Atif M. Qarni, a Democrat running for the 13th district seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, says that the main goal of his campaign is to improve the lives of the families within his district. Qarni resides in Dale City with his wife, Fatima and his two sons, Zane and Saber. He is running up against Republican Delegate Robert G. “Bob” Marshall, who is currently serving his 11th term.
As an eighth-grade math teacher at Beville Middle School in Prince William County, Qarni says education is a top priority on his agenda.
“We need to really restore the budget levels to where they were in 2009 and before,” says Qarni. “As a teacher, I have seen resources being cut from our (public) schools first-hand. The state funding and county funding have been significantly reduced.”
Qarni says reducing class sizes and raising teacher salaries are two important solutions to tacking the issues facing education in Virginia.
“My average class size this past school year (2012-2013) was 34 kids,” Qarni says. “You can only imagine 34 eighth graders in a class room. It’s not fair to the kids. They’re not getting the full attention that they deserve.”
Regarding teacher salaries, Qarni says that in order to retain qualified teachers, Virginia needs to offer a better pay for its teachers, specifically, “where the cost of living is very high but the teacher salaries are not very competitive.”
Qarni’s other priorities include traffic reduction and improving job formation.
“I would like to help people spend less time on the roads and more time with their families,” says Qarni.
He says it’s important to monitor the new transportation funds that were generated from the transportation reform bill last winter in order to ensure they are being utilized properly.
“[Transportation reform funds] don’t necessarily only have to be applied to spending on roads,” says Qarni. “We can also pump in that money into mass transit. We can pump in that money to creating parking facilities [and] we can encourage the use of satellite locations.”
Additionally, Qarni says the funds can be used to encourage people work remotely and utilize their Real Estate.
When it comes to job creation in Virginia, Qarni says more can be done to serve the individual talents of those entering the workforce. He says that if you look at Virginia, many graduates are likely to leave and take their talents to other states.
“We need to have these individuals start their businesses here in Virginia or work for existing companies here in Virginia, and retain the talents here,” Qarni says. “I really believe that this is where job growth and economic growth tie together, retaining the talents that future generations have.”
In the future, Qarni says he hopes that his sons will choose to attend universities, work and develop their own careers in Virginia.
With health care reform gradually expanding into Virginia, significant changes are expected to be made to Medicaid and Medicare. The Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, has received a large amount of press and mixed reactions in recent months.
“One of the issues with Medicare is that we have a fragmented health system in Virginia,” Qarni said. “With that expansion coming, the communication between the pharmacies and hospitals can become really efficient, which can really save money that can be applied to more health care needs.”
He adds: “If applied properly, Obamacare will be beneficial for the state.”
As a former sergeant for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, Qarni says he knows what it takes to serve as a combat veteran. Qarni joined the Marine Corps in 1996 and served for eight years. Qarni says the Military teaches many skills that are beneficial to the workforce and Virginia should continue to build upon being a military job center.
“We need to look out for those veterans that have fought for our freedom,” says Qarni.
Along with these issues, Qarni campaign has also focused on women’s health and reducing gun violence. He has recently received an endorsement from the Virginia Chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.
“The 13th District deserves a Delegate who will focus on solving problems, not on an extreme social agenda,” said Sen. Mark Herring. “That’s why I am proud to support Atif Qarni. I know Atif will put his energy and his experience to work to do what’s right for the people of Prince William County and the people of Virginia.”
Meet Richard Cabellos, a Democrat running against Delegate Jackson Miller, R-Manassas, for the 50th seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Cabellos lives in Manassas with his wife of five years, Yolanda, and their 3-year-old son, Cruz. He is currently working as the director of the Southgate Community Center in Reston, where he oversees youth leadership and volunteer programs, facilitates job-training programs for adults, and helps to conduct ESL classes, among other programs.
“My current job is so rewarding. I work with children as well as adults every day in a very diverse community,” says Cabellos.
Cabellos hopes to use his experience as a community leader and apply it towards his campaign. Cabellos says that he feels his opponent, Miller, has his own agenda. On issues such as education funding, transportation and women’s rights, Cabellos says Miller illustrates the stark contrast between the two candidates.
“We definitely need to invest more in our schools and pay our teachers a fair salary,” Cabellos says. “I definitely would have done something different instead of voting and supporting taking away almost $620 million dollars from education,” says Cabellos. “I feel we need to invest more in education. My opponent has voted against education [funding].”
