House of Delegates–District 43: Mark Sickles (D)
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House of Delegates–District 43: Mark Sickles (D)

Question & Answer

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Mark Sickles



Virginia House of Delegates Candidate Questionnaires

* = Incumbent

District 34

http://www.connec...">Kathleen Murphy* (D)

http://www.connec...">Craig A. Parisot (R)

District 35

Mark L. Keam* (D), no response received

District 36

http://www.connec...">Kenneth R. "Ken" Plum* (D)

District 37

http://www.connec...">David Bulova* (D)

http://www.connec...">Sang Yi (R)

District 39

http://www.connec...">Vivian Watts* (D)

District 40

http://www.connec...">Jerry Foltz (D)

http://www.connec...">Timothy D. Hugo* (R)

District 41

http://www.connec...">Eileen Filler-Corn*(D)

District 42

http://www.connec...">David Albo* (R)

Joana C. Garcia (D), no response received

District 43

http://www.connec...">Paul J. McIlvaine (I)

http://www.connec...">Mark Sickles* (D)

http://www.connec...">Anna Urman (R)

District 44

http://www.connec...">Paul Krizek (D)

District 45

Mark H. Levine (D), no response received

District 46

Andrew G. "Andy" Bakker (L), no response received

http://www.connec...">Sean Lenehan (R)

http://www.connec...">Charniele L. Herring* (D)

District 47

http://www.connec...">Patrick A. Hope* (D)

Janet H. Murphy (I), no response received

District 48

http://www.connec...">Rip Sullivan* (D)

District 49

http://www.connec...">Alfonso Lopez* (D)

District 53

http://www.connec...">Marcus B. Simon* (D)

District 67

http://www.connec...">Jim LeMunyon* (R)

District 86

http://www.connec...">Jennifer Boysko (D)

Paul R. Brubaker (I), no response received

http://www.connec...">Danny Vargas (R)

Incumbent

Town of residence: Alexandria

Age: 58

Education: Delegate Sickles has two Masters Degrees from Georgia Tech and a B.S. from Clemson University. Offices held, dates: 43rd Virginia House of Delegates District – 2004 – Present

Occupation and relevant experience: As a part-time legislator, Delegate Sickles works full-time for a national marine construction company based in Metropolitan New York.

Community involvement: In civic life, Delegate Sickles was appointed by Supervisor Joe Alexander and Supervisor Dana Kauffman to the Fairfax County Library Board, serving for 11 years and one term as Chairman. In his two years as Chairman (1998-2000), Mark oversaw the opening of a new library in Kingstowne and the development of a ten-year capital improvement plan that resulted in the renovation of the Richard Byrd and Martha Washington libraries and acquisition of over seven acres for the future development of a regional library on Beulah Street near Manchester Boulevard. He also served as President of United Community Ministries – a social-service non-profit providing employment services, aid to the homeless, and high-quality daycare to low-income children – during a six-year term on its board. He is currently on the Aerospace Advisory Council and the George Mason University of Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s (S-CAR) Advisory Board. He is an active member of the Bioscience Caucus. He was formerly a member of the Substance Abuse Services Council and Gov. Warner’s Commission on Military and National Security Facilities.

Website: www.marksickles.com

Email address: info@marksickles.com

Twitter handle: @MarkSicklesVA

Name three favorite endorsements: Virginia Education Association, Virginia Professional Fire Fighters, Northern Virginia Technology Council TechPAC

Questions

What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?

I was born and raised in Northern Virginia and observed first hand a dynamic region that grew faster than public infrastructure could sustain. The fight to ensure that Northern Virginia gets its fair share in order to catch up has defined my service. It is my hope to keep Virginia the type of place that anyone would want to call home. My family built a life here and I want ensure that it continues to be the best place to work, play, and to educate the next generation. I value the partnerships and working relationships developed over the previous twelve years and enjoy working to create our shared future together.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?

My opponent claims that she will represent the views and interests of every citizen of the 43rd District, but her personal ideology is fundamentally at odds with most of the core beliefs of my constituents. Her complete lack of respect for the institution of government makes me seriously question her commitment to protect and fight for critical services like Metro Reform, pre-k through 12 and higher education, and public safety. Unlike my opponent, I do not stand behind vague references to “freedom” and “liberty” to obfuscate my positions on guns and government regulation. Although some of my constituents may disagree with me, they at least know where I stand on any and every issue.

