Viola Baskerville (D)
FAMILY: Husband, Arch; sons, Tim and Sean
CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 25279, Richmond, VA 23260
CAMPAIGN TELEPHONE: 804.303-5238
OCCUPATION: Consultant, trained mediator
EDUCATION: JD, University of Iowa; BA, William and Mary; Fulbright Scholar
QUALIFICATIONS: House of Delegates, 1998-Present; Richmond City Council, 1992-1998
1. What is your top public service accomplishment?
I am most proud of my role as the successful sponsor of the legislation that reformed Richmond City government to allow the citizens to elect their mayor and to make the mayor accountable for the management of the City and its budget.
2. What sets you apart from the other candidates in the race?
I think my background with roots in rural and urban Virginia, and my willingness to stand up for issues I believe in, whether or not they are popular, make me stand apart from most politicians.
3. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
I won't say one thing and do another.
4. What is the biggest issue facing the state? What should be done to address it?
The rising cost of health care and its effect on the state's uncontrollable Medicaid budget threatens to bankrupt the state and make it impossible for the legislature to make needed investments in transportation, education and the environment. Unless we get a handle on this crisis, Virginia will have no money to spend to reduce road congestion, improve rail and rapid transit or address other essential infrastructure needs in education, technology or clean drinking water. We need to begin to address this crisis by focusing more dollars on prevention. For each dollar spent on disease or accident prevention, we save somewhere between $1.50 and $3. Two-thirds of the people in nursing homes are Medicaid dependent. If we can delay entry into skilled nursing care and keep aging Virginians healthy and at home, we'll be able to save some money to invest in transportation, education and other long term investment needs.
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?
6. In Virginia, local governments have limited control of revenue and taxing authority. Should they have more? Less?
I do not think that the local governments need more tax authority. I do think the state ought to keep its promises to fully fund the standards of quality for our public schools and to increase its support for public safety at the local level. If the state met these commitments, local officials would be able to lower real property taxes for all Virginians while maintaining the desired level of services. In addition, the state should expand the authority of the localities to provide property tax relief to vulnerable senior citizens and disabled people. Currently, the income and net worth limitations imposed by the legislature on the constitutionally authorized tax relief program for people who are over 65 or disabled unnecessarily limit the ability of local governments to help individuals on fixed incomes who are stretched to the breaking point by rising real property assessments.
7. What do you think about the Dillon Rule, which maintains that localities have only those powers expressly given by the state government?
Localities should be free to govern themselves without state interference, including choosing their form of government, setting personnel rules and managing purchasing. The Dillon Rule should continue to ensure that rules and regulations of general applicability to businesses and citizens are uniform throughout the Commonwealth to the greatest extent possible.
8. What do you believe the role of the state should be in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia?
To the extent that the government provides civil recognition and benefits for any private relationships, it should do so equally and without discrimination. The state should not interfere, however, with the right of churches to choose not to celebrate or sanction any particular union. I support the right of any church or faith tradition to marry any couple it chooses or not to marry any couple it chooses. It is beyond reasonable question that both the state and federal constitutions absolutely protect these rights from government intrusion or mandate.