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Caputo's Kick-Off Is Saturday

Long-time activist to challenge Chris Craddock in the 67th.

Chuck Caputo, 67, of Oak Hill, is the Democratic candidate for the 67th District of the Virginia House of Delegates on the Nov. 7 ballot. Gary Reese, who formerly held that position, lost the Republican primary to Chris Craddock, Caputo's challenger.

Caputo's charisma and passion have helped build bonds with people in the community, regardless of their party affiliation. As a self-proclaimed centrist, Caputo has dedicated his campaign to helping to maintain the quality of living that Northern Virginians have thrived on in recent years.

"I'VE BEEN here for almost 40 years," said Caputo. "[My family] stayed in Fairfax County because it's a wonderful place to live and work and develop lifelong friendships. And I'm retired, so all of my time is devoted to this campaign and to my district."

Caputo is hosting a kickoff to talk about his campaign and speak with voters from the Waples Mill precinct on Saturday, July 23 from 2-4 p.m. at the Greenbriar Community Center in Chantilly.

Other elected officials will be speaking, including Sully District School Board Representative Kathy Smith and Sully District Chair Mary Lee Cerillo.

"My family moved to Greenbriar with two young children in [1969]," said Caputo, who has two sons, one daughter and five grandchildren. "I started volunteering at the Greenbriar Civic Association and eventually became its president. That's where my base of civic activism started."

"It's a very appropriate place to hold the kickoff," said Mary Ann Hovis, one of the volunteers helping Caputo with his campaign. "We have a lot of people bringing homemade cookies and lemonade [and other snacks and drinks] to the event. Almost all of his staff are volunteers who just think he's the right guy."

Caputo is best known for his volunteer efforts and leading important government and local organizations in his community.

"I think people will appreciate some of the things I've done," said Caputo, who spent five years on the Fairfax County School Board and helped with the planning and creation of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. He was elected as the first PTA president at Thomas Jefferson, and his son Chris was part of its first graduating class.

"I've known Chuck for a while now," said Kathy Smith. "I have a lot of respect for him, and I know he will be a good leader for us in Richmond. He's very passionate about the community."

CAPUTO RETIRED as a senior executive from Defense Information Systems Agency, a combat support agency responsible for serving the needs of the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State; he recently completed six years — two terms — as a member of the Technical Committee of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), the premier IT association in Virginia; he was the past chairman of the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council — a group that prepares an annual report on the state of the environment for Virginia's Board of Advisors; he is a lector and the immediate past president on the Parish Council at St. John Neumann Catholic Church; and he was also the president of the Council of the Arts in Herndon.

"[Chuck has] lived in [and been involved with] the community for a long time," said Smith. "That will be of benefit to the community. [And] I've been really impressed with getting to know him as a person."

Caputo believes transportation is the largest issue facing Virginia today. "We're getting to a point of public gridlock, and it's becoming worse," said Caputo. "The second issue I am concerned with is education. Right now, the quality [of public education in Virginia] is top notch. My goal is to keep it that way and make improvements. Our problem right now is funding from the State. We need enough to adequately maintain our programs."

Caputo was also vice chair of the Northern Virginia Community College Board of Trustees and a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Community College Trustees. "Community Colleges are very important," said Caputo. "We have 23 in Virginia alone. They serve to provide our workforce and allow students to study for two years at a lower cost and transfer to the four-year college of their choice."

LOUDOUN COUNTY and Fairfax County house two main school districts within Caputo's district. "I'm a very strong advocate of public education," said Caputo, who was also on the Virginia High School League (VHSL), which deals with high school debates, sports and other competitive activities. "All three of my children went to public schools, and two went to public colleges in Virginia."

Beyond transportation and education, Caputo believes in proposing legislation that will protect Virginia's standard of living and promote further economic growth.

"I believe in fairness and recognize the need to maintain our high quality standard of living," said Caputo. "The key aspect is making sure that we can be attractive to businesses and continue growing our economy. I also think that as citizens we're all concerned to preserve the things we're accustomed to — good public education, parks, recreational services, public safety, and good access to health facilities. Some people provide really wonderful services in our community — teachers, fireman, policemen — they should be able to afford housing [in the same community that they serve and protect]."

An avid hunter, fisher and jogger, Caputo also prides himself in breaking traditional party lines.

"As a moderate Democrat, as a person who considers the sensitivities of the people in my district, my experience and reputation will be contrasted with the extreme conservative right-wing agenda put forward by my opponent [Chris Craddock]," said Caputo, who received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the City College of New York and his master's degree in Systems Management from George Washington University.

Caputo's opponent, Chris Craddock, is a 26-year-old youth minister at The King's Chapel in Fairfax and a graduate in economics from George Mason University. Craddock believes in lowering taxes and upholding "traditional moral values."

"The major difference between Caputo and his opponent is a vast amount of experience," said Hovis.

"If we include four years of high school, then Craddock has about 11 years [of experience] serving his community," said Caputo. "The reality of 37 years of public service in the 67th District contrasted with what Mr. Craddock brings to the table [will be the major difference in our campaigns]."

JOSH BOLES, Craddock's campaign manager, sees things differently: "Chris [Craddock] feels that age and experience will not be a [deciding] factor in this election. He has been active in his community for over 10 years, he is very good with listening to [and working with] people and representing the mass majority of constituents within his district. He stands for lower taxes, traditional family values, fair representation and more money backups to Northern Virginia."

With the election approaching, Caputo has developed a strategy for reaching voters. "My main message is a theme of appealing to the sensitivity of the families in the 67th district," said Caputo. "I intend to conduct a vigorous door-to-door campaign in which I will listen to citizens of the 67th and every avenue of what they would like their Delegate to do when he gets to Richmond."

Saturday's kickoff will offer an opportunity for more voters to get to know Caputo and ask any questions regarding his campaign. The kickoff will take place at the Greenbriar Community Center, 4615 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly.