Candidate for VA House, Heddleston Seeks to Diversify industries, Improve Transportation
– October 15, 2013 12:42 pm
Roy "Reed" Heddleston
- Age: 65
- Political Party: Democrat
- Representing: Prince William County
- District: 51 [link to show coverage??]
- Opponent: Richard Anderson
- Originally from: Born in Seoul, Korea
- Profession: The Louthan Group in Richmond
- Managing director for defense and government (2012-present)
- Profession: Science Applications International Corporation (SCIC) (1998 – 2012)
- Senior operations manager
- Education: Virginia Military Institute
- Degree: Bachelor’s degree in economics (1970)
- Education: Emory University
- Degree: MBA in finance (1972)
- Education: Moody Air Force Base
- Flight school (1973)
- Family: Wife: Carol; Three children: Thomas, Erin, Lindsay
- Military: United States Air Force (1972-1998)
- Colonel, Air Force Systems Command, Office of Secretary of Defense
- Graduate, Squadron Officer School
- Graduate, Armed Forces Staff College
- Distinguished Graduate, Industrial College of the Armed Forces
- Other: Brotherhood of St. Anderew, Pohick Episcopal Church
- Vestryman, lay reader, director of brotherhood
- Board member, Historic Pohick Foundation
- Prince William County Democratic Committee
- Life member, Air Force Association
- Life member, Order of Daedalians
- Life member, Eagle Scout Association
- Life member, Sons of the American Revolution
Reed Heddleston is the democratic candidate for the 51st VirgiiaHouse District, which includes Prince William County.
“This elction is going to be about choices,” said Heddleston.
He’s up against incumbent Richard Anderson, who has held the seat since 2010. Heddleston says there is a stark difference between his and his opponent’s overall approach in the upcoming General Election.
Although Heddleston says he respects Anderson’s military service, as both candidates have served for the U.S. Air Force, Heddleston says his experience within his industry will make him a better candidate. Anderson retired from the Air Force a Colonel in 2009.
“I’ve hired people into jobs and I know what it takes to win contracts and to build business,” says Heddleston. “It’s not something I’ve read about in a book or that someone gave me in a ‘talk and pat’. My opponent can talk about things but I have done them.”
Heddleston currently works as a managing director for defense and government for the Luthan Group, a financial consulting firm based in Richmond. Prior to that, Heddleston worked for 14 years as an operations manager for the Science Applications International Corporation (SCIC), a Fortune 500 Company located in McLean, Virginia. Within his work at the SCIC, Heddleston says he gained valuable experience that would be useful as a delegate.
“I understand what it’s like to lose contracts and I understand what it’s like to win contracts,” he says. “I know what it’s like to hire veterans. I personally hired 30 veterans during my time with SCIC.”
Heddleston is focusing his campaign on major issues such as transportation, education, and equality in the workplace.
Heddleston says he supported the transportation reform package, signed off by Governor McDonnell during the last legislative session which eliminates the gasoline tax and raise the state’s sales tax in an effort to raise funds for transportation issues.
“It took all these years to get a bipartisan transportation bill and it’s been 26 years since we’ve actually had a transportation bill,” says Heddleston. “Transportation is a long-standing problem and you don’t fix it one year at a time, you have to have a long-range plan.”
Further, he says transportation isn’t only about building more roads.
“We need to look at alternatives and be very careful where we spend that money. We need to look at light rail, metro expansion and at highways and improving traffic,” says Heddleston.
However, Heddleston does not support the development of the Bi-County Parkway, which will connect Prince William and Loudon Counties. Proponents say that the road will help promote economic development by improving the transportation network. However, opponents of the parkway fear that it will be costly to surrounding residents and damaging to the Manassas National Battlefield Park and the official historic district.
He said there are three reasons why he doesn’t support the bill: the fear that it will add to traffic congestion, create unnecessary development in the Rural Cresent, and will not be a viable long-term goal.
“I believe it doesn’t address our transportation problem, which is getting people to and from work,” he says. “What that will do is just create more development in the Rural Crescent and that will just add to the congestion load.”
“That is a distinction because my opponent supports the Bi-County Parkway and he voted against the transportation reform plan.”
Heddleston says the main problem with Prince William County Schools is that the county has the largest class sizes and also the lowest teacher pay in the region.
“If we’re not in a crisis, we’re approaching crisis,” he says. “We need to raise teacher pay to the national average. We know that if you’re looking for disciplined classes, you need smaller class sizes but really it’s not a question of discipline, you need smaller class sizes so teachers can pay attention to students. “
Heddleston was recently endorsed by the Virginia Education Association. He says public education is a fundamental part of democracy.
“It’s where you meet and compete with your peer group that you’re going to work with for the rest of your life,” he says.
Another issue Heddleston points out is how Virginia currently tests the performance of schools and teachers.
“At the same time that we’re not putting enough money into the public schools and we have difficult to manage class sizes, we’re now asking teachers to bump up the standards of learning at the federal and state level and even within the county,” he says.
Heddleston says the soon-to-be enacted legislation which will place a letter grade on schools based on their performance is not an adequate measurement.
“We need to take a long look at the standards that we’re testing for and ensure that we’re not overtesting our (students) and teachers.”
Heddleston says it’s important to realize that the job market is a competition and Virginia needs to be aware of how that market is continuously changing.
“I have spent 14 years in high technology and business. I understand how it works. I will tell you that what’s you’re interested in is intellectual capital,” he says. “You are interested in getting the brightest people you can because we compete. “
Heddleston says in order for Virginia to improve businesses, the state will have to diversify and be more welcoming to minorities.
“I’m not interested in who you are, I’m interested in how you think,” he says. “The majority of engineering students are now women. Thirty-percent of high-technology businesses and engineers are going to be run by women and CEOs.”
He says that social issues are also economic and civil rights issues and should not be used as a means to deny an individual employment.
“I support marriage equality because you cannot discriminate in the work place, so why would we discriminate in Virginia?” says Heddleston. “What Republicans do not understand is that they’re in a competition. You have not made the investment in services nor do you have a welcoming atmosphere in your industry and it’s going to continue unless we change what happens in VA.”