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Votes

Foltz vs. Hugo in 40th District

Jerry Foltz believes his views better represent the community’s.

Foltz

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

transportation improvements.”

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

money.”

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

profession.

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

hazardous roads.”

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

help.”

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

these mandates.”

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

done.”