FAMILY: Wife, Jean Ann and two sons, Matthew and Kevin
CAMPAIGN MAILING ADDRESS: 7308 Hanover Green Dr., Mechanicsville, VA 23111
CAMPAIGN PHONE: 804-746-9830
OCCUPATION: Independent Insurance Agent
EMPLOYMENT: Vice President/Riggs, Counselman, Michaels and Downes
OCCUPATION: Independent insurance agent
EDUCATION: B.A., Political Science, The University of Charleston
QUALIFICATIONS: Husband and father; Community leader; Sunday School teacher; Served from 1991 to 1995 as a member and chairman of the Hanover County Board of Supervisors; Served from 1995 to present as a member of the Virginia State Senate.
1. What is your top public service accomplishment?
In 1998 and 1999 I sponsored legislation to create a children's health insurance program in Virginia. This program is now providing basic health care benefits to 60,000 children in low-income families all across Virginia. This program has improved the quality of life for these children and their families. I am very proud of this legislation.
2. What sets you apart from the other candidate in the race?
I have the background, knowledge and experience in state government that is necessary to help lead Virginia into the future, and I have a reputation of fighting for the common sense, conservative values that the vast majority of the people of Virginia believe in.
During my 10 years in the State Senate, I have consistently been recognized as one the General Assembly's most effective, most pro-business and most pro-family members. I have worked to create economic growth and invest the resources of state government in our core responsibilities, including education, public safety and transportation.
My opponent is the most liberal person to ever seek statewide office in Virginia. Her record is one of higher taxes and bigger government. She is also very anti-business, as was reflected by her recent proposal to repeal Virginia's right-to-work law. And she is on the wrong side of many other important issues, such as her opposition to capitol punishment and her support for same-sex marriages and same-sex unions.
3. What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
I will not ignore our current transportation crisis. For too long politicians in Virginia have provided lip service and false promises toward solving our transportation problems. In 2004 Gov. Mark Warner (D) signed a $1.4 billion dollar tax increase package that did not provide a single penny in new money for transportation. As Lieutenant Governor I will make the development of a transportation system for the 21st century my top priority.
4. What is the biggest issue facing Virginia? What should be done to address it?
The biggest issue currently facing Virginia is the need to develop a transportation system for the 21st century. I have put forth a comprehensive plan to address this issue.
I believe that we need to take advantage of the tremendous economic growth that is taking place in Virginia today to invest significant new resources in transportation. I have identified a number of existing revenue sources for dedication to the Transportation Trust Fund, including corporate income taxes, automobile insurance premium taxes and sales taxes related to automotive purchases.
In addition, we must also pass a Constitutional Amendment to prevent money in the Transportation Trust Fund from being diverted to other government programs. We must work with our federal partners to increase federal funding for transportation projects in Virginia. We must improve efficiency within the Department of Transportation, and we must expand the use of public/private and state/local transportation partnerships.
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?
As a member of the Senate I have supported responsible efforts to protect the right to life, including parental notification and consent legislation and a ban on partial birth abortions. Unfortunately, my opponent opposed these commonsense measures to limit the number of abortions in Virginia. As Lieutenant Governor I will continue to support responsible efforts to reduce the number of abortions performed in Virginia. I will also work to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.
6. In Virginia, local governments have limited control of revenue and taxing authority. Should they have more? Less? What changes would you propose?
I would support a comprehensive review of local government taxing authority and responsible efforts to identify alternative revenue sources to local real estate taxes, which are increasing at such a rapid pace that they are forcing many low and middle income seniors to sell their homes and family farms just to pay the taxes. However, any such reforms must be revenue neutral to local governments and must not in any way result in higher taxes for families and businesses.
7. In Northern Virginia, property taxes have increased dramatically in recent years. What role should the state play in this?
Skyrocketing assessments have significantly increased real estate tax bills for people all across Virginia. These rapid increases in assessments are endangering the security of our senior citizens. Low and middle income seniors, living on fixed incomes, can't afford these high tax increases. As Lieutenant Governor I will work to freeze property assessments for low- and middle-income Virginians when they reach the age of 65. This will enable retired Virginians to keep their homes and their family farms instead of being forced to sell them to pay taxes. Additionally, I support Jerry Kilgore's plan to cap property assessment increases at 5 percent annually to provide tax relief to all property owners.
8. What do you believe the role of the state should be in determining the status of same-sex couples in Virginia?
I do not support same-sex marriage or same-sex unions. In fact, in 2005 I served as a Senate co-patron of a Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriages and same-sex unions in Virginia. This distinguishes me from my opponent, who has a longstanding record of supporting same-sex marriages and same-sex 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?
I support expanded use of the Public-Private Transportation Act and recognize that most of our major transportation projects will have to be toll-funded in whole or in part. This is the truest form of a user fee, and I believe this would be supported by the vast majority of our citizens.
10. Do you believe that illegal immigration is a problem in Virginia? If so, why, and what should be done?
Illegal immigration is one of the most important issues facing our country today. On the federal level we must do more to secure our borders to prevent illegal immigrants from entering our country, and we must be more aggressive in finding immigrants who are in our country illegally and deporting them.
There are also steps we can take at the state level to address this problem. In recent years we have made it more difficult for illegal immigrants to obtain a Virginia driver's license and I supported those efforts. I support efforts to make certain that illegal immigrants are not receiving state benefits at taxpayers expense, including admission to our colleges and universities, social services benefits and workers compensation. I also support giving additional authority to law enforcement officials in Virginia to arrest and detain illegal immigrants when they are found.
Unfortunately, my opponent opposed our efforts to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to get a drivers license. In fact, she supported efforts to give illegal immigrants state issued identification cards. She has also supported allowing illegal immigrants to receive state benefits, including allowing them to attend our colleges and universities and pay in-state tuition.