Questionnaire: John Murphy, Board of Supervisors, Dulles District

Questionnaire: John Murphy, Board of Supervisors, Dulles District

Office sought: Dulles District Supervisor

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Previous offices held: Planning Commissioner (1999-present), Chairman, Parks and Recreation Board (1991-1999)

Occupation: Contractor

Current employment: Owner of Murphy Mechanical Services, a Loudoun Business for 17 years. Address same as campaign address

Previous employment: Employed by R E Donovan Co. Rockville, Md 1977 - 1987

Education: Steamfitters Local 602 Apprenticeship Program 1973 -1977

Community ties: Life member Sterling Jaycees, At- Large Planning Commissioner

ENDORSEMENTS: Loudoun Education Association, Voters to Stop Sprawl, Affordable Shelter PAC, Political Awareness and Civil Empowerment, AFL-CIO

1. What is your top public-service accomplishment?

I am proud to have 4 highlights for public service. I will list them as I think they are equal in my mind. VA Jaycee's Family of the Year 1986-87, Little League Volunteer of the Year 1991, Eastern Loudoun Citizen of the Year 1995, and VA Parks and Recreation Volunteer of the Year 1996

2. 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 other parts of the county.

Transportation and controlling growth are the 2 major issues that I am hearing from constituents. Following those are school funding, public safety, and affordability. I supported the adoption of the New General Plan and the Zoning Ordinance. The plan reduced future homes by 80,000, infrastructure costs by 1.8 billion, eliminated 61 new schools, and reduced future daily vehicle trips by 750,000. There are 46 million proffer dollars in county funds. More than half can be used for transportation. We can use these funds to complete roads and build recreation facilities.

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

I have served this county in appointed public service capacities for the last 14 years. The last 4 as a planning commissioner working on land use cases and interacting with county staff and constituents.

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

My opponent wants to throw out the General Plan and go back to the business as it was in the 1990's. He is opposed to sign and lighting ordinances. I support reasonable restrictions on signs and lighting. Look at Fairfax and the proliferation of political signs. Need I say more?

5. 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.

I will complete a comprehensive review of transportation needs and encourage public/private partnerships and funding options to complete the many fragmented roadways in the Dulles District.

In fact, I started working with Supervisor Chuck Harris on a Route 659 road club that will

align all the proffers with a goal to start construction sooner rather than later. By having all the developers build the expansion of Route 659 in one segment, we can realize cost savings as opposed to a piecemeal approach. In addition, I will press for completion of the Loudoun County Parkway and evaluate options for additional (North/South, East/West) roads to alleviate the growing traffic congestion in Loudoun County.

I support mass transit, including Metrorail in the Dulles Corridor, continuing into Loudoun County. I oppose proposed ìlump sumî increases in Greenway tolls, favoring the more equitable distance-based fee system that balances cost-sharing based on actual usage. Dulles citizens who only travel a few miles shouldn't have to pay the full toll.

6. The majority on the current Board of Supervisors have followed a "Smart Growth" policy. How has it been successful? How has it failed? What remains to be done?

I'm proud to have voted for the comprehensive plan that eliminated 80,000 future houses from Loudoun County. This saved the county $1.8 billion in future infrastructure costs including 61 schools that will not need to be built. Moreover, Wall Street has responded well to our growth control measure by improving our bond rating, which saves us interest costs on our long term debt. When I was appointed to the Planning Commission by Chairman Scott York, I made one key promise - to control the unfettered growth that the previous boards allowed. I'm proud that I kept that promise. I am concerned about some of the additional regulations in the commercial areas that could restrict job growth and help offset the tax burden for working families. We need to stay the course, fully implement the plan, and not rolling back the comprehensive plan that manages growth and saves county taxpayers billions in infrastructure costs as my opponent advocates.

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

The comprehensive plan sets forth excellent environmental protections including providing sufficient recreational facilities for residents and to permanently preserve open space from development. Again, we need to have a slate of candidates who are dedicated to defending the comprehensive plan. We must continue toprotect our rural character and the environment that attracts people and commerce to Loudoun in the first place.

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

While there have been some concerns about gang activity in Loudoun, I believe most people feel safe in their community. We need to continue to fund the Sheriff's office and make sure we have enough officers to protect our communities. Loudoun should more aggressively engage community policing such that each HOA has a liaison with a group of officers who patrol the neighborhood.

9. 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 believe the civil liberties of ordinary Americans have suffered as a result of the Patriot Act, especially the right to privacy. I am not convinced that our previous civil liberties posed a barrier to the effective tracking or prosecution of terrorists. Moreover, I am concerned there has not been a rigorous public debate on this important issue and we should ask lawmakers to re-examine provisions of the first Patriot Act to ensure that is in alignment with key constitutional protections before expanding this authority. When the government is no longer required to disclose the identity of anyone, even an American citizen, detained in connection with a terror investigation - until criminal charges are filed, no matter how long that takes, I believe we have gone too far. The constitutional freedoms we all enjoy are too precious to give up without a serious analysis of how these new laws have aided in the war on terrorism.

10. 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 must engage the development community for market based solutions that go beyond the current Affordable Dwelling Unit Program. This will require us to be creative and offer incentives to build quality workforce housing, but I'm convince bring all principals to the table we can come up with solutions. Just recently, I discussed with the Loudoun County staff and the Affordable Dwelling Unit Advisory Board a plan currently in place in Riverside, Ca. The plan, developed by a coalition including city officials, Provident Bank, and California Freddie Mac, provides low-interest mortgage loans - with zero money down and zero closing costsófor public servants. Our teachers, firefighters, and police officers deserve our best efforts to be able to live in the community they serve.

11. Should counties have the taxing authority of cities?

No - Before we explore any additional taxing authority, we must first get back our fair share of revenue we send to Richmond. We currently get back only 18 cents for each dollar we send. Frankly, our state representatives should be a stronger voice for Loudoun's working families.

12. What proposals do you have for mitigating the effects of soaring property values and related taxes?

People who already live here are not complaining about the increase in their property value. I will work to increase non residential tax revenue which will reduce the burden on personal property taxes for needed services.

13. What campaign finance reform do you support? How should the county avoid conflict of interest, or even the appearance of conflict, given the Board's role in approving development and zoning changes and contributions by development interests?

I believe Virginia should limit the amount of out of state contributions one can raise. Local politicians with ties to national groups based out of Washington DC can use national fundraising lists to influence local elections. A wealthy donor in Maryland or other states, who freely give to candidates with the same rigid ideology, shouldn't decide the outcome of local elections. I have no objections to local businesses, including developers who support candidates, as long as there is full disclosure of the contribution.