Williamsburg City Council Election Candidates

RESULTS of the May 19, 2020 City Council election:

City Council results: two newcomers joined the Williamsburg City Council and will be starting their terms on July 1, 2020. Caleb T. Rogers and Pat Dent received the first and second largest numbers of votes, respectively. Incumbent Barbara Ramsey was re-elected to the council, but incumbent and mayor Paul Freiling received the lowest number of votes and will not be returning to the council.

May 12, 2020 – Last day to request absentee ballot by mail for the May City Council Election.

May 16, 2020 (Saturday) – Voter Registrar’s Office open for in-person absentee voting 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, and on Saturday, May 16. May 16th is the last day to vote an in-person absentee ballot for the May City Council Election.

May 19, 2020 – May City Council Election Day

You can check the City’s Registrar’s page here.

The City of Williamsburg will have a City Council Election on May 5, 2020. This important election chooses the members who make decisions for this town, so if you live in the City of Williamsburg, make a note to vote on or before May 5.

You can vote absentee by mail, or curbside at the Williamsburg Voting Office at 401 Lafayette Street. Read the City’s page and Daily Press coverage for more information. Deadline for registration is April 13 (one more week!) and deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is April 28.

In the election, there are four candidates for three seats. How can you find out more about the candidates? Rubyjean Gould of the local League created this questionnaire which was answered by all four candidates. Find their answers below or download the answers in a handy comparison sheet.

Sample Ballot

The candidates are, in alphabetical order (click the down arrow to expand):

Barbara Ramsey

” The opportunity to share information about me, my background, experience as an incumbent City Council and aspirations for the City is greatly appreciated.  As there will not be a live forum and residents are starting to vote absentee, your survey is timely and helpful to inform voters in their selection of Council members.”

  1. What strengths and expertise do you bring to this position?

“My experience, commitment, and professional background make me an effective member of City Council.

“I am someone who gets things done.  During my first term, I helped maintain low taxes, open a new middle school, add popular and innovative businesses, and transform the Williamsburg Shopping Center into Midtown Row. 

“I am committed to the city and its residents as I attend over 200 City Council related meetings, events and appearances each year.  As a member of City Council, I am the representative/liaison to the Economic Development Authority, the School Liaison Committee, and the Neighborhood Balance Committee which allows me to focus on my key priorities – creating jobs, providing opportunities for our students, and maintaining the quality of our neighborhoods.

“Coming into my role on Council, I had a professional background in international sales and marketing which has helped me be a leader in business development and celebrate our diverse city.  In addition to my professional experience, I have spent my first term engaging with counterparts in other cities through the Virginia Municipal League and the National League of Cities.  These collaborations have helped me learn best practices and new opportunities that Williamsburg can implement.”

      2. What are your priorities for City Council consideration?

“My immediate priority is to assist in the City’s response to the COVID-19 crisis from both a public health and economic recovery standpoint. How we make it through the current challenges will drive what we can do over the next four years. It will be up to City Council to assist our residents whose physical and financial health has been impacted and to get our businesses back up and running again.

“Outside of this important immediate need, my priorities will remain what they have been for the past four years: maintaining Williamsburg’s low property tax rate, creating jobs by attracting and expanding businesses, preserving our safe and charming neighborhoods, helping our schools, and being an accessible, engaged, and responsive representative for all citizens.”

3. What is your vision of a future Williamsburg?

“Once we get beyond the challenges of COVID-19, I want to work to continue the positive momentum our thriving city had coming into 2020.

“Our residents are attracted to Williamsburg because of the strong services and amenities we offer combined with our low property taxes.  I will continue my emphasis on these priorities which include quality schools, balanced neighborhoods, public safety, walkability, and sustainability.  We are also a community where everyone is welcome and respected and we must continue to foster that atmosphere.

“To drive our economy, we need to continue to invest in and partner with our tourism sector while also diversifying our economy and attracting new businesses that will create high-paying jobs.

“We need to continue to invest in all parts of our city – not just downtown – to create diverse and distinctive communities that provide opportunities for all residents and visitors.”


4. What are your perspectives on the “Tommy Tax” and how and would you want it changed?

“It is important to remember from the start that this policy was enacted by the 140-members of the General Assembly and they are the only ones who can change it.  While City Council can express opinions, we cannot alter the policy.

“The main purpose of this policy was to raise funds that can draw tourists to our community knowing that the more robust our tourism economy, the lower we are able to keep taxes on residents.  The policy also provides funds to the localities in the Historic Triangle allowing us to make additional investments in city infrastructure without increasing property taxes.

“While I may not have designed a tourism development policy this way, I believe it is important that the policy be given a chance to work before we pass judgment on it.  If it works as intended, it will benefit all city residents.  If it does not, we can use the available data to determine where it has failed and make informed policy recommendations based on what we learn.”

5. What would you set as budget priorities due to loss tax revenues from COVID-19 restrictions and business losses?

“Our first priority as a city is to address the public health challenges related to COVID-19.  Once we have come safely through these challenges, we can focus on the economic recovery for our residents, our businesses, and the city overall.

“Williamsburg will be well-positioned financially coming out of these challenges due to the conservative fiscal approach we have taken in recent years.  We have made strategic investments in the city and maintained a healthy reserve that can bridge gaps to meet the City’s operational needs.

“We will need to continue to invest in our Economic Development efforts to mitigate business losses and create new jobs for our residents.  And we need to continue investments in those priorities that make Williamsburg a valued place to live and work such as our schools and our public services.”


6. How can we seek to acknowledge racial disparities and remedy some of the complicated racial history related to past actions that did not include everyone having a seat at the table related to downtown development?

“This has been a major issue around the country in recent years.  I am glad to see some of the efforts being undertaken at the state level such as the enrichment of the curriculum on African American history and revisions to the state code to eliminate outdated racially-insensitive policies.  Here in Williamsburg, we have seen some positive steps at our major institutions as both Colonial Williamsburg and William and Mary seek to more accurately share the African-American experience in our community’s past.

“As a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Memorial Committee and William & Mary’s Juneteenth Committee, I am working with other community members to address these important topics.  One idea I have offered is the creation of an African American Heritage Trail in downtown