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Webb on the issues

Jim Webb is getting the word out on his agenda in the final days of the campaign.

Webb addressed the recent issue of youth violence in Suffolk as a correctable problem. “One thing we hopefully can do is get them to get an education and stay in school,” he said. “We need to find other activities to take up their time.”

The transportation issue, a hot button here in Hampton Roads, will not be solved without more federal dollars, Webb said.

“The first thing we need to do is get more Democrats in office to help Governor Kaine on all transportation issues,” Webb said. “He didn’t have the help he needed for plans this year.”

“The second thing we can do is get all of the federal gas tax back. We’re only getting back 91 cents on every dollar,” Webb continued. “There’s $100 million more that could be coming back into Virginia.”

Webb also mentioned that someone needed to “work creatively” with federal programs and with the governor to improve transportation. Federal projects in Tidewater and northern Virginia need to have the support of the Senate, he said.

Webb also responded to allegations from the Allen campaign that Webb has supported higher taxes.

“I’ve never advocated raising taxes for working people,” he said. “He’s totally misrepresenting the positions I’ve taken.”

“We need to look at corporate tax loopholes,” Webb continued. “We’re in a situation where corporate profits are at an all-time high. Allen has allowed loopholes to slip through into the code that are allowing corporations to benefit.”

Regarding the Iraq war, Webb advocates coming to a diplomatic solution, he said. “With the right approach and leadership, we can get combat troops out of Iraq in a responsible and timely way. I don’t think that anyone can give you a timeline unless they have a diplomatic process in place.”

The war, Webb said, has driven up the cost of gasoline. “I do agree that we’re too dependent on foreign oil,” he said. “I warned very early on about the consequences of going into Iraq. The cost of a barrel of oil has tripled since we went into Iraq.”

“We need to diversify more our sources of energy, and we need to investigate things like solar energy and wind power.”

To solve the problem of dependence on foreign oil, Webb advocates drilling at home, but only under certain conditions, he said.

“I think where it is environmentally sound and productive, in terms of oil flow, that we should drill at home,” he said. “But, we need to make sure both of those conditions are met.”

As for the negative campaign run on both sides, Webb responded that he has refused to criticize Allen publicly on several occasions.

“When the macaca incident came, I refused to comment,” he said. “Some have asked me to criticize Allen and I refused to do it. I also didn’t think the Jewish thing was relevant.”

Webb referred to an incident in Dickenson County, in the southwestern part of Virginia, when Allen allegedly called a Webb aide the term “macaca.” The “Jewish thing” Webb mentioned occurred during a debate in Fairfax County when a television reporter asked Allen if his mother was Jewish, which he confirmed the next day.

“I don’t have enough time to expend on him (Allen),” Webb said. “I’m having enough of a problem getting my own agenda out.”

tracy.agnew@suffolknewsherald.com