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Votes

Leslie L. Byrne (D)

AGE: 58

FAMILY: Larry, husband of 40 years; Alexis, daughter; Jason, son; Joshua, grandson

CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 2612, Falls Church, VA 22042

CAMPAIGN PHONE: 703-573-0960

E-MAIL: info@lesliebyrne.org

WEBSITE: www.lesliebyrne.org

OCCUPATION: Chief Operating Officer

EMPLOYMENT: Byrne & Associates

EDUCATION: University of Utah; visiting professor at Mt. Vernon College, Washington D.C.

QUALIFICATIONS: Virginia Senator, 1999-2004; U.S. Consumer Advocate, White House, 1996-1999; U.S. Congresswoman, 1993-1995; Virginia House of Delegates, 1986-1992

1. What is your top public service accomplishment?

For Virginia drivers, it was requiring trucks to cover their loads, preventing broken windshields. For fiscal conservatives, it was my two-decade fight for balanced budgets and taxpayer fairness. For parents, it might be my steadfast commitment to public education and children's health care.

2. What sets you apart from the other candidate in the race?

Throughout my 20 years in public service, from the House of Delegates and State Senate to the U.S. Congress to President Clinton's White House, I have been a tireless advocate for common sense Virginia values and working people. We must stop the practice of using our taxpayer dollars to send Virginia jobs overseas; we must show our commitment to high quality public education by fully funding grades K through 12 and meeting the challenges in higher education; we must increase access to health care and lower the costs of prescription drugs for everyone; and we must treat all people with fairness, dignity, and respect. My experience and track record of effectiveness on issues like education reform, health care and transportation uniquely qualifies me to be the next Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.

3. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?

I promise not to do what is politically expedient, rather to always do what I believe is in the best interest of Virginia's citizens.

4. What is the biggest issue facing the state? What should be done to address it?

We must improve the quality of and access to education in Virginia. We must start by providing adequate and consistent state funding to public education. This year the the state underfunded public education by $867 million. Nearly one in three Virginia ninth graders does not graduate from high school. We must do something about this. An increase in career-oriented education will help keep these non-college bound students from dropping out.

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 believe in upholding Virginia's culture of freedom and personal responsibility. I oppose legislation that would criminalize women and their doctors for the most private healthcare decisions.

6. In Virginia, local governments have limited control of revenue and taxing authority. Should they have more? Less? What changes would you propose?

Virginia can alleviate the local tax burden by eliminating unfunded mandates and by fully funding its share of K through 12 education. Counties, regardless of size, have fewer tools than cities or towns. This inequity needs to be addressed. Cities were promised additional state funding in lieu of annexation. This did not happen. As Lieutenant Governor, I will work to make sure Virginia's local governments are not left in the lurch.

7. In Northern Virginia, property taxes have increased dramatically in recent years. What role should the state play in this?

The most important role the state has in providing property tax relief is in its level of funding for programs that are implemented on the local level. If the state meets its obligation to fully fund its share of local education and public safety programs, that will go a long way to relieving the pressure on rising property taxes. As Lieutenant Governor, I will work to ensure full funding for the state's share of education and public safety.

8. What do you believe the role of the state should be in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia?

I believe in equal rights for all citizens and feel there should be a way for same-sex couples to take responsibility for each other and formalize their commitment.

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?

If we are to move forward on public-private partnerships or other mechanisms to privatize Virginia's highway system, we must tread very carefully. Privatization cannot mean any compromises in terms of service, quality, building standards, or toll increases. Each partnership needs careful analysis to ensure the best interests of Virginia — both the state treasury and the drivers who would use the privatized highways — are being advanced.

10. Do you believe that illegal immigration is a problem in Virginia? If so, why, and what should be done?

Illegal immigration is primarily an issue that is handled on the federal level. The Bush administration is sending mixed signals to our international neighbors concerning amnesty for illegal workers. This has only created more undocumented workers crossing our borders in order to be here when the supposed amnesty occurs. It has also sowed the seeds of confusion in our local policies.