Statements on Issues
Support first-class education environment for all children. One of the most important investments we can make is in our children. They deserve a first-class education to better prepare them for their future, beginning with the reform of our standards of learning (SOL) evaluation. Students should be taught to interact with the subject matter with critical thinking skills rather than just memorize for a test. Undue stress is put on our children at a very early age, learning to despise school, and affecting their health.
Increase local control of schools. Those who dictate how our schools will be funded and managed—local school and county boards—must be accountable directly to the citizens in each school district. This is especially necessary for funding as we must review and adjust how our schools are funded.
Make higher education more accessible and affordable for all. The pathway to a stable career starts well before high school graduation. We must create more opportunities for students to gain college credits in high school. For some students, learning a trade is more suitable, therefore we should offer such training beginning in high school, even offering certifications to help them begin their careers.
Boost opportunities in our community college system. We can strengthen and expand our community college system to include more vocational training and post-high school certification while assisting other students to begin their academic journey before advancing to four-year institutions.
Nurture our thriving agri-business by supporting future farmers and agri-preneuers. For those wanting a future in the agriculture business, we should provide incentives to do so and offer education in 21st-century techniques. We should provide innovation for future careers with an economic philosophy that I call “eco-conservatism”. This is the practice of job creation, with successful small businesses, while using our resources wisely, securing the future.
Agriculture is the cornerstone of Virginia’s economy. Our current legislative body is not doing enough to
protect our small farmers. Through my economic philosophy of Green-Conservatism, we will enact
Agricultural, Environmental & Conservation programs with a focus on small farmers, small business and
job creation through sustainable growth markets.
Purchasing milk from your neighbor should not be illegal. Instead, we should think twice about farming in
a way that makes us sick from excessive use of chemicals. Programs that incentivize and train farmers to
transition from farming that pollutes to environmentally-friendly methods should be a priority of our
Agricultural Extension offices and VDACS.
Nurture our Agri-Business by supporting future farmers:
District 18 is ideally located for agriculture education and farm-to-school programs. The Northern
Piedmont area is full of wonderful independently-owned farms that are opportunities for schools to
collaborate with for hands-on learning. If programs do not exist or are inadequate we must look at funding
Community Planning and Development:
Tax incentives for developers and localities who are willing to invest in diversified farms, agricultural
activities, to promote more agri-hoods, productive conservation, community-supported agriculture and
community food co-operatives.
Best Management Practice’s
I will support all 100 types of BMP’s. Stream buffering through fencing and re-foresting will provide the
necessary riparian buffers between our livestock and nutrient run-off into our waterways. Re-foresting
alone will sustain bio-marine life by keeping the water, on average, 10 degrees cooler. I will ease stream
buffer requirements; allow for fence fix and repair funds if the BMP is under inspection by SWCD
In support of a Nutrient Management BMP, we must find consistent and adequate funding for Soil and
Water Conservation District operations and technical assistance to meet voluntary non-point source water
quality standards and goals. We need to make sure that program stays adequately funded in order to help
farmers with the costs of voluntary practices in reducing sediment, nutrient, and bacteria runoff to our
streams and wetlands.
I will introduce legislation to provide NMP incentives for small to medium farms. I will support funding,
education and deployment of Nutrient Management Plan writers as necessary to comply with the
Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan and statewide permitting requirements.
Funding cost-shares for farmers to voluntarily implement BMPs is the best way to make sure agriculture
stays on a pollution diet (no over fertilization, minimize erosion, minimize waste) and to make sure soils,
land, and biodiversity are preserved for many more generations to farm into the future. Having “greener”
farms will help farmers pull in more local business such as in farm-to-table sales.
The ultimate expression of property rights is our conservation easement. I will continue to hold the line of
our current conservation easement cap. I will oppose all legislation against reducing the current cap. We
will plan for the continued attack on our property, currently suggested by Del. Chris Jones (R), by
partnering with non-profit organizations and any group that values land conservation easements.
Encourage industrial hemp production and renewable energy. We have the vision and foresight to work hard in cultivating new industry in our district. All parts of the hemp plant can be used to manufacture marketable products. Farmers can get paid for multiple raw products from one crop. Hemp has tens of thousands of uses from food to biodegradable plastic and fuel. It can feed us, clothe us, fuel us, house us and has the potential to heal us. There is a high demand for organic hemp products in the US for the health food and supplement industries, which can bring farmers higher prices than commodity corn or soy.
Industrial hemp (vahemp.org) is a miracle plant that should be alongside our more well-known crops. This plant can take a struggling property of 10 acres or more and turn it into a thriving farm with a lucrative crop. It requires no pesticides, it self-composts, does not require rotation of fields, yields two harvests per year and creates jobs as it increases the need for an expanded workforce in agriculture, manufacturing, and new technologies.
We need to work closely with VDACS and Virginia agricultural extension programs to prepare to teach farmers about the
Support a transition to renewable energy. We should be fully engaged in the protection of our environment and natural resources. I will be a leader in the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy. I will oppose any new pipelines or any fracking. We will protect our state and national parks, our waterways and our biodiversity with the protection of our endangered species.
Provide tax credits for eco-friendly vehicles, home investments. Reducing CO2 levels is critical to protecting our environment, and automobiles are a primary source. To combat this I will introduce legislation that offers tax credits for the purchase of electric and hybrid cars. We will also offer incentives to both businesses and individual homeowners for the installation of solar systems.
Invest in infrastructure to support renewable energy. We will need to be innovative in preparing for the future. I will work with local officials to install solar-powered charging stations throughout the district, taking advantage of existing locations, such as rest stops and commuter lots, where possible. Such projects not only lay the foundation for a sustainable future but they also create jobs for our local workforce.
Protect our water supply against pollution and over-use. We must be diligent in our protection of water. We must assure that lakes, rivers, and streams, as well as groundwater, are not being polluted and that there is an adequate supply for our residents.
Protect property owners’ rights. While the protection of the rights of property owners is important, the rights of neighbors are as well. With every right comes responsibility. We should all be free to utilize our property as we choose, but not to the point it affects someone else’s property.
Small Business Support.
Taxes. Small businesses are over-taxed. Many small businesses must pay both a town tax and a matching county tax. As an example, Fauquier charges 9.3%. That means 18.6% in taxes, even prior to opening their door. They must keep paying the same amount annually even if they don’t make a profit in the first few years. In addition, a small business not family owned and operated must also pay employability tax starting about 6.5% of payroll, as well as Virginia-required Unemployment Insurance and Workers Compensation Insurance amounting to another 3% to 8% of payroll. Even though economists tell us that small businesses can be our most reliable job creators, we are making it almost impossible for them to realize this expectation. Small start-up business with employees are paying too much in taxes, which creates roadblocks on their ability to create jobs and grow their businesses. I will work to reduce taxes for our small businesses. I will also reduce restrictions on advertising regulations so small businesses are able to display effective signage for businesses and events.
Job Creation We must create jobs in sustainable growth markets. Renewable energy and industrial hemp are examples of sustainable growth markets. Solar energy combines in Virginia are training former coal workers in solar jobs. For every single solar panel made, four to five sales jobs are created. In the U.S., the average solar panel installer earns $26 dollars per hour. This wage provides former coal workers an opportunity to work in a cleaner and safer job market with access to affordable health care while they help to support a growing economy. Agriculture is a major force in Virginia’s economy, especially here in District 18. Industrial hemp will increase work opportunities not only directly to farmers for whom it is a cost-effective new crop, but also in many aspects of manufacturing the top-quality products made from hemp now available in the United States only by import. These include fabric, paper, machine oil, cosmetics ingredients, health foods and more, all already in demand despite their relatively high cost. Jobs are created at every stage of processing, distributing and selling these end products, while bringing their consumer costs down. I will create training initiatives for coal workers, veterans and anyone wishing to hire into sustainable job markets. By doing so, we will provide avenues for persons in low-income areas who seek well-paying jobs with benefits. This alone will increase wealth in our small-business markets and help to stabilize our overall economy. Distribution of wealth in small-business-centric markets is currently at 48%; it could be much higher. On average, wages and tips spent within the local community will circulate up to six times. This is because people are more likely to deal with other small businesses. Compare this with chain-store markets of 13% where the money is first distributed to the chain-store corporation itself before their host communities see any benefits.
Support local businesses with our wallets. We must be fully engaged in the promotion of buying at local businesses and eating locally grown foods. On average 48% of money spent at a local business returns directly into the local economy, compared to only 13% spent outside a locality. We need to return to a Main St over Wall St economy.
Provide training and other assistance to support our workforce. As the economy evolves, the labor force changes. We must support job-training to help those in industries that are declining or being automated.
Increase infrastructure investment. Businesses looking to locate in Virginia will need roads, bridges, utilities and even broadband. Providing these bolsters our region’s appeal to companies while providing local jobs.
Expand healthcare options for all citizens. Access to healthcare should be a right of citizenship. Medical treatment should not be limited to the privileged. One out of every seven people in the 18th district has no health insurance. The under-insured and those with unaffordable coverage is staggering. We must come together, across party lines with solutions.
Expand Medicaid. The expansion of Medicaid as it presently stands is both a good business decision as well as a moral one. Virginians have this money withdrawn from their paychecks to pay for it, and have been for years. Even at the 10% liability to the state, the increased revenues and job creation will add more to the state budget than the cost. This is certainly not the long-term solution for healthcare, but rather an immediate stop gap that would benefit 2,600 district residents and should be done. “Obamacare” was not the answer, and the proposed “Trumpcare” is even worse. If the Congress is not willing, or able, to address this crisis then we, as Virginians must. I am prepared to lead the way on this, looking at what other states are doing.
Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Proposed in 1923, the ERA’s current proposed language calls for women to have “equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction,” and says these rights “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Virginia is one of 15 states that have not ratified the proposed amendment, meaning our leaders have actively refused to codify that women and men are equal partners in society, in business and in government. I will be a leader toward the ratification of the ERA.
All humans are entitled to rights that are inalienable to all of us regardless of nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. All of humanity is entitled to these basic human rights without discrimination. The following are examples of these rights and are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible:
- The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
- The right to live your life free of discrimination
- The right to control what happens to your own body and to make medical decisions for yourself
- The right to freely exercise your religion and practice your religious beliefs without fear of being prosecuted or discriminated against for your beliefs
- The right to be free from prejudice on the basis of race, gender, national origin, color, age or sex
- The right to grow old with dignity
- The right to a fair trial and due process of the law
- The right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment
- The right to be free from torture
- The right to be free from slavery
- The right to freedom of speech
- The right to freely associate with whomever you like and to join groups of which you'd like to be a part.
- The right to freedom of thought
- The right not to live in poverty, to have enough to eat
- The right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
- The right to bear arms and to not have the government infringe unduly on that right
- The right to regular and affordable health insurance
Support sensible gun-ownership rights. As a veteran, a former law enforcement officer, and a gun owner, I fully support the 2nd Amendment. I do, however, believe that there are circumstances whereby someone should not have access to guns. We must exercise common sense in all of our rights.