the united states senate. and after the sandy hook massacre, we put -- out of 95 schools in prince william county, we put armed school resource officers, who work together with the students on discipline issues, health build trust -- help build trust between the police and students. what i would like to do, we are the first in virginia making that all over, to all of our schools with retired police officers. not all communities can afford it. that's when the federal
government should come in to make sure all our kids are safe. regardless of the community they live in. mark: time for us to take a quick break. when we return, liberty university students will have a chance to ask questions directly. you are watching the u.s. senate town hall brought to you by liberty university and hampton university. ♪ [applause] >> welcome back. it is now time for our students at liberty university to post their questions directly to mr. stewart. i hope you are ready. i will call out the name and the topic. tim is a junior from pittsburgh, pennsylvania and the topic is your candidacy. >> hello, mr. stewart. thank you for being here. i appreciate you taking our questions. i am the president of the college republicans at liberty university. in my experience, among those in my generation i found many republicans are hesitant about rhetoric andy and
polling has shown you dancing up in the to senator kaine. with that in mind, how do you plan to win hesitant republicans over as you will need our support to win this election? mr. stewart: thanks a lot. you know, there is something that not everybody knows, and aat is that i am not just in solidly conservative part of the state. i am in northern virginia. prince william county, almost a half-million people, the first minority majority county in northern virginia, and i have been elected and reelected there by almost half a million people four times, countywide, and i have done that because i have been able to work across party lines. with people of all different .ackgrounds at the end of the day that is what people want. i'm not afraid to stand up for my values. and i have very strong values. i saw what was happening on illegal immigration with crimes committed against citizens in my
community and i did something about it. i had to stir things up, but i also got something done. that's what i want to do in the senate. it is ok that we have differences. that is fine. at the end of the day, i think we can agree on this. we have a lot in common as well, and not just among republicans, but with democrats as well. a lot of these problems in washington right now -- it is broken. people aren't talking to each other. republicans aren't talking to democrats, democrats aren't talking to republicans. two complete the different sides of the media. cnn, msnbc over here, fox news over there. we don't all have to think alike, but we can focus and concentrate on the things we can get done together, the common things we can accomplish. len: next up is nathan, a first-year law student from circleville, ohio. the topic, the national debt. nathan: would you vote for a spending bill that increased the national debt in the senate?
mr. stewart: thanks a lot. thewe have to address national debt. but, to get there, there's a couple things we have to do not. -- we have to acknowledge. one is this. what reagan did in the 1980's was lower taxes. it is possible to grow your way out of debt by becoming a more wealthy country. a lot on the left have criticized the tax cut that was proposed by president trump. that was put into place by the republicans in the senate, the republicans in the house. and yes, in the short term there was an increase to the deficit. but what this has led to now is the highest rate of economic growth in decades. we have the lowest unemployment rate in this country, and we are only eight months in to this tax
cut. already the lowest unemployment rate in 52 years. wages for working class, blue-collar americans are rising at the fastest rate in 22 years. and this is because of the trump tax cut. you can go into the short term, not the long term. the short term, you reduce taxes and that actually makes the economy start rolling as it is now. we have seen growth rates that we haven't seen in this country since the 1950's. as that continues, we will continue to grow and debt will become more affordable to our nation. >> if i may ask quickly about that. certainly a lot of economic progress, but are you concerned about even the white house office of management and budget has revised the numbers on this upwards in terms of our debt? mr. stewart: the problem is not that our taxes are not high enough. the problem is that we are
spending too much. we have republicans and democrats spending too much. they are not willing to tackle the things that are driving the deficit. an unreformed medicaid system developed in 1965 that is breaking the budgets not just of the federal government but of the state governments as well. and as that happens, we are crowding out funding for everything else, including education, transportation. these things need to be addressed. they are going to be tough, but if we can do it together, work together as republicans and democrats, and put the politics aside and say, look, let's reform the medicaid system and make it a better system for the people on it, lower the cost for the federal and state governments, we will be able to address the national debt but at the same time improve the quality of health care in this country. len: let's get to emily from fort bragg, north carolina, a senior. her question is on lgbtq rights.
