FAMILY: Married for 29 years to Maureen; father of five children — Jeanine (24), Cailin (21), Rachel (17), Bobby (14) and Sean (14)
CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 62386 Virginia Beach, VA 23466
CAMPAIGN PHONE: 757-499-2944
OCCUPATION: Attorney, member of the House of Delegates
EMPLOYMENT: Partner, Huff, Poole, and Mahoney, P.C.
EDUCATION: J.D., Regent University School of Law; Master of Science in Business Administration, Boston University; Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, University of Notre Dame
QUALIFICATIONS: Member, Virginia House of Delegates (1992 to Present), 84th District, Virginia Beach — Chairman, Courts of Justice Committee, Assistant Majority Leader (2002 to Present); U.S. Army, Lt. Colonel, Medical Service Corps, Retired (1997); 21 years of service active duty and reserve service; Former Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Virginia Beach (1990 to 1991); Former employee of American Hospital Supply Corporation, Kansas City, Chicago, Atlanta (1981 to 1985)
1. What is your top public service accomplishment?
Working with Gov. George Allen (R) and Attorney General Jim Gilmore (R) to abolish parole and enact truth-in-sentencing reforms in Virginia in 1994, and leading the effort to reform Virginia's juvenile justice system in 1995 and 1996. These common sense reforms that kept violent predators off the streets and out of our neighborhoods has resulted in reduced murder rates, and significantly reduced the instances of rape and other violent crimes. Public service is about making our community a better place, and I look back at those common sense reforms and realize that I played a role in making our communities safer.
2. What sets you apart from the other candidate in the race?
Having served in the U.S. Army as well as a business executive, I understand how to manage a large enforcement agency like the Attorney General's Office. My experience in the Army helped develop the skills required to assist the governor in disaster preparedness and led me to announce my plans for terror and disaster preparedness during this campaign. I am the only candidate who has called for making permanent the Office of Commonwealth Preparedness, the state equivalent of the federal Homeland Security office.
Further, my endorsements by the Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Benevolent Association clearly set me apart from my opponent. I am honored that the men and women who patrol our streets have selected me as their choice to be Virginia's next "top cop."
3. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
I will never lie or mislead the people of Virginia. I have a proven record of leadership in the House of Delegates in areas such as education, transportation, and public safety. I want to the people of Virginia to be have a strong trust for their leaders, and I have the conviction which will make me a trustworthy Attorney General.
That is why I introduced legislation to prevent politicians in Richmond from taking money from the transportation trust fund to spend it on pork for other parts of the state. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been taken out of the transportation trust fund over the last 15 years to pay for other state priorities. Only once has that money been paid back. It is important to have dedicated streams of revenue for transportation and I am the candidate with a proven record of working to protect those transportation dollars.
4. What is the biggest issue facing Virginia? What should be done to address it?
I believe issues of public safety are critical to all Virginians. Issues such as terrorism, emergency preparedness and tougher penalties for sexual predators are among many of the safety issues which face Virginians everyday. I have a detailed campaign plan to help protect Virginians from acts of terror, both foreign and domestic and have the experience, as a veteran of the U.S. Army, to help lead Virginia in a time of crisis.
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?
Unlike my opponent, I have always supported parental involvement in the decision of a minor daughter to have an abortion. I believe Virginia needs stronger laws to protect the unborn, specifically ending the gruesome procedure of aborting fetuses in the ninth month, known commonly as partial birth abortions. I will continue to work to pass a law to outlaw this procedure in Virginia to protect our families, our daughters and the unborn.
6. In Virginia, local governments have limited control of revenue and taxing authority. Should they have more? Less? What changes would you propose?
Taxation at all levels of government needs examination. I chaired a tax reform commission in 2002 that made a series of recommendations, many of which were adopted in 2003 and 2004. However, I was disappointed that efforts to reform Virginia's tax code turned into nothing more than an excuse to raise taxes in 2004.
One area where Virginia needs to act is in the elimination of the personal property tax on personal cars and trucks, especially in light of the fact that we have as much as a $3 billion surplus. The elimination of the car tax on working families in Virginia is a promise we need to keep. I also was chief co-patron for legislation endorsed by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce to repeal Virginia’s death tax. With the end of the federal death tax, Virginia remains one of only a handful of states that continues to collect this tax that destroys businesses, costs Virginia jobs and makes it more difficult for small business owners to pay for health insurance for their employees.
7. In Northern Virginia, property taxes have increased dramatically in recent years. What role should the state play in this?
I support Jerry Kilgore’s plan to cap real estate assessments. Home ownership levels are at an all-time high and it is becoming very difficult for people seeking homeownership to afford a house due to rising cost assessments and soaring property tax bills. I will work with Jerry Kilgore and Bill Bolling to end the cycle of back-door tax increases. With the population growing rapidly in the Hampton Roads area and Northern Virginia, I want to ensure that individuals can afford to purchase a home and not be deterred by increasing assessments or intimidated by the high property tax rates that often contribute to sprawl and more congestion.
8. What do you believe the role of the state should be in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia?
I believe that we should pass a constitutional amendment to ensure that marriage is between one man and one woman. Last year, I sponsored a measure urging the passage of a federal ban on gay marriage. The measure easily sailed through both houses, although my opponent voted against it.
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?
As attorney general, I plan to work with the Virginia Department of Transportation to expedite the review and implementation of public-private partnerships on highway construction projects. This year, I patroned legislation revamping the proposal and negotiating process for innovative initiatives through the Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA) to encourage greater private-sector participation in meeting highway, rail, and other transportation needs (HB 2666, 2005). Public-private partnerships are the fastest, most effective way for the state to get a transportation project completed. I see public-private partnerships as a means to increase safety on our highways and reduce traffic congestion in Northern Virginia.
10. Do you believe that illegal immigration is a problem in Virginia? If so, why, and what should be done?
I believe that we must crack down on illegal immigration in Virginia while ensuring that all legal immigrants have a fair chance to achieve the same great opportunities as all Virginians have.