Nasty and Strident Camp[aign

Nasty and Strident Camp[aign

To the Editor:

I am a long-time resident of Fairfax County. I have become increasingly concerned about the nasty and strident tone in the campaign literature of Dave Hunt, who seeks the State Senate seat for the 32nd District held for the past 12 years by Janet Howell. He has used lies, darn lies and bogus statistics to mask the fact that he has no legislative experience. Obviously, after pumping over $200,000 of his own money into his campaign, it appears Mr. Hunt will say and do almost anything to get elected.

In one attack brochure, Mr. Hunt begins with a picture of Thomas Jefferson and stresses the art of being honest. He says that Senator Howell did not help make EZ Pass and FAST Toll compatible. The truth is Senator Howell's Budget Amendment Item C-144 10#1s provides capital monies for such a conversion.

Mr. Hunt claims that his experience as a House of Delegates Staffer makes him qualified to serve in the Senate. But he doesn't tell you that he resigned from Delegate Callahan's staff in the middle of the General Assembly Session this year in order to compete for Janet Howell's Senate seat. Was he on the state payroll while an announced candidate for the State Senate? If so, that would seem totally inappropriate.

Mr. Hunt Claims that Senator Howell was not responsible for requesting $75 million for rail to the Dulles Airport. She did request this money and it was included in the Senate's adopted budget. which was then approved by the House of Delegates.

Senator Howell also voted to protect the Transportation Trust Fund after Governor Gilmore tried to raid $650 million from it. Mr. Hunt won't tell you that he supported Mr. Gilmore or that Senator Howell voted to protect it after seeing what Governor Gilmore had done. House Joint Resolution 645 shows her vote to protect the Trust Fund. Once again, Mr. Hunt hadn't told the truth.

Mr. Hunt calls for a 5 percent annual cap on the rise of real estate assessments. However, he doesn't tell you that if this were to become law, Fairfax County (and Virginia, were it to become state law) would immediately lose their AAA credit rating, which would add millions in interest to any money borrowed.

If you believe Mr. Hunt, Senator Howell has spent the last 12 years as a couch potato and has done little for the people of her district. Yes, she served on the most powerful Senate Committees and is respected by her peers on both sides of the aisle. She was the first woman ever to be appointed to the Senate Finance Committee. She has been endorsed over Mr. Hunt by dozens of civic organizations, from the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Washington Board of Trade to the Virginia and Fairfax County Education Associations, and numerous other groups. How many civic groups' endorsements does Mr. Hunt have?

In fact, Mr. Hunt had done almost nothing for the community until he decided to run for the State Senate. But he won't tell you that. He cites what he calls 12 years of "failure" by Senator Howell. However, the groups and associations and networks who support Janet Howell will tell you a different story. She deserves the support of the 32nd District in the old-fashioned way: She has earned it.

James Bryant