Northam stresses issues, record of public service in final days of campaign

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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) "Are you ready to keep Virginia blue," Ralph Northam asked the audience at a Richmond rally last month.

The Democratic candidate for Governor is hoping the large crowd that turned out to hear former President Barack Obama, and the voters who kept Virginia in the Democratic corner in the last three presidential elections, will turn out for him on November 7th.

"I can't do it by myself," he yelled. "I need your help. Are you ready to fight for me?"

And in smaller settings with groups like the Indian American business owners who also met with Republican Ed Gillespie, Northam hopes his plans to boost the economy of Virginia will win strong support.

"While we have brought down the unemployment rate in Virginia and rural Virginia," Norhtam told the group, "if you travel to the Eastern Shore where I am from, or the Southside or the Southwest, we still have work to do."

Northam is 58 years old, a graduate of Virginia Military Institute.

He served as an Army doctor for 8 years, and a pediatric neurologist in the years since.

He was elected to the Virginia Senate in 2007, and as Virginia's Lieutenant Governor in 2013.

He and his wife Pam have two children.

His tie-breakng vote against a bill that would have outlawed sanctuary cities in Virginia has continued to dog his campaign, despite repeated efforts to put the issue to rest.

"And again it was a political ploy," said during a debate last month at UVA Wise. "We don't have sanctuary cities and I don't support sanctuary cities."

"It's just a campaign that reinforces the hatred, the fear, the bigotry that's coming out of Washington," Northam told us in a recent interview.

And despite continuing questions about his attendance at meetings as Lieutenant Governor, he said Virginians know his record of public service as a veteran, doctor and lawmaker, and his commitment to making Virginia better.

"We want every Virginian to have a job they can support themselves and their families with, education for their children, access to health care, clean environments where we have clean water and air and communities that are safe where there are not guns on every street corner," Northam told us. "So that's what we talk about. That's what resonates. That's the Virginia way."