James Oddo — 40th District

James Oddo — 40th District

Special Election

<lst>Name: Joseph Oddo

Party Affiliation: Independent.

Age: 44

Family: Married, two children.

Town of Residence: Centreville.

Education: Bachelor's degree, Penn State University, public policy major, 1984.

Occupation: Internet consultant; previous sales manager, Ted Britt Ford.

Web site: www.geocities.com/jodo201/voteoddo.html.

What do you believe are the major issues in the 40th District? Topping the list is transportation. The Virginia Department of Transportation has more than 10,000 employees whose driving objective is roads, roads, roads. That is misguided. Our vibrant local economy is dependent on the large immigrant population that would benefit from not having to own a car. We can build good light rail now. For a fraction of the cost of destructive road building, we can compliment the current infrastructure with light rail connecting the pockets of the most frequented congestion. Tysons to Springfield would connect major living, shopping and services including the hospital. Same here in Centreville. We can run a line to Dulles along Route 28 without much expense or disruption. It is time for rail now.

What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office? Before getting my degree in public policy, I did canvassing/activist work for the Independent Party and ACORN in the 1980s. After my degree, I have continued to study the issues and have formulated a series of legislative initiatives that are not being addressed by the two major parties.

I am the most proud of my two outstanding children. My 5-year-old is getting the best part of his education at home. He goes to public school as a supplement to his education. I also enjoyed being a foster parent to nine children who needed a temporary home. I believe we need to utilize all of our resources, whether governmental or private charities, to develop a stronger adoption- and foster-care network.

How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponent? Because I am one of the thousands of hard-working taxpayers who have become disillusioned by the two major political parties that are financed by "big-money" and corporations. They spew the same rhetoric year after year. Most of them do not even send their children to public schools, so they just cannot relate.

Any viable social or fiscal issue does not make it to the agenda unless it is sponsored by a well-paid backer. This business of politics-as-usual must stop.

It is time a citizen lawmaker goes to Richmond with the voter's agenda in hand. I will keep a full-time survey ongoing to determine the issues most important to our constituents.

If I'm elected, I will … continue with the original plan to eliminate personal property taxes by proposing legislation to replace them with higher taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and gasoline — carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced now.

I will also propose term limits of no more than 10 years for the House members and 12 for senators. We need a turnover in representation to promote a progressive agenda and prevent the complacency that is perpetuated by incumbents running unopposed.

At the state level, we have an entrenched bureaucracy that has protected job status, and little accountability that we should no longer tolerate. It is time that every state employee position be evaluated and analyzed for a possible merge or automation. That should eliminate one-third of the positions. Same with all state programs. There should be no automatic renewal without a thorough evaluation. Tough, and sometimes unpopular, actions must be taken in this time of fiscal crises.

Why should people vote for you? My view is that as long as the overall philosophy of a candidate is acceptable, I do not have to be in absolute agreement with him or her on every issue. Margaret Mead states, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

After spending four years in the Republican Party, I never really felt like I belonged. [U.S.] Sen. [Trent] Lott summarized the Republican social sentiment last week by claiming that had [U.S. Sen.] Strom Thurmond won the presidency in 1948, our country would not have so many problems, implying that he favored continued segregation instead of civil rights. This is indicative of the Republican mentality today.

I will not be silent about the injustices being committed starting at the top levels of government. We cannot sit idly by while our oilman president prepares to destroy more human lives so we can control the world's richest oil fields. We can draft a resolution in the General Assembly that condemns more violence against an already impoverished population. How is it that these individuals that claim to be pro-life find no remorse in destroying innocent civilians including children? It is no wonder the world views the U.S. as the aggressor.