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Va. state Senate candidates spar at Alexandria forum

Sunday - 10/2/2011, 10:50pm  ET

WASHINGTON - It's less than a month until voters choose a new general assembly and much of northern Virginia has become key battlegrounds for candidates.

On Sunday, five of the six candidates for the state senate took their message to a political forum in Alexandria.

Among the most contentious issues at the forum, held at the Beth El Hebrew Congregation, were new regulations for women's health clinics that require them to operate like hospitals.

"It's just designed to try to make it much much harder to get an abortion in this state and I will oppose that as often as I can," said LInda "Toddy" Puller, the incumbent 36th District Democrat.

Her opponent, former state GOP Chairman Jeff Frederick called the regulations necessary.

"Women's lives have been at risk or even taken because they didn't have the right capabilites," he said.

Among the other issues discussed were transportation with 31st District Democrat Barbara Favola calling for new funding sources, including a hike in the gas tax.

The last time we raised the gasoline tax was 1986," she said. "I mean, this is hardly a tax-happy state."

However, 39th District Republican Miller Baker called a tax hike the wrong move.

"We're in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Depression and this excatly the wrong time to be raising taxes on anybody," he said.

Favola's opponent was a no show at the event.

The entire Va. general assembly is up for election November 8.

WTOP's Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)