FAMILY: Married to Sharon Davis; two sons: Matt, 25, and Alex, 26
CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: PO Box 969, Arlington, VA 22216
CAMPAIGN PHONE: 703-276-9414
OCCUPATION: Government relations advocate
EMPLOYMENT: EB&T Strategy Group; executive director, Civil War Dealers/Collectors Association
EDUCATION: B.A. University of Richmond, M.A. Hampton University
QUALIFICATIONS: Delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2004; former Chairman, Arlington County Board; former Chairman, Metropolitan Washington COG Committees on Land Use, Public Safety; former Member, Metropolitan Washington Transportation Planning Board; former Deputy Assistant Secretary U.S. Department of Transportation; former Chairman, President's Mississippi Delta Initiative; former staff director: U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Housing and Urban Affairs; former member, White House Community Empowerment Board; former member, Task Force on Livable Communities
1. What is your top public service accomplishment?
As Member and Chairman of the Arlington County Board from 1984-99, I provided leadership in making Arlington a nationally recognized urban success story. I played major roles in "smart growth" development, effective affordable housing initiatives; transportation improvements; regionally low tax rates; achievement of double AAA bond ratings; services for greater independence of elderly persons, nationally low crime rates, a robust business climate, creation of Arlington's neighborhood sign program and parkland acquisition and improvement.
2. What sets you apart from the other candidate(s) in the race?
I am unopposed for reelection.
3. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
I will not make a lot of speeches on the House floor.
4. What is the biggest issue facing your district? What should be done to address it?
Among many, such as clean air problems, Medicaid funding, and human/civil rights, the most important overall is transportation. Recognizing that funds are scarce, and the public does not favor a hike in gas taxes, we must do the following: Taking advantage of a healthy economy, we can use surplus funds for priority one-time projects, but we cannot sustain our transportation support by reliance on continuing good economic gains. We should use insurance premium taxes to back bond issues for transportation needs. And our Northern Virginia congressional delegation should be enlisted in deploying its substantial weight to secure certain transportation project earmarks. Increases in roadway tolls should be levied, with substantial devotion of toll revenue to transit needs. With those funds, we must prioritize transportation uses. Money should go to improve traffic chokepoints, repair or replace dilapidated bridges, provide for safety improvements, establish a state telework initiative, direct funds to new 8-car metro trains, and make bus service more attractive to patrons.
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?
The state should not impose hospital-like standards to clinics. Such standards will close such clinics. There should be easier access to the "after morning pill," which prevents unwanted pregnancy.
6. In Virginia, local governments have limited control of revenue and taxing authority. Should they have more? Less? What changes would you propose?
No elected official favors raising taxes, but as Oliver Wendell Holmes noted, "taxes are what we pay for a civilized society." Local governments need more authority over their revenue decisions — raising and lowering revenues to fit local needs and aspirations. For Arlington, its transit support, park improvement, property taxes relief mechanisms, education, affordable housing opportunities, and assistance to our older population. The wider the revenue sources the less burden is placed on any one community segment. Unfortunately, to do so we must get state permission. I support legislation to provide tax flexibility.
7. In Northern Virginia, property taxes have increased dramatically in recent years. What role should the state play in this?
On one hand rising housing values are creating enormous equity windfalls, which can be extremely useful to people who could put their equity to work for college tuition or home improvements. On the other hand, higher local property taxes can take big bites from homeowners' budgets, even with county property tax relief programs for lower income elderly persons, the use of state and federal deductions, and the benefit that some enjoy because they have paid off their mortgage. The state should give localities more flexibility to adjust property tax assessments to meet local tax burdens. One measure proposed by Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) would permit a substantial disallowance of property taxes off the top.
8. What do you believe the role of the state should be in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia?
I think the state should keep itself out Virginia's bedrooms. If same sex-couples wish to set up housekeeping for themselves, that choice should be up to the people making that decision. There are a number of same-sex couples in my neighborhood. I have not found that their relationship has had any impact on my traditional marriage, nor anybody else's to my knowledge. While people have a right to their sensibilities about marital or household relationships, people also have the right to be left alone from others who would impose their own standards on people who do them no harm. As long as people form household relationships that do not harm others, the state should pay focus attention to the important business of economic development, transportation, education, health care and other pressing matters.
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 generally favor public-private partnerships. However, if it just means more concrete, then we'll be building dinosaurs. The dramatically growing fuel crisis will only become worse, before new energy sources are effectively developed and deployed. Thus, we should not be encouraging new road facilities unless it can be clearly demonstrated that the new project will indeed reduce congestion, and do so for the long term. I will be submitting legislation along those lines in the 2006 General Assembly session. In addition, the state should establish an effective telework program for its own employees, more heavily promote car-pooling and transit, particularly bus service — which has been the "sick man of transportation" for far too long, and put more effort into fixing bottle-necks, deploy safety improvements, give priority to bridge repair and replacement, and embrace "smart growth" development to foster more pedestrian and bicycling options, and encourages less driving overall.
10. Do you believe that illegal immigration is a problem in Virginia? If so, why, and what should be done?
Yes and no. Federal law makes illegal immigration a crime, and substantial requirements are imposed on employers. The federal government, not the state, is responsible for investigating and enforcing illegal immigration. At the same time, federal authorities appear to have little effect, given the uncountable number of conditions in which people arrive without documentation, and the glacial process to determine whether or not they should stay. One young man in my district, who was brought here by his family, sought asylum, and was waiting for more than 14 years for disposition of his case. Despite the fact that he had a driver's license, a social security card, a ruling that he was here legally, a work permit, and a high school diploma, he could not secure in-state tuition at a Virginia college, because he had been classed as a refugee. At the same time, certain segments of the business community ignore federal law, and rely upon immigrants, including those here illegally, for labor. In addition, harsh state laws designed to complicate illegal immigration by denying access to health care and other state services, simply places heavy burdens on communities.