FAMILY: Wife, Marty; son Klarke, 12; daughter, Kelsey, 9
CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: P.O Box 17098, Richmond, Va. 23226
CAMPAIGN PHONE: 804-421-9966
EMPLOYMENT: Williams Mullen Law Firm
EDUCATION: B.A., UVa at Wise; J.D., The College of William and Mary
QUALIFICATIONS: Former state and federal prosecutor; Secretary of Public Safety for Governor George Allen; former Virginia Attorney General
1. What is your top public service accomplishment?
Making Virginia’s streets and communities safer for Virginia’s families has been my top priority throughout my career, and I believe we have made great advances in public safety during my years of service. As Secretary of Public Safety under Governor George Allen, we abolished parole, established truth-in-sentencing and reformed the juvenile justice system. As Attorney General, I focused on expanding the DNA databank, combating gangs and domestic violence, cracking down on child pornographers, stiffening the penalties for the manufacturing of meth and making sure we have anti-terrorism laws to make our communities more secure.
2. What sets you apart from the other candidates in the race?
I have the experience to lead and the values to be Governor. I believe that promises made are promises that should be kept. My record demonstrates my commitment to this principle. I am a product of Virginia’s public schools, my wife is a former third generation public school teacher, and our two children are in Virginia public schools. I fully understand the importance of a public education and the difference impact teachers can make in a life. They changed mine and that’s why I support better pay for better teachers. As Governor, I am committed to ensuring that Virginia has the nation’s best teachers. My opponent, Tim Kaine, is simply not consistent and not honest with his positions on important issues. For example, he claims to be a tax-cutter, however he supported the largest tax increase in Virginia history; he claims to support the 2nd Amendment, but sent protestors to Washington, D.C., to an anti-gun rally at taxpayers’ expense; and in 2001 called for a complete moratorium on the death penalty in Virginia, but now says he will carry out death sentences as governor.
I have an innovative transportation plan that will get traffic moving again. In particular, my plan will make transportation funding a priority in the budget, create regional transportation authorities to empower local communities to develop local solutions and secure the transportation trust fund and using the latest technology to reduce congestion on our roads.
3. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
I promise that, as Governor, I will never forget that I serve the people of Virginia and I answer to them. Too often, politicians get into office and forget that they serve the people.
Because I respect the will and the voice of the people, I will work to give them a voice in any proposed increase in the sales, income or gas tax, just as they have a voice for issuing new state bond debt. Every Virginian has a stake in the size of government and how it is paid for, and with as Governor, I will make sure that they have a voice in these important decisions.
4. What is the biggest issue facing Virginia? What should be done to address it?
As a first-generation college student, I understand the importance of a quality education in order to succeed in life. Ensuring that our children receive the best education possible no matter where they live or their economic situation will be my priority. I have put forward my "3 R’s" plan to recruit, reward and retain the nation’s best teachers — because better teachers mean our children get a better education. My plan will provide additional funding for school construction and infrastructure so that our students have access to state-of-the-art classrooms. We also need to ensure that our children have a safe learning environment.
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 support a ban on partial-birth abortion in Virginia. My opponent, Tim Kaine, claims to support a ban on partial-birth abortion, but he supports a measure that would not effectively prevent this gruesome procedures. I support a ban that will actually prevent the practice of partial-birth abortion. I believe that we should promote a culture of life. I support the common sense measures in law of a 24-hour-waiting period, parental consent, informed consent, and I promoted legislation that protected pregnant women and their unborn child, known as Conner's law. Finally, I support regulations that would require abortion clinics to meet the same health and safety standards as hospitals. This is a commonsense safety measure to protect the health of women.
6. In Virginia, local governments have limited control of revenue and taxing authority. Should they have more? Less? What changes would you propose?
I do not support expanding the ability of localities to tax their residents and commerce within their boundaries. Uniformity gives Virginia a competitive advantage in seeking economic development opportunities. I do, however, look forward to working with local governments to provide school construction dollars for local school construction and renovation through state budget revenue growth.
7. In Northern Virginia, property taxes have increased dramatically in recent years. What role should the state play in this?
Many homeowners or those hoping to become a homeowner are finding it difficult to afford housing because of skyrocketing assessments and soaring property tax bills. Many localities levy tax increases through shell games of lowering tax rates a few cents while assessments increase by double-digits. These localities claim to lower taxes while residents see escalating tax bills.
I have proposed a plan to deliver relief to skyrocketing property taxes by capping real estate assessments at 5 percent annually unless the property is sold or improved. My plan will also give homeowners more involvement in the process of setting tax rates.
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 marriage is fundamentally that of one man and one woman, and I support a state and federal constitutional amendment to protect the sanctity of marriage. I do not support civil unions. This stands in stark contrast to my opponent who supports civil unions.
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 have allowed VDOT and private industry to team up to build many new roads and improvement projects. But lengthy processes and red tape stand in the way of this being a viable tool for use in the future. It sometimes takes longer to get a project approved than it does to construct it!
As Governor, I will make a commitment to public-private partnerships as a viable tool for road construction, streamline the Public-Private Transportation Act process to gain approval in a faster and responsible manner, and direct VDOT to seek out opportunities for new partnerships.
10. Do you believe that illegal immigration is a problem in Virginia? If so, why, and what should be done?
America is a nation of immigrants, but the influx of illegal immigration into our country and Virginia has burdened government and society so that it is harder to provide services to our citizens and those who have come here legally. As Attorney General, I proposed several legislative measures to strengthen Virginia’s laws to ensure that Virginia does not encourage illegal immigration through its laws. I promoted legislation preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining drivers licenses and increasing the penalties for using false documents to obtain a driver’s license. As we know now, seven of the hijackers of 9/11 obtained illegal driver’s licenses from a Virginia DMV. This law was designed to help prevent this from happening again.
Another legislative measure sought to clarify that Virginia’s laws do not permit illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition at Virginia’s public colleges and universities. I also successfully advocated legislation to allow law enforcement to detain illegal immigrants for 72 hours in order for Federal authorities to deal with them. In addition, I supported Del. Dave Albo's legislation this session that denies state and local benefits to any person in the United States illegally.
While my opponent, Tim Kaine, does not believe illegal immigration is a state issue, as Governor, I will continue the effort to stop illegal immigration. I will sign an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to designate 50 State Troopers to be specially trained for the purpose of having expanded immigration enforcement capabilities to arrest undocumented individuals. In addition, I will introduce legislation making it a felony to unlawfully manufacture, advertise for sale, sell or reproduce false identification to help someone establish Virginia residency. Unlike my opponent, I also oppose the proposed taxpayer-funded day laborer centers in Northern Virginia that will attract illegal immigrants and encourage further evasion of federal and state laws.