Thursday, November 02, 2017

LPVA Candidate Cliff Hyra Denounces Negative Campaigning

At a press conference on the state capitol grounds in Richmond on Thursday, November 2, Libertarian nominee for Governor of Virginia Cliff Hyra strongly criticized his opponents -- Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam -- for misleading and negative campaigning, designed more to frighten voters than to persuade them.

Here is a video recording of the complete news conference:

And here, courtesy of the Hyra campaign, is a transcript of his prepared remarks. (It does not include his answers to questions posed by members of the news media.)

"Thank you all for coming. When I first decided to run for Governor of Virginia, I chose to make respect a central tenet of my campaign. All Virginians deserve respect, regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs- and regardless of their political opinions. I feel strongly that it is a mistake to demonize those who disagree with you. Our political opponents are not demons- they are our brothers and our sisters, and they bleed like we bleed, and they want, at a high level, most of the same things that we want.

"I wish that the other candidates felt the same way. I have watched with growing dismay over the last weeks as initial civility has given way to wild-eyed accusations and divisive rhetoric.

"What is politics coming to, what is our society coming to, when two candidates for state-wide office spend millions of dollars on ads accusing their opponent of sympathizing with violent street gangs, pedophiles, white nationalists and neo-Nazis, and of harboring supporters who want to run over our children with trucks. I cannot begin to describe my disappointment. I fear for the future of our Commonwealth and of our nation, when even the most staid candidates feel they have to descend to this level of discourse to win an election, and are willing to do so.

Cliff Hyra Libertarian candidate Virginia governor press conference civility
"My family was talking in general terms about the rhetoric we had been hearing, when my seven-year-old daughter asked me “Do grown-ups really fight like that?” and I said “Well, these two do” and she said “They’re acting like children!” and I said “You’re right.” It’s unbelievable to me that I have to be the grown-up in the room, because these 60-year old men, these establishment politicians, a sitting lieutenant governor and former chairman of the RNC, apparently think that the best strategy for getting elected to the highest office in the state is name-calling. I feel like telling them 'Don’t make me turn this car around!'

"Virginia’s voters want to make their decisions based on the issues. When I talk to Virginians all over the state, they are disgusted by the ads they see. What is important to them is the economy, education, healthcare, criminal justice. Not monuments. Not Enron.

"So with five days to go until election day, I ask all candidates to STOP the attack ads. From now until election day, please join me in refocusing the election on meaningful issues that have a real impact on the material well-being of Virginians. Let’s make sure voters have the information they need to make a reasoned decision. To that end, I have completed a series of seven issue papers, elaborating on my positions on seven of the most important issues to Virginians: jobs and growth, healthcare, business regulations, criminal justice reform, education, pipelines and environmental regulations, and taxation. I will be releasing these over the next few days, and hope that we can shift the debate back to critical topics such as these.

"And I ask the people of Virginia to look past the mud-slinging, compare the positions of all three candidates,and learn about my positive proposals to improve the lives of all Virginians. I am the only candidate who will fix our broken income tax code by exempting the first $60k of household income from the state income tax, the only candidate who will end the drug war and legalize marijuana so that we can give people struggling with substance abuse the help they need and redirect resources to other critical areas, the only candidate opposing the abuse of eminent domain, the only candidate not proposing billions of dollars in new government spending, the only candidate who would scrap SOL testing and replace it with something better, and the only candidate who emphasizes improving our tax and regulatory environment to support our small businesses and local entrepreneurs, instead of giving away millions of taxpayer dollars trying to lure in big corporations from out of state.

"I want all Virginians to know that there will be a third candidate on your ballot on November 7, a candidate with a positive vision for the future of Virginia who understands how important it is that Virginia be both innovative and inclusive, and who truly respects all Virginians. If all the negative ads have turned you off the election and you are thinking of staying at home on election day, please come out and vote NO to the negativity, and YES to civility and respect. Thank you."

Hyra's remarks have been reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch ("Calling himself the 'grown-up in the room,' Libertarian Cliff Hyra bashes Gillespie and Northam over harsh attack ads," by Graham Moomaw), Radio IQ/WVTF ("Libertarian to Other Candidates for Governor: Grow Up," by Mallory Noe-Payne), Augusta Free Press, The Washington Post ("Libertarian for Va. governor calls on rivals to drop the ‘wild-eyed accusations’," by Laura Vozzella), WVEC-TV in Norfolk ("Polling at distant third, Libertarian Cliff Hyra leans on independents in governor's race," by Janet Roach), RVA Mag ("Libertarian Candidate Cliff Hyra Holds Press Conference, Calls for Civility in Election," by Caitlin Barbieri), Community Idea Stations ("Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate Calls For An End To Attack Ads," by Saraya Wintersmith), Bacon's Rebellion ("Take Back the Discourse — Fight for Civility!," by James Bacon), the Free Lance-Star, the Daily Progress, and the Roanoke Times.

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