Tom Bolvin, State Delegate, District 43

Tom Bolvin, State Delegate, District 43

Office sought: State Delegate, 43rd District

Party Affiliation: Republican

Previous offices held; please include dates:

Incumbents: when elected to this position:

Occupation: VP of Business Development, Triumph Technologies Inc.

Current employment (include name and address of employers):

Previous employment

Education: Virginia Tech (B.S. degree in Finance and Insurance)

Community ties:

ENDORSEMENTS: I am proud of the tremendous support I’ve consistently received from the first responders community. I am endorsed by the Professional Firefighters union and the Fairfax County Police union. I also have the endorsement of every major business organization, which is important during these challenging economic times. The Washington Board of Trade, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Virginia Tech Council, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses all endorse me.

1. What is your top public-service accomplishment?

I am proud of many of them: serving on the Governor’s select panel on security and preparedness following 9/11; passing legislation last year addressing local government’s preparedness for emergencies; passing important reading phonics legislation; and passing important local parking laws. But my favorite is one that is close to my heart. My bill from 2 sessions ago to strengthen our weak child safety-seat law. As a father, I am proud that this legislation will probably save lives. I was happy to have bi-partisan support from the legislature and also from Governor Warner.

2. Incumbents: Describe the top accomplishment of your last term.

Personally, my bill on requiring local governments to conduct vulnerability assessments so they can be prepared for terrorist or natural emergencies, Isabel. As a collective body of the House of Delegates, I was proud that we were able to address the budget shortfall without raising taxes and cutting basic aid to localities for K-12 funding. We were only one of two states across the country to do that.

Why shouldn't voters blame you for current problems in your district?

The current problems with transportation and growth are because we have failed to build the planned roads over the past two decades, while local government continued to approve zoning expansion for additional growth. We can’t turn this ship around on a dime. Besides, we have made good progress on transportation projects in, or close to, my district, like the Springfield Interchange and the Wilson Bridge.

3. What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them?

Jobs and the Economy-in this area, it’s important to have someone who has kept taxes low and made Virginia a good place to do business. I support economic development initiatives like boosting tourism investments, creating incubators for developing small businesses, and limiting burdensome regulations.

Public education funding-we need to provide additional resources for our public schools. Hopefully, with tax reform we can accomplish this.

Keeping college affordable-I am for capping tuition rates so that college can still be affordable for middle-income families. We need to support our colleges with the necessary resources but we also need them to be accountable and to control costs.

Transportation-innovative solutions like HOT lanes and other public-private initiatives are needed until we can find more transportation dollars when the economy improves. In the meantime, we should make improvements on our local streets, like adding additional turn lanes on busy streets and better law enforcement on speeders and HOV violators,

Growth-local governments need to enforce their existing powers more effectively.  Our county needs to take a more aggressive stand against runaway development, like Loudoun and Prince William have done.

Describe one challenge (or more) in your district that is different than in other parts of the state.

Education funding-other parts of the state feel that we are a rich county and have the best schools in the state. That may be true, but we cannot continue to unfairly subsidize the rest of the state at our own expense. I have supported changes to the funding formula but unfortunately they have been defeated by downstate legislators.

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

4 years of successful experience on the job; a unique appreciation and understanding of the issues of the district; a personality to work with and bring together all kinds of people; and finally a perspective as a family man concerned about his child’s education and future.

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

By my proven record of accomplishment and his record of nothing but promises, promises, promises.

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

I promise to never forgot who elected me and why I’m down in Richmond—to represent the good people of the 43rd district.

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?

Until we hear the Governor’s projections in December, it is hard to predict. I am hopeful that tax reform in one way or another may make it through this session.

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.

Metrorail expansion is extremely expensive. We need creative solutions under the Public-Private Transportation Act, like HOT lanes for the Beltway expansion and also on I-395. We need greater commuter options, like SLUG lines, which I started at the Springfield Mall in my district. We need greater public and private incentives to use Metro. And we have to build the roads that were planned a long time ago. Public transportation is important, but it will not solve our transportation dilemma.

9. Do local governments have the tools they need to control and guide growth?

Yes, they are not using them properly though.

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?

We have good smart growth measures in my district, where apartments in walking distance have been built around the metro stations.

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

My top environment priorities are protecting parks, wildlife, and tree preservation. We need to prevent industry, like dredgers,  from killing sensitive and protected wildlife. I served on the State Parks Foundation and we have the best state parks in the country.

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

That is a relative question. A person’s definition of safety will differ from person to person. A more appropriate question might be, “are you confident that federal, state, and local government have taken the necessary steps to protect us against further terrorist attacks? Yes, I am, to the best of our ability while still retaining our rights and lifestyle as Americans.

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 think some liberties (like at the airport) have been exchanged for being more secure. I support those efforts. While I am a strong proponent of protecting private information, I don’t think the Patriot Act has hurt us—it in fact has protected us.

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?

Of course they are.

What do you propose to address the needs of these families?

I serve on the Hispanic Committee of Virginia (HCV) Corporate Partners board and I see firsthand the efforts made in the social service organizations to help these families. believe we should make every effort to help those law-abiding citizens to achieve the American dream, of owning a home and sending their kids to college.

14. Should counties have the taxing authority of cities?

Possibly, as a part of comprehensive tax reform.

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

I am completely open to raising the cigarette tax. But we shouldn’t raise it so high that it promotes a black market for cigarettes.

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

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

There are a world of possibilities but no comprehensive plan has been proposed by the Governor or by the special commission established to study the issue. Apparently, the Governor has a plan but he will not share it until after the election. I wish we could debate it before the election.

18. How should income taxes be collected and distributed locally?

The tax rebate plan endorsed by my opponent is foolish and will probably lead to higher taxes. He wants to rob Peter to pay Paul by taking state revenues and send them to the counties. Under his plan, our property tax rate would only be reduced by one penny! And any savings would be wiped out by just a single percentage increase in our assessments. And we saw what happened last year when assessments went up 18% in one year! It is a dangerous and foolish plan.

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 don’t endorse the cap on property taxes. It’s bad government to allow the counties to impose a real estate tax, but then tie their hands by imposing this cap on the rate increase. I think if you’re unhappy with the Board of Supervisors, you should vote them out! I am hopeful that tax reform might bring more revenue to the counties without having to impose the cap.

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?

I think your question is misleading and wrong. Our strength is in the number of Committee Chairman we have in the House. That’s where the power lies. We have Northern Virginians heading up Appropriations (Callahan-Fairfax), Finance (Parrish-Manassas), Education (Dillard-Fairfax), Science and Technology (May-Loudoun) and we used to have the Transportation Chairman (Rollision-Prince William) until his primary defeat this summer.

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

No, because it is effective in controlling the growth of local government and provides a sense of uniformity across the Commonwealth in important areas.

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

I have supported sensible and needed limits on abortion, like partial birth infanticide and parental consent.

23. Would you support allowing localities to ban weapons from public buildings?

They already have these powers.

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?

I mentioned this above as one of the top challenges. I am hopeful that tax reform can bring in additional resources for public school funding.

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

I would rate them as successful. We need to take into consideration our growing needs with ESL students and special needs children.

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

I don’t believe in having guns around school property.

27. Characterize the crisis 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.

We have been able to protect the quality over the years. We just need to make sure we can still keep college affordable for working families. Tuition at universities nationwide has grown faster than inflation and growth in the student population. We need to protect against large tuition increases here in Virginia.