FAMILY: My wife, Marion, is an attorney focused on the protection of historic resources. My dog, Simon, is named after Paul Simon, our favorite singer.
CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: Werkheiser for Delegate, P.O. Box 2171, Springfield, VA 22152
CAMPAIGN PHONE: 703-644-0564
OCCUPATION: Attorney and civic educator (I founded and help lead a nonprofit organization that prepares young Virginians to get involved in public service in a thoughtful, bipartisan way and I lecture throughout the country on civic engagement).
EMPLOYMENT: I have been working since I was ten, first mowing lawns and stocking shelves in my grandmother’s tiny shoe store. I then worked in an industrial laundry removing maggots infesting towels shipped in from fast food restaurants so they would not clog the huge washers. Fun! During college I worked three jobs. Upon graduation, I worked for the State Department overseas before returning to serve as Mark Warner’s speechwriter in his US Senate campaign and serving as a Legislative Aide in the General Assembly. In 1996 I founded the Virginia Citizenship Institute (VCI), a statewide nonprofit civic education organization. I would direct VCI for seven years until merging it with the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at UVA, which I now serve as Vice Chair. I have taught government at George Mason University. After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law, I have practiced law with two firms, presently Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC.
EDUCATION: College of William and Mary (B.A. in Government); University of Virginia School of Law, J.D.; Fellow, Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.
QUALIFICATIONS: I have successfully dealt with complex public challenges through positions in the public, private, nonprofit and academic sectors: Chairman, The Virginia Commission for National and Community Service; Co-Chair, The 2004 Fairfax County Bond Referendum Citizen Committee; Founder and Executive Director, The Virginia Citizenship Institute; Vice Chairman, The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at UVA; Executive Board, Virginia21; Member, The College of William and Mary Washington Council; Executive Board, The Pamela Harriman Foreign Service Fellowships; Board of Directors, Glories/Happy Hats (for children with serious illnesses); Speechwriter, Mark Warner for United States Senate Campaign; Speechwriter, United States Ambassador to France; Intern and speechwriter, The White House Office of Speechwriting; Aide, United States Information Agency, American Embassy Paris; Legislative Aide, Virginia Delegate Joseph P. Johnson, Jr.; Intern, The Congressional Management Foundation; Adjunct Professor of Government, George Mason University; Contributing Author, The Civic Mission of Schools; Contributing Author, Civic Engagement and the Digital Divide; Co-author, Civic Education in Virginia; Member, Northern Virginia Democratic Business Council; Pro Bono Attorney of the Year, Piper Rudnick LLP; Recipient, New Jersey’s 2002 Historic Preservation Award, Participant, Fairfax Bar Association September 11th Schools Project; Board of Directors, Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation; President, William and Mary Student Association; Chairman, The Virginia Student Coalition; Founder, William and Mary NAACP
1. What is your top public service accomplishment?
I founded and for seven years directed one of America’s leading civic education organizations. The bipartisan Virginia Citizenship Institute (VCI), now merged with the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, prepares the next generation of public leaders in Virginia to be more informed, thoughtful and bipartisan. I developed Sorensen’s intensive training programs for college and high school students to teach them the essential ingredients of good citizenship. Hundreds of my students’ Democrats, Republicans and Independents--have assumed leadership roles in state and national government and the nonprofit and private sectors. They are cooperating in partnerships in solving Virginia’s most pressing public challenges and the General Assembly has praised ‘the visible impact its graduates are having on the public life of the Commonwealth.’ Other states have begun to duplicate the civic education programs we designed and implemented in Virginia, leading me to hope that one day we will see such institutes promoting an ethic of thoughtful public engagement among America’s next leaders in every state.
