Virginia House of Delegates Candidate Questionnaires
* = Incumbent
Kathleen Murphy* (D)
Craig A. Parisot (R)
Mark L. Keam* (D), no response received
Kenneth R. "Ken" Plum* (D)
David Bulova* (D)
Sang Yi (R)
Vivian Watts* (D)
Jerry Foltz (D)
Timothy D. Hugo* (R)
David Albo* (R)
Joana C. Garcia (D), no response received
Paul J. McIlvaine (I)
Mark Sickles* (D)
Anna Urman (R)
Paul Krizek (D)
Mark H. Levine (D), no response received
Andrew G. "Andy" Bakker (L), no response received
Sean Lenehan (R)
Charniele L. Herring* (D)
Patrick A. Hope* (D)
Janet H. Murphy (I), no response received
Rip Sullivan* (D)
Alfonso Lopez* (D)
Marcus B. Simon* (D)
Jim LeMunyon* (R)
Jennifer Boysko (D)
Paul R. Brubaker (I), no response received
Danny Vargas (R)
Town of residence: Alexandria, VA
Family: Carolyn Herring, Mother
Education: BS in Economics from George Mason University; JD from Catholic University of America
Offices held, dates: Virginia House of Delegates, 46th District 2009-present
Occupation and relevant experience: Attorney
Community involvement: Trustee, Hopkins House; Former Board Member, Parent Leadership Training Institute of Alexandria; Former Chair/Member, Alexandria Commission for Women; Former President West End Business Association.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter handle: @C_Herring
Name three favorite endorsements: Virginia Education Association, Virginia Sierra Club PAC, Northern Virginia Association of Realtors
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
Making the Commonwealth a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. We deserve to live in a place that has opportunity — opportunity for everyone to succeed. If you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to share in the American Dream. To me that means making sure that we are attracting good, well-paying jobs to Virginia. It means that we should not discriminate based on race or sex or sexual orientation. It means that we fully fund our public schools and make sure college and job training are accessible to everyone. It means that we ensure the safety of our community and put programs in place that will deal with the root of problems — like mental illness and addiction, not focus solely on incarceration. Creating an environment where people have the opportunity to succeed, that is my call to serve. I went from homelessness to being a college graduate. If it weren’t for a helping hand, I may not have had that opportunity, and if our region were not thriving I would not have had the chance to open my own small business.
I plan to keep working toward this goal. This means working across the aisle and standing up against policies that would take us backward. It means supporting Governor McAuliffe’s call for a 21st Century Economy, not standing it the way. I plan to keep my voting record reflecting this goal, and will continue the work that I have already started as a member of the Virginia State Crime Commission and the Governor’s Taskforce on Heroin and Prescription Drugs to make the Commonwealth a safer place.
What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?
I have been honored to serve as your representative from the 46th District since 2009 when I won a special election to fill a vacant seat. Even before my election, I was heavily involved in our community through the West End Business Association, the Commission for Women, Rotary, and the Youth Policy Commission. Since my election I have been very successful in a very difficult legislature. With a long history of civic involvement, an understanding of the realities of the policy process, and a track record of successfully passing legislation, I believe I am the best candidate in this race to represent you in Richmond.
Given the political makeup of the state legislature, what examples from your own experience suggests you can successfully bridge the intense partisan differences there?
Since taking office in 2009, I have passed numerous pieces of legislation. This has only been possible by working across the aisle. From restoring money to homelessness prevention programs in the state budget, bringing transportation dollars to the district, and advocating for women’s healthcare, I have helped enact important legislation for the Commonwealth. Examples include making state contracting more accessible and competitive for women and minority owned small businesses, increasing the effectiveness of emergency protective orders, and updating missing persons search and rescue procedures to make them more effective. I also serve on the bi-partisan State Crime Commission, where I was appointed by the Republican Speaker of the House. I will never hesitate to stand up for our district and our values, but that does not mean I cannot continue to work across the aisle to do good work for Virginia.
In order, list your top 5 specific legislative priorities.
My main legislative priority is to help make Virginia a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. To me that means making sure that educational opportunities needed to succeed in the 21st Century are available to everyone in the Commonwealth — adequately funding our public schools and ensuring access to higher education and career training. It also means making sure that we live in a safe place: combating the disturbing rise in deaths caused by opioids and ending the cigarette trafficking that is helping to fund organized crime and terrorism. It is also imperative that we preserve the integrity of the civic process to make sure voting is accessible to Virginians — that means enabling no excuse absentee voting and making sure that people’s rights are restored when they have served their time and made reparations.
How has your district changed in the last 10 years? What caused those changes?
Over the last 10 years we have seen any number of changes from development to demographic shifts. One of the most shocking and difficult was the addition of the BRAC-133 building at Mark Center in the middle of the district. While the decision to build it in its current location was before my time as an elected official, I am proud of the work we did as a community to ensure it did not negatively impact the Winkler Botanical Preserve. The impact this installation has on the district has required working with federal and local officials, while also bringing in additional money for transportation from the state. I will continue to work to alleviate the impact this building has brought to our home.
Will you support legislation restricting high interest lending including car title loans?
Yes. Predatory lending is bad for families and bad for our economy. That is why it is a practice that I worked across the aisle to end in the bail bond industry in Virginia. There are places in Northern Virginia that are hotbeds of this kind of lending, and it is unacceptable. I support legislation that requires fair and honest lending practices in Virginia.
Will you support funding for Fostering Connections which would result in an influx of federal funding for foster children aging out of foster care?
Creating a Virginia that gives everyone the opportunity to succeed is my top priority. That includes making sure that young people have the chance at becoming their best selves. This funding will allow a program to be put in place to help young people make the transition from the foster care system and receive the support they need to get education and training in order to become productive members of our society. Sometimes, all it takes is one program to make the difference in a person’s life. I know from personal experience that without the STEP program at George Mason University, coming from being homeless, I may not have been able to attend college. STEP allowed me the opportunity to prove I could do the work. I was able to earn a degree in economics and then go on to get my law degree.
Do you support expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and if so, what would you do to make that happen?
I support expanding Medicaid. As we watch millions of Virginia’s tax dollars go to other states while nearly 400,000 people here at home are without insurance, I am astounded that there are those who are fighting against this measure. Expanding Medicaid is also necessary to shore up our medical infrastructure and lower costs for our hospitals. A healthier Virginia means a better workforce and a more stable medical infrastructure for all of us. I will continue to work with the Governor on his plans to make sure Virginians have the best possible access to medical coverage and vote for the measure whenever it comes to the House of Delegates.