Highlights from the Bulova-Herrity Debate

By VA Blogger

I attended the Chamber of Commerce debate between Chairman candidate Sharon Bulova and Pat Herrity, at the NVCC in Annandale. Fortunately, so did Teddy over at Blue Commonwealth, and he posted an extremely thorough and even-handed recap of the debate (aside from his opinions in the last paragraph) that pretty much gives the gist of what went down.

There are some key moments missing, however. Throughout the debate, when pressed on specifics, Bulova would deflect or lash out, while Herrity offered specific examples of what he talked about.

When the moderator brought up that spending cuts alone won’t reduce the shortfall and revenue enhancement would have to be an option, Bulova refused to cite any ideas or plans because the public process for those discussions isn’t for a few more months.

When asked by Bruce Alan what services she would cut to address the looming shortfall, she called the question unfair and claimed it would box her in during future deliberations.

When asked by Barbara Kirk what reductions could be made from the School Budget, she said that reductions can be made but merely said it would be a challenge.

When asked by Bruce Alan what transportation projects may not receive funding because of the economic downturn, she couldn’t remember.

An uninformed observer watching both candidates for the first time would have come away with the impression that Pat Herrity had been on the Board for 20 years, and Sharon Bulova was a first-term member.

The forum and the subject matter were tilted towards Herrity, as was the audience for the most part. Sharon Bulova made several of the points that she intended to come into the room and make and build off of her campaign themes, but her lack of specifics and substance left an unshakable impression. Herrity was more comfortable in a natural environment for him. Comparing the two side by side, in my admittedly partisan opinion, there is no contest that Herrity won the debate.

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