2. What sets you apart from the other candidate in the race?
My record of bipartisan leadership. I believe that the future of public leadership in Virginia will be crafted by a moderate majority comprised of thoughtful leaders of both parties. Partisan divisions in politics nationwide and in Virginia are poisoning our public life, and we need leadership in Richmond mature enough to bridge this unfortunate divide. I have a record of working effectively with both Republicans and Democrats on numerous projects, including garnering transportation funding, supporting our colleges and universities, and bringing reform and efficiency to state government. Also, my endorsements set me apart. I have won every endorsement for which my opponent and I have competed, including Business Leaders, Teachers, Deputy Sheriffs, Firefighters & Paramedics, and Conservationists.
3. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
Make excuses for the failure to resolve our traffic crisis, the threat of gang violence and the stifling burden of property taxes.
4. What is the biggest issue facing your district? What should be done to address it?
In a word, traffic. I have a detailed and aggressive twelve-point plan to address this crisis on my website at www.werkheiserfordelegate.com. First, its a family values issue because it reduces the amount of time we can spend at our kids’ sports events and at the dinner table with our families. Second, it’s a security issue because we cannot move people in the case of a natural (or man-made) disaster. Third, it’s an economic issue because the time we spend just stuck in traffic costs each commuter $1200 a year. We now spend 35% more time stuck in traffic than we did when my opponent took office, and we have just earned the dubious distinction of having among the worst traffic in the nation. My opponent says that his accomplishments in solving our traffic problem have been ‘miraculous’ówhere’s the miracle? He takes credit for the Lorton VRE Station (which was completed before he took office), the construction of the Springfield Interchange/Mixing Bowl (which is not in our district, years behind schedule and the most massively over budget public project in Virginia history), and the widening of Route One (which is also years behind schedule and massively over budget). The simple fact is that he hasn’t addressed this problem because, in his own words, ‘Fairfax County definitely gets its fair share of transportation funding.’ You can’t fix a problem if you don’t believe it exists.
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?
6. In Virginia, local governments have limited control of revenue and taxing authority. Should they have more? Less? What changes would you propose?
I believe that providing Fairfax County with the authority to levy local taxes would backfire, because it would encourage Richmond legislators to send even more of our state tax dollars to other parts of the Commonwealth.
7. In Northern Virginia, property taxes have increased dramatically in recent years. What role should the state play in this?
For every dollar that you and I pay in state taxes, ONLY 27 CENTS STAY IN OUR DISTRICT. The rest goes to other parts of the state to fund their highways and schools, because our current Delegate has not been wholly unable to bring more of our tax dollars back home to Fairfax County. This forces the County to raise property taxes to pay for our education system and make meager upgrades to our roads. As your Delegate, I will say NO to party bosses in Richmond who view Northern Virginia as an unlimited ATM machine. We need a moderate Delegate who will work with members of both parties to form a coalition of Northern Virginia Delegates to fight for fair budgets. I will not weaken our bargaining position by engaging in partisan bickering as my opponent has over the last decade.
8. What do you believe the role of the state should be in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia?
Virginia has passed four laws that codify marriage as being between a man and a woman. I don't think we need any additional legislation on this issue.
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?
Public-private partnerships are one tool for helping to solve our traffic crisis. A system of user fees on our interstate highways would shift a significant amount of the financial burden to travelers from outside of Virginia who are passing through. Also, creating public/private Bus Rapid Transit lanes may be a viable solution on the I-95 corridor between Fredericksburg and Washington, D.C. One caveat is that some tolls will place an undue burden on poorer Virginians who should not be priced out of our public transportation system.
10. Do you believe that illegal immigration is a problem in Virginia? If so, why, and what should be done?
Yes, illegal immigration is a very serious problem that has significant financial and social consequences. On this my opponent and I are in agreement. However, we disagree on the solution. I believe the Federal Government must live up to its responsibility to enforce our immigration laws, especially at our borders. We pay federal taxes for this purpose and we must demand action. I stand with the Fairfax County Chief of Police and our local law enforcement officials in rejecting my opponent’s proposal to hoist this federal responsibility onto the shoulders of our hard working local police officers. Our police and sheriffs are already stretched thin due to a lack of support by my opponent and asking them to become INS agents too will crush their ability to respond to every other crime, thereby making our neighborhoods more dangerous.