Ahead of the June 9 Democratic primary, The Gazette solicited responses from each of the candidates vying to move forward to the November election.
Name: Justin Brown
Occupation: Staffer for the U.S. House of Representatives
Community involvements: I founded a nationally recognized non-profit organization, HillVets, to help veterans get involved in government and advocacy in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland. We’ve helped thousands of veterans network, find jobs, and move up the career ladder. We also have provided winter jackets for every homeless child in need at the largest homeless shelter in the region.
Family: Brandi (wife), Isabella (daughter), Truman (son)
Favorite quote: “I attribute my success to this; I never gave or took any excuse.” — Florence Nightingale
Q. Given the political makeup of the state legislature, what examples from your own experience suggests you can successfully bridge the intense partisanship there?
A. I’ve spent my career advocating for and working with a wide variety of individuals with different perspectives and objectives. I am most proud of my work on the Post 9/11 GI Bill, on which I was a key member of the team that solidified support and pushed for passage of the bill.
In addition, I am a senior staffer on Capitol Hill, in which the Democratic Party is also in the minority. I work with people from all backgrounds and political ideologies and have learned what it takes to thrive in such an environment.
Q. In order, list your top 5 specific legislative priorities.
A. Transportation: The biggest issues affecting our daily lives here in the 44th are traffic, congestion and commute times. We need to make a long-term investment in improving our region’s infrastructure so we all spend less time in our cars and more time with our families.
Education: As a Fairfax County School District parent, I understand that there is no better investment we can than in our children and our schools. As education budgets continue to be slashed, our kids and community are feeling the effects. We need to incentivize good teachers to stay in Fairfax so our kids are given every opportunity to succeed.
Healthcare: I believe that everyone in our society should have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare. I will support measures to expand coverage and reduce costs. We need to expand Medicaid to cover the uninsured in District 44 who deserve the peace of mind that comes with health insurance.
Environment: Climate change is real; we must balance our economic and lifestyle interests with the health of the planet. Virginia should invest in local parks and incentivize green businesses that will bring new jobs and make investments in local parks and recreation.
Payday Lenders: Route 1 is seeing an explosion of predatory lenders in conjunction with the increasing number of service members moving into the area. I will immediately introduce legislation to ban all predatory lenders from operating within 15 miles of any military base.
Q. How has Mount Vernon changed in the last 10 years? What caused those changes?
A. In the last 10 years, Mount Vernon has seen the quality of its schools and roads decline. Route 1 is seeing increased congestion and commute times, while 13 out of 18 schools are performing under the state average. We need a leader that can point us in a new direction. As delegate, I will fight for the funds to address the deficiencies in our transportation and educational infrastructure.
Q. What is your vision for the Route 1 corridor? What kind — and scope — of commercial and residential development would you favor? How does that dovetail with transportation goals there?
A. New commercial development is needed to bring more jobs and choice for consumers, and our transportation infrastructure has to keep up with our region’s needs. As your delegate I will fight to: widen and renovate Route 1 to reduce congestion, expand bus lines from Mount Vernon to D.C.; and create new cycling access points to the GW Parkway and Huntington Metro, further reducing vehicle congestion and pollution while helping to keep our region healthy.
Q. Why should voters support you for state delegate instead of the other Democratic candidate?
A. On June 9, voters should vote for me because I have the experience, mindset, and energy to achieve real results in Richmond. I have worked in the legislative process as an advocate, as a senior federal employee focused on congressional relations, and as a senior staff member on Capitol Hill. I also founded a nationally recognized non-profit to help others get involved in government and politics. I have the skills we need to fight and win on behalf of the Mount Vernon community. We need someone who has been in the legislative trenches and consistently comes out on top. Who would you pay to go influence the legislative body on your behalf? That’s who you want to be your delegate.