Kaine-Stewart Fight Over Trade Focuses Attention On Danville

Jul 27, 2018

The city of Danville in southside Virginia has become the epicenter of Virginia politics, as candidates for the United States Senate clash over international trade policy.

The politics of international trade have taken center stage in the campaign for United States Senate, as Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Corey Stewart battle for dominance this fall.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, left, listens as Republican challenger Corey Stewart, right, gestures during the Virginia Bar Association debate at the Homestead in Hot Springs , Va., July 21.
Credit (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

It all started during their first debate July 21st. After Stewart said American trade policies have failed cities like Danville, Kaine shot back.  “Go visit the Ikea plant in Danville. Go visit other advanced manufacturing facilities in Danville that I worked on when I was governor. I know that you haven’t.”

Now he has. Surrounded by a group of vocal supporters Friday, Stewart appeared at a shuttered factory and blamed free trade policies for the decline in the number of manufacturing workers in Danville over the last 20 years.

“We’ve had enough," Stewart said. "And let the word go out there on behalf of the President of the United States and all those who are standing up for American workers: We’ve had enough, and we’re bringing back manufacturing to Danville and in fact all of the United States of America.”

In a statement, a spokesman for Kaine shot back that Stewart is “an elite DC international trade lawyer who has personally profited off of NAFTA.”

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.