Issues

As a candidate for public office you have the right to know where I stand on specific issues. If you have a question about me that you don’t see listed here, please feel free to contact to me directly.

Women’s Health

I believe in a women’s right to make her own health care decisions, which includes access to reproductive choices.

In recent years, Republicans in Richmond have tried to limit a women’s health care options by forcing women’s health clinics to close, outlawing forms of birth control, and mandating unnecessary and invasive procedures. These kinds of attacks only make it harder for us to recruit new jobs to the Commonwealth.

The decision to continue, or to end, a pregnancy is not an easy one, but belongs to the woman, her family, and her doctor. Government has no place in that decision.

Equality

It is sad that Virginia’s constitution continues to take liberty away from our citizens, and am glad that courts, including the Fourth Circuit Court in Richmond, have recognized that issue with this amendment. I am so glad to call Attorney General Mark Herring a friend and will work with him to move forward to bring full equality to the Commonwealth.

Equality means more than just gay marriage. It means recognizing that every human being is precious. People with differing levels of physical ability are entitled to equal treatment under the law. That includes making every place of work and public accommodation that can reasonably do so provide access for those unable to walk, or see, or hear as well as some of the rest of us. We are the most advanced society in the world, with the greatest resources and, I believe, the greatest compassion. It’s not too much to ask that we blend those things into policies that make sure everyone is a full participant in Virginia’s culture and economy.

Medicaid Expansion

It is unacceptable that in Virginia, there are people who work full-time who can’t afford to see a doctor when they or their children need to. Tag Greason and the other Republicans in the House of Delegates have consistently opposed bringing our own federal tax dollars back home to Virginia to bring care to our state. We lose close to $5 million a day by not expanding. That’s absurd and I will fight for Medicaid Expansion. I’ll support policies that allow all of us to be healthy and live long, productive lives.

Greenway Tolls

I am for pro-rated tolls on the Greenway, and for lowered tolls over-all. I have a longer, very detailed, version of how that can happen in another post, if you’d like to read more.

Workers’ Rights

Strong unions gave America two days off in every week, instead of only one (or none). They are why our factories, dockyards, and offices are the least hazardous places to work in the world. I believe in the value and success of the American free market, with organized labor playing an indispensable role in making that market work.

I support an increase in the minimum wage to a real living wage. People who work full-time shouldn’t have to worry about paying their bills. I also support paid sick leave. It’s not just good for workers, it is also a public health issue.

Education

As a parent to a Loudoun County middle-schooler, I know that Loudoun County has some of the best schools in the Commonwealth, but we are losing teachers to DC and Maryland due to teacher pay falling behind those jurisdictions. Our students deserve to have experienced, effective teachers in their classrooms, and those teachers deserve pay commensurate with their experience. If I am elected, I will push to get back our fair share of education money from Richmond, so that the cost of paying our teachers what they are worth won’t add to the residential tax burden.

I also support universal full-day kindergarten. Every kindergarten and first grade teacher I’ve spoken to says that the need for full-day kindergarten is acute, and that the benefits of it are exceedingly apparent. Half a day is not enough to get through the curriculum and to introduce all the concepts the students should be learning. The first grade teachers I’ve spoken to say that they can tell immediately which students did not have full-day kindergarten, they are less prepared than their peers and are less likely to be reading and printing.

If I am elected to the House of Delegates, I will push for funds for full-day kindergarten for Loudoun and will work with local Loudoun officials to implement this program.

Environment

Virginia has some of the most beautiful land, mountains, lakes, and rivers in the country. Sadly, some of those have become polluted, like the Chesapeake Bay. The damage done to the bay has cost thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to our economy. After much long work, the bay is finally being healed and, with more effort, will be able once again to sustain its own ecosystem, returning to the list of Virginia’s best natural resources, both in terms of beauty and productivity. The history of the bay should be the lesson that teaches all of us how easy it can be to lose a precious resource, how costly that loss can be, and how difficult it can be to recover from that loss. Sound protections delivered via reasonable laws are the best way to preserve our land and water so that generations of Virginians can enjoy and benefit from them. I will always support efforts to protect Virginia’s natural beauty.

Transportation

We need more mass transit in Northern Virginia. We also need more policy-making tools for local governments to take better control over growth and the traffic-jams that, under current law, are the inevitable side-effect of growth. Recent history in our area makes it very clear that more roads are not the sole solution to our commuting problems. Instead, what we need are a combination of better design and planning, more multi-modal transportation options, and ordinances available to local governments that will let them control growth so our roads, buses, and trains will be there when we need them.

I oppose the so-called “outer beltway” that some big developers say they want in Loudoun county. Instead, I’ll support investing in commuter-oriented options that will get us all to work, and home again, faster and safer. That’s an investment that will pay for itself as the economy of our region, the most profitable in the state, continues to grow and draw employers to our area.

Public Safety

I am a shooter and gun-owner. The Second Amendment, in my view, guarantees more than the right to go hunting. Personal ownership of a pistol for self-defense is something law-abiding Virginians are entitled to under the constitution. But I believe in the entirety of the Second Amendment, and that includes the words “well regulated.” I do not believe our guns are regulated as well as they should be, with the “gun show loophole” being a proven source of guns to people who should never have had them, and no display of competency required from anyone who would carry a deadly weapon. I believe anyone who can pass a fair and reasonable background check, and can show their ability to handle a pistol safely, should be allowed to carry one on their person, concealed or in the open. Universal background checks for gun ownership are a common sense way to make our communities safer.

I know that public safety means more than just well-trained police. It includes public services that offer meaningful help to victims of domestic violence, opportunities for reformed offenders to re-enter productive roles in society, and reconsideration of our “free pass” policies for violent juvenile offenders. That’s why I favor programs like Drug Courts that are proven to turn past offenders into trustworthy workers and taxpayers. I’ll look for every chance to solve our safety problems with solutions that seek to produce productive members of society.

Immigration

The Federal government has failed to adequately address the problem of immigration. While it is my hope that Congress enacts a Federal policy to address this issue, there are some things the General Assembly can do.

First and foremost, for those children that were brought here as children and attended public schools in Virginia, we should allow them access to in-state tuition at our Colleges and Universities through the DREAM Act.