Pubdate: Tue, 09 May 2000
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2000 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times
Note: This story is based in part on wire service reports.


RICHMOND - U.S. Senate candidate and former Virginia Gov. George F. Allen 
promised yesterday that if he is elected in November, he would take 
Virginia's success in lowering its crime rate to the federal level by 
getting tough on drug dealers.

In his speech before the Richmond Kiwanis Club, Mr. Allen said drugs are 
responsible for the majority of violent crime, and those who are 
responsible should be in jail.

His plan would include more training and equipment to stop drugs from 
crossing into the country, a national drug-awareness program to keep youths 
from using drugs and a national equivalent for drugs to Virginia's Project 
Exile, a federal-state crackdown on gun violence that began as an 
experiment in Richmond and has been credited with dramatically reducing 
crime there. Project Exile calls for a mandatory five-year sentence for 
those who commit a felony with a gun.

"Project Drug Exile would give police officers and prosecutors more 
firepower in the war on drugs and provide additional funding to establish 
federal anti-drug enforcement and prosecution task forces," Mr. Allen said.

He pointed to the proliferation of methamphetamines as a problem that needs 
to be addressed, and proposed expanding to the federal level the program - 
begun this year by his Republican successor, Gov. James S. Gilmore III - of 
offering $10,000 bounties for information on drug kingpins.

Mr. Allen lumped his opponent Sen. Charles S. Robb, the Democratic 
incumbent, together with the president and vice president in saying the 
last eight years have seen an increase in drug use among children because 
of a failure at the federal level. He cited statistics showing the average 
age of heroin users in 1990 was between 26 and 27. In 1997, it was between 
17 and 18.

"The Clinton-Gore-Robb crew have brought no moral authority to this issue," 
he said.

Mr. Allen said instead of going after illegal drugs, Mr. Robb - along with 
the administration - has chosen to focus on tobacco restrictions. Aides to 
Mr. Allen painted Mr. Robb's recent record on crime as consisting solely of 
support for gun-control measures.

Responding to a reporter's question, Mr. Allen said he has never used 
illegal drugs.

He also vehemently rejected the idea of legalizing some drugs, saying it's 
not an acceptable answer to the problem.

When given the chance by another reporter's question, Mr. Allen refused to 
take a shot at Mr. Robb, who reportedly attended parties where drugs were 
being used in the 1980s. Mr. Allen has said he doesn't plan on making Mr. 
Robb's character a campaign issue.

Jim Mulhall, Mr. Robb's campaign manager, could not be reached for comment 

State Democrats - without Mr. Robb - held a news conference yesterday in 
Richmond attacking Mr. Allen's record on senior citizens.

In particular, state Sen. Henry L. Marsh III, Richmond Democrat, said Mr. 
Allen's proposed tax cut plan would prevent the federal government from 
being able to pay for seniors' prescription drugs.

But Mr. Allen said the news conference amounted to Democrats coming up with 
another excuse to explain Mr. Robb's opposition to tax cuts.

Mr. Allen has previously given speeches on his education policy - topped 
off by a tax credit for parents who spend money on school supplies, such as 
computers - and on national defense. Those, coupled with public safety, are 
the three planks he's running on, he said.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.
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