Further, Cabellos says it is important to consider early childhood education.
“Studies have shown that when children have access to quality early education, they have a better chance to do better in school and have a better opportunity in college,” he said.
“We need to invest more in what we take away from public education.”
Cabellos supports the recent transportation reform package that was adopted July 1, though he says more still needs to be done to fix transportation issues in the Northern Virginia area.
“We have a lot of cars on the road, so I think public transportation should be looked at as one of the options,” he says. “We can also look at having a metro extended to Prince William County. I think that’s an option that a lot of people in this area and in my district would love.”
Cabellos says it is important to listen to the voters when deciding what areas of transportation need to be looked at.
“Talking to voters in my district, (transportation) is a main issue for them. It’s part of everyday life,” he says. “We can always think about more roads but also smarter construction.”
Cabello’s parents came as immigrants to the U.S. over 50 years ago looking for new opportunities and eventually became small business owners. Cabellos says that growing up in a small business family inspired his desire to improve his community.
“I know that if my mom and dad didn’t get the opportunity to get loans and be able to afford to have a business in the area and bring in jobs, I wouldn’t be here today,” says Cabellos. “There has to be more infrastructure and investment in small businesses, because that’s what brings jobs to the state.”
Cabellos also says that having nondiscriminatory policies, job-training programs for those entering the workforce and creating more jobs locally will help drive business expansion and job creation.
“We need to be inclusive and invite commuting to businesses. We want to make sure the environment is conducive for businesses, first of all.”
As a proponent of Medicaid expansion, Cabellos says the new changes will benefit low-income families that would not be able to afford healthcare without it.
“We have a positive opportunity to make sure we get thousands of Virginians coverage. It’s a great opportunity for [Virginia] and I definitely support the expansion of it.”
“I feel that government should not be in the business of telling a woman what she can or cannot do with her body,” says Cabellos.
“I would like to bring a new perspective to Richmond, says Cabellos. “Not just in representing my district but I also want to represent the Commonwealth as a whole.”
William “Eric” Herr is a candidate for the Hartwood District of the Stafford County School Board. He currently lives in Stafford with his wife of 30 years, Lisa, and works for the Department of Defense as an engineer and technology development program manager. He says he made the decision to run for the school board because he would like to see positive changes for schools and his district.
“I didn’t like some of the decisions that were coming out of the board and some of the strategies and some of the relationships between the Board of Supervisors and the school board,” says Herr. He says he will focus a large part of his campaign toward improving those relationships and conditions for teachers and students.
“I think the greatest challenge is that we’ve taken the focus away from the actual learning and teaching in the classroom,” says Herr. “There are many activities now that are not directly related to learning and teaching and I think we have to minimize and eliminate some of those activities.”
Herr says his goals consist of three main components: putting more trust into our teachers, focusing more on teaching and learning and adjust the compensation scale to attract more quality teachers.
“I’ve talked to a ton of teachers, hundreds of parents and I listen to what their priorities are and what their concerns are to get the most accurate picture of what’s going on.”
Herr also hopes to change the way schools are funded using an “inside-out” approach.
“The way we fund our school right now in Stafford is we fund the headquarters first and then that money trickles down to the classrooms,” he says. “My focus will be on funding the classrooms first.”
Herr says the starting pay in Stafford is one of the lowest, despite having one of the highest salaries for teachers in the region.
“Our starting pay is tied with the last in the region,” says Herr. “I think we need to raise that up so we can attract great teachers so they can become a part of the community and then promote our leaders from within a pool of great teachers.”
In reference to legislation signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell last spring that assigns an A to F grading system to rate a school’s performance, Herr says it is fair that schools are graded the same way students are.
“There can be no secrets and no information held back from the parents about how our schools our doing, just like they deserve to know how their children are doing,” says Herr. “I want to see all of our schools in Stafford get A’s, but whatever grade we get, I don’t think that’s the main issue.”
“The issue is making sure our schools are set up to best teach our students and then measure that performance and report that performance of the schools back to the parents.”
Herr says he will make a good candidate for the Hartwood seat of the Stafford County School Board because of his experience as a leader through the military and as a project manager.
“I understand how to develop a team and reach common goals and I think teamwork between the school board and board of supervisors is critical,” says Herr. “I think we need to be willing to listen and then synthesize the results into an accessible course of action.”
