State Senate-District 39: George Lincoln Barker (D)
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Votes

State Senate-District 39: George Lincoln Barker (D)

Question and answer

Virginia State Senate Candidate Questionnaires

* = Incumbent

District 30

Adam P. Ebbin* (D)

J. Ron Fisher (I), no response received

District 31

Barbara A. Favola* (D)

George V. Forakis (R)

District 32

Janet D. Howell* (D)

District 33

Stephen B. Hollingshead (R), no response received

Jennifer T. Wexton* (D)

District 34

J.C. "Chap" Petersen* (D)

District 35

Richard L. "Dick" Saslaw* (D)

Terry W. Modglin (I)

District 36

Gerald M. Foreman (R)

Scott A. Surovell* (D)

District 37

David M. Bergman (R)

David W. Marsden* (D)

District 39

George Lincoln Barker* (D)

Joseph R. Murray (R)

Incumbent Senate District 39

Town of residence: Clifton

Age: 64

Family: wife Jane; son Erik and his wife Mahjooba and two grandchildren; daughter Emily and her husband Jeff

Education: Harvard College, A.B., Economics and Public Health; Harvard School of Public Health, M.S., Health Policy and Management

Offices held, dates: Senator, 2008-present

Occupation and relevant experience: Executive Director, Greater Prince William Community Health Center, 2015; Consultant, 2000-2015; Associate Director, Health Systems Agency of Northern Virginia, 1975-2009

Community involvement: Member, Education and Health Committee, General Laws and Technology Committee, Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee, Small Business Commission, Housing Commission, Joint Commission on Health Care, Substance Abuse Services Council, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Board, Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority

Website: senatorbarker.com

Email address: senatorbarker@gmail.com

Name three favorite endorsements: Fairfax Chamber of Commerce; Virginia Education Association; Virginia Police Benevolent Association

Questions

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

Mental health care. It matters because many Virginians with mental health problems suffer needlessly and sometimes die because we are not doing enough to help them. I worked on the issue before I was elected and have helped improve our system since I took office, but much more needs to be done. After similar bills had been repeatedly killed, this year I got a bill passed to help get immediate support to college students contemplating suicide. I serve on a legislative study committee taking four years to propose a revamped and adequately funded system that will meet the needs of people with mental health problems rather than putting them on a waiting list.

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

I differ from my opponent in the following ways:

I have a detailed knowledge of most issues addressed in the General Assembly;

I understand the different issues of people in different parts of the district;

I have a record of getting results, getting more bills passed than almost any other Senator;

I consistently work with Republicans to find common ground and compromise to get things done rather than simply spouting partisan platitudes;

I still run from house to house throughout the district and ask voters what are their priorities and what do they want me to do; and

I show up, such as at a recent debate before Hayfield seniors, where I answered their questions alone for an hour because my opponent reneged on his commitment to participate.

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

My record shows that I frequently work closely with Republicans, often jointly sponsoring bills, and bridge any partisan divide to get things done. Allowing Virginians to keep their health insurance, prohibiting censorship of sermons of chaplains, texting while driving, giving Virginians a tax refund check rather than a debit card, giving protective orders to those threatened by former intimate partners, and putting more money in the Rainy Day fund, and shared work programs are examples.

In order, list your top 5 specific legislative priorities.

Transportation, Education, Economy/Jobs, Military and Veterans, Those Who Need Help

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

There is greater racial and ethnic diversity, with housing integration rather than segregation throughout the district. This has happened because we have opportunities here, people want to live here, and we appreciate both differences and our common humanity.

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

I will support legislation that restricts unfair lending practices and that provides people with limited options the ability to get loans, as we did with payday lending a few years ago.

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

My wife and I were foster parents to 13 children over many years. I have already supported this legislation.

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

I will support any reasonable proposal to get insurance for those eligible under the ACA, whether its expansion of our highly regarded Medicaid program or an alternative, such as a private insurance plan that we passed in the Senate. I am happy to help negotiate a deal that addresses concerns of some while getting coverage for those who are eligible.