Lingamfelter: Natural Gas Drilling, Natural Resource Exploration Would Bring Jobs
Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, Republican incumbent representing the 31st district of the Virginia House of Delegates, has represented Prince William and Fauquier counties since 2002. This election, he is focusing his campaign on hot topics in the northern Virginian region: transportation, education and jobs. He says his 11 years of service to his district displays his loyalty to his constituents.
“I look at myself through the lens of public service. I have been serving the public since the day I took my oath to the constitution in 1973. The people of my district know me,” he says. “I know how to legislate and I know how to get things done in Richmond and that’s awfully important to Prince William and Fauquier counties.”
He is being challenged by Democrat, Jeremy McPike in this year’s General Election. He says that he represents a stark contrast from his opponent.
For starters, Lingamfelter was opposed to Governor Bob McDonnell’s transportation reform package, while McPike supported it.
“I am the guy that has stood for open government since the day that I was first elected. I was the guy that advanced the audit bills in Richmond and I’ve found huge amounts taxpayer money to make sure that it’s being spent wisely,” says Lingamfelter, who also is a senior member of the transportation subcommittee. He says he helped the effort to advance audit bills in Richmond, ultimately discovering “$1.4 million in transportation funds that had been ‘cubbyholed’ by the Cain administration inside (Virginia Department of Transportation).”
“That was before the huge tax increase last year that my proponent supports.”
Lingamfelter says he also wants to focus on another goal: state and local cooperation.
“We have to acknowledge that decisions about growth that are made by localities must be integrated into transportation planning at the state level,” he says. “The other thing that needs to be addressed, quite frankly, is when the state proposes roads that localities don’t want.”
Lingamfelter refers to the Bi-County Parkway, the controversial 10-mile highway plan which will connect Prince William and Loudon Counties. He says many people are opposed to the parkway because of the unintended consequences it brings, such as traffic congestion.
“They are concerned about the huge amount truck traffic that will come through Prince William and Dumfries up to 234 and I-66,”says Lingamfelter.
“I think the state should be compelled to work more closely to work with localities so we don’t have these huge disconnects.”
Lingamfelter is a senior member of the House of Delegates Education Committee. Additionally, his wife Shelly is a Prince William County kindergarten teacher. He says he believes it is important that legislators listen to the people who are on the front line, the educators.
“I think it’s important that citizen legislators spend as much time as they can with real life stories,” he says. “That will go a great distance in ensuring we have the right kind of policies.”
Lingamfelter says that Virginia has kept its promise to provide adequate funding every year since he has been a legislator.
“We’re a balanced budget state. We have to make tough decisions between fire and police and education and police and higher education,” says Lingamfelter. “If you look at the record for the last 13 years, we have kept our promises to education and we continue to do so.”
However, Lingamfelter says there are still many educational issues that need to be tailored to. He is displeased with legislation passed last session to test the performance of schools on an A-F grading scale.
“I think you need strong accountability, no question about that,” says Lingamfelter. “At the same time, I worry that we’re over testing our children and we’re doing so in a way that takes away from our ability to properly educate them in school.”
“I think it’s better to evaluate the ability of the child to actually learn. “
Virginia is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation and has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States, according to a number of studies.
Lingamfelter says the way Virginia has been able to achieve this ranking is by keeping taxes low.
“Businesses go where taxes are low. The more people you hire, the more tax payers that you create,” he says. “The more people that have a job, the more tax revenue will be available to meet our full responsibilities on education, transportation, public safety.”
Lingamfelter says that Virginia has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States. North Dakota has the lowest, which Lingamfelter says has a lot to do with its oil boom and opportunity for exploration. He says that Virginia could open up opportunities by supporting accelerated exploration, drilling and development in America
“I wish that the federal government would allow Virginia to explore our own natural resources for natural gas, which democrats seem to oppose and republicans support,” he says. “We could create thousands and thousands of jobs if we did that.”