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Votes

Mark R. Herring (D)

Special Election: 33rd Senate District

AGE: 44

FAMILY: Wife, Laura; daughter, Peyton, 13; son, Tim, 9.

CAMPAIGN CONTACT INFO: Andrew Resnick, 703-669-1361

OCCUPATION: Lawyer

EMPLOYMENT: The Herring Law Firm P.C.

EDUCATION: B.A., Foreign Affairs and Economics, University of Virginia; M.A., Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia; J.D., University of Richmond

QUALIFICATIONS: Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Leesburg District, 2000-2003; chair, United Way Campaign in Loudoun County; co-host, Focus Loudoun, public affairs television program; member, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce; former volunteer coach, LYSA; member, Catoctin Elementary PTA.

1. What is your top public service accomplishment?

As a member of the Board of Supervisors and chair of the board's land use committee, I took a leadership role in crafting an entire package of policies and ordinances designed to better manage growth and to link land use and transportation planning.

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

Like most of us, I have seen firsthand the incredible changes we have gone through in this area and I understand the challenges we face. I have been a longtime advocate for better growth management and I have a proven record of effective leadership. I support Gov. Kaine's ideas to link land use and transportation planning and to give our local communities the tools they need to manage growth. I will work effectively with Gov. Kaine to bring traffic solutions and improvements to our area.Ê

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

I will not lose sight of the reason I am running for the state Senate, which is to be a strong voice in the General Assembly for our families and communities. I will not forget that I will be holding a position of trust and that I will always work in the best interests of all of the citizens of the 33rd District.

4. What is the biggest issue facing the 33rd Senate District? What should be done to address it?

Transportation is the issue that touches us all, and I agree with Gov. Kaine that it is time for the issue to be addressed in a new, comprehensive and fiscally responsible way. I will work with Gov. Kaine and the leadership team we have just elected to give localities the tools they need to better manage growth. I will work to improve the Route 7 corridor to Tysons Corner, the Route 50 corridor in South Riding and Fairfax and the Leesburg bypass, and I will work to find affordable solutions to finally bring rail to Dulles and Loudoun County.

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 would leave the laws about where they are now. My top priorities will be finding solutions to traffic congestion, giving localities the tools they need to manage growth and improving public education.

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

The best way localities can ensure funding exists for local services, such as schools and roads, is not by expanding their powers to tax, but rather by sending an effective legislator to Richmond who will make sure we get more of the money back in transportation and education funding. The state government returns only a small fraction of the amount we pay in state taxes and I will work in a nonpartisan way with the Northern Virginia delegation to change these funding formulas that hurt our localities.

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

The cost of unmanaged growth has helped fuel the continued rise in property taxes. I will work to give localities the tools they need to make sure developers pay their fair share of the cost for roads and schools, which my opponent has not done. Also, the state returns so little of the education dollars our region sends to Richmond, Loudoun and Fairfax are forced to increase real estate taxes to make up for the shortfall, which is unfair to our region and our children. I will work effectively with our delegation to change education funding formulas, which will provide real tax relief to the citizens in the 33rd District.

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

I will work to remove laws that discriminate against same-sex couples in housing and other areas. Although I believe state laws need to be made more inclusive in some areas, I personally believe marriage should be only between a man and a woman.

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 will continue to have an important but controlled role in addressing the transportation problems our area face and I will work to make sure the public's interests are well-represented and protected. As state senator, I will work to ensure that citizens are not forced into having to pay ever rising tolls or fees due to the lack of other transportation options or the state using funds that are supposed to be dedicated to transportation but are used instead to cover other budget shortfalls.

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

Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws are federal mandates and responsibilities. Unfortunately, the federal government has failed to effectively handle this issue, which has created problems in some localities. The federal government needs to recognize its responsibility and begin to make needed reforms.