Surovell focused on Metro, Medicaid, teachers
Potomac Local sent a candidate survey to Scott Surovell. He’s running to become the next Virginia State Senator in the 36th District encompassing south Fairfax County, eastern Prince William County, and North Stafford. The seat is currently held by Linda “Toddy” Puller who will retire.
Surovell faces Republican Gerald “Jerry” Foreman who also seeks the 36th District Seat. Foreman is the Mayor of Dumfries.
Voters will head to the polls to decide a winner for this race on Nov. 3, 2015.
PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?
Surovell: First, the quality of our schools, availability of jobs, shopping, restaurants, environment and our overall quality of life is directly tied to U.S. 1 and the availability of high-quality transit in the U.S. 1 corridor. Creating economic development by leveraging growth at Fort Belvoir and Quantico through the expansion of transit and transit-oriented development should be the primary focus of federal, state and local officials in eastern Prince William, Stafford, and Fairfax Counties.
Second, Prince William, Stafford, and Fairfax Counties schools are suffering from major capacity shortages and overcrowding, lagging teacher salaries, expanding class sizes, and a growing chasm between the have’s and the have not’s in education.
Third, the explosion of predatory lending in the U.S. 1 corridor is turning Route 1 into the car title lending capital of the D.C. Metropolitan Area and causing thousands of 36th District residents to lose their cars to repo men after discovering they can’t afford 297% APR interest rates.
PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
Surovell: Senator Puller and I secured $2 million for the Route 1 Multimodal Transit Alternative Analysis. It recommended a six-lane U.S. 1 from Alexandria to Woodbridge, with a 2-lane median-dedicated bus rapid transit system to Woodbridge, 14-miles of sidewalks and multi-use paths, leading to a Yellow Line extension to Hybla Valley, along with completely restructuring Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan and street grid surrounding U.S. 1 into a transit-oriented, pedestrian/cycling-friendly true multimodal community. Last month, Senator Puller and I secured $16 million for the preliminary engineering and environmental studies to construct the project. Construction must be fully funded.
We need to use the same collaborative, evidence-driven, professionally managed process to begin the discussion and develop a concrete plan to extend the Blue Line to Lorton, Woodbridge, Potomac Mills, Dumfries and Quantico to complement existing VRE service. I fully believe that with collaboration, commitment, and vision we can make the entire U.S. 1 Corridor on of the most competitive destination communities in the D.C. Metro Area.
Second, we must drive more state revenue to education to pay teachers competitive salaries, lower our class sizes, and freeze college tuition by expanding Medicaid and tapping $180 million of freed up Virginia taxpayer dollars per biennium. Virginia’s local composite index (education funding formula) needs to account for English as a second language and disabled students which are some of the largest cost education drivers.
PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?
Surovell: Collaborating with federal, local and other state officials to develop and implement a long-term vision that provides a first-class quality of life to all residents of the 36th District, especially the neediest parts of Prince William, Stafford and Fairfax Counties, and also makes the Commonwealth of Virginia the best state to live in the U.S.
PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?
Surovell: I have lived in Northern Virginia my entire life and served in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2009. The district that I currently represent has the largest Medicaid population in Fairfax County, seven schools accredited with warning, one of the most diverse populations in Northern Virginia, and is in need of economic development.
I know how to fight for areas that lack regional economic and political power. Plans for expanding transit and widening U.S. 1 in Fairfax County are now being implemented for the first time in my lifetime.
Also, my leadership has been validated when I was elected to the #2 leadership position in the House Democratic Caucus and worked with members on both sides of the aisle to pass nearly two dozen bills and budget amendments while serving in the minority.
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?
Surovell: Most people do not fully appreciate the full-impact that state government has on their life and I work hard to broaden their understanding of their government and my activities.
My online newsletter, The Dixie Pig (scottsurovell.blogspot.com), has over 400 articles I’ve written in the last six years regarding issues of interest, and I also regularly write columns in my local papers including weekly columns during session. I have published my complete voting record of nearly 10,000 votes online.
I publish mid-session and end of session letters to my constituents, send out annual mail and online questionnaires before each session, and hold multiple town hall meetings per year.
My contact information is available to anyone who would like to reach me and I strive to be as accessible and available to any constituent who would like to meet or talk to me.
Finally, my staff is available to help.
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?
Surovell: I made the mistake of believing that legislators would vote their constituents’ best interests regarding the federally-funded expansion of Medicaid – the expansion of healthcare for low-income working Virginians supported by consumer groups, hospitals, doctors, nurses, insurance companies, and most of Virginia’s Chambers of Commerce.
As of today, Virginia has left $2.2 billion of federal dollars on the table costing Virginia over 30,000 jobs per year – over 1,000 jobs in the 36th District alone. Expansion would free up $180 million of Virginia taxpayer dollars for needed priorities like education and public safety, while providing needed healthcare to over 400,000 working Virginians.
Dozens of legislators from some of the most economically distressed areas of Virginia and Prince William, Stafford and Fairfax Counties have refused to vote to accept these funds, denied their constituents healthcare, and turned away jobs simply to score partisan political points and further the goals of interest groups looking to disrespect our President.
In the meantime, billions of Virginians’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars have now been sent to states like California, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and even Republican-controlled states like Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Arizona, and North Dakota.
If I were to engage in analogous professional conduct as an attorney, I could be sued for malpractice.
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
Surovell: As a life long resident of our community, I have the perspective, progressive values and a vision for our community, coupled with a proven track record of obtaining results.
Scott A. Surovell
I’m running for: State Senate, 36th District
Hometown: Mount Vernon
Work: Attorney and State Delegate
- Tauxemont Preschool
- Hollin Hall Elementary School
- Waynewood Elementary School
- Stephen Foster Elementary School
- West Potomac High School
- James Madison University
- University of Virginia School of Law
- Member, Virginia House of Delegates, 2010-Present
- Caucus Chairman, House Democratic Caucus, 2014
- Campaign Chairman, House Democratic Caucus, 2011-14
- Counties, Cities & Town Committee, 2010-Present
- Science & Technology Committee, 2010-Present
- Militia, Police & Public Safety Committee, 2012-Present
- Broadband Advisory Council, 2014-Present
- Girls Soccer Coach, Lee-Mt. Vernon Soccer Association, 2007-2013
- Member, Mt. Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce, 2006-Present
- Member, Prince William County Chamber of Commerce, 2015-Present
- Member, Fairfax Bar Association, 1996-Present
- Member, Virginia State Bar, 1996-Present
- Member, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 1996-Present