we are kind of running out of time. about five minutes. emily: thank you again for joining us. according to a pew research study, 61% of young republicans support lgbtq rights. how do we balance religious liberty while avoiding discriminating against people based on their identity? mr. stewart: so, you've got to remember what our constitution does. our constitution prevents the federal government and now, by extension, the state government, from discriminating against its citizens. the thing, think about our rights in this country. they are listed in the bill of rights. first and foremost -- and the founders placed these in order. in the first amendment is not just the freedom of speech and expression, but we also knew it was fundamental to a democratic
form of government, a republic, was freedom of religion. you might not like it if somebody treat you differently because of your beliefs or your sexual orientation, but as long as it is not the government doing it, we cannot ensure, infringe on somebody's religious beliefs and force them to provide a service based on your sexual orientation. we have to stay true to our constitution. len: a senior from woodbridge, virginia. indications major. -- communications major. your question is on minority support. >> my question is, how do you plan to gain the support to protect american rights of minorities, especially after events that happened like in charlottesville, for junior and continuing with woodbridge, as well? mr. stewart: good to see you. you are from woodbridge, lakeridge? nice to meet you. you know, i believe in talking
to the other side. yesterday, there was another forum, the radio one richmond, a minority event. i know that many democrats were there and they wouldn't expect that i would say yes. they probably thought i would face a crowd that had some tough questions for me. and they did. but i went there, because i think that's what we need to do. we have to talk with one another. next week, i've accepted an invitation to appear in front of the naacp of fairfax county. i know they will have some tough questions for me, but that's ok, because we are yelling at each other in this country. we don't have to have the same beliefs, but we have to be able to talk to one another. that's what i'm going to do. i've been able to get things done because of this. i've been able to work with the other side and i know, when i go to the naacp in fairfax, it is going to be an important moment . because i want to let them know that even if we have
differences, we have a lot more in common, and we can work together. len: i believe that is going to be our last question. we knew the time would go by quickly, so now you get one full minute to make closing remarks, and i will let you do that now. mr. stewart: thanks. i want to thank again the university, each and every one of you, all of virginia. and i want to thank all of those who voted for me in the primary for giving me this opportunity to represent all of virginia. i've got very strong beliefs and i'm not afraid to express them. i think you all know that. but i can also get things done. and what i see in washington, i see two sides that are not willing to work together. i see two sides that are bickering. one side, the democrats saying we would like to get things accomplished but the republicans won't let us. and then i see the republicans saying the same thing. they would like to get something done, but the democrats will not let us. you know, as a local person, someone who has had to represent a big jurisdiction, if i had that same attitude, i would have
been fired. i'm going up to washington not because i want to keep it the same as senator kaine does, but because i want to change it. because i want to rile things up but also get things accomplished. i'm willing to work to do that , to work with the other side, and i ask for your vote on november 6th. thank you. [applause] len: thank you for being here. mr. stewart, again, thank you so much for being here. our town hall is going to continue right after this break with senator tim kaine. ♪ >> our town hall continues now with the man who wants to keep his seat in the senate. everyone welcome senator tim kaine to the stage. [applause]
>> enthusiastic supporters. [applause] >> let's talk about judge brett kavanaugh. you met him. you said you diligently studied his record of academic writings and judicial opinions, and yet you determined he cannot be canne counted on to serve as an independent check on the president, and you are not voting for him. now we have an allegation of sexual assault from nearly 40 years ago. what more needs to happen before the senate votes on this appointment? mr. stewart: first, thanks to liberty for hosting this. nice to be back. i was last year on veterans day when lynchburg hosted the veterans day parade. what is important is that a serious charge has been leveled, a charge that is essentially a sexual assault, could even be construed as attempted rape, and
