Jim Hyland, 44, formally announced his run for the 35th District House of Delegate seat on March 19. Hyland, an Oakton resident who grew up in Vienna first decided to run in early February. “I feel very passionately that I can be a great representative for the people of the 35th district,” Hyland said in an interview.
In 2003, Hyland ran for the open seat of Supervisor in the Providence district, losing to current Supervisor Linda Smyth (D) by a vote of 10,554 to 7,948.
Hyland has not held elected office, but has worked as an aide to legislators in the U.S. Senate and to former Gov. George Allen (R). He said that he would use the experiences of working at the different levels of government. “They’re all interconnected,” he said.
Hyland lists transportation as one of his top priorities. He does not believe that the state should dip into the transportation trust fund to pay for non-transit projects, and believes it is acceptable to use general fund money to transportation projects.
He said that some transportation relief can be effected quickly with some small-scale project like opening up bottlenecks and clearing accidents more quickly. He also support the creation of High-Occupancy Toll, or HOT lanes, on the Beltway. “We have to try every creative idea we can,” Hyland said.
HYLAND IS still gathering information, he said, about the use of red-light cameras. The legislation that allows localities to use the cameras expires on June 30. Many Northern Virginia localities, like Vienna, have installed the cameras, and they say that the cameras help, over time, to reduce red-light runners and side-impact accidents.
Hyland said he had recently seen reports of jurisdictions shortening the duration of yellow lights in order to get more red-light runners, a practice he opposes. Until he has more information, however, he has not taken a position on whether or not he favors the cameras. “What we don’t want is accidents,” Hyland said.
He criticized some recent county land-use decisions, which he said will be likely to have more widespread effects. “I’m bothered by the MetroWest development,” he said. The project, also known as Fairlee, could put more than 2,000 residences, along with retail and office space, just south of the Vienna/Fairfax Metro station.
“The development decisions where no common sense was used could be the undoing of the quality of life,” Hyland said.
He describes himself a fiscal conservative, and said he would not have voted for the biennial budget in 2004, which included some tax increases, in addition to a few tax cuts. Hyland wants lower taxes and recognizes that government has priorities that it needs to fund. “People have their priorities too. People need their money too,” he said.
While his priority would be the district, Hyland said that he believes he must sometimes act in the interests of other areas. “I have great sympathy for the whole state,” Hyland said. “When one part of the state is doing better, we all do better.”
LOCALLY, Fairfax County needs an inspector general’s office. The county government, Hyland said, does not have any checks or balances in its legislative process.
On social issues, Hyland considers himself to be generally conservative. He opposes gay marriage, but questions if a constitutional amendment is really necessary. Gay marriage is already illegal in Virginia, and the legislature passed a constitutional amendment during the 2005 session. For the amendment to take effect, it would also need to pass through the legislature during the next assembly session, in 2006 after the election) and then go to a statewide referendum.
He noted that a federal law already exists that allows states to choose not to recognize gay marriages that occur in other states, and a state law is in place that prohibits gay marriage in Virginia. A constitutional amendment, Hyland noted, could be overturned by a Federal judge, and he does not wish to pass a law that could be overturned. “I feel strongly that the federal law is good enough,” he said.
Hyland said that he is pro-life, with exceptions for situations where the life of the mother might be at stake, and for rape and incest.
“If you are a law-abiding citizen, you have a right to own a gun,” Hyland said. He does, however, have some concerns about certain legislation regarding the expansion of concealed weapon permits. One recent bill would have accepted such permits from other states to be accepted in Virginia as well. He opposed that idea.
Three other candidates have announced that they are running for the 35th district seat. Incumbent Steve Shannon (D) will seek reelection. Two other Republicans, Ed Robinson and Arthur Purves have also announce plans to run.