FAMILY: Shayna Englin (wife), Caleb Englin (son, six-years-old)
CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: 1505 Wayne Street, Alexandria VA 22301
CAMPAIGN PHONE: 703-549-3203
OCCUPATION: Writer, Activist, Consultant, Stay-At-Home Parent
EMPLOYMENT: Self-Employed, 2004 – Present, U.S. Air Force, 1992 - 2004
o Master in Public Policy, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, 1998
o Bachelor of Science in History, U.S. Air Force Academy, 1996
QUALIFICATIONS: I have more than a decade of public service leadership experience dealing with a wide range of issues, from sensitive and politically-charged public safety and environmental concerns, to supporting the needs of families and small businesses, to building bridges between community, government, business, and non-profit organizations. I have years of experience navigating government bureaucracy, working effectively with people from across the political spectrum, and standing up for progressive values even in the face of great challenges. I'm proud of my past service and community activism, but this race is about the future – about who can carry on Del. Marian Van Landingham’s 24-year legacy of progressive leadership for the 45th district. I’ve outlined a detailed, comprehensive progressive agenda with fresh ideas to strengthen our community, defend our values, and invest in our future.
1. What is your top public service accomplishment?
Beginning at age 17, I devoted 12 years of my life to the security of the United States. As an officer educated in politics and public policy, I served in a variety of unique positions where I contributed to the mission of the U.S. Air Force and the welfare of American service members. I was a key player in establishing an innovative national program serving 90,000 civilian employers of Guard and Reserve airmen, helping protect the civilian jobs of service members returning from wartime deployments. I eventually directed the program, which the GAO lauded as 8,000% more cost-efficient and 90% more time-efficient than a similar Department of Defense program. I deployed to the Balkans with the 16th Air Expeditionary Wing, contributing to counter genocide and peacekeeping operations there. Throughout my military service, I earned a reputation as somebody who will stand up for progressive values even in the face of great challenges. As an activist, a member of Alexandria’s Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, and a Democratic political organizer, I have continued that commitment to fighting for progressive policies and values.
2. What sets you apart from the other candidate in the race?
As the Democratic candidate, I’ve outlined a comprehensive agenda of fresh, progressive ideas to strengthen our community, defend our values, and invest in our future. Read it online at www.davidenglin.org. I have specific ideas to make housing more affordable, strengthen public education, reduce the cost of health care, enhance our transportation system, protect our environment, and manage our long-term fiscal health. Unlike my Republican opponent, I have a child in public school, so I see firsthand the problems facing our schools, I have a vested interest in fixing them, and I know that we need to end No Child Left Behind in Virginia, which is an unfunded mandate that drives up our property taxes while forcing us to spend our education dollars inefficiently. My Republican opponent has aligned himself with far-right Republicans in the General Assembly who fought against Governor Mark Warner’s budget reform that invested $1.5 billion in public schools and $97 million towards public safety. He embraces Jerry Kilgore’s property tax scheme, which will gut local resources for public education and transportation. He has proposed eliminating group health insurance for adults under 40, which would put health care out of reach for hundreds of thousands of our brother and sister Virginians. As a Democrat, I reject the far-right’s "every man for himself" philosophy. I believe we’re all in this together, and I will fight for policies that reflect that progressive vision. I’m clearly the only candidate in this race with the energy, the ideas, and the vision to build on Del. Marian Van Landingham’s 24-year legacy of progressive leadership for the 45th district.
3. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
Progressive values are traditional American values, and I promise never to waiver in my commitment to fighting for sensible progressive legislation that will create a more hopeful future for our community. At the dawn of our Nation, great Virginians like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington expressed a profound vision of freedom, justice, and equality that was a world apart from the reality of the day. I believe that each generation has moved us a little closer to realizing that vision. With the support of friends and neighbors – Democrats, Independents, and moderate Republicans -- who share my sense of possibility and hope for tomorrow, together we will fight to keep us moving in the direction of our ideals. I promise never to waiver in that fight for progress.
