Del. Jackson Miller: Create More Opportunity for Business in Virginia, Focus on Security in Schools
Delegate Jackson Miller, Republican representing the 50th district (Manassas and Prince William County) has served the Virginia House of Delegates since 2006. This year he is running for reelection against Democrat Richard Cabellos. He will continue to center his campaign on public safety, criminal justice and business.
As a former police officer for 17 years, he is experienced with issues of criminal justice and public safety. He is responsible for sponsoring legislation that would protect victim and witnesses of crimes by requiring that the defense attorney not be able to publically disclose the personal information of the victim and witnesses. He said this exemption is only currently intact for gang crimes. His bill would include victims and witnesses of drug crimes and violent felonies.
“A lot of people assume that a violent felon who has been charged that they would not have access to the victim or witness’s information, but in fact they do,” he says. “Right now we only allow it for serious gang crimes. We should allow it for all crimes.”
Although these three areas are aligned with his professional level of expertise, Miller says he strives to represent all the issues important to his constituents. Having served as majority whip in the Virginia House of Delegates, he had the opportunity to influence legislation that he may not be a part of otherwise.
Miller says he has worked hard to help fund and prioritize education properly.
“I’m proud to say that because of my previous support of education in Virginia, that I got the endorsement of the Manassas Education Association and the Prince William Education Association,” he says. “I continue to work hard on the funding of schools and classroom sizes and that’s why I have the endorsement of teachers and that’s something I’m very proud of.”
Miller’s target-area when it comes to schools has to do with security. Last session he sponsored a bill with the focus of providing experienced security personnel in the schools.
“It’s a bill that would allow retired police officers under the Virginia Retired system to be hired by a school system full-time to be a school security guard,” he says. Currently, several retired police officers are able to get jobs as school security guards, but not on a fulltime basis. He says that this bill would help provide a safer school environment, especially if a critical incident were to occur.
“It’s much safer for the schools because a retired police officer knows and understands police procedures in a critical incident,” he says. “In many cases, the police officer goes to work in the jurisdiction he was (originally) a police officer so he almost instantly knows the officers and how they respond.”
Miller says he was not in favor of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s bipartisan transportation package because he feels it is detrimental to Prince William County. He says that in Northern Virginia’s Planning District 8, which includes Prince William County, Fairfax and Loudon counties, Miller says the region saw a 20 percent increase in sales tax and a 150 percent increase in the Grantor’s Tax, which is a tax on homes sold in the area.
“I simply couldn’t support bill that would have significant tax increases on my businesses and my constituents,” he says. “Prince William’s biggest competitors for business aren’t Fairfax and Loudon, our biggest competitors are Stafford and to a lesser degree, Faquier County, but those counties don’t have that tax increase.”
Miller says that it could be argued that the population in Fauquier and Stafford are gaining a huge increase at a higher rate than the Prince William County residents because they do not have to absorb the same tax increase.
“I simply cannot vote for the bill when we pay much more than our neighbors, yet they commute through the same region we do at a higher percentage than PWC residents.” Additionally, Miller fears the transportation package will ultimately be damaging to business development.
“I don’t disagree that it will benefit people in Prince William County, but still I don’t think it’s worth it at the cost of us not being able to attract jobs,” he says. “It’s a lot more difficult for Prince William to attract the huge high-tech companies that bring a lot of high paying jobs to Fairfax and Loudon counties.”
As a current realtor and real estate investor, Miller is oriented toward making Virginia more business-friendly.
“I drew a lot of pieces of legislation that were created to help businesses,” he says. “They (were created) to let businesses work more smoothly under the guidelines that the state government provides for them.”
He says creating regulations is not always bad for business and that his knowledge of different types of businesses helps with making regulatory legislative decisions.
“I’ve worked to help several types of business groups eliminate regulations that weren’t necessary and sometimes create regulations that the industry thinks is necessary,” he says.
Miller says that the Affordable Care Act, a federal comprehensive healthcare reform package that is set to be expanded in Virginia on Oct. 1, could be damaging to Virginia as a state. He worries that by accepting the healthcare expansion during a time when the federal economy is fragile, Virginia will later be expected to make significant budget cuts in order to continue to fund the program.
“It’s not good policy and has the ability to break the budget of the commonwealth of Virginia,” says Miller. “I think that expansion is way too risky for the future of the commonwealth and that it would be a direct threat to funding for education, funding for public safety and all the other services that are provided by (the state).”
Miller says his experience as a delegate and with the community help to give him an advantage as a candidate in the upcoming election. He says that he respects his opponent, Cabellos, as a respectable family man, however he doesn’t believe Cabellos has the pulse of the Prince William County and Manassas communities.
“Mr. Cabellos doesn’t know the district. He’s only lived here for a couple years. A vast majority of his political work is in the Arlington and Alexandria area and I believe he has the Arlington and Alexandria type of mentality,” he says. “I was a police officer for almost 12 years. I served on the Manassas city council for two years. I’ve been very involved in a variety of other organizations.”