David Englin (D)
Family: Shayna Englin (wife), Caleb Englin (son, 5 years old)
Occupation: Writer, Activist, Consultant
Employment: U.S. Air Force, 1992 - 2004
Education: Master in Public Policy, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, 1998; Bachelor of Science in History, U.S. Air Force Academy, 1996
Qualifications: I have more than a decade of public service leadership experience dealing with a wide range of issues, from sensitive and politically-charged public safety and environmental concerns, to supporting the needs of families and small businesses, to building bridges between community, government, business, and non-profit organizations. I have years of experience navigating government bureaucracy, working effectively with people from across the political spectrum, and standing up for progressive values even in the face of great challenges. I'm proud of my past service and community activism, but this race is about the future, and I'm the only candidate who has outlined a detailed, comprehensive progressive agenda with fresh ideas to strengthen our community, defend our values, and invest in our future.
1. What is your top public service accomplishment?
Beginning at age 17, I devoted 12 years of my life to the security of the United States. As an officer educated in politics and public policy, I served in a variety of unique positions where I contributed to the mission of the U.S. Air Force and the welfare of American service members. I was a key player in establishing an innovative national program serving 90,000 civilian employers of Guard and Reserve airmen, helping protect the civilian jobs of service members returning from wartime deployments. I eventually directed the program, which the GAO lauded as 8,000 percent more cost-efficient and 90 percent more time-efficient than a similar Department of Defense program. I deployed to the Balkans with the 16th Air Expeditionary Wing, contributing to counter genocide and peacekeeping operations there. Throughout my military service, I earned a reputation as somebody who will stand up for progressive values even in the face of great challenges. As an activist, a member of Alexandria’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, and a Democratic political organizer, I have continued that commitment to fighting for progressive policies and values.
2. What sets you apart from the other candidates in the race?
I’m the only candidate with a comprehensive agenda of fresh, progressive ideas to strengthen our community, defend our values, and invest in our future. I have specific ideas to make housing more affordable, reduce the cost of health care, improve education, enhance our transportation system, protect our environment, and manage our long-term fiscal health. I’m the only candidate with a child in public school, so I see firsthand the problems facing our schools, and I know that we need to end No Child Left Behind, which is bad for education and is an unfunded mandate that is driving up our property taxes. I’m also the only candidate with a long-term vision so that my son Caleb will grow up in a Virginia filled with hope for the future. Democrats have an obligation to nominate somebody to this seat who will fight without fear for Democratic values and who will build the grassroots and build the Democratic Party so we can reach beyond the 45th district and, over the long haul, help elect other Democrats. I’m already doing that through my energetic grassroots campaign. Together we must change the balance of power in Richmond so we eventually have the votes to pass sensible progressive legislation. That vision and the demonstrated ability to carry it through clearly set me apart from the other candidates.
3. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
Progressive values are traditional American values, and I promise never to waiver in my commitment to fighting for sensible progressive legislation that will create a more hopeful future for our community. At the dawn of our Nation, great Virginians like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington expressed a profound vision of freedom, justice, and equality that was a world apart from the reality of the day. I believe that each generation has moved us a little closer to realizing that vision. With the support of friends and neighbors who share my sense of possibility and hope for tomorrow, together we will fight to keep us moving in the direction of our ideals. I promise never to waiver in that fight for progress.
4. What is the biggest issue facing your district? What should be done to address it?
The skyrocketing cost of living in the region is the biggest overall issue, since it affects people of all ages and backgrounds and from all walks of life. However, this is really a web of interconnected issues driven by the growing costs of housing and health care, the failure of the state to fully fund education and transportation, and unfair tax policies that are driving out senior citizens, others on fixed incomes, and homeowners who teeter at the edge of being able to pay their bills. My agenda includes a number of fresh, progressive ideas that I believe will help us move to a system that is more fair and consistent while helping lower property taxes and cost of living and keeping our communities strong and whole.
5. Is there any additional legislation in regard to abortion that you would support? Would you make any changes to the current laws and regulation about abortion in Virginia?
I will fight for policies that ensure access to reproductive health care, contraception, and accurate sex education so we can reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and I will fight any and all attempts to restrict a woman's fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including abortion. Even beyond that, I will fight for policies that ensure access to pre-natal and post-natal care for women of all income levels, and for policies that lend a hand to women who choose to have children, so that income and economic status are not barriers to reproductive freedom.
6. In Virginia, local governments have limited control of revenue and taxing authority. Should they have more? Less?
Local governments should have more authority over taxing and revenue so they can be more responsive to citizens and can account for unique local economic, social, and political realities. For example, if local governments had the authority to tax commercial and residential real estate at different rates (which current state law forbids) Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax could enact deeper tax cuts for homeowners than for commercial property to balance the tax burden more fairly between them in response to the dramatic rise in home assessments compared to commercial property. Moreover, since Northern Virginia sends far more in taxes to Richmond than we get back, we ought to look for ways to keep more of Northern Virginia's taxes in Northern Virginia. For example, a dedicated regional funding source for Metro, like the half-penny regional sales tax proposed by the Washington Metropolitan Council of Government, could help make up for the General Assembly’s failure to include Metro funding in this year’s $850-million transportation package.
7. What do you think about the Dillon Rule, which maintains that localities have only those powers expressly given by the state government?
I oppose the Dillon Rule, and I will fight for local control of local issues at every opportunity. There’s no reason that legislators from Lynchburg or Charlottesville should have any say over local traffic or affordable housing policies in Arlington, Alexandria, or Fairfax. As a position with conservative roots, local control ought to have broad and bipartisan appeal, and Democrats should embrace this as a winning issue. Moreover, engaged citizens and activists at the local level are a great source of innovative approaches to public policy, so giving local governments more freedom to run their own affairs can produce new and better ways to solve problems and improve quality of life.
8. What do you believe the role of the state should be in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia?
I support complete marriage equality for same-sex couples. I will fight any attempt to write bigotry into the Virginia Constitution, and I will fight to end all laws that deny equal rights based on sexual orientation. I will not merely support efforts to ban all discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation -- including in employment and housing -- but I will also help lead those efforts. As a straight, married man with a young son and a military background, I believe I can be a particularly effective public advocate for nondiscrimination policies. Moreover, I hope we can work together to move society forward so that some day we can repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and portions of the Virginia code prohibiting same-sex marriage.