August 1, 2002
Citing her positions on the sales-tax referendum and on education, former 37th District Sen. Warren E. Barry, a Republican, is endorsing Democratic contender Cathy Belter to replace him in the Virginia General Assembly.
"We need to send Cathy Belter to Richmond because [she] will join the bipartisan Northern Virginia delegation in support of the transportation referendum and fix our transportation problems," said Barry. "She will [also] bring back the education dollars we need to maintain the high quality of education we offer in Fairfax County schools."
Belter, 57, Springfield District School Board representative, is vying in a special election, Aug. 6, against Ken Cuccinelli, 33, a patent attorney from Centreville. Angry about Republican-raised money that Barry gave his son in his bid for Fairfax County sheriff, Cuccinelli declared his candidacy in January.
Hearing about Barry's endorsement of Belter, he laughed. "That doesn't surprise me," said Cuccinelli. "He's a Democrat now. I expect Democrats to endorse Democrats."
But Belter considers it a feather in her cap, and Barry noted how Cuccinelli tried to block the sales-tax referendum from being placed on the November ballot. "[He] wants to take money earmarked for education and divert it to solve our transportation problems," said Barry. "Since 50 percent of the state budget is dedicated to public education, that would create a tremendous blow to the public-school system."
Not so, says Cuccinelli. "I recognize fully how important public education is to families in our community," he said. "I grew up in this school system and am committed to making it healthier than it is now. Under my opponent's watch, the number of non-school administrators has increased at four times the rate of the student population. I would direct that money to raise teacher pay and put it into the classroom, where it would do the most good."
He also criticized her refusal to debate with him. But Belter's campaign manager, Eli Senna, said neither side could agree on a date, a moderator or a format. Meanwhile, Belter said she's received contributions from every sector of the 37th District.
"Cathy has [the] experience and leadership that her opponent does not," said Barry. "As a school activist and elected member of the School Board since 1999, [she's] fought hard to insure that the stellar quality of public education in Fairfax County remains intact."