CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 41870, Arlington, VA 22204
CAMPAIGN PHONE: 703-549-8253
OCCUPATION: Communications, Marketing, and Policy Consultant
EMPLOYMENT: Self-employed, and current Member of the House of Delegates
EDUCATION: American University, BA; Political Science and Public Communication, 1985; University of Virginia's Sorenson Institute of Political Leadership, Fellow, 2000
QUALIFICATIONS: Member of the House of Delegates since 2004; Member of House committees on Education, Transportation and Health, Welfare and Institutions; "Environmental Hero" award from the League of Conservation Voters; Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, 2002 to 2003; City of Alexandria, Board of Zoning Appeals, 1996 to 1997
1. What is your top public service accomplishment?
I was able to pass legislation that protects vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities by expanding the categories of care providers required to report suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation. I also passed legislation that increased penalties on employers who intentionally bounce a paycheck to a worker or outright refuse to pay a worker for wages due.
2. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
I will never take the honor and obligations of my office for granted. Even running unopposed, I do my best to continue to reach out into as many communities of my diverse district as possible.
3. What is the biggest issue facing your district? What should be done to address it?
The biggest issue facing my district is transportation. My top priority is transit — particularly on Columbia Pike, in the Potomac Yard corridor and via rail to Dulles. Other projects should be prioritized by linking land use to transportation — encouraging the "smart growth" policies that have worked so well in Arlington to be adopted elsewhere.
I strongly support increased funding for transportation and adding new dedicated sources of funding — especially for transit, including Metro. I would designate dedicated funds from sales taxes, or even from a surcharge on the lowest mileage vehicles. If gas prices decline, we may eventually consider increasing the gasoline tax. I am a member of the House Transportation Committee, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, and the Columbia Pike Transit Advisory Committee.
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 am a pro-choice legislator and always will be. I believe that our laws on choice should be centered on a woman's right to govern her own body. Access to birth control should not be restricted and the "Morning After Pill" should be easily available to victims of sexual assault and other women. I am opposed to efforts to restrict access to birth control and reproductive information at our state colleges and universities.
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 taxing authority. Right now they are forced to rely on the real estate property tax and the car tax, including the limited amount the state reimburses them for car tax relief.
I would erase many or all of the distinctions between cities and counties and allow a higher local tobacco tax. I would support the state granting a small percentage of the income tax collected from each locality's residents directly back to their local government. I would be willing to support a modest increase in the upper brackets of the income tax in exchange for a local component of the income tax and the total elimination of the car tax. I would support a small increase in the sales tax if the money was directly allocated as a dedicated revenue source for transit.
7. In Northern Virginia, property taxes have increased dramatically in recent years. What role should the state play in this?
The most important thing the state could do would be to fully fund the standards of quality for education in all areas of the state. (Not lowering Northern Virginia's share because we are a wealthier region, but instead fully funding all regions.) The cost of education is the largest part of local budget increases. Counties and cities are severely limited in how they can raise the funds needed to pay for public education. We should pass Tim Kaine's proposed constitutional amendment that would allow for cities and counties to offer a homestead exemption to eliminate the property tax on the first 20 percent of a home's value. The state needs to allow localities to diversify their revenue streams so they don't have to rely on the real estate property tax.
8. What do you believe the role of the state should be in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia?
Gay couples should be able to live free from government restrictions that relegate them to second-class status. It is only recently that Virginia has joined the other 49 states in allowing private companies to choose to offer group health insurance to same-sex couples; and in letting lower income unmarried mortgage borrowers jointly receive a state-backed mortgage. Virginia has outlawed same-sex marriage three times, and also outlawed civil unions and ìother arrangementsî such as contracts, which violates our state and federal constitutions. Our state tourism slogan is "Virginia is for Lovers." In spite of this, there is a powerful right-wing movement that is promoting amending our state constitution's bill of rights to outlaw gay marriage, civil unions and more. Even for opponents of gay marriage, there is no good reason to amend our bill of rights to outlaw same-sex relationships for a fourth time. It is done for political gain and it is mean spirited. I will continue to stand up and speak out against such demagoguery, whether it is used against gays, immigrants, religious minorities or other underdogs.
9. What are your views about public-private partnerships and other mechanisms to privatize Virginiaís highway system? What are the caveats you would identify as we move forward with this process?
Government is responsible for core public needs, including transportation. I am apprehensive at the prospect of having our highway system completely dependent on private corporations, who may be more mindful of their profits rather than the needs of Virginia citizens. However, I am willing to carefully consider limited partnerships for HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes, if that is the only way to build more carpool lanes.
10. Do you believe that illegal immigration is a problem in Virginia? If so, why, and what should be done?
Illegal immigration is a national problem that needs to be realistically and appropriately addressed by President George W. Bush, Congress and the federal government. ICE, the agency that handles immigration applications, is a disaster. People who are legally here in the United States are put on waiting lists that go on for years and years before they are given answers to valid applications for extensions of status.
Virginia has benefited from the labor of immigrants, both legal and illegal. I do not condone or approve of violations to federal immigration laws. However, it is unfair and unrealistic to expect Virginia to do what our federal authorities have chosen not to do. It will cost billions to fully enforce immigration laws. A good first step would be for the federal government to reform immigration laws and bring order to a chaotic and an often unfair system.