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — All you politicos have been warned: Don’t put those colorful red, white, and blue campaign signs up on school property. The children don’t need to see them.
In a letter from Prince William County Public Schools today, we’re told campaign literature is banned from being distributed during the school day and at athletic events.
Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer says campaign literature and signs have not been a problem at schools so far this election year, and added they’d like to keep it that way.
Here’s the letter posted by the school division:
To all political campaigns:
I am writing this open letter in response to recent inquiries.
Prince William County Public Schools has a longstanding policy of prohibiting the distribution of partisan political materials during the school day and at school-sponsored activities, including athletic events. It is intended to allow our students to benefit from their school experience free from the conflict, competition, and distortion that can be associated with heated political campaigns. Students should always be the focus of school-related events, without concern that they are serving as an enticement to attract crowds for other purposes.
PWCS applies this policy uniformly and without exception, and asks that it be respected by all campaigns and candidates. Thank you for putting the needs of PWCS students ahead of partisan interests.
Associate Superintendent for
Communications and Technology Services
An election is held every year in Virginia. On Election Day November 5, campaign literature will also be banned inside schools that serve as polling places per state election laws.
This year in Prince William County, local offices for the House of Delegates and a school board seat are up for grabs.
Today, Democratic candidate for Attorney General Mark Herring received the endorsement of the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s (NVTC) TechPAC, which represents the largest and most well-known technology businesses in Virginia. Among the reasons for their choice, NVTC TechPAC’s 27-member Board of Trustees cited Herring’s proven record of leadership and advocacy on technology-related issues in the General Assembly.
“I’m proud to receive NVTC TechPAC’s endorsement because our state’s innovation economy is key to sustaining economic growth and keeping Virginia competitive,” Herring said. “As the next Attorney General, I will build off my strong record of supporting business in Virginia and working in a bipartisan fashion to continue to be a strong advocate for Virginia’s burgeoning technology industry.”
Dendy Young, NVTC TechPAC Chairman, lauded Herring’s work supporting Virginia’s technology sector:
“As a member of the General Assembly, Mark Herring has distinguished himself as a strong advocate and champion of Virginia’s technology industry. He has a proven history of leadership on technology issues, and has served as the Senate sponsor of several important technology bills which have been signed into law by governors in the Commonwealth. In particular, Herring has promoted innovative technology policies and investments focused on research, entrepreneurship, new company formation, commercialization, and enhancement of Virginia’s economic competitiveness,” said Young.
Young continued, “We fully expect that Herring will continue to be a strong advocate for technology business as attorney general and that he will advance policies and initiatives that enhance Virginia’s status as a global technology center.”
STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Valerie J. Setzer will carry the Democratic banner in the Falmouth District board of supervisors’ race this year.
The 35-year retiree of the Federal Aviation Administration takes the place on the ballot of former supervisor David R. Beiler, who needed to withdraw in August.
Setzer and her husband Bill are residents of Woodland Woods in Grafton precinct. She is a political newcomer who retired at age 62 in January 2013. At that time she was FAA’s nationwide manager for terminal airspace.
“Valerie Setzer is an intelligent, detail-oriented professional, who works well with everyone and who will provide the kind of practical solutions Stafford needs to meet its huge challenges,” said Stafford Democrat Party Chairwoman Alane Callander.
Setzer is running under the theme “Breaking Barriers.”
“We need to tackle the issues of today in funding for our schools, correcting our stalled transportation system, and attracting businesses that diversify our economy,” Setzer said, “But we also need to plan for the future through returning to smart growth principles that former Democratic Party supervisors had advocated while on the Board.”
Currently the Board of Supervisors is composed of six Republicans and one Independent. “Thousands of new houses are coming thanks to the developer-friendly policies of this Board,” Setzer explained. “Protections that slowed residential growth have been eliminated. We are not prepared for the influx of new school children or the additional cars that will further gridlock our roads. I think we can do better than this and our citizens deserve better from our government”, she said.
Setzer faces Republican Meg Boemke, Falmouth’s current school board member, and Independent Robert Belman, a realtor and real estate agent, in the November 5 election
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Michael Futrell is answering questions about the IRS as his campaign for the House of Delegates enters the final stretch.
