Edward Robinson (R)
FAMILY: Married, with a two-year-old daughter
CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: PO Box 583, Vienna, Va. 22183
CAMPAIGN PHONE: 703-400-0800
EMPLOYMENT: Ten Talents Resources, Inc.
EDUCATION: BA, Bucknell University
QUALIFICATIONS: Former aide to the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.); worked as a fundraiser for Georgetown University, Harvard Law School, the University of Virginia and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; Member of the Bucknell University Board of Trustees, the Northern Virginia chapter of the Urban League, the Association of Black Foundation Executives, and the University Club of Washington, D.C.
1. What is your top public service accomplishment?
Harry Truman once said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” I am a very lucky man! Throughout my career as a non-profit fundraiser and philanthropic advisor, I have had the honor of working with a lot of individuals and charitable organizations who are dedicated to improving the world around them. Together we have transformed countless lives and made dreams come true. I don’t want to take credit for their work or the generosity of those who support them. It is enough that I have been able to assist them.
2. What sets you apart from the other candidates in the race?
Arthur Purves, Jim Hyland and Steve Shannon are good guys, and I like them. What sets me apart from them is more attitude than anything. I’ve never run for office before, and I don’t think like a politician. Politics has too often failed us, which is why some problems, like transportation, never seem to get solved. We need to look at problems like a man from Mars would — not taking into account what interest groups think, or what the position of the party leadership is, or who did what to whom in the last session of the General Assembly, but simply trying to find a workable solution. We have to be open to new ideas from any source.
3. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
Not to insult the intelligence of the electorate. People have a right to hear the truth from their elected representatives, no matter how unpalatable. I won’t tell you I have a secret plan to fix transportation that tastes like chocolate and costs a nickel, or that we can prepare our kids to compete in the highly competitive 21st century without some sacrifices. Some issues are truly complicated; the choices can be very tough, and sometimes the best we can do is a compromise. That’s the way life is. The 35th district is home of a lot of smart, well-read, educated people, and they deserve better.
4. What is the biggest issue facing your district? What should be done to address it?
The biggest issue facing the district is not transportation, education or taxes, although those are important. The real problem is an erosion in faith in our public institutions, which all too often prevents us from working together to solve our problems. A nation that distrusts its police forces, its military or its government is a nation in trouble. There is no easy fix, but one thing we can do is to level with the electorate on tough issues. Another thing we can do is to lower the temperature in our public debate. We should agree to disagree, and not let the personal overwhelm the political. Just as we teach our children not to hate others because of skin color or accent, so we should not teach them to hate their political opponents.
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 think human life is sacred and should be protected; when there is any doubt, we should err on the side of life. I think the state of Virginia should toughen regulations on abortion clinics, to bring them up to the same standards of any medical clinic in Virginia. Women should not be dying needlessly because of substandard medical care. Secondly, I think mothers should get all the information about their fetus before they make the decision to have an abortion. I support legislation that requires doctors to provide mothers seeking abortions with as much information about their choice as possible, including statistics on risk, a sonagram and information about fetal pain.
6. In Virginia, local governments have limited control of revenue and taxing authority. Should they have more? Less?
I believe that the government that is closest to the people is the government most responsive (and accountable) to the people. I favor giving more power to local governments in Virginia, but I don’t want Fairfax County to use this as an excuse to go into a feeding frenzy with our tax dollars. I certainly don’t want to increase the tax burden on working Virginians. Any increase in taxing and spending by localities must be offset by cuts in state taxes and spending. People are taxed enough; what we need is a revamping and re-prioritization of the way both counties and state government collect and spend our money.
7. What do you think about the Dillon Rule, which maintains that localities have only those powers expressly given by the state government?
The Dillon Rule could use some amending. There has to be some controlling authority or else the Commonwealth of Virginia would devolve into a crazy patchwork of conflicting, confusing regulations and counties at war with one another. But the County of Fairfax needs more say in, for instance, how our transportation dollars are spent, and we ought to be able to keep a larger percentage of our money up here, rather than paying for roads that stretch from nowhere to nowhere and carry a fraction of the traffic we deal with every day.
8. What do you believe the role of the state should be in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia?
I think we would all agree that marriage is a good thing that should be recognized and encouraged by the Commonwealth of Virginia. But marriage has to mean something; if we debase the value of marriage we may do incalculable harm to our society and our children. I was raised in the Church, and I truly believe marriage is an institution established by God and is the union of a man and woman. I would vote to keep it that way.