4. What is the biggest issue facing your district? What should be done to address it?
The skyrocketing cost of living in the region is the biggest overall issue, since it affects people of all ages and backgrounds and from all walks of life. However, this is really a web of interconnected issues driven by the growing costs of housing and health care, the failure of the state to fully fund education and transportation, and unfair tax policies that are driving out senior citizens, others on fixed incomes, and homeowners who teeter at the edge of being able to pay their bills. My agenda at www.davidenglin.org includes a number of fresh, progressive ideas that I believe will help us move to a system that is more fair and consistent while helping lower property taxes and cost of living and keeping our communities strong and whole.
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 will fight for policies that ensure access to reproductive health care, contraception, and accurate sex education so we can reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and I will fight any and all attempts to restrict a woman's fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including abortion. Even beyond that, I will fight for policies that ensure access to pre-natal and post-natal care for women of all income levels, and for policies that lend a hand to women who choose to have children, so that income and economic status are not barriers to reproductive freedom.
6. In Virginia, local governments have limited control of revenue and taxing authority. Should they have more? Less? What changes would you propose?
Local governments should have more authority over taxing and revenue so they can be more responsive to citizens and can account for unique local economic, social, and political realities. For example, if local governments had the authority to tax commercial and residential real estate at different rates (which current state law forbids) Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax could enact deeper tax cuts for homeowners than for commercial property to balance the tax burden more fairly between them in response to the dramatic rise in home assessments compared to commercial property. Moreover, since Northern Virginia sends far more in taxes to Richmond than we get back, we ought to look for ways to keep more of Northern Virginia's taxes in Northern Virginia. For example, a dedicated regional funding source for Metro – like the half-penny regional sales tax proposed by the Washington Metropolitan Council of Government – could help make up for the General Assembly’s failure to include Metro funding in this year’s $850-million transportation package.
7. In Northern Virginia, property taxes have increased dramatically in recent years. What role should the state play in this?
The state should meet its obligations to fund transportation and education instead of pushing those costs onto local governments and driving up our property taxes. When the state shortchanges localities and also severely limits the tools local governments can use to raise revenue, local governments are forced to make up the difference with high property taxes. The state should give local governments the option to exempt a portion of the value of owner-occupied homes from taxation and the power to tax residential and commercial properties at different rates, which would help relieve the burden on homeowners. The state should also give localities more authority to raise revenue by other means. For example, allowing the option of a local progressive income tax would create a system where people contribute based on their ability to pay and not simply because they own property, which would be a great relief to homeowners who are young parents or retirees on minimal fixed incomes.
8. What do you believe the role of the state should be in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia?
I support complete marriage equality for same-sex couples. I will fight any attempt to write bigotry into the Virginia Constitution, and I will fight to end all laws that deny equal rights based on sexual orientation. I will not merely support efforts to ban all discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation -- including in employment and housing -- but I will also help lead those efforts. As a straight, married man with a young son and a military background, I believe I can be a particularly effective public advocate for nondiscrimination policies. Moreover, I hope we can work together to move society forward so that some day we can repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and portions of the Virginia code prohibiting same-sex marriage.
9. What are your views about public-private partnerships and other mechanisms to privatize Virginia’s highway system? What are the caveats you would identify as we move forward with this process?
I'm much more concerned with making smart long-term investments in Virginia's rail and public transit systems. I do not support selling existing roads to private corporations who will profit from tolls. Instead, we might consider creating tolls on some major interstate highways and use that revenue for road maintenance throughout the state. (In any case, we should find some mechanism to offer toll credits for low-income drivers so we don’t add to the burden of the working poor.) However, I’m open to negotiating public-private partnerships for new road construction, depending on the details. In Great Britain, where most roads are built through public-private partnerships, these arrangements have successfully delivered new roads on time at lower cost.
10. Do you believe that illegal immigration is a problem in Virginia? If so, why, and what should be done?
State and local authorities do not have the training, resources, or mandate to enforce federal immigration laws. At the state and local level, the real problem is poverty, not immigration. (Nobody thinks twice about the immigration status of affluent members of our community who may have entered or remained in the country illegally.) As your state delegate, I will strengthen our community by supporting policies that give people an opportunity to lift themselves from poverty, regardless of where they were born or how they came to be here. I do believe our nation’s outdated federal immigration laws cry out for reform, and I support Senator John McCain and Senator Edward Kennedy's bi-partisan Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act, which would enhance border and entry-point security and allow certain undocumented immigrants to pay a fine and become legal residents. However, that is a federal policy beyond the purview of the Virginia House of Delegates.