The Woodbridge Democrat who seeks to unseat Stafford Republican Mark Dudenhefer for Virginia’s 2nd House District had the federal taxing agency strip his charitable 501(c)3 status for Futrell’s 3-year-old “Make the Future” organization, a group that focuses on youth sports and educational activities, because the organization has not filed statement of earnings since its incorporation — something that must be done each year, according to the IRS.
“I was under the impression we were able to file all at once, so I take full responsibility for what’s happened and we are working to correct it,” Futrell told Potomac Local News.
He is now working to find an executive director for the organization so he can focus solely on his campaign, and he adds “Make the Future” still has a bright future ahead of it. Its website was taken down late last month and now states updates are being made to the site.
Futrell kicked off his first bid for public office early in January. The district he seeks to represent is split between eastern Prince William County and North Stafford, with the the majority of Democrats voters in Prince William and Republicans in Stafford.
Along the way, Futrell has been accused of plagiarizing another campaign’s website. In March, some of the same text that lived on Virginia House Minority Leader David Tuscano’s page was found on Futrell’s. It was taken down and changes were made to Futrell’s campaign staff, he said.
Today on his website, Futrell touts himself as an educator and a businessman. He taught public school for one year in Ohio before moving to Northern Virginia to become a pharmaceutical rep, he said, where he continued “educating” people about drugs and life-bettering treatments for illness.
Futrell says he’s fully focused on the campaign, and that education, veterans issues, and transportation are the key things he’s looking at.
Extending Metro to Woodbridge would be a economic boom for eastern Prince William County, and would help to revitalize the U.S. 1 corridor, something that desperately needs to happen, he said. As it’s the main thoroughfare in the 2nd District next to I-95, U.S. 1 has become a campaign issue after incumbent Dudenhefer penned a letter to Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton making the case to widen the roadway to six lanes.
Another major transportation issues facing the area: The Bi-County Parkway that would connect I-95 at U.S. 1 in Dumfries with Dulles Airport. Many businesses support it, but many homeowners along Va. 234 – where the parkway would run — are opposed because they fear increased noise from the highway.
“I’m not ready to take a position on the parkway just yet until we have all of the facts on the table,” said Futrell.
If elected, he’ll convene meetings of local residents who will be asked for their ideas on how to improve the region, he said.
Voters go to the polls Nov. 5.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Congressman Gerry Connolly will host his annual Senior Issues Forum on Thursday at Westminster at Lake Ridge in Prince William County. Citizens interested in learning more about legislative matters and other issues concerning seniors and retirees are invited to attend.
Representatives from the AARP, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Social Security Administration, and the Federal Trade Commission will join Connolly on a panel at the forum. Congressman Connolly’s issues forum will run from 3 pm to 5 pm on Thursday, September 5, in Westminster’s Potomac Room at 12191 Clipper Drive in Woodbridge.
The panelists for Connolly’s senior issues forum are:
· Joanne Grossi, Regional Director, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services
· Bill Kallio, State Director, AARP
· David Melton, Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration
· Derick Rill, Congressional Relations, Federal Trade Commission
“I encourage everyone who has questions or concerns about federal programs, issues, or legislation affecting seniors to attend this forum,” Connolly said. “I have brought together some real experts who will be able to address a variety of matters affecting Medicare and Social Security recipients, fraudulent scams, and other issues affecting seniors.”
LAKE RIDGE, Va. — Delegate Richard Anderson will open his campaign headquarters in Lake Ridge on Wednesday.
The incumbent will be joined by Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va. 1, and Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, when they open their office at Dillingham Square next to Sun Trust Bank, according to a press release. The opening ceremony is open to the public and starts at 7 p.m.
Anderson was elected in 2009 and represents the 51st House District that encompasses much of Prince William County. He faces Democrat Reed Heddleston in his reelection bid this fall.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Today, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter announced that the Virginia Police Benevolent Association (VBA) has endorsed his campaign for re-election representing the 31st District in the Virginia House of Delegates. The endorsement comes after an extensive candidate interview process conducted by members of the Prince William Chapter.
Responding to the endorsement, Delegate Lingamfelter stated, “The Police Benevolent Association is made up of the men and women who have taken the oath to protect and defend our community. We owe it to them to honor their service and I am proud to say that I have been a strong advocate for law enforcement officers over the course of my career in the Virginia House of Delegates. As I have done in the past, I will continue to fight for these men and women who selflessly dedicate their lives to keeping our families safe.”