we have to get to the bottom of it. this is a vacancy that just opened up on july 31 when justice kennedy retired. we are seven weeks into this. the gop majority held a vacancy open for 14 months, for political reasons. assault,e about sexual if we think that it is serious, then we should do everything to get to the bottom of this. involveld obviously hearing from dr. ford and judge kavanaugh, clearly, but would also involve hearing from witnesses. there are a couple witnesses who have been identified. one, mark judge, who the allegations say were in the room when it happened. why wouldn't we hear from these witnesses? the fbi's already done a background investigation, why wouldn't they reopen it to look at this particular charge? we should take the time to get this right, and in this i differ from my opponent. my phone and called the allegations -- opponent called the allegations "a bunch of crap." what isent tweeted,
next, will someone say judge kavanaugh pulled the details of a sixth grader'a first grader? do i have to make this clear? you cannot equate pulling the pigtails of a first grader with wo people barricading a .5-year-old woman in a room there is cooperation, that she took a lie detector test and passed, that she has gone to therapy, that the witness in the room has written about blackout thinking and partying in high school. there is no reason to rush a supreme court nominee through. mark: are you concerned with judge kavanaugh on the high court that roe v. wade is in jeopardy? mr. stewart: i am. i am concerned about that, and other president as well. when i interviewed judged kavanaugh -- judge kavanaugh, he said roe v. wade was settled
law. but when we got document from the white house, he said that settled law is only settled until the supreme court says otherwise. what would overturning roe versus wade mean? that is what my opponent wants to do, to over turn roe v. wade. that means we go back to the law before, that the state could use the criminal law, to criminalize, prosecute, and jail women for making their own reproductive health care decisions. that's what it means, to overturn roe versus wade, and i don't think that's what we should do in this country. it is an important moral issue, obviously, but i think women can make their own moral decisions about their health care, including reproductive health care. mark: the mueller probe. the president declassified materials used to obtain a secret warrant to monitor the condition's his former campaign foreign-policy advisor, carter page. he said it was for transparency. you want to protect robert you want to protect robert mueller with legislation.
why is that needed? it is already costing american taxpayers $26 million. >> it is important to protect the integrity of our elections. there have already been over 30 indictments and guilty pleas of individuals as part of this investigation. my opponent says it is a witchhunt. my opponent says it should be terminated. this is an investigation that is extremely serious. the guilty pleas and indictments thus far have demonstrated that. i think what we need to do is to protect the investigation and let it complete, and when all the facts are out on the table we will know, a, if individuals are culpable and should be indicted or charged, but b, probably the most important thing that we need to know is how to stop a foreign adversary from ever doing this again.
when i was on the ticket in 2016, my son was deployed as u.s. marine infantry commander on the border with russia trying to protect our allies from russian interference. why would we deploy our young people halfway around the world but then suggest we're uninterested in getting to the bottom of what russia did to our election system? mark: you voted against the republican tax plan, saying the americans will be stuck with the painful consequences for years to come. but the economy is booming. the white house says americans have the 2016 election to thank for that. the president tweeted recently that the g.d.p. is at 4.2% and we will do much better than this. we've just begun. were you wrong? sen. kaine: no, i'm glad that the american economy is strong that is for sure, but of course the economy performed better in the last 18 months of president obama's term than it did in the first 18 months of president obama's. president trump has taken advantage of inherited wealth. and i think he will do it again. here's why i voted against the
tax bill. mark: ladies and gentlemen -- sen. kaine: was he right that we had to do tax reform? absolutely. haven't done it since 1986. when president reagan said we're going to do it, make it bipartisan. 10 months of hearings produced a 97-3 vote and it was a good bill and we needed to do it. but here is the problem with the bill and the reason i voted against it. the priorities were all wrong. deep permanent tax cuts for corporations. tiny, temporary expiring tax cuts for people add $2 trillion to the debt over 10 years. i offered an amendment on the floor the evening they let us have one-minute amendments to make the individual tax cuts permanent but not have the permanent corporations and no republicans would vote for it.
