Prince William County has been through a political transformation over the last four years. A majority of suburban voters chose to elect Democrats in every competitive House of Delegates district in the county.
Many blamed President Donald Trump for being the driving factor.
Since the start of 2020, Virginia has been under a one-party rule with progressive policies being passed. Chris Stone believes the major changes in legislation and the current policies related to the coronavirus and public safety will be factors in making Republicans more appealing to voters this fall.
Stone, of Manassas, is running to unseat Democratic incumbent Delegate Danica Roem in the 13th House of Delegate District. Roem is a four-year incumbent who first came into office after beating long-time Republican Delegate Bob Marshall in 2017 and was reelected in 2019.
She has gained national recognition as Virginia’s first transgender legislator and being an advocate for trans rights.
Stone has served as an Air Force officer in regular, reserve, and National Guard for over 17 years. His professional background is in strategic planning and has done in planning roles in various organizations, including as an Executive Director of a municipal chamber of commerce.
Stone has served on the staff of two U.S. Senators and as a Presidential appointee to the Department of Defense while advising leaders in other government departments. Stone is currently a strategic consultant for the Department of Defense.
Stone has lived in Northern Virginia since 2009 and knows the problems facing the community all too well. Stone is running on a platform that pushes back against the policies that have come out of Richmond these last number of years. Public safety, education, and the economy are all critical areas that Stone is focused on.
Stone believes the current reforms pushed by progressive Democrats, such as same-day voting and efforts to end qualified immunity for police officers, have overreached.
“Felonies are not little crimes. These are things from gun violence to drunk driving, to assault, and yet we are giving the criminals reduced sentences. There is a reason these crimes are made felonies. It is to serve as a deterrent and to show these crimes have consequences.”
In October, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he has signed over a dozen bills related to criminal justice and policing reform from the special General Assembly session.
These bills brought policy changes that included reducing police militarization by prohibiting law enforcement from obtaining or using specified equipment, prohibiting law enforcement officers from seeking or executing a no-knock search warrant, and allowing localities to create citizen review boards to review police conduct.
Last month, Governor Northam ended capital punishment in the Commonwealth and moved two prisoners on death row to a prison sentence of life without parole.
“The main role of Government is to protect its citizens. By restricting police’s ability to do their job, as well as reducing punishments for felonies and minimum sentences being removed, it doesn’t show to the public that our state cares about law-abiding citizens. It just helps the lawbreakers,” said Stone.
Stone says Delegate Roem has not made progress accomplishing her signature campaign platform issue, which is fixing Route 28. Stone recognized Roem’s current appointment to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA as a positive step but said Roem not fighting the Route 28 bypass when residents were going to lose their homes through eminent domain. She did vote against the bypass when it came to the NVTA but did not engage in the issue when the Board of Supervisors voted on it, stating that it was a local issue.
Roem has been focused on fixing Route 28 since she first ran for office. In 2019, she led a series of discussions about potential fixes for the four-lane road, between Manassas Park and the Fairfax County line. The plan, which includes a series of intersection improvements designed to ease traffic flow is now being considered by the state’s transportation agency, VDOT, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond.
As for speaking before local governments, it’s something Roem doesn’t do.
“As a state delegate, I believe in the separation of powers. That’s why I only attend meetings of local elected bodies upon invitation of the elected body,” Roem penned in 2019.
Stone has gotten positive reception from his community. He feels that by listening to residents’ concerns and informing them of what Delegate Roem has voted for, he can have an engaged discussion. Representing all residents is a cornerstone of his governing philosophy so talking to everyone is key, he said.
Stone is also making reopening public schools important. Prince William County is currently only allowing students two days a week. Most of Virginia’s schools are still 100% virtual, with some districts using a hybrid model.
“If the students aren’t learning, then they aren’t going to be competitive in the marketplace. I have a daughter who started Kindergarten during this Pandemic. She prefers being there in person. Open our schools because we know that kids aren’t major passers of this disease.”
Chris Stone lives with his wife Barbara and two school-aged children. For more information on Chris Stone, go christopherstoneva.com/about.