Jerry Foltz may be a first-time political candidate, but he has a
lifetime of experience working with diverse groups of people on
serious issues. And now, he’s running as the Democratic candidate
for the 40th House District.
“I felt the need for our district to be better represented in the House of
Delegates than by my opponent [incumbent Tim Hugo],” he said.
“The 10 years he’s been there, he’s voted against all the
transportation-improvement proposals, including the bipartisan
transportation-funding bill in the last session—and our district needs
Centreville residents for 17 years, Foltz and wife Alice live in Country
Club Manor and have four, grown children, Jon, Greg, Maria and
Carol, and nine grandchildren. In 2011, they were honored as
Centreville Citizens of the Year, recognizing their many years of
service to the community.
Jerry obtained college degrees in history and religion. After
graduating from Eden Theological Seminary, he was ordained as a
minister in the United Church of Christ and pastored churches in
Maryland, New Jersey and Woodstock, Va.
Additionally, Foltz helped organize a Habitat for Humanity chapter in
Shenandoah County and established a nonprofit food co-op in New
Jersey. While there, he was elected to a local school board, serving
three years, including one as president.
“That’s where I learned about public budgeting,” he said. “I got
involved in the details of how that school system was spending its
In 1996, Foltz started Wellspring United Church of Christ in
Centreville and later did regional ministry at 41 churches. In 2009, he
retired to part-time pastoring until 2012. But ministry wasn’t his only
In 1997, he became chaplain of the Centreville Volunteer Fire
Department (Station 17) and continues today. He’s also a volunteer
chaplain for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department,
coordinates maintenance for the fire stations and drives the canteen.
IN OCTOBER 2010, he and Alice founded the Centreville
Immigration Forum (CIF) and Centreville Labor Resource Center,
providing work for the community’s day laborers and services for
local residents. Now he’s running for state delegate.
“I want to improve transportation,” said Foltz. “I’ve been on all the
secondary roads from Clifton to the [Manassas] Battlefield and back
to Fairfax County. Many don’t have shoulders or deceleration lanes
so people can slow down and turn safely without getting hit from
behind. And with shoulders, there could be bike lanes. Some of the
transportation-bill money might be used for these clogged and
He also wants more-accessible public transportation, including more
park-and-ride areas “where people could meet, carpool and reduce
congestion.” And he said more people might take the VRE train if
roads leading to its stations were improved.
Long term, Foltz says extending Metro to Centreville, Gainesville and
Haymarket would also help reduce congestion. Meanwhile, “They
could increase the power on the lines so they could have longer
trains carrying more people.”
Foltz said western Fairfax County isn’t well served by buses. “If you
don’t have a car, getting around is pretty hard,” he said. “So the
number of bus routes should be increased and they should
adequately cover areas needing service.”
He said north-south routes especially need more buses going from
Centreville to Reston, Herndon, Dulles Airport and the Dulles Town
Center for employment, shopping and hospital visits. And, he added,
“Prince William County has five precincts also needing transportation
Regarding education, Foltz said it comes down to money. “Because
legislators put unfunded mandates on the school system, taxpayers
pay for them,” he said. “This leads to less money for schools and
teachers and more crowded classrooms. So I’d try to provide some
state funds for them or search for less-expensive ways to carry out
For example, he said, certified teachers needn’t administer SOLs.
“Other people sufficiently qualified could do it, and it would cost less,”
said Foltz. “Testing should be used to tell educators what students
know and where their weaknesses are. It should benefit students and
not be used by the state to punish schools and teachers by
threatening to take over schools if they don’t perform well enough.”
Furthermore, he said tests don’t cover all the things students need to
learn, such as problem-solving and creative thinking, P.E., music and
art—“which are part of a well-rounded education.”
Foltz also said teachers have been increasingly asked to pay a
higher share of their health costs, with little or no increase in their
salaries. “So they need a pay increase, and the funding formula for
state money given to school districts needs to be looked at again to
make sure it’s as fair as possible to everyone.” He also believes
Virginia should give more money to its state colleges and universities
so they won’t keep hiking their tuition.
AS FOR PUBLIC-SAFETY, he said, “As the cost of living has risen,
police and firefighters can’t afford to live here. And they haven’t
received raises in several years, so they need to catch up and be
appreciated and supported more monetarily.”
Foltz also said Virginia should “fulfill its obligations” to all its
employees by paying its fair share of their retirement compensation.
And instead of counties and taxpayers paying benefits to public-
safety families after line-of-duty deaths, he believes “the state should
provide those benefits.”
Furthermore, he said, “We need to do more to help families dealing
with disabilities. We’re about 48th in the country when it comes to
state funding for people with disabilities. And we need to ban
employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, just like our
major industries do.”
Foltz believes women should be able to make their own, reproductive
health decisions “and not be stigmatized for them.” And he says
there should be “ethics and transparency” in how state legislators
handle gifts and campaign funds.
Saying he has a good chance of unseating Hugo, Foltz said, “I
believe I have compelling issues that are more representative of the
views of my district than my opponent’s. So I believe they resonate
with the voters, and I’m counting on them to make a difference.
Locally, we need to cooperate with each other and work together,
and elected officials can sometimes use their influence in the right
way to make this happen.”
Foltz also believes that all his experiences serve as an asset to
prepare him well for any challenge. “I served on a school board and,
as a pastor, I worked with people in various communities,” he said.
“And I have common sense and am willing to work hard to get things