“Through an understanding of issues important to our membership and a willingness to be a working partner in our efforts to improve and promote the local and state law enforcement profession, Mr. Lingamfelter has earned our support. The Prince William County Chapter of the Virginia Police Benevolent Association asks the citizens of Prince William to support Mr. Lingamfelter in the upcoming election for Virginia House of Representatives on November 5,” said Virginia PBA President, Joe Woloszyn.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Delegate Richard L. Anderson (R-Prince William) will host a 51st House District Town Hall on Sequestration on August 27th at 7:30 p.m. at Lake Ridge Baptist Church in Woodbridge.
The event comes as Virginia is working to mitigate the effects of the federal sequestration on residents of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
In March of this year, Governor Bob McDonnell created the Virginia Commission on Military Installations and Defense Activities (COMIDA) to study how the Commonwealth can best mitigate the effects of sequestration over the next decade, as well as minimize the impact of potential military base closures in 2015 and 2017 through the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) process.
The commission consists of 10 leaders drawn from the retired senior military officer community and the executive and legislative branches of Virginia state government. Anderson and Virginia State Senator Bryce E. Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) sit on the commission as co-chairs of the General Assembly Military and Veteran Caucus, which is the legislative clearing house for dozens of bills that make their way each year through the General Assembly for 830,000 Virginia veterans. In addition to Anderson and Reeves, the commission includes four retired four-star and three-star military officers and four cabinet secretaries.
In addition to Anderson and Reeves, the event will feature another commission member, the Honorable Terrie L. Suit, Virginia’s Secretary of Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security. The commission has been meeting since April and has visited military bases and other locations most vulnerable to sequestration and BRAC activities.
The general public is invited to the event on August 27th from 7:30 to 9pm at Lake Ridge Baptist Church at 12450 Clipper Drive in Woodbridge. Residents of Occoquan, Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, Manassas, Brentsville, and Nokesville are most affected and are invited to attend.
In announcing this community conversation, Anderson stated that “I hope as many of our neighbors as possible can attend on August 27th. We’ll have the latest information on what Virginia is doing. But more importantly, we want to devote the bulk of our meeting to hearing first-hand what Prince William residents are experiencing. That way, we can best tailor Commonwealth plans to address their needs and concerns.”
At the meeting on August 27th, Anderson, Reeves, and Suit will report to local residents on initiatives to soften the impacts of sequestration and BRACs. Most of the meeting will be devoted to discussion, questions and answers, and testimony from Prince William County residents affected by sequestration, furloughs, and future reductions in force (RIFs).
If possible, participants are asked to RSVP to Del. Anderson’s legislative district office at 571-264-9983 or RGalloway@house.virginia.gov. This will permit planning for adequate seating. Requests for more information can also be directed to this office number or email address.
In preparing for the meeting, Anderson stated that “in the last three months, I have heard from several hundred 51st District residents who have been furloughed or otherwise touched by the federal sequester. Time is of the essence and we must move quickly to minimize future furloughs and potential RIFs. We’re already working on a comprehensive package of legislative proposals for the 2014 legislative session, and I want to hit the ground running next January.”
Former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson endorsed Libertarian Robert Sarvis for governor of Virginia today.
In endorsing Sarvis, Governor Johnson remarked, “Robert Sarvis is the only candidate in this year’s most-watched and most negative election who offers a relentlessly positive libertarian vision for Virginia that’s both ‘Open-minded and Open for Business.’ Be Libertarian with me, Virginia, in 2013 and vote for Robert Sarvis for Governor.” Accepting Gov. Johnson’s endorsement, Sarvis stated: “I am honored to receive the endorsement of Gary Johnson. Gov. Johnson campaigned for the White House with a ‘fiscally responsible, socially accepting’ message that complements the Sarvis vision for a Virginia that’s ‘Open-minded and Open for Business.’
“And Gov. Johnson’s presidential campaign helped me make the transition away from the GOP and welcome me into the Libertarian Party, my natural political home.”
WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The Virginia Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) has announced that Virginia Delegate Rich Anderson (R-51st) has been named as the organization’s “2013 Virginia Legislator of the Year.” The award recognizes Anderson’s steadfast support of Virginia’s 830,000 veterans over the past year.
For the last two years, Anderson has chaired the General Assembly Military and Veteran Caucus, which is the legislative clearing house for bills that are introduced on behalf of veterans and military missions based in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Because Virginia is home to 830,000 veterans, the Caucus plays a central role in maintaining Virginia’s national reputation as one of the most veteran-friendly states in the country.
