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Votes

Bringing Community Needs to Richmond

Commentary

I grew up in Springfield and have served as your delegate for the last 12 years. Throughout this service to you, I have always said, "I don't go to Richmond to do what Dave Albo wants to do. Rather, I go to do what my constituents want me to do." I work hard to know your thoughts and opinions, whether it be knocking on your door, responding to your e-mails and letters, or just running into you on the street.

With your guidance, I was able to know how our community felt about the issues, and as a result, was able to set an active agenda that has brought us many improvements.

I worked with federal and state legislators to deliver more transportation funding to our area than any other area in Virginia including the Springfield Interchange, Fairfax County Parkway, Springfield Metro, Lorton VRE, Route 1, Lorton Road, and Route 123. I worked with the South County parents to build the new South County Secondary School. I worked with law enforcement to make Virginia's anti-gang laws the toughest in the country. And I worked with prosecutors to make our drunk driving laws the toughest as well.

But elections are about the future not about resting on one's laurels. There is more to do and with your help, I will work to accomplish the following:

* Build Roads. There are several local roads that need improvement, including Rolling Road (we need to improve the section from Keene Mill to the Parkway and get traffic lights), Silverbrook (we need to widen it for the South County Secondary School), and Hooes (the two lane section South of the Parkway is set for safety improvements). Our older roads need re-paving. On a much larger scale, we need a Washington Bypass funded by tolls to keep travelers driving between New York and Florida out of Springfield, and Beltway Rail to give us mass transit options to Tyson's and Dulles.

* More Money Into the Classroom and Out of the Board Room. I want to ensure that our local public schools maintain the high standards of quality they have had since I graduated from West Springfield in 1980. My 65 percent initiative requires a school system to put 65 percent of its total operating budget into the classroom. The best communities in the U.S. achieve the 65 percent goal. Fairfax County is close, but still only puts 61.5 percent into the classroom. By transferring merely 3.5 percent of its administration budget to the teaching/classroom budget, Fairfax could raise each teacher's salary by $7,737 or reduce the classroom sizes to 21 students to one teacher.

* 5 Percent Cap on Real Estate Tax Increases so that Retirees and Young Families are Not Taxed Out of Their Homes. Real Estate Taxes have gone up an average of 92 percent in six years. My plan is a cap on the total tax bill so that no bill will ever increase more than 5 percent per year. This cap will not affect "essential services," but it will force the county to re-think some of its outrageous spending.

* Protect Children from Gangs. As Chairman of the Criminal Law Subcommittee, I have waged an unrelenting war on gangs. I have taken special efforts to eradicate gangs from schools by giving principals absolute authority to kick gang members out, made the mere recruiting of a minor into a gang a felony, and established "Gang Free School Zones" which implement severe penalties for gang-related crimes within 1,000 feet of a school.

* Continue Our Fight Against Illegal Aliens. Last year, I banned illegal aliens from receiving drivers' licenses, and this year I barred them from receiving taxpayer funded benefits such as non-emergency health care, subsidized housing and welfare payments. Next year, I will propose a statute that gives state and local police the ability to arrest and detain illegal aliens who have committed an offense, and transfer them to the Federal Authorities for deportation.

Results speak for themselves. I hope that this Tuesday, when you go to the polls, you make your decision based on proven results, not empty promises.