mark: health care and the affordable care act. senator, you voted against repeal and replace, partial repeal and the so-called skinny repeal. the president calls democrats like yourself obstructionists. are you one? and you and senator michael bennett are calling something called medicine care acts. you say it won't increase the deficit or taxes by a penny. some would say if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. how is all this going to work? sen. kaine: let me talk about this question. i proudly worked with my democratic colleagues and three republicans and virginians to stop the republican effort to repeal the affordable care act. it would have taken health care away between 20 million and 30 million people. it would have blocked our general assembly from just doing
the medicare expansion. 400,000 virginians are going to get health care, many for the first time in their life. i was very proud to vote against that repeal. i had virginians flooding my offers and talk to me about the the fact that so many of these medicaid funds, their child wouldn't have a wheel chair to be able to go to school with. my opponent wants to repeal the affordable care act. it is a nonstarter with me. but i do want to improve our health care system. i've written this bill with michael bennet from colorado. we would direct the center for medicaid and medicare services to offer policy on the exchange that anyone could buy if they wanted to. the insurance policy would cover the obamacare essential health benefits. medicare doesn't have to collect a profit, pay taxes, pay salaries. medicare has a distribution network in every zip code in the country. if medicare offered this policy, it would be significantly less expensive than what private insurance would offer, but they'll recover a premium for it so it's not going to raise the
deficit or taxes. if you qualify for an obamacare subsidy, you could use that subsidy to bring the cost down, just as you can with private insurance. but we wouldn't force anybody to buy it. it would be available in every zip code in the united states. americans need more choices and they need lower cost and that's what medicare x would do. mark: you were governor during the virginia tech massacre, so you have a unique perspective on this. after the shootings in parkland, florida, and a number of other school shootings, there's been a lot of passionate debate about arming teachers to keep schools safe. they voted to arm teachers because they can't afford to hire more school resource officers. what do you say to voters who say that may be ok for them but here, this is what we want, we want to arm our teachers? sen. kaine: i do not tell lee county school board or principals how to secure their
kids. if they are going to have a strategy they think will work for them, i'm not going to tell them otherwise. i know as a mayor of richmond with my kids in the richmond public schools, we put school resource officers in to try to keep schools safe. so there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. but the area that is so critically important was the most painful day of my life in 2007 at virginia tech. a deranged young man who was mentally ill but whose high school teamers and counselors and parents knew how to help him succeed with medication and treatment, walked onto a campus where nobody knew anything about him. his mental health declined. he was adjudicated mentally ill and dangerous, thus it was illegal for him to have a weapon. but because of weaknesses in the background check system, he was able to buy a weapon he was prohibited from having, and 32 beautiful people lost their lives.
many were injured and these families suffer to this day. the painful lesson i learned that day through that loss is, hey. there's a solution. if there's universal background checks where every time a gun is bought or transferred, the person doing it has to make sure that the recipient isn't prohibited from having a weapon, we can reduce these crimes. we will never eliminate crime, we will never eliminate violence. but the test is can we reduce crime and keep people safer? if we are unwilling to learn after suffering, if we're unwilling to learn after we watch kids get gunned down in newtown, concertgoers in las vegas, if we're not willing to do something, shame on us. there are answers here that work, and universal background checks i think would do the most good. mark: thank you. sen. kaine: thank you. i appreciate it. mark: we must take a break right now. when we come back, the students
will have an opportunity to speak with you. you're watching the town hall here at liberty university. ♪ mark: welcome back. let's get right back to our group of students and their questions for senator kaine. let's start with a sophomore from cranston, rhode island. >> thank you for being here. during her speech in 2013 you are advocating for an immigration framework on a merit-based point system, showing the world we are a country of laws and enhancing border security. you recently have voted against this, the stop illegal reentry act and the stop sanctuary policies and protect americans act. it seems you have turned away from the causes you had passion for in 2013. why is that? sen. kaine: very good question. immigration is really, really important. it's in the declaration of independence. it's an important part of the system we have.