When notified of the award, Anderson stated that “as a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, I am humbled to be named the Legislator of the Year by such a distinguished group of American patriots. Nearly one in 10 Virginians has worn the cloth of the country at one time or another, and I have valued the opportunity to play a central role in the quality of life for my fellow veterans. Since my first election in 2009, I have made it one of my priorities in the General Assembly to focus on veterans issues. I’m especially pleased to chair the legislative body that is charged with military and veteran issues.”
Anderson further stated that “I’m pleased to have carried legislation this year with Sen. Toddy Puller (D-36th) to make the “Virginia Values Veterans” (V3) program a formal part of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. The V3 program is focused on reducing veteran unemployment in Virginia by increasing job opportunities for a skilled group that has served our country in uniform. Because of this legislation, more than 4,000 jobs have been committed to Virginia veterans by more than 100 employers across the state.” More information on the V3 program is http://virginiavaluesvets.com.
Del. Anderson is a 30-year veteran of the Air Force who retired in 2009 as a full colonel. Additionally, his wife Ruth served for 21 years in the Air Force Nurse Corps as a senior officer and commander.
Since March of this year, Anderson has served on the Virginia Commission on Military Installations and Defense Activities, which is working on a mitigation plan to ease the impact of Sequestration and possible base closures in 2015 and 2017, with a special focus on Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. He also serves on the Virginia Board of Veterans Services and the Virginia War Memorial Board of Trustees. Outside of his legislative duties, Anderson sits on the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Board of Governors, a congressionally-mandated body that reports to the Secretary of the Air Force.
While Anderson may be receiving state-level recognition from MOAA for his past work, he is already looking ahead to the 2014 session of the Virginia General Assembly. Anderson stated that “working with 23 veteran organizations across the state, we’ve already written a comprehensive veteran plan and accompanying legislation for introduction in January. We will never stop working to make Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in America.”
MANASSAS, Va. — Giving a solid answer on his view of the Bi-County Parkway, Virginia Attorney General and Virginia Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli supports the Bi-County Parkway between Interstate 95 in Dumfries and Dulles Airport.
“With the tremendous growth in Loudoun, and Prince William County, and the region, we need new transportation options, but the current proposal on the table is unacceptable,” said Cuccinelli. “We cannot be closing roads down just so we can build a new road…we need all the transportation options we can get.”
He’s referring to an agreement between the state the National Park Service to close U.S. 29 at Va. 234 inside the Manassas National Battlefield Park once the Bi-County Parkway, now under study, is built.
Cuccinelli, of Prince William County, said that as governor he would work to let “locals” to determine the best route for the highway.
His opponent, Terry McAullife, of Fairfax County, avoided a direct position on the proposed highway, but said Dulles is a cargo hub that needs to be expanded so more goods can be shipped to China and Korea.
“… I do not make [transportation] decisions [as governor], nor will I make decisions until I have all the facts in front of me,” said McAuliffe. “I want to get all of the stakeholders in the room…I love a win-win situation…to have economic development… and local say in how things are done.”
Neither candidate shook hands today, nor did they ever occupy the stage at the same time. But both men who want to sit in Virginia’s Governor’s Mansion came to the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas to field questions from members of several regional chambers of commerce for a “Battleground Forum.”
In addition to the pressing transportation issues, education, jobs, and healthcare questions dominated the discussion.
While he incorrectly stated that Virginia ranks 50th in public school teacher pay (it ranks 30th among all U.S. states in average teacher salaries), Cuccinelli and McAuliffe both agreed the Virginia’s Standards of Learning tests are outdated.
“SOLS don’t work. This high stakes multiple choice test at the end of the year…it doesn’t work for students and it doesn’t work for parents,” said McAuliffe.
Both men also agreed on drilling off Virginia’s Atlantic coastline to find new sources of energy. But the candidates are divided over coal — which is abundant supply in the southwest portion of the state.
“The war on coal is a war on the poor in Virginia…I will fight for them. My opponent said we need to move past coal,” said Cuccinelli.
Both men took each other to task over attracting new businesses and jobs to the state, with McAuliffe noting he wants more tax incentives to bring large companies to the state, while Cuccinelli said he wants to review all tax credits, but would not say which ones need to be repealed.
