CANDIDATE Q&A: Andrew M. Rosenberg

CANDIDATE Q&A: Andrew M. Rosenberg

<b>Age:</b> 36

<b>Family:</b> none

<b>Hometown:</b> Alexandria

<b>Elected Experience:</b> none

<b>Occupation:</b> public policy attorney (education, health care and appropriations)

<b>Employer:</b> Patton Boggs LLP

<b>Education:</b> Amherst College, B.A. 1990; University of Virginia Schools of Law and Architecture, J.D., Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, 1997.

<b>Campaign web site:</b> <a href=></a>

<b>Campaign email:</b> <a></a>

<b>Why are you running for this position?</b>

I am running because I believe that 8th District voters deserve a Democratic alternative to Jim Moran. The people of Northern Virginia deserve someone who votes the right way and demonstrates sound judgment. I hope to be that person.

<b>What is your top public service accomplishment?</b>

As the coordinator for a pro-conservation campaign at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1993, I helped to design and implement a project that coordinated the strategies, tactics and communications of disparate environmental conservation groups across the nation that were fighting a coordinated attack from the property-rights advocate community. Armed with financial backing from the timber, mining and drilling industries, so-called property rights advocates spent much of the early 1990s attacking state environmental regulations across the country as illegal "regulatory takings." With our help, local preservation groups were able to share resources and fight effectively. I take great pride in my role in helping to beat back these attacks on our environment.

<b>What are the top five problems facing your constituents and how do you propose to address them?</b>

1. Transportation/Growth Northern Virginia's transportation problems are unique, and demand innovative solutions. Unchecked congestion has lengthened our workdays and shortened our valuable time with families and friends. While there are no simple solutions to ending congestion, there are things we can and should be doing to improve our situation. Our transportation issues need to be addressed in new ways, and while new investment in mass transit solutions is important, much can be accomplished without throwing money at the problem.

As your congressman, I will aggressively support federal funding for transportation infrastructure projects in northern Virginia that reduce congestion, improve safety, benefit the environment, and utilize Smart Growth principles to curb sprawl. In addition to keeping our roads and bridges safe, we need to enhance and expand Metrorail and Metrobus in order to better serve our community. We need to advance innovative ideas like telecommuting and staggered commute times ñ simply building more roads or widening existing roads is not the answer.

2. Economy/Jobs Our nation's economy is ailing. Unemployment is at its highest level in a decade. Since 2001 we have lost over 1.8 million jobs. Household incomes have declined for three years in a row. The current federal budget deficit is expected to reach $600 billon next year. Health care costs for working families and seniors have skyrocketed and the cost of attending college has placed higher education out of reach for many students.

The current administration believes that large tax cuts and smaller government will solve these problems but all evidence shows that their strategy is failing. While America's wealthiest have taken advantage of the lion's share of the tax cuts, the middle class has been hammered with rising tuition bills, reductions in health care coverage, and increasing transportation costs.

We cannot ignore that these tax cuts have saddled our country with huge debt that reduces our capacity to invest in social programs and homeland security and will have to be paid back by future generations. We must stimulate growth in our nation's economy and create new jobs. We must assist workers, their families, small businesses, and the states in the short-term, and get the economy back on track.

3. Health Care A civilized society takes care of its ill and provides adequate health care for all its citizens. If elected, I will be a forceful advocate for progressive health policies aimed at improving development of and access to treatment, encouraging a greater commitment to preventive health care and providing necessary resources to ensure that all Americans have access to high quality care in times of need.

Our system is in desperate need of repair. Forty-one million Americans lack insurance. Millions of others work to take care of incapacitated loved ones at home without any federal assistance. America suffers from epidemics of preventable diseases like lung cancer and obesity. And we are desperately lacking in surveillance and response systems to prevent an outbreak of an infectious disease or bioterror attack.

As a practicing health care policy attorney who has represented a diverse group of organizations including health care companies, nursing home pharmacists, and patient groups, and as a former legislative aide on Sen. Edward Kennedy's Health Subcommittee, I understand how our nation's complex health care system affects both patients and providers. As your congressman, I will work tirelessly to improve our healthcare system.

4. Education. As the son of a public school teacher and legislative counsel to several schools and learning institutions, I have developed a unique understanding of the issues facing our nation's public education system. I am absolutely committed to maintaining strong support for our public schools and universities and to addressing problems in our educational system.

Because our community is home to such a diverse mix of people, Northern Virginia faces special challenges in the area of education. In Alexandria alone there are 65 native languages spoken by students who come from 86 different countries. This level of diversity brings great value to our schools, but it also presents great challenges to our teachers and school administrators. We need to work harder to ensure that we provide adequate resources to our schools so they are better able to prepare our children for the future. Our emphasis should be on improving teacher quality and morale, rather than over-emphasizing and over-analyzing standardized tests. The rigid standards mandated by No Child Left Behind set schools up to fail and drain critical resources that are desperately needed to buy supplies and pay teachers the salaries they deserve.

5. War in Iraq. I opposed the Bush Administration's decision to go to war in Iraq. Whereas Jim Moran has stated that the United States would not have gone to war with Iraq "if it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community," I believe that the responsibility and blame for going to war rests solely with the President and his Administration. President Bush recklessly led our nation into war on a series of false pretenses, needlessly squandering international goodwill in the process.

<b>What qualities and qualifications do you bring to the office?</b>

I will bring new vision to this office, bolstered by tireless energy and a great respect for the idea of the public servant as a role model. Northern Virginia deserves a Congressman who will serve with integrity and sound judgment, both in a professional and personal setting. My background in healthcare and education policy, as well as my interest and experience in Urban Planning and Environmental Protection have given me a unique perspective to address the urgent needs of the district.

<b>How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponent?</b>

While we agree on many aspects of public policy, there are several issues on which Congressman Moran and I disagree. Unlike Congressman Moran, I would never have voted for the USA Patriot Act, the Ban on Late Term Abortion or the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition to policy differences, integrity and character are the primary ways we differ. Instead of being a respected representative of our district, my opponent has been a continuing source of controversy and division. The Washington Post called him “unfit to serve.” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stripped him of a leadership position in the House, and six Democratic members called on him to forego a re-election bid. I, on the other hand, will vote the right way and do the right thing every day for this District.

<b>What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?</b>

I will never act in a way that brings into question my honesty, integrity or judgment.