i continue to support very vigorous immigration reform, including border and public security. for example, most recently i worked with lindsey graham to draft a bill that would have permanently protected the dreamers, as president trump asked us to do, and also would have provided $25 billion in border security for the united states. we put that bill on the floor of the senate with eight democrats and republicans in february, but the president came out against it. both were things he had campaigned on. he came out against it and then no other republicans would join the bill. i think the answer is comprehensive immigration reform. like tax reform, we haven't done it since 1986. i was proud sponsor and voted for a comprehensive bill in 2013 that passed the senate, but then no action was taken on it in the house, and it was everything. it was border protection,
helping employers figure out the status of employees, visa reform, protections for dreamers, pass the citizenship, but the border protection peas was a huge portion of it. we passed it through the senate and the house didn't act, but it is my hope the house will act after november and we'll have an opportunity to put that bill on the president's desk. the security issues are very important but visas and dreamer protection are very important too. mark: a first-year law student from raleigh, north carolina. her question is about crime and gang violence. >> senator kaine, in june of this year, 11 gang members, 10 of whom were illegal immigrants, were sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of the deaths of two virginia teens. what action will you take to combat this kind of crime, and from your perspective how does it relate to immigration? sen. kaine: on the crime side, i dealt with crime a lot as a mayor and governor.
sadly, when i was elected first to the richmond city council, richmond had the second highest homicide rate in the united states. tough, tough situation. over the course of my time in office we were able to bring down violent crime and homicide by more than 50%. when i was governor we achieved a recognition that virginia hadn't achieved for a very long time, if ever. we got virginia into one of the 10 safest states in the country. now, we didn't do it by cracking down on immigrants generally. instead what we did is we focused our attention on the bad guys. if there's a general crackdown on immigrants a generally and you get your law enforcement to start to focus on people's immigration status rather than if they are rapists or murderers or arsonists, you can dilute your effort to battle crime. that's why the head of my state police when i was governor said don't make us don't be immigration law enforcers. let us fight against the crimes of the kind that you just
mentioned. these ms13 members perpetrated. we should always go after bad guys. bad men and women. we should have tough law enforcement against them, but if we wage our war against illegal immigrants generally, we'll keep our eye off the ball and we will not reduce crime. we will make our americans less safe. mark: a question about american history. >> senator kaine, it seems that many of our historical monuments are being destroyed. what do you plan to do for the preservation of american history for future generations? sen. kaine: great question, and this is an important one. may as important in virginia has anywhere because we love our history. i have had to grapple with this throughout my time in office here i was mayor of richmond, and let me tell you what i did when i was a city councilman and mayor in richmond. we preserved some statues and put up some new ones to recognize heroes whose voices and stories had never been told. we also took down -- when we had to take down bridges that were
obsolete that were named after civil war generals, when we put the bridges back up, we named them after civil rights heroes. one of the reasons we did was that there were so many other buildings and streets and squares in virginia named after some of the same civil war heroes that people who battle for civil rights or equality, their stories were not told. what i learned when i was mayor and i continued to do as governor when we inaugurated the civil rights statue on the capitol grounds in virginia, what i basically believe is you need to listen to your community and you need to make sure you're telling the full story, not just a part of the story. when monument avenue in richmond was only civil war generals, four years is not the only important thing about richmond, so we put up a statue of richmond hero, athlete, scholar, human rights activist arthur ashe, to say richmond has more monumental people than just those between 1861 and 1865. so that's the way i approach these issues.