“My opponent says any job from the Federal Government is a not a good job. I don’t believe that. As governor, I want to go to the Federal Government to get as much money as I can for Virginia. Thats the job of the governor.” said McAuliffe.
The Attorney General used the jobs platform to once again attack McAuliffe for his automotive company’s decision to build an auto factory in Mississippi, not Virginia, and producing some 1,500 jobs in that state.
“Terry is the only candidate that has chased business out of this state,” said Cuccinelli.
McAuliffe used Cuccinelli’s reputation as an ideological conservative who sued the federal government over the implementation of Obamacare, and has been an outspoken opponent on a woman’s right to choose.
“In this race you have a choice for rigid ideology and mainstream compromise,” said McAuliffe. “I like mainstream compromise.”
As a new federal healthcare mandate expands in Virginia, McAuliffe says it’ll provide quality care to more than 400,000 Virginians in need.
His opponent said once the state is forced to pay for Obamacare as a whole, it will need to add an additional $200 million to its annual budget to meet the federal mandate. He also used the Obamacare initiative to distance himself from current Republican Governor Robert F. McDonnell, who has been under fire for accepting corporate gifts for his daughter’s wedding and not reporting them as required by law.
“Governor McDonnell took a broad view of Medicaid. I take a deep and narrow view
and do not support medicaid expansion, it’s been the largest, fastest growing, out of control part of our budget, once we get in we can’t get out without federal permission,” said Cuccinelli.
Today’s forum comes before the two are set to debate on Sept. 25, at the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.
MANASSAS, Va. — Former marine and current Prince William County teacher Atif Qarni officially opened his campaign office in Manassas in the eastern part of the 13th district on Saturday. Located In the new Precise Auto Store at 7614 Centreville Rd, Manassas, Qarni was joined by over 60 friends, family, supporters, and Democratic Nominee for Attorney General Senator Mark Herring and Democratic House Chair Delegate Mark Sickles.
“I want to take my record of service as a Marine and my experience as a teacher to be a strong representative for the district that actually focuses on the issues that affect us every day like creating good paying jobs, reducing traffic and congestion and making sure our schools are the best they can be,” said Qarni.
Qarni is challenging Delegate Bob Marshall who is known for his efforts as a leader in the effort to restrict access to family planning services for Virginia women, while Senator Herring is facing Senator Mark Obenshain in the Attorney General race.
“The 13th District deserves a Delegate who will focus on solving problems, not on an extreme social agenda,” Senator Herring stated. “That’s why I am proud to support Atif Qarni. I know Atif will put his energy and his experience to work to do what’s right for the people of Prince William County and the people of Virginia.”
DUMFRIES, Va. — Councilman Derek Wood found his way home Tuesday night, back to his seat on the dais at Dumfries Town Council.
The Council met for the first time this month after postponing a meeting last week due to the Independence Day holiday, and Wood addressed questions that arose in June about his resident status in the town in which he is elected to serve.
“I have moved into a new home in Port O Dumfries and am living there with my family,” said Wood.
The home Wood was renting in Dumfries’ Williamstown neighborhood was sold last month, and the new owner told Potomac Local News that he have Wood notice to vacate the house in early June.
With Wood no longer living in the home, and town officials having no official address on file for Wood, questions arose on whether Wood would legally be allowed to continue serving as a councilman if he did not live in the town, which is required by law.
“I took a vacation and spent some time with family in Silver Spring [Maryland] while they were painting, and getting our new house ready,” Wood told Potomac Local News.
During the transition time, Wood said he did not conduct town business, but rather focused on his own business, working as a barbeque chef.
Submitted News Anderson Addresses American Legion Boys
Richard L. Anderson, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Woodbridge, addressed select high school students attending the 71st session of American Legion Boys State of Virginia held at Radford University.
Delegate Rich Anderson (R-51), participating for his fourth consecutive time as an instructor in the Boys State program, spoke on “Virginia Government – Origins to Today.” He described the history and legislative process of the Virginia General Assembly including how a bill becomes law. Anderson also discussed his duties and challenges as a state Delegate along with various current policy and political issues facing state government in Virginia. He answered several questions from the Boys State citizens. Anderson also taught an afternoon session entitled “Running for Public Office.”
The 2013 session of American Legion Boys State of Virginia opened with 694 delegates in attendance. Outstanding rising seniors from high schools – public, private and homeschooled — across Virginia have been chosen to participate in this annual educational program.
Boys State, sponsored by the American Legion in each state, is designed to instruct select high school students about state and local government. Delegates to this intensive week-long session will hear addresses from various state and local officials including the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, a cabinet secretary, nine members of the General Assembly, a district judge, a state prosecutor and three local officials.
All delegates are assigned to one of sixteen Boys State cities named after famous military leaders, like Eisenhower, MacArthur, and Patton. Each of the Boys State citizens are also assigned to either of the fictitious political parties — Federalist or Nationalist — for purposes of nominating and electing candidates for mayor of each city, the Boys State legislature, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and governor along with various other state and local offices. Citizens elected to the various positions actually serve in those offices during the week and take on their respective duties and responsibilities. Students attending Boys State learn citizenship and civic leadership through participation.
The first Boys State in the nation was held in 1935 in Illinois. The American Legion Department of Virginia sponsored its first Boys State program in 1939.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A special agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Prince William County will continue.
The 287 (g) program pairs select members of local law enforcement with federal immigration officials who train them on inquiring about processing the legal statuses of suspected criminals arrested in Prince William County. That program, which was in jeopardy last fall, will continue for the next three years, according to a press release from Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart.
Stewart, who built his political career on taking a tough stance against illegal immigration, has been one of the staunchest supporters of the program.
“I am very pleased that ICE decided to renew their agreement with the county. This program has made our county a safer and more desirable place to live. The positive results of this program have been undeniable,” said Stewart in his release.
The the 287 (g) program’s future in Prince William County was questioned last fall when federal officials announced they were moving away from the program, an extension of the 287 (g) was permitted for Prince William County at the request of local officials.
After a suspect is arrested, their immigration status is checked while at the county’s courthouse. If the suspect is found to be in the U.S. illegally, they are turned over to ICE.
DUMFRIES, Va. — The lights at Councilman Derrick Wood’s house on Seigel Court in Dumfries have been dark as of late.
The elected official says he no longer lives in the house after he made the decision to move out. A renter, his landlord wanted $400 more per month for his family to live there, said Wood. It’s a price he didn’t want to pay.
In Virginia, officials must live in the jurisdiction in which they are elected to serve. Dumfries Town officials currently have a Post Office Box address on file for Wood.
In an interview this morning, Wood said he plans to move his family into a home in the Port ‘O Dumfries neighborhood by July 1. He’s not lived in his old home on Seigel Court in two weeks, he said.
Dumfries Town Manager Daniel Taber said the issue of Wood’s residency has not been publicly discussed at any recent Town Council meetings.
Wood has been an outspoken member of the Council when it comes to parks and leisure activities in the town. He successfully advocated for creating a Parks and Recreation Commission during this year’s budget process.
The outcome: town officials approved $25,000 in funding for parks and recreation programs like a 5K run and an outdoor concert series to be held in Dumfries. Those programs, and ultimately how all the money is spent, must be decided by the Town Council as a whole, said Taber.
The Town Council will also choose from an interested pool of town residents who will serve on the Parks and Recreation Commission.
Though the town lies inside Prince William County, the county’s parks department does not program activities in the town.
MANASSAS, Va. — A Democrat will challenge Delegate Bob Marshall this fall for his seat for the 13th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Atif Qarni will hold a campaign kick off tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Yorkshire, outside Manassas, at the Yorkshire Restaurant at 7537 Centreville Road.
Qarni teaches math at Beville Middle School in Dale City and served as a Marine for eight years, including one term in Iraq, a press release states.
Qarni lives with his wife and two sons in Manassas.
Marshall, who has been an outspoken opponent to the Bi-County Parkway and abortion issues in the state, has held office since 1992.
The 13th District includes portions of Prince William County and Manassas Park City.
STAFFORD, Va. — Republicans in Stafford County are set to open their campaign headquarters tonight.
The GOP will hold a ceremony at the Stafford County Victory Center at 2773 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 105, in Stafford, at 7 p.m. Scheduled to speak ios Suzanne Obenshain, the wife of GOP Attorney General nominee Mark Obenshain.
Several elected officials are scheduled to attend, accordinng to a press release from the Stafford County Republican Party organization.
The GOP center is located near the campaign headquarters for Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, R-Stafford, Woodbridge, who is seeking a second term as the Delegate for Virginia’s Second District. He’s running against Michael Futrell.