I am seeking election to reverse the devastating trends of the last 50 years. Over that time period, the disposable income of the lower 90 percent of income earners has decreased by 25 percent on an inflation adjusted basis, while the income of the top 10 percent has doubled.
Our public school system has gone from first in the world to 30th. And our health care costs have increased by more than 300 percent on an inflation adjusted basis and this could have been avoided.
What makes you the best candidate?
I am the best candidate because I have the most life experience of all the candidates. I have lived through the Vietnam war, the oil embargo, the Iranian revolution, the dot com bubble and the Great Recession of 1990 and understand the influence that politics and corporate power had on these tumultuous periods in our history.
I have worked in the private sector as a government contractor on energy R&D and environmental protection. I have worked with numerous city officials on zoning ordinances, building codes, waivers and proffers related to construction projects. I teach at the community college level and see the quality of arriving high school students. And I work on new business development projects such as the Fredericksburg Food Cooperative, a member-owned full service grocery in the works that will help local farmers garner more profit for their efforts.
What ranks as the most important issue facing the 2018 General Assembly and how do you plan to address it?
The greatest issue facing the General Assembly is the great disparity between the incomes of the top 10 percent and the bottom 90 percent of Virginians. Many people in the bottom 90 percent are now facing considerable hardships in their daily lives just to make ends meet while costs such as medical insurance continue to soar. While thousands and thousands of new high paying jobs would help solve the problem, those will not likely develop for years or decades. We need to do something now.
My plan to address this issue is to raise the state income tax standard deduction for a single tax payer to $20,000 and for a family of four to $60,000, reduce state sales tax on fresh produce and groceries to zero from 2.5 percent, and increase the minimum wage in the state to at least $15 an hour.
Please, describe the most difficult challenge you’ve faced in a leadership position and your response to that situation.
I am quite fortunate that I have not been involved in anything life-threatening to anyone I know. If one of my opponents has, I must admire them for their brave actions. However, I do have some great leadership qualities some of which are described by the following.
During my career as a government contractor and project manager/director, I have been responsible for the livelihood of numbers of workers. I have faithfully taken on the responsibility of keeping them employed, taking temporary cuts in my pay when necessary to keep them all at their current pay levels.
In another instance, I worked with workers on one of my facility operations contracts to form a union. These contracts are generally held for 10 or more years at which time they are awarded to another company to distribute the wealth. However, the operators are generally retained by the new contractor. I did not want any new contractor to be able to squeeze the employees out of their hard earned wages when that day arrived.