Last fall, Jim Kaplan saw his chance. When Kaplan found out that Del. Chap Petersen (D-37) was leaving his seat in the House of Delegates, he first talked with other local political figures, and then went to his wife. “I told her, ‘I really think we can make a difference here,'” Kaplan said.
Kaplan, who calls himself a moderate has never held elected office. Running as a Republican, he said that bringing the seat back into Republican hands is necessary to help in the district.
While Petersen's relationship with Gov. Mark Warner (D) has allowed him some success, he does not think the next governor will be as accommodating. “Regardless of who the new governor is, he’s not going to be a Northern Virginia friend like that,” Kaplan said.
On transportation, Kaplan wants to encourage development nearer to existing infrastructure. “We need to focus on where our growth is going to be,” he said. While he doesn’t know enough of the specifics to comment on the Fairlee/MetroWest development, he does like the concept. “I actually do believe that clustering growth around the Metro does make sense,” he said.
He also supports the construction of High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes on the Beltway. These lanes allow carpoolers to drive for free while solo drivers can use them for a fee. Even those who cannot afford to pay the fee, Kaplan said, will see a benefit. “You still benefit because people are in those other lanes."
On red-light cameras, Kaplan said that he hopes that a compromise can be reached. “I know that they have their pluses and minuses,” he said. However, he leans toward allowing localities to make their own choices. "I probably would support local control."
The growth in real estate taxes is something that needs to be addressed, Kaplan said. “I’ve knocked on doors of people that are being forced out of the community,” he said. “I do think that some cap on assessment growth is something we can look at.”
Kaplan also said that he thinks Attorney General (and candidate for governor) Jerry Kilgore’s (R) plan to set up regional transportation authorities across the state might be a good idea. “Done on a statewide level, there might be a little more trust,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan said he would not have voted for the tax increase during the 2004 session of the General Assembly. However, he would not be willing to sign a no-tax pledge, either.
He would try to bring more money to Fairfax by adjusting the state funding formulas that send more money to less affluent regions. “If we can move that formula down, we’d definitely benefit,” Kaplan said.
He also supports giving additional resources to police and firefighters. Rather than just favoring “tough on crime” legislation, Kaplan said supporting first responders takes other forms. “It also means having good benefits. It mean providing them with equipment,” he said.
ON SOCIAL ISSUES, Kaplan takes generally moderate positions. While he favors parental notification, he is not in favor of a total ban on abortions.
The constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is not something he supports. “From what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t have voted for it,” he said.
People should be able to purchase more than one gun per month, Kaplan said. Where people can carry guns varies for him. He said he views open carry and concealed weapons differently, noting the number of permits that are necessary to carry a concealed weapon.
Kaplan will run against former City of Fairfax Mayor John Mason in the June 14 primary. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Kaplan has raised $29,597 as of March 31. Mason filed his candidacy too late to be included in the most recent finance reports.
On the Democratic side, David Bulova has raised $32,976 and Janet Oleszek has raised $34,077.