Q&As with the three 18th District state delegate candidates |
Years serving as delegate:
I’m married to my lovely wife Rebecca, and have two amazing kids.
Why are you running for delegate?
Over the past six years, we have gotten a lot accomplished in the House of Delegates, with more to do! I co-founded the Business Development Caucus and worked to promote a pro-business atmosphere. With regard to our education, I have worked to fund underfunded schools, consistently voted against tax increases, led common-sense efforts to preserve our land and environment, and carried legislation that expands the number of states where Virginians with concealed carry permits can carry firearms. While we have made considerable progress over the past few years, there is still much to be accomplished. We also have a growing opioid epidemic in the Commonwealth that must be addressed. On average, nearly three people die every day from a drug overdose. We passed bills this past session HB 1453, HB 1750, HB 1845 and several other bills to combat this epidemic. I want to return to the House of Delegates to continue the fight against this terrible epidemic that has claimed the lives of so many of our friends and family members.
Healthcare has been a major topic of discussion for years now, should Virginia opt into Medicaid and if they don’t are they losing out on federal dollars?
No, and this myth needs to quit being perpetuated by my opponents. Medicaid expansion would cost $2 billion per year when you combine state and federal dollars - 2 Billion Dollars. Other states have expanded Medicaid, and it’s been an absolute nightmare. Oregon’s Medicaid program was the largest factor in the state’s recent $1.6 billion shortfalls; Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion is $3.3 billion over budget in the first two and a half years.
Instead of focusing on expanding Medicaid - which would leave us in financial disarray - we should focus on all the achievements over the past few years and continue that work.
What can be done to drive more industry to the area and what is the best use of economic development dollars in District 18?
The 18th District is primarily an agricultural district, and we should also focus on creating a business environment that encourages the agri-tourism industry to thrive. Great Meadow is a great example of bringing in agri-tourism dollars that benefit the local horse and wine industries. Bright Farms is an example of utilizing state resources, like the AFID grant, to help grow industries in the district. Working to create opportunities for our smaller and larger producers will enhance and sustain our agricultural industry. In our commercial and industrial areas, we can expand opportunity. A great example of this is our work with Miles Friedman, Director of Economic Development in Fauquier County, to pass HB 1565 - a bill that allows localities to create green development zones and provide certain tax incentives for businesses operating in an energy-efficient building of businesses that produces products to reduce negative impacts on the environment. Legislation like this gives localities tools to attract and expand businesses in the 18th District.
Broadband access in rural parts of the district is limited, what legislation can be passed to help improve access for those who may want to telecommute?
There is no silver bullet for this issue. We need to insure that localities can find workable solutions to their issues – a one size fits all approach will not work. A possible solution is to allow more flexibility to localities when negotiating broadband deals. Innovation and working together at all levels of government and the private sector will enhance the probability of broadband expansion.
Following the incidents in Charlottesville earlier this summer, there has been much discussion about rising tensions in our nation? Should the state and localities remove Confederate statues to help alleviate the issue?
No, localities should not remove Confederate statues. In 2016, I, along with several Democrats, voted for HB 587, a bill that would have protected memorials and monuments regardless of when they were erected. I still stand by this vote, and I would vote for HB 587 should it come before the House again. Removing the statues and attempting to erase our history is not the answer.
What makes you the best option for delegate?
Like the corn I grow, my roots run deep in the 18th District. I live here, I work here, and my children attend school here. I am invested deeply in the district. The seeds that I have sown as a resident and businessman of the 18th District have grown into understanding and deep appreciation for our community. The seeds I’ve sown in Richmond have resulted in achievement: funding for our schools, enriching our business and agriculture industries and helping my fellow citizens create a better community. It has been my esteemed honor to serve, and I humbly ask for the opportunity to continue to represent the people of the 18th District.