mark: i know the issue of abortion has come up. abby close, are you here? there you go. she has a question on this topic i think is valuable. >> hi, thank you for being here. it has been demonstrated throughout the ongoing judicial appointment procedures that your party clearly has a litmus test against pro-life appointments. so my question is, why should someone who is pro-life vote for you? sen. kaine: i'm going to skip the litmus test part of it because i don't think that's quite the case. but let me take your question. i'm a catholic. my church has a very strict teaching about abortion that it is wrong, and i have lived my church's teaching my entire life. and i encourage every one of you here, i encourage everyone here, live your faith, live your convictions. that's what i do. but i don't think the job of an elected official is to legislate
my catholic church's doctrine for everybody to follow, even those who aren't catholics or have different points of view. so you live your faith and i certainly live mine, but there are a lot of people who practice in religious that have a different view about abortion and contraception than the catholic church do, and there are a lot of people who don't go to church but they are moral, ethical thinking people with different points of view. i think using the criminal law, which my opponent would like to do in repealing roe versus wade, is using criminal law to criminalize, prosecute and even jail women and doctors from making this decision is exactly the wrong thing to do. i believe that women can make their own moral decisions about their health care including their reproductive health care. mark: your opponent said earlier that you support abortion up up until the moment of birth. sen. kaine: he dramatically misstated a vote i cast recently. there was a vote on something called the payne capable act
that came up before the senate i believe in march, and it would have barred all abortions after the 20th week. he said i was allowing abortion into the ninth month. no. many courts have considered that exact law and found that law unconstitutional. many courts. state courts, federal courts have said that violates roe vs. wade and the casey decision that came after it. i take an oath, the oath that we all take in public office. i swear to uphold the constitution of the united states. i don't swear to a president or the flag. i uphold the constitution of the united states. and that bill that was before us had been resumed unconstitutional by virtually every court that had taken it up. mark: i want to get one more in, quickly. mark: tim johnson, woodbridge, a question about opioids. sen. kaine: woodbridge is well represented. >> deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl increased 720% between 2013 and 2007.
what will you do to address the opioid epidemic? sen. kaine: fantastic question. this affects every state, every zip code, every community. i am really proud that two days ago we passed out of the senate -- i think the vote was 99-1 an opioid response act that i played a significant part in writing. it came out in two committees. the health and finance committee where senator warner sits. it was a whole stretch of strategies around research, prevention, treatment, interdicting fentanyl. in a bipartisan day we have gotten this bill done and i think it will get to the president's desk and i'm confident he'll sign it. mark: thank you so much. how about a hand for our students. [applause] senator kaine, closing statements, you have one minute. sen. kaine: thank you again for inviting us tonight and pairing with hampton. i know it will be a great discussion in a couple of weeks. i started my time as a public
servant when i took a year off off from law school to be in honduras teaching kids to be carpenters and welders. i have been a civil rights attorney, a teacher, and for more than 20 years i've been honored to represent my city, my commonwealth and my country. my campaign is about what my life has been about, a virginia that works for all. it's about virginia. solving virginia problems and bringing virginia solutions to the forefront. it's about work. the dignity of working people. fair wages, a fair tax code, skills training, immigration reform. but finally it's about those last two words in the pledge of allegiance -- for all. we need people who will stand up for all these days. we don't have to accept the politics just for a few, for some, or for me. we don't have to accept divisiveness or bitterness or anger. we need people who will stand up for those last two words in the pledge of allegiance. that's what i've done and that's what i'll have the honor to do if i'm re-elected.
thank you. [applause] mark: senator kaine, everybody. we hope this has been informative for all of you. mark will join me again and close this out but we hope everyone has had a wonderful time and that this has been informative for each and every one. >> did you learn something about each candidate? that's what this is about. good. and that wraps up tonight's town hall forum. we thank you again for watching. announcer: with the control of congress in question this election day, see the competition for yourself on c-span. watch the debates from key house and senate races. make c-span your primary source
for campaign 2018. fordncer: christine losee has agreed to testify before the senate judiciary committee about her sexual assault allegations against supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh on thursday. judge kavanaugh will also testify at that hearing. we have live coverage beginning thursday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3, c-span.org, and the c-span radio app. announcer: what does it mean to be american? that is this year's studentcam competition question, and we are asking middle and high school students to answer it by producing a short documentary about a constitutional right, national characteristic, or historic event, and explain how it defines the american experience. we are awarding $100,000 in total cash prizes, inclung