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Votes

Greg Galligan, State Senate, District 39

Office sought: State Senate 39

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Previous offices held; please include dates: none

Incumbents: when elected to this position: n/a

Occupation: Defense Analyst

Current employment (include name and address of employers):  Dynetics, 1215 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Crystal Gateway 3, Arlington VA

Previous employment:  Legislative Director to Rep. Barcia (D-MI) U.S. Congress

Education: (please list schools attended, degrees and dates) Wilton Woods Elementary School (Now the FCPS IT Center), St. Stephens & St. Agnes,

College of William & Mary, BA in Government, Graduated 1996.

Community ties: Former Treasurer of Lee District Democratic Committee

List a few current endorsements you are most proud of: Virginia Education Association and local firefighters.

1.   What is your top public-service accomplishment?

Working as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot after Sept. 11 in a military operation to prevent future terrorist attacks had an impact on my district, as its residential area is in close proximity to the Pentagon and many of my district residents work for the government in “targeted” buildings.  Also I am proud of Life-saving missions I have done as a MEDEVAC (medical evacuation) pilot; responding to car wrecks, helping critically ill patients that need to be moved to a different hospital (I do this on the weekends as a reservist).

In Korea (1998-1999) I also flew the Blackhawk helicopter to move soldiers who were injured and had been involved in combat training.  We also moved S. Korean (ally) soldiers who were sick or injured and moved S. Korean soldiers’ families who needed emergency medical care.  I worked in Chunchon South Korea, Seoul and all over the DMZ.

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

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.  Residents in my area are concerned that growth is outpacing our infrastructure; we want good schools and better transportation options.  The top five problems on the horizon are in the areas of growth, education, transportation, tax fairness, and caring for an aging population.  I would support a public facilities act that would allow us to collect developer's fees (right now we only do it in the form of voluntary proffers) whenever a development will consist of five or more dwellings. The fees should be used in the neighborhood where they are collected. The fees would go towards schools, transit, and pedestrian safety improvements.  There needs to be an adjustment to the Dillon rule which allows counties to raise other sorts of revenue, instead placing the burden on older residents with property taxes beyond their means.

In addition, I would support an adjustment of the state's formula for determining how much education money goes to school districts. Right now we only get 19 cents from every dollar we send to Richmond.

When we look at restructuring the tax code, we should retain the senior credit because senior citizens are experiencing skyrocketing medical costs and other burdens beyond their means, regardless of how wise or frugal they have been to secure a pension or savings.

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

I have leadership skills and a code of ethics developed during my time in the military.  I think I'm more in touch with the district than my opponent and I bring a sense of enthusiasm and vision to the office.

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

I am more in touch with the diversity of all of our residents and I don't get locked into pledges which conflict with the needs of our area.

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

I will not restrict an adult woman's right to choose in the area of reproductive rights.

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?

We need to make our teachers, police, and emergency medical personnel first priority.  However, current proposed reductions have resulted in projected layoffs of 1,837 state workers and 4,500 potential layoffs in higher education.

We need a common-sense, pragmatic approach to the commonwealth’s budget.  State funding for programs should be seen as seed money with public/private partnerships strongly encouraged.  Funding for projects should be heavily scrutinized as to whether they are an appropriate investment for our future.  I will fight to fund those programs that take care of our basic needs and provide the infrastructure to have healthy and safe communities.

We can find new revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes and finding corporate partners who would benefit by co-sponsoring programs. Because local “Mom & Pop” small retail businesses are losing customers to out-of-state businesses via web retail, it makes sense to impose a sales tax on internet purchases. Virginal also has one of the lowest cigarette sales taxes; it is time that we brought our tobacco tax in line with other states.  Fair tax reform would include mending but not ending the estate tax and retaining the “age deduction credit” for senior citizens.

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.

It makes sense to prioritize those projects that would alleviate the congestion in N. Va.  There can be revenue neutral solutions in the short term such prioritization and also shifting some resources toward transit.  I would like to see stream lined bus routes like the experiment being done with Columbia Pike in Arlington. In Springfield such a line could connect communities along the Old Keene Mill/ Franconia corridor.  One streamlined bus route could connect communities along Backlick.  Another could stretch down Braddock without meandering through side streets.  Jitneys or minivans supported by the business community could reach the neighborhoods and bring them to grocery stores, malls and transit connector stops.

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? What are the important features of "smart growth" and can more emphasis on smart growth help offset some of the effects of suburban development?

No, that is why I support new state laws that would give them more control over facilities and developer relations.  Right now, we have zoning and by right development based in decisions that were made in the 1960s.  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?  Yes, we need livable communities and mixed use development near transit hubs.  (See my previous answers on question 3)

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

With the threat of losing federal transportation funding if we do not improve our air quality by 2005, we need to shift gears toward transit.  Bus riders are asking for direct, linear routes connecting neighborhoods and smaller vans or jitneys making the circuit within neighborhoods to grocery stores and connector bus stops.

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

We need to make this a top funding priority.  Our first responders are still working overtime and haven't been fully compensated.  We need to recruit more quality staff.

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?

Yes, many law-abiding, taxpaying people are falling through the cracks of the new DMV regulations.  The public should have access to any information that is not a clear threat to security.

13. Working poor families in Northern Virginia face a daunting cost of living, with little in the way of affordable housing, health care, child care and transportation. Are low-wage workers important to the local economy? What do you propose to address the needs of these families?  We need to preserve our budget for social services and counseling in such areas.  Northern Virginia Family Services and the Hispanic Committee of Virginia are examples of entities which help the working poor.

14. Should counties have the taxing authority of cities?

YES

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

30-50 cents

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

not sure

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

see above answers

18. Should income taxes be collected and distributed locally?

yes or at least a larger chunk retained in the 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.  Perhaps another time but, now is not the time to cap.

“We have drawn more than $845 million from the Rainy Day Fund, which took 8 years to build and was used post Sept. 11 and during the sniper and hurricane responses.  Anyone who proposes tax caps at this time is down right irresponsible and doesn’t fully understand the state’s needs.  Many candidates talk about homeland security but I challenge them to put their money where their mouth is.”

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? Right now, some of our delegation votes more with the majority establishment in Richmond than with our Northern Virginia delegation.  One example of that was my opponent who voted for the sales tax referendum but was on a coalition to defeat it.  It’s a little duplicitous.  What will you do to increase the influence of Northern Virginia in Richmond? Build consensus.

21. Would you favor the repeal of the Dillon Rule? Why or Why not?

I have considered it, but to amend it to give counties the same rights as cities is appropriate.

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

On parental consent, I am a little concerned about the confidentiality being lost in smaller towns when a girl has to go to a notary public to witness her parent's consent.  She may have to go to a local bank or less private venue to do this.

23. Would you support allowing localities to ban weapons from public buildings? My family has always owned guns and handled them responsibly.  I think this needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis per building.

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?  Virginia’s General Assembly needs to shrink the gap between its mandates and its funding.  We see this most dramatically in the area of education; particularly in the Fairfax County and Prince William schools in my district.  The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) reported last year that Virginia under funds its current obsolete standards by $1 billion.  The commonwealth is not able to pay for its current standards and expects localities to make up the difference.  Right now, counties do not have the same ability to generate revenue as cities. It is also true that for every dollar Northern Virginia taxpayers pay to Richmond, we receive less than 20 cents back in funds for Northern Virginia education and essential services.  I will work to change distribution formulas so that they reflect population density, bringing more money to our schools.

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

Funding should be in line with mandates.  I don't think it should be the sole determinant of graduation.

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

YES

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.

However, current proposed reductions have resulted in projected layoffs of 1,837 state workers and 4,500 potential layoffs in higher education.  Out of state students are now paying more into the system than the state pays its colleges and universities.  It is no longer guaranteed that a community college student who graduates with good grades can be accepted to George Mason.

We can find new revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes and finding corporate partners who would benefit by co-sponsoring programs. Because local “Mom & Pop” small retail businesses are losing customers to out-of-state businesses via web retail, it makes sense to impose a sales tax on internet purchases. Virginia also has one of the lowest cigarette sales taxes; it is time that we brought our tobacco tax in line with other states.  Fair tax reform would include mending but not ending the estate tax and retaining the “age deduction credit” for senior citizens.