Jim Kelly, State Delegate, District 86

Jim Kelly, State Delegate, District 86

Office sought:  Delegate 86th District

Party Affiliation:  Dem

Previous offices held; please include dates:

Incumbents: when elected to this position:

Occupation: Supervisor of Customer Service

Current employment (include name and address of employers):  Airbus Service Co. in Ashburn Va since 1988

Previous employment

Education: (please list schools attended, degrees and dates) Springfield High School - graduated in 1982

Community ties:

List a few current endorsements you are most proud of:  AFL-CIO and Virginia Partisans

1.    What is your top public-service accomplishment?

From 1996 to 1999 I served on the Loudoun County Transportation Safety Commission and during 2002 I served a President of the Autism Society of America Northern Virginia Chapter.  As commissioner I helped to make several transportation hot spots safer and as President I provided parents and educators, trainings they otherwise may not have been able to benefit from.

2.    Incumbents: Describe the top accomplishment of your last term. Why shouldn’t voters blame you for current problems in your district?

note: In 2001 you endorsed my opponent glowingly " ... he will hit the ground running as if he were a veteran legislator and not a typical freshman delegate."

3.    What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them? Describe one challenge (or more) in your district that is different than in other parts of the state.

Transportation, k-12 education/higher education, business growth/retention, crime and taxes.  The potential for Virginia to lose federal highway money if the air quality in Northern Virginia is not addressed is a unique regional problem that needs to be resolved with urgency.

4.    What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?

I have many years of experience in local government issues and have attended and participated in countless meetings on a variety of topics.   I look at issues with an open mind and look to how other jurisdictions have addressed similar problems as to not have reinvent the wheel and build upon the successes of others.

5.    How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponent(s)?

My opponent says he looks forward to working with our governor and supports tax reform but he has patroned a piece meal tax free week bill that would have lost Virginia $70m in revenue and supported a bill to eliminate the Estate tax which would have resulted in a loss of another $130m a year.  Despite his support for these two extremely deep revenue cuts he tried to place blame on Virginia's Governor for cutting back on far less costly items such as highway safety patrols and temporarily closing several DMV offices.  Rust's actions could have made this permanent.

6.    What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?

The voters and taxpayers can count on me to represent the 86th district to the best of my ability and in a dignified manner.

7.    What do you predict for the one-to-two year future of the budget and what adjustments will you propose to prepare for your prediction? What impact is this likely to have on your constituents?

In regards to transportation we need to see what the FTA says about our rail proposal but we need to be prepared for a denial with a lower cost mass transit solution that can be implemented quickly.  The proposal to levy services in the same manner as goods must be part of tax reform as should be a rate on tobacco products at the national average.  These things will go a long way in getting our education and transportation system the improvements they need.  I will work for a permanent removal of tolls on the tool road and for the final elimination of the car tax.   For some new transportation projects though we will have to entertain a public/private partnership that may include the use of tolls such as a river crossing or tri-county highway.

8.    What specific solutions will you propose for the transportation dilemma? Please address funding, prioritization, air quality, bus service and other non-rail public transportation solutions, expansion of rail service, and any other possible approach.

Growing at a healthy rate and in a properly planned way would reduce the rate at which our transportation woes escalate.  Bus already serves much of our area and is impractical for others. Rail is both clean and we have the right of way for it but the question is will we have the ridership needed for it to b cost effective - I believe we will but we should not grow to accommodate rail we should build rail to accommodate our current and future needs.

9.    Do local governments have the tools they need to control and guide growth? How will state and local governments cope with the additional demand for services that comes with additional residential construction? Can more emphasis on smart growth help offset some of the effects of suburban development?

Local governments do not have all the tools they need.  For example the state has debt limits built into their fiscal policies that they must adhere to. They have very strict limits on how much debt they can take on but refuse to provide this fiscal tool to counties.   In order to provide this tool to counties, counties would have to be able to set moratoriums on residential construction or require fees to offset the fiscal impacts of new residential projects.  Currently the cost and a host of other impacts of these projects results in ever increasing real estate tax rates.

10. What are your top environmental priorities? Please address air quality, water quality, open space, etc.

3,000 pieces of legislation is submitted every year in Richmond.  I expect many to be geared toward keeping our environment clean and I will be supportive of efforts such as these.

11.    Are residents safe enough? How do public safety officials balance new demands of "homeland security" with other safety and quality-of-life issues?

Homeland security affects many things from phone tapping to vaccines. I wont pretend to understand it all but you can be certain that I am concerned with protecting both our safety and our rights.

12.    Do you have any concerns about civil liberties and public access to information in the wake of the Patriot Act and other responses to Sept. 11?

I have many concerns and I expect that amendments will be made for years to come in regards to how law enforcement interprets and carries out its provisions.

13.    Working poor families in Northern Virginia face a daunting cost of living, with little in the way of affordable housing, health care, childcare and transportation. Are low-wage workers important to the local economy? What do you propose to address the needs of these families?

Low wage workers are important to me.  We need to help raise them from being classified as low wage workers to being workers making a livable wage. Minimal wage in Northern Virginia should be higher than that set by the federal government in order for these families to be able to afford to have a safe place to live, afford transportation/health care and food as well as the ability to enjoy family time together.

14.    Should counties have the taxing authority of cities?

Counties and towns should have the taxing authority of cities.

15.    What is the appropriate state and local tax rate for cigarettes?

The combined tax should be at least equal to the national average.

16.    What is the appropriate state and local tax rate for gasoline?

17.    How would you restructure the tax code in Virginia?

I will work with our Governor to create a fairer tax system.

18.    Should income taxes be collected and distributed locally?

The state government has collected income tax for years and has an efficient system for doing so. I would suggest they continue to collect the tax and return the appropriate portion back to localities.

19.    What proposals do you have for mitigating the effects of soaring property values and related taxes? Do you endorse the 5 percent cap on property tax increases? If you support a cap on property tax increases, please name at least one service provided by state or local government that you currently use that you would be prepared to live without.

I do not support a predetermined cap but for example I do support authorizing counties to increase the tobacco tax to up-to the national average provide they reduce the real estate tax rate by at least 80% of the revenue generated from the sale of tobacco products.

20.    After redistricting, Northern Virginia now has a critical mass in the General Assembly, but so far that doesn’t appear to have translated into additional political clout for the region. Why? What will you do to increase the influence of Northern Virginia in Richmond?

21.    Would you favor the repeal of the Dillon Rule? Why or Why not? What I favor is that when a bill is submitted in the legislature that it not be limited to any particular town, county or city and that if approved be legislative authority bestowed on all.

22.    What is right and wrong with Virginia’s current laws governing abortion? Would you support any changes?

23.    Would you support allowing localities to ban weapons from public buildings?  I have a CCW permit and would prefer not to have to leave my firearm in my vehicle when entering a banned location but on the other hand I don't want Richmond making decisions that my locally elected officials should be making and taking responsibility for so my answer in a nutshell is yes.

24.    The state provides only a fraction of the funding for local schools that it should given requirements under the "Standards of Quality." How would you address this?

As I understand it SOQ’s are of serious concern in less affluent counties as they have more building with leaky roofs and difficulty purchasing books, etc. I have read recently that the Governor is working to get – if I recall correctly - $500m to begin to address this issue.

25.    How would you rate the Standards of Learning tests and what improvements still need to be made?

I have repeatedly that the SOL’s need revision.  I feel that the best thing we can do in regards to SOL’s is provide failing school systems with help in designing their curriculum’s and training their educators in order to ensure their students pass the tests.

26.    Should local school boards be allowed to ban all weapons on school property?

Should they be allowed – yes.  This in itself won’t eliminate someone – student or otherwise – from violating the ban.  In some parts of Va hunting is far more prevalent and some students – believe it or not - hunt after school at a location that is not near their homes.  These localities should be able to have bans – or not - appropriate to their regional customs.

27.    Characterize the financial situation in Virginia institutions of higher learning and what efforts you recommend in the General Assembly to shore up the quality of Virginia’s public colleges and universities.

Tuitions are being driven up by state funding cutbacks.  Besides tuition increases many universities and colleges have not grown at a pace that meets the forecasted student growth and the result is that with otherwise good grades are being denied enrollment not necessarily due to their grades but due to space simply not being available at the college of their choice. Many times this results in out of state tuitions – a tremendous burden for many area families.