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Video: Petersen, Culipher Talk Business, Silver Line, Death Penalty

Candidates for the 34th District Senate seat answer resident questions at Vienna debate

The Silver Line was one issue on which Incumbent State Sen. Chap Petersen (D) and Republican challenger Gerarda Culipher couldn't agree Thursday night, in one of the first debates of the 34th District Senate race.

The debate at Vienna's American Legion gave the more than 60 residents that filled the hall an early glimpse of the candidates' positions on roads, businesses, jobs and taxes.

Culipher said she'd would work to triple the number of parking spaces allocated for stations on Silver Line, which would make Metro a more accessible option for commuters from Chantilly and Centreville, she said.

"Inadequate Metro parking is the single reason people do not use it," Culipher said. "I hear [that] time and again from the voters."

In regards to building the Silver Line through Tysons, which "frankly has been beset with problems," Petersen said, more revenue sources need to be brought to the table.

"This is the problem when you say no to every new tax. You want all sorts of new gadgets and roads and parking garages, but you can't have it both ways," he said. "Parking garages don’t generate revenue unless you want people to pay $20 every time they park at the Metro. They’re not generating revenue so someone has got to put up cash for it ... Either there's got to be a tax or someone has to come in and donate 20 million dollars."

Culipher said that kind of donation is precisely the kind she'd try to attract with her commuter tax credit.

Petersen said he would use Tysons as a way to inform other critical transportation needs in the 34th District, specifically on Route 66.

"How are we going to take with what we learned from Dulles Rail and how are we going to use it to make our Route 66 experience better? It's going to need to be improved over the next five to 10 years either by expanding the orange line or bringing in rapid bus transit," he said. "We’ve got to do something about that corridor because that’s where people live."

Environmental issues are in part what will drive Oakton resident John Byrne's vote, he said Thursday night.

"What are we going to do to make a better world for our kids?" he said.

Oakton resident Jim Walsh said he was refreshed by Culipher's perspective.

"We need people who think ahead, not live in the past," Walsh said. "It's time for new blood."

Voters, and the candidates, remarked that despite the differences, Petersen and Culipher engaged in a thoughtful, polite debate.

"There are so many occasions on which my opponent and I disagree: on policy, on political thought, on many, many things. But one thing we agree on is that the tenor of political discourse must be upbeat, it must be positive, it must be healthy," Culipher said. "More than civilized, it must be collegial."

Patch has run video clips of all voter questions asked at the forum.  

For Part One,

Watch the candidates' answers to the following questions, and their closing statements, in the media player above.

Question 5: Is there any possibility the $2.5 billion in Silver Line money will be shifted to highway improvements?

Question 6: Vienna has continued to see business growth over the past few years but much of it has come from chains or medium to large corporations. How will you help revitalize small town business throughout the district, especially as Tysons Corner takes shape? How can you help ease the process of starting a small business?

Question 7:  How do you feel about the use of the death penalty in the State of Virginia?

Question 8:  Sen. Petersen, what do you feel are your main accomplishments for your constituents as freshman senator? Ms. Culipher, why do you think you will be more successful than Sen. Petersen has been? Please be specific

Big Greek September 27, 2011 at 11:06 AM
Gerada Cuilpher has my vote.....she has new ideas, is easy to talk to and listens. On Chap's Facbook page I asked him...."Please name one thing that you have accomplished which has helped generate jobs and improve the local economy? The only thing I see is that you promote raising taxes and government regulations. Please clarify." Chap's response... "Because your comment is Tea Party talking points and not actual facts, there's nothing really to clarify. If you have a specific Q, then let me know. Cheers, Chap" .. go here to see for yourself (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2186158050920&set=a.1038014908059.2009743.1156093415&type=1&theater) That's arrogance in my mind and not the type of State Senator we need in Virginia
Big Greek September 27, 2011 at 11:18 AM
This is Chap's idea on how to create jobs directly from his blog.. http://networkedblogs.com/nyeOH The first two words in the title of the article "Tax Plan", that is all he knows. He is extremely Liberal and a Obama Clone. I don't want new taxes, I want new ideas. Also to note, Chap wants to raise you gas tax by 10 cents per gallon, I feel gas is expensive enough.
Big Greek September 27, 2011 at 11:42 AM
On another subject...Chap Petersen is an advocate for the legalization of marijuana. I don't want more POT in the state of Virginia. Here is a link to his facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=153172428095345&set=o.327869137259&type=3&theater)
Nicole Trifone (Editor) September 27, 2011 at 03:27 PM
The Petersen campaign says Sen. Petersen was tagged in that photo without their knowledge. They have removed the photo, posted Aug. 10, from his Facebook photo album. A statement from Ben Hodapp, Petersen's campaign manager: "Chap has not and never will support the legalization of marijuana."
Jay September 27, 2011 at 04:31 PM
I have watched Chap for many years now, it is hard to imagine how anyone could call Chap a clone of Obama, he seems like a moderate to me. Anyone that speaks in plain English, vehemently represents his constituents and is transparent to the bone, is someone worth electing. Chap is a local boy, schooled in Virginia and Fairfax, I can't think of a better person to represent the 34th district. Thank goodness there are politicians like Chap still around, someone that anyone remotely moderate could stand behind
Joe Brenchick September 27, 2011 at 06:41 PM
'Politicians are like diapers; they need to be changed often and for the same reason.' - Mark Twain
Will Radle September 27, 2011 at 07:50 PM
Are you saying 24 years with the same diaper stinks?
Carey Campbell September 28, 2011 at 02:37 AM
"Debate must be collegial." Sounds good to me. .
Dennis Smith September 29, 2011 at 11:10 AM
Great Job Culipher!
Mike Kane September 29, 2011 at 01:40 PM
I watched both these candidates last night, and I must say Culipher sounded like the better candidate. Chap peterson refused to cut taxes and spending

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