Jerry Goes to Class

We all know that Professor Larry Sabato hosts officeholders and office-seekers in his University of Virginia political science class; his Center for Politics puts out press releases and invites the media. Lt. Gov. Kaine has already appeared with Sabato; Jerry Kilgore appears tomorrow. Less well-known and less-reported are appearances in other Virginia classrooms.

One of my day job colleagues, the delightful Heather McDonough of Mechanicsville, is taking a night class at VCU. When she told me Jerry Kilgore had addressed the class yesterday, I asked her to give me her impressions of him as a candidate. She agreed to dash something off and I present it here, unedited except for some paragraph breaks, as a non-blogger’s take on the presumptive Republican nominee:

As part of my Political Science class at VCU (Virginia Government and Politics-POLI 323), taught by Bob Holsworth and Don Baker, Jerry Kilgore stopped by last night to discuss his political career and the current Governor’s race. Maybe it was the university setting, but he seemed a bit ill at ease when he first arrived. Despite his seeming wariness, he did warm up to the class and came off as a genuinely nice guy.

We did discuss his accent in class, and how it would play in the campaign, and we couldn’t reach a consensus. Several classmates thought it would hurt him, especially in Northern Virginia. Others thought it would actually help him, myself included. Even though I’m a pretty staunch Democrat, I’m a Southern girl first, and there’s something about a Southern twang that strikes me as appealing and trustworthy.

I was quite impressed with Kilgore’s skill in maneuvering the discussion back to his main issues – the “10 days of reform” he’s been announcing on the campaign trail. He talked about the “better pay for better teachers” initiative, and he explained that it was a way to reward those “impact teachers” that everyone recognizes as the best (which would also be much cheaper than a sorely needed across-the-board pay raise). Besides, what teacher is going to say no to a guy who wants to give them more money? He’ll be tackling domestic violence as well, with an initiative of mandatory jail time for those who violate protective orders, ranging from 5 days for the first violation to 90 days or more after 3 violations.

While the class seemed impressed with his vision, several students did raise the question of how he was going to pay for all these new programs. This launched Kilgore into several minutes of explaining his plans for economic development in the Commonwealth, as he told us that he had signed a “no tax” pledge before his campaign for Attorney General which was “still in effect” and that he did not think we would need to cut programs provided the Commonwealth could strengthen economic development. He mentioned his plans for partnerships between research universities and private enterprise to gain access to federal dollars for research, which would help both the universities themselves as well as economic development in the surrounding region.

Overall, I really liked Kilgore and thought he seemed like a nice, down-home guy. I really hope he can overcome some of the stiffness and seeming unease in front of a crowd, because he has some really good ideas. I also hope that his campaign doesn’t put out any tv ads in Northern Virginia that feature him talking. I just don’t know how his accent is going to play up there. I guess it just felt like he was really on his guard and in “campaign mode,” and I’d rather have seen him let his guard down a bit.

Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, Lt. Gov. Kaine won’t be able to speak with Heather’s class, so I won’t be able to offer equal time.

Update: Commonwealth Conservative has a report on what Jerry was doing before his appearance in Heather’s class.


Share this article



ADVERTISEMENT

(comments below)



ADVERTISEMENT

(comments below)


Comments

  1. Here’s the kicker:
    “While the class seemed impressed with his vision, several students did raise the question of how he was going to pay for all these new programs. This launched Kilgore into several minutes of explaining his plans for economic development in the Commonwealth, as he told us that he had signed a “no tax” pledge before his campaign for Attorney General which was “still in effect” and that he did not think we would need to cut programs provided the Commonwealth could strengthen economic development. He mentioned his plans for partnerships between research universities and private enterprise to gain access to federal dollars for research, which would help both the universities themselves as well as economic development in the surrounding region.”

    So…economic development programs, which usually involve either state expenditures or tax breaks and have a negative revenue effect (at least in the short term), will pay for his programs.

    In other words, the programs will be paid for by magic.

  2. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Paul, I thought this post would generate discussion of Kilgore’s campaign persona, more than a debate over his policies. But if that’s what you want ….

    I don’t see where you get “paid by magic” out of what he said. Virginia achieved a surplus beyond what the tax hike took in via economic development–without a lot of additional spending on economic development. Was that magic?

    Note the words he used regarding cutting programs: “provided the Commonwealth could strengthen economic develoment.” It’s possible to strengthen economic development without new spending. As the campaign progresses, we’ll need to ask how he intends to “strengthen economic development.”

  3. Ok, so when he said “strengthen economic development” he meant “pray for future surpluses to spend”. I thought me meant economic development programs.

  4. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Whatever. We’ll put down “Virginia Centrist” as “undecided.”

  5. Virginia Moderate is undecided, but I’m sure he’s voting for Kilgore. Virginia Centrist has decided. The Virginia Democratic Party is perfect for me – it’s the national party that gets me angry.

  6. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Fair enough, Paul, but if that’s the case, I’d like to see you argue the superiority of Kaine’s plan when you’re trashing Kilgore’s. Campaigns are about choices.

    Am I to assume from your comments that Kaine will either not create new programs or raise taxes to pay for them? Am I to further assume that Kaine will not count on any economic growth to help pay for new programs, should he create them?

  7. Kaine does the same thing. My partisanship probably keeps me from calling him on it as often, but I’ll try to work on that:)

  8. Paul: Old Democratic habits die hard.

    ~ the blue dog

  9. Hi. I dont think most southerners have “twangs”. I think we have what are called “drawls”. I must say though that Northerners do tend to have the nasality in their speech, and it hits my ears like jack hammers. Still, I try not to judge. Im sure they cant help talking that way. “You Guys” when they mean a group of people (even females). Crazy language, I know.

    I dont Kilgore has much of a stronge accent anyway, if if people are that ignorant to judge someone based on how they talk, they have issues.

Leave a Reply