It has been a high honor to represent Prince William and Fauquier in the General Assembly. I have been to over 90,000 doors in 16 years, and I know my constituents and care deeply about their concerns. Being a legislator is much more than simply passing laws. It’s also helping the people I serve, whether they are having a hard time getting their tax refund, a problem with the DMV, a public safety problem or just dealing with the bureaucracy in some form or fashion.
I love public service and I take my job very seriously. Finally, I’m committed to strong families, vibrant small businesses and constitutional governance. I don’t see my job as one of advancing a far-left agenda like my opponent. My approach is to focus on mainstream, conservative solutions that will keep Virginia on the right path, one that honors faith, family and freedom.
What makes you the best candidate?
I think I bring very important experience to my district in the General Assembly. As chairman of the Public Safety Committee, I am in a position not only to protect our constitutional rights, but to ensure that sound public safety measures pass and become law. I am also one of the senior members on the House Appropriations Committee and I understand budget issues thoroughly.
In my time in the General Assembly, I’ve shaped 16 balanced budgets, cut $7 billion in wasteful spending and closed a $1.5 billion deficit without raising taxes or fees. Moreover, I have the experience to make sure my district receives its fair share of support in the state budget, whether that is in the form of the new 128-bed veterans care center we will build at Vint Hill, a new academic building at Lord Fairfax Community College or transportation improvements. Finally, I am endorsed by many local and state organizations that know that I am an effective legislator. Here are a few of them.
• Northern Virginia Technology Council TechPAC
• Commonwealth Attorney’s Association
• Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce BizPAC
• Prince William County Chamber of Commerce PAC
• Virginia Chamber of Commerce (A Rated)
• National Federation of Independent Businesses
• Virginia Realtors PAC
• Virginia Coalition for Public School Options
• Virginia Farm Bureau AgPAC
• Virginia Retail Merchants Association
• Virginia State Police Association
• Police Benevolent Association
• National Rifle Association (A+)
• Virginia Citizens Defense League
• Home School Legal Defense Association PAC
• Inside NOVA
What ranks as the most important issue facing the 2018 General Assembly and how do you plan to address it?
The top issue will be, as it’s been in the past, fiscal discipline. We are just now emerging from a very slow decade of economic growth under the Obama administration. We have to keep a steady hand on spending growth and permit more families and small businesses to keep more of what they earn because they are the one who actually produce economic growth and jobs.
My opponent, however, who has had not one but two personal bankruptcies and walked away from her debts, wants to explode spending by $6 billion on new social programs. This is irresponsible and will lead to either drastic cuts in K-12 education, higher education, transportation, and public safety, or huge tax hikes on families and small businesses. That would bankrupt Virginia just as she has bankrupted herself.She has not demonstrated the fiscal discipline to be trusted with Virginia’s budget or our tax dollars. I have, and I will keep us on a fiscally responsible path.
Finally, I want to continue my work in restoring the Chesapeake Bay and ensuring we help our agricultural community with their efforts through sustainment of our cost-share program.
Please, describe the most difficult challenge you’ve faced in a leadership position and your response to that situation.
The toughest challenges I’ve had were in combat. I think you can appreciate that without my going into the details. But my toughest legislative challenges are making sure we don’t pass the worst kinds of laws; as I say, “the laws of unintended consequences.”In the busy and sometimes hectic process of passing laws, you need to slow down and ask yourself, “Will this have unintended consequences that I’m not thinking about?” As a committee chairman, I have faced that situation where we’ve put a bill on the floor of the House that I have come to see is not actually ready to pass.And in those cases, I have either voted against it or sent it back to committee for a relook.When you do that, sometimes you come under fire politically, but that’s the price of leadership.
I learned that in 28 years of U.S. Army leadership and I practice that to this day.Finally, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, you have to make tough choices. Because we have a balanced budget requirement, sometimes you have to say no to requests for increased spending, some of which may contain good ideas.But if we funded every idea that was brought to us, we would bankrupt Virginia, the very thing my opponent will do with her desire to explode spending by $6 billion.