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Two Candidates. Thirteen Questions. One Dream Car. 

On Your Mark …

Style: What is your definition of a hero, and who is yours?

Earley: My definition of a hero is someone who gives unselfishly to others. My hero is my wife.

Warner: A hero is someone who does what's right, often against the odds; who is willing to put him or herself at some level of even peril for doing what they think is right. I have a number of heroes, everyone from Winston Churchill to Teddy Roosevelt to Gandhi.

Public safety is a national concern. As governor, what is the first thing you would do to improve the state's public safety?

Earley: Having served as attorney general for the past four years, where public safety is a top priority, and having served in the state Senate for 10 years, I think one of the strengths I bring to this race is a strong background in law enforcement and in public safety. The first thing I'm going to do as governor is take steps to do two things in light of the war on terrorism we now face. The first is to make sure we protect our infrastructure in Virginia — our bridges, roads, tunnels, ports, our technology, Internet technology hubs, water supply, food supply and schools. The second thing is to make sure the first responders in our new war on terrorism — our firefighters, police officers, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, emergency medical personnel — have the training, equipment, technology and resources they need to do the job that we're asking them to do.

Warner: Make sure that our law-enforcement personnel get the respect and resources they need to do their jobs.

What state law would you repeal if you could?

Earley: The one I would repeal is one we've actually made part of our campaign, and that is to repeal the surtax in Virginia, the state's share of the food tax into the general fund. So I want to see the food tax reduced over the next four years.

Warner: The law that doesn't allow different localities to share, on a regional basis, the benefits of economic developments. The laws — it's not just a single one.

Pick your dream car.

Earley: My dream car would not be a car. It would be a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. And it would probably be an Electroglide.

Warner: My dream car? I'm not much of a car guy. … After this campaign, a mobile home that would allow me to sleep on the road.

What figure from Virginia history do you most admire?

Earley: George Washington, first president of the United States. He had a strong sense of duty to Virginia and to the nation, but in a very public-servant-oriented sense. He didn't view public office as something to hold onto forever, but as an opportunity to serve and then to return to being a citizen.

Warner: Thomas Jefferson. And Patrick Henry. Thomas Jefferson had such a Renaissance approach on so many different issues. And Patrick Henry, because he — that's my definition of a hero — he did what he thought was right and put himself in peril for the purpose of the fight for American independence. Let me add a third: Maggie Walker, for being able to overcome all the odds in starting the bank, as a woman and an African-American at a time when that just wasn't done.

Do Virginians really want to pick which company sells them their power?

Earley: Well, I believe that what Virginians want is to be able to have competition that affords them cheaper electric rates. The opportunity to pick a power company is hopefully going to provide lower electric rates to citizens as we go through the deregulation process, which was put in motion by Congress. What's most important, as we go through that process, is to make sure we protect consumers from any variations in rate that would be detrimental to them.

Warner: I think Virginians want to have lower electric rates and I think that in the end, deregulation will lead to that.

What is the greatest danger facing Virginia's environment?

Earley: I think the greatest danger facing Virginia's environment is apathy from individuals who don't recognize how important environmental stewardship is, and how important protecting our environment is in making sure that we have a strong and growing economy. I think strong economic growth and strong environmental protection are interdependent.

Warner: The greatest danger facing Virginia's environment is if we were to ever destroy the Chesapeake Bay. That is, I think, Virginia's greatest natural resource, and I hope we'd be able to pass it on to our kids in better shape than we inherited it.

When you were 5, what did you want to be when you grew up — and why?

Earley: The first thing I remember wanting to be when I was small was somebody who dug in the ground and dug up fossils, an archeologist. I don't know that I even knew the term at the time. I was fascinated with fossils and ancient Egyptian pyramids. I liked the idea of being able to dig up things out of the ground that had lived before a part of history.

Warner: When I was 5 … I would say an astronaut. I was born in '54, late '54, so that would put me about five in 1960 and there was all the attention in '60, '61 on Alan Sheppard and John Glenn, the idea of "boldly going where no one had gone before" ...just to paraphrase Star Trek.

You have said you support capital punishment. How could it be improved?

Earley: Well, I think it's important to support the death penalty because I think the death penalty actually saves lives. I think it also helps us uphold the value of human life by saying that there are some circumstances under which if you take someone's life, in such a malicious and heinous way, you forfeit the right to your own life. And I think after September 11, a lot more people understand why the death penalty is important.

Warner: By continuing to review and evaluate the 21-day rule — and make sure that we have mandatory DNA testing or any other utilization of any technology that can help prove or disprove an individual's innocence or guilt.

What will Governor Gilmore's legacy become?

Earley: I believe Governor Gilmore's legacy will be appointing the first secretary of technology and really nurturing the technology community in Virginia and holding it up as a model for the rest of the nation and the rest of the world.

Warner: I think the fight for car tax relief.

Who in the current Cabinet would you want to keep?

Earley: I think we've got tremendous talent in the present Cabinet, as we have in all the Cabinets that I've had the opportunity to serve with over the last 14 years. But I won't make any personnel decisions about my cabinet until after the election is over. I think it would be premature to do that at this certain time.

Warner: I'm not going to talk about appointments, but I do have a lot of respect for Don Upson — Don Upson, secretary of technology.

What would you tell people who worry that multinational corporations are gaining too much power?

Earley: We live in a global economy. I don't think that's going to change. I think the opportunity today to do business and commerce transcends borders. And the money markets we have around the world and the free flow of capital, I think, holds tremendous potential to improve the lives of people living all across the globe in a way that has never existed before in human history. The opportunity for commerce to grow and span borders is good. I think we always have to make sure that workers and all people are being protected, but we want to see economic development opportunities expand for every country around the world.

Warner: I'd say the greatest defense is an active citizenry that participates in their governments.

Now that the debates are over, what question wasn't asked of your opponent that you wish had been asked?

Earley: I think the question that wasn't asked but could have been asked was "Why did he oppose so many of the programs that we've done over the last eight years?" — programs that have resulted in such tremendous benefit to the people of Virginia, such as parole abolition, welfare reform, and cutting the car tax — all of which he opposed.

Warner: That's a good question. … I guess I'd like to try to give him another chance to try to say something nice about me.

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