There were many conservative issues the two Republican primary candidates for the Virginia 21st Senate district had in common at Tuesday’s forum – the top one being the defeat of incumbent Democrat Senator John Edwards.
Tripp Godsey, 47, and a Roanoke City resident is owner of two Farmers Insurance agency locations. Christiansburg resident Delegate Dave Nutter, 56, is employed by Virginia Tech. Both sought to clarify their positions and emphasize their conservative values.
The forum was held in Roanoke City Council Chambers and hosted by the Roanoke City Republican Committee and the Roanoke Tea Party. City committee chair Chris Walters moderated.
Nutter has a record to defend and though he has been a ten-year member of the House of Delegates, he is relatively unknown in the Roanoke Valley. Godsey has the same name recognition challenge, but as a lifelong local has a bit of an edge in the valley.
Both agree on reducing regulations that burden business, a 72-hour review of the budget before voting, eliminating voting by proxy in the Senate, and the unconstitutionality of Obamacare.
To address the escalating cost of healthcare, both advocated for fighting Medicaid fraud, with Nutter saying creating jobs with healthcare coverage would reduce Medicaid costs. Godsey advocated for competition, allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines.
Creating jobs will be first on both their agendas once elected to the senate. Godsey said he would reduce taxes for small businesses and Nutter said he would lower or eliminate the corporate income tax that generates five percent of the state’s revenue.
Godsey a staunch supporter of the U.S. constitution said he would adhere to the 10th amendment and “tell the federal government to stay out of Virginia.” He advocates for nullification/interposition – the nullification of federal laws interpreted as unconstitutional.
Nutter voted against taking the federal stimulus funding that would have expanded unemployment insurance to part-time workers who had lost their jobs. He voted against the autism mandate, saying that it would increase insurance premiums.
They both are pro-life and Nutter said he has a 95 rating with the Family Foundation. He opposed the use of state funds for embryo stem cell research. He has an A+ rating with the NRA.
Nutter aligned himself with former President Ronald Reagan and Godsey said he was inspired to run for senate by Attorney Ken Cuccinelli.
In a bill Nutter said he made sure that the concealed weapon database posted by The Roanoke Times would never be exposed again. He said, “it exposed thousands of single women who had carry permits because they had restraining orders against their husbands and boyfriends.”
Nutter named a list of taxes he opposed but Godsey was quick to say that Nutter had voted for the largest tax increase in Virginia history including House Bill 3202 – the abusive driver fees that outraged Virginians. The bill was meant to increase transportation revenue but was later repealed.
Both were asked what one agency they would eliminate. Nutter said EVA, the online procurement system and Godsey chose the Department of Education, saying that “it is hindering our schools and it is not even in the constitution.” Godsey advocates for free enterprise in the school system.
Both Nutter and Godsey would have voted against allowing Roanoke City schools to open before Labor Day. Godsey said that as a member of the Virginia Hospitality Association he believes it costs the state tourism dollars and hurts family vacation time.
Following the results of the August 23 primary both would support the other against incumbent Senator Edwards in the November general election.