Anderson Up on Virginia Bond Rating, Down on Transportation Reform, Obamacare Expansion
– September 24, 2013 9:00 am
Richard L. Anderson, R (Incumbent)
- Age: 58
- Political Party: Republican
- Representing: Prince William County
- District: 51
- Opponent: Reed Heddleston (D)
- Originally from: Roanoke, Va.
- Profession: Delegate for 51st House District, VA General Assembly (2 terms)
- Military: U.S. Air Force (1979-2009)
- Retired as full colonel
- Military Advisor to Deputy, Office of Secretary of the Air Force
- Military Assistant, Office of Secretary of the Air Force (2006-2009)
- Senior Leader, Strategic Air Command Headquarters (U.S. Atlantic, U.S. Pacific and Pentagon)
- Education: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
- Bachelor’s degree in Political Science (1979)
- Webster University, St. Louis, MO
- Master’s degree in Public Administration (1982)
- Professional Military Education
- Air Command and Staff College (AL)
- Armed Forces Staff College (VA)
- Air War College (AL)
- Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, University of Virginia
- Family: Wife: Ruth; Four Children: Scott, Brooke, Bria and John
- Other: Former Civil Air Patrol (CAP) National Commander (1993-1996)
- Chairman, CAP Board of Governors (2009-present)
Delegate Richard Anderson, R-Prince William County, was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009. He serves the 51st district, which includes a vast amount of Prince William County. He is running up against Democrat, Reed Heddleston for reelection this fall.
Anderson says that Prince William County deserves a candidate that is going to represent and address their needs in the General Assembly.
Anderson is no stranger to the political scene in Virginia. He served for the U.S. Air Force for 30 years and received his education at Virginia universities. He has served two terms as a Delegate for the 51st House District.
Anderson says he is pleased with the changes he helped influence in the last legislative session. He proposed the driving-while-texting bill after he was approached by three Prince William County sisters who lost their brother to a texting driver.
He also is responsible for helping to initiate the “Virginia Values Veterans” program, focused on reducing veteran unemployment in Virginia by bringing in 4,000 increased job opportunities to the state.
Anderson says that his opponent, Heddleston, is not politically in sync with the Prince William voters.
“He has called himself a progressive and moderate Democrat but in reality he is at the very left edge of the political spectrum,” he says.
Further, Anderson says he’s concerned Heddleston’s choices will end up hurting businesses and families rather than help them.
Anderson refers to the transportation reform package signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell last winter. Heddleston supported the legislation, but Anderson did not.
“I voted against the bill, as did most of the Prince William County delegation, because I had heard from literally several thousand people over the last four years, and they were not ready for any sort of tax increase in a down economy,” Anderson says.
“I do not subscribe to the premise that the way we will work our way out of these problems centers on tax increases,” Anderson says.
“I think it’s crucial though that even though it passed, we have to make sure that those monies are focused toward one final goal, and that is the relief of traffic congestion as much as humanly possible,” he says. “It’s all about quality of life.”
Anderson says he devotes a lot of time to public education and school-related events. He says one important topic that needs to be addressed is class sizes.
“I think we’ve got to address the issue of student to teacher ratios in Prince William classrooms. The numbers are at 32-24 (students) and I have been in some classrooms as high as 36,” says Anderson. “The dialogue has to center around: how we do this? I’m not in favor of doing that with a tax increase.”
Anderson also says it is imperative that the state needs to come up of more effective ways to evaluate student and school performance. Gov. Bob McDonnell recently signed off on legislation that will use a performance rating system to assign schools a letter based on test scores and measures of the school’s improvement over time. Anderson did not vote for this method.
“I thought it was an overly simplistic method for evaluating schools,” says Anderson.
Anderson says the new health care expansion is going to be tremendous cost increase for individuals, families and businesses, despite what it’s promoting.
“There are so many private employers who are dropping insurance policies, dropping coverage on their employees, consequently, they’re going to be in a worse place than they were before Obamacare,” says Anderson. “I have a daughter who was formerly working a large number of hours and was pushed back to 29 hours of work so that (her employer) would remain below that threshold, so I am concerned about that.”
Anderson says that it is important that congress study the new healthcare law and work to reform and fix its shortfalls.
Anderson says Virginia thrives as a small business state, despite Virginia’s fluctuation on a number of major ranking lists, for example, the Forbes Best States for Business list.
“In the ebb and flow of state performance among the 50 states, you’re going to see Virginia up and then down,” says Anderson. “But there is one fundamental reality, and that is that we stay up there nudged right at the top.”
Virginia has held its AAA bond rating for over 70 years and Anderson says only a handful of states have achieved that ranking.
“By the measured of any yardstick, Virginia is a good place to live, work, retire, raise a family, get an education and invest.”