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Votes

Michael Golden (R-41)

AGE: 31

FAMILY: Wife, Jennie; daughter, Naomi; parents, Robert and Lynn; and sister, Lauryn also live in Springfield

CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 2672, Springfield, VA 22152

CAMPAIGN PHONE: 703-644-9339

E-MAIL: michael@electgolden.com

WEBSITE: www.electgolden.com

OCCUPATION: Appellate attorney

EMPLOYMENT: Latham & Watkins LLP

EDUCATION: Keene Mill Elementary; Lake Braddock Secondary School; Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology; B.S., University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center

QUALIFICATIONS: A lifelong resident of the Springfield/Burke area; a graduate of Fairfax County Public Schools and a Virginia state university; Experience managing small businesses and non-profit organizations; Appointed to serve as a judicial clerk to a United States Court of Appeals judge; Appointed by a Fairfax County School Board member to the High School Course Review Committee

KEY ENDORSEMENTS: U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11); U.S. Sen. John Warner (R); U.S. Sen. George Allen (R); Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis (R-34); Sen. Jay O'Brien (R-39); Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-37); Del. William Howell (R-28); Del. Morgan Griffith (R-8); Del. Kirk Cox (R-66); Del. Vince Callahan (R-34); Del. Tom Rust (R-86); Del. Tim Hugo (R-40); Del. Dick Black (R-54); Jack Herrity, former Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; Virginia Citizens Defense League; Virginia Conservative Action PAC; Virginia Club for Growth PAC; Virginia Eagle Forum PAC; Home School Legal Defense Association; National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund; Gun Owners of America

1. What is your top public service accomplishment?

While I have actively volunteered for a number of local charities and campaigns, my top public service accomplishment resulted from my pro bono legal work in two groundbreaking cases. First, in a U.S. Court of Appeals case, I successfully defended the First Amendment free exercise rights of certain impoverished individuals by convincing the court to overturn a contrary ruling by the lower court. Second, in a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, I helped successfully defend a court of appeals ruling protecting the rights of disabled individuals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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

I am a husband and a father with a real stake in the future of our community, and I am committed to making sure my daughter, Naomi, has the same excellent opportunities I enjoyed when I grew up here. There are a number of reasons why I am the best choice to represent our community in the House of Delegates.

First, my constituents know they can trust me. They know they can take me at my word, because I will not flip-flop on important issues every time the going gets tough, and I will not say one thing and then do another. I will be the same before and after I am elected.

Second, I am the only candidate committed to restricting out-of-control real estate taxes and opposing a gas tax hike. My opponent does not support a real effort to rein in real estate taxes. In fact, he supports increasing the county's ability to tax us. My opponent also supports a gas tax hike (according to his Virginia FREE PAC questionnaire) at a time when gas prices are through the roof. I think that's unreasonable and unfair to our families and seniors.

Third, I am the only candidate committed to tackling the interrelated problems of illegal immigration and gangs. My opponent has refused to take a stand against illegal immigration, and he cut Fairfax County's gang prevention funding by 50 percent. Under his watch, gang violence increased dramatically and is now worse than ever. I will crack down on gangs by increasing (not decreasing) anti-gang resources, by giving our law enforcement officers the tools they need, and by opposing government benefits for illegal immigrants who are breaking our laws.

Fourth, I am the only candidate who was educated in Fairfax County Public Schools right here in our district and has real experience as a teacher. I am the only candidate who comes from a family of educators, including a father who has been a Northern Virginia public school teacher for 25 years. I am the only candidate with a real stake in the future of our public schools — my daughter Naomi will be attending our schools in just a few years. I am the only candidate who has consistently been committed to getting our fair share of state funding so our teachers and students have the resources they need.

Finally, I am the only candidate endorsed by every other federal and state legislator who represents our district, including U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11) and U.S. Sen. John Warner (R). They know I will be an effective, commonsense leader who will fight tirelessly for our community.

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

I promise not to support a gas tax hike. I promise not to ignore the problems resulting from illegal immigration. I promise not to cut gang funding. And I promise not to let the unfair education and transportation funding formulas continue to disadvantage our children, our families and our seniors.

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

As I have walked door-to-door throughout our district, residents have consistently said that they want a delegate who will tackle the problems of traffic, gangs, and illegal immigration while reining in out-of-control property taxes. That is my goal.

I have a real plan to reduce traffic without raising taxes. It starts with getting our fair share of state funding and protecting the Transportation Trust Fund. My opponent supported a $1.5 billion tax increase that didn't include a penny for transportation, and he supports a budget that not only raids $290 million from the Transportation Trust Fund, but also takes a huge chunk of our taxes away from Northern Virginia to pay for roads in other parts of the state. That's unfair to our community. We need our transportation money here, to fix our traffic problems.

I will support innovative traffic solutions like improved light timing, telework incentives, and public-private partnerships — solutions that are efficient, creative ways to reduce congestion without raising taxes. My opponent, on the other hand, supports raising the gas taxes and other taxes on families and seniors, even though most of those taxes donít get returned to Northern Virginia to pay for our roads.

Equally important, our families and seniors cannot enjoy this community if our streets are not safe. That is why I am committed to tackling the interrelated problems of illegal immigration and gang violence. Unlike my opponent, I will not cut critical gang funding, and I will not turn a blind eye to the runaway problem of illegal immigration, which is jeopardizing public safety.

Finally, I have heard first-hand how irresponsible real estate tax hikes have driven residents (young and old) out of Fairfax County because they cannot afford to pay them.

My opponent opposes any effort to restrict these out-of-control real estate tax hikes and actually supports increasing the county's power to raise taxes! I think that's unfair to our families and seniors, and I will take real steps to rein in out-of-control property tax hikes by implementing the Wilder Commission's recommendations, which will save us nearly $1 billion per year, and working to get Fairfax County its fair share of state funding for critical services like education and transportation. I will oppose the use of our hard-earned tax dollars to give benefits to illegal immigrants who are breaking the law. And I will support legislation to impose real limits on annual property tax increases.

Our hard-working families and seniors care about their community and they deserve the opportunity to keep their family homes.

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 that all life is precious, which is why I am a volunteer member of the Board of Directors of Bethany Christian Services of Virginia. We must give people positive options like adoption so they have better alternatives. I think it is important for mothers to have access to complete information before making any life-or-death decision, and I think any clinic that conducts invasive medical procedures should meet health and safety standards that protect their patients.

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

Fairfax County had a $46 million budget surplus this year, so the question is not whether the county can raise enough money (a surplus means it raised too much) — the question is why those funds aren't being used correctly to reduce traffic, invest in education, tackle escalating crime, and rein in out-of-control property taxes. The tax burden on families and seniors is high enough. The county doesn't need more money; it needs to do a better job managing and spending its money. My opponent, on the other hand, supports giving Fairfax County more power to raise taxes — including a local income tax and taxes on meals, which would result in even more sharp tax increases on families and seniors. I think our families and seniors pay plenty in taxes and do not support my opponent's efforts to make those taxes even more burdensome.

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

The way counties levy real estate taxes is set forth in the state constitution. Because we are a Dillon Rule state, the state tells the county how it can raise those taxes. It is clearly the state's responsibility to fix the real estate tax system if it is broken. Our current system is broken, because it allows governments to impose 15 percent tax hikes on families and seniors year after year. Let me be perfectly clear: I am the only candidate committed to reining in property tax increases. As your delegate, I will fight for all the families and seniors in the 41st District to make sure they aren't taxed out of their homes.

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

I believe the state should have the primary role in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia, as it always has. The federal government should ensure that other states cannot usurp that determination. I support Virginia's efforts to protect traditional marriage. Unlike my opponent, I do not support redefining the term "marriage" to include same-sex marriage.

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?

Simply conducting business as usual isn't solving our transportation problems, and we need creative solutions to make some real progress. I have taken the lead in supporting innovative transportation options like well-designed public-private partnerships because they have proved very successful in reducing traffic and providing much needed transportation funding in other areas of the country.

According to transportation experts, public-private partnerships (like HOT lanes, Bus Rapid Transit, and concessionairing) have the potential to generate billions of dollars for critical transportation needs in Virginia, to reduce traffic without raising taxes, and to allow for self-sufficient mass transit options that serve more Virginians. Best of all, they can be structured to ensure Northern Virginia transportation dollars stay here, in Northern Virginia.

My standard for public-private partnerships is the same for other transportation projects: They should have a real, positive impact on traffic; they should get the most benefit for each tax dollar; and they should work toward a better transportation system that serves all of Northern Virginia without raising taxes. My opponent takes a different view and supports a gas tax increase, even though a large portion of that tax is redirected to other parts of the state, where it does not help our traffic problems.

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

Illegal immigration is undoubtedly a serious problem in Virginia, and it is one of the top issues that voters have raised with me as I've gone door-to-door throughout the district.

Violent gangs recruit illegal immigrants to fill their ranks, and violence by illegal immigrants in my district is worse than ever. Illegal immigrants attacked a victim with a knife near the Burke VRE and they killed and burned a Burke man who lived on the same street as my opponent. Nearly 50 percent of the MS-13 members who were recently captured and indicted as part of a regional anti-crime effort were illegal immigrants.

I will empower police officers to identify and deport illegal immigrants when they commit crimes. I will use my experience as an attorney to work with prosecutors to establish stiffer penalties for violent gang criminals. And I will oppose the use of our hard-earned tax dollars to give benefits to illegal immigrants who are breaking the law. I will take a strong stand to stop the spread of illegal immigration and gang violence.

It is hard to trust my opponent's commitment to tackling illegal immigration and gangs since he cut Fairfax County anti-gang funding by 50 percent when he was acting director of the Department of Juvenile Justice and given that gangs are more prevalent and violent than ever.