Given the political makeup of the state legislature, what examples from your own experience suggest you can successfully bridge the intense partisan differences there?

Following the trend of national politics, Richmond has become too divided along party lines. Despite this, I have been able to maintain a proven track record for bipartisanship. My recent appointment to the Appropriations Committee by Speaker Howell, arguably Virginia’s most prominent Republican, is a clear vote of confidence in my ability to work across the aisle. Although we may disagree on some fundamental issues, I believe my Republican colleagues and I have respect for each other, which allows us to work together to pass substantive legislation, such as the landmark 2013 transportation bill. HB 2313 passed because 25 Democrats and 35 Republicans set aside ideology to focus on the long-term interests of their constituents and Virginia’s future.

In order, list your top 5 specific legislative priorities.

Closing the Medicaid Coverage Gap.

Expanding access to pre-k for at-risk children, by reforming the Virginia Preschool Initiative and increasing funding for the program.

Diversification of Virginia’s economy

Increasing access the ballot.

Fighting for the right transportation priorities and improving Metrorail’s performance.

How has your district changed in the last 10 years? What caused those changes?

Ten years ago, we had many more trailers serving as classrooms in our schools. We did not have Jeff Todd Way, turn lanes at Harrison Lane, and a functioning intersection at S. Kings and Telegraph Road. We enacted a law that gives citizens hope that their street will be repaved within a reasonable time frame. The Commonwealth’s 16 four-year institutions of higher learning have built the capacity to handle the numerous students from Northern Virginia. We have made a big difference in the lives of many more families with disabled children. We continue to see expansion of quality development in areas like Metro Park and the Wegmans’ complex. All of these changes are a product of the close working relationship of your South County representatives. Our Local, State, and Federal delegation has secured funding, coordinated projects, and worked towards a shared vision of a community that prioritizes the needs of its constituents.

Will you support legislation restricting high interest lending including car title loans?

With the demise of payday lending in Virginia, and the passage of SB 606 in 2010, there has been an explosion of title lending under the new rules and interest rate caps. After five years of rapid expansion, it is clearly time to revisit current law. One thing we can do now is pass HB 2011, a bill that would have prohibited “a licensed motor vehicle title lender or third party from making loans under the chapter re-regulating consumer finance loans at any place of business where a licensee conducts the business of making motor vehicle title loans.”

Will you support funding for Fostering Connections which would result in an influx of federal funding for foster children aging out of foster care?

I would very likely support a program that improves our essential foster care system. Historically, Virginia has been very aggressive at drawing down federal dollars. I welcome any program that maximizes federal funding to provide critical services to Virginians.

Do you support expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and if so, what would you do to make that happen?

Closing the Coverage Gap is one of my top legislative priorities. Partisan gridlock has prevented the Governor from accepting Virginia’s own tax dollars for routine care of her poorest citizens by a Medicaid managed care company, or from using Medicaid funds to purchase insurance on the exchange. In furtherance of our reputation as a well-managed state, we need to accept our own tax dollars back so as not to irrevocably deny healthcare for up to 400,000 of our fellow working Virginians that live below the poverty line. Currently, uninsured people—mostly single adults from 19-64 years of age—receive “uncompensated” care in a hospital emergency room or free clinic. But there is no such thing as “uncompensated” care by health care providers. We all pay, via higher insurance premiums, for the cost of caring for the uninsured—there is still no free lunch.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal government will pay at least 90 percent of the cost of caring for any new poor Virginian that we add to Virginia’s Medicaid rolls. But the Majority in the House, despite the new taxes we are paying and the spending cuts our hospitals are trying to absorb, does not believe that the federal government will uphold its commitment—they are content to let the federal government keep our new taxes because the federal deficit and debt are too high. This line of reasoning is questionable considering that Virginia—at the very top of per capita federal spending—has never had these qualms before, and by repealing the ACA the federal deficit would actually increase.

Going forward, I will continue to work with the Governor as he drafts his first and only two-year budget. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Health and Human Services Subcommittee, and the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee, I will continue to support initiatives that efficiently spend our limited taxpayer dollars on mental health and other critical services to our poorest.