GOP candidate for governor pledges higher-grade fireworks

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s Republican candidate for governor says ordinary citizens should be free to shoot off bottle rockets and Roman candles.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Ed Gillespie pledged to try to legalize higher-grade fireworks if elected. They’re allowed in neighboring West Virginia and Tennessee.

He made the vow ahead of July Fourth and two weeks after his narrower-than-expected primary win. Gillespie beat out a Donald Trump-style rival, Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart.

Gillespie said the state is missing out on an opportunity to create jobs, revenue and fun.

Democrats used the fireworks pledge to needle Gillespie over his reluctance to take a firm stand on Republican health-care bills in Congress. Gillespie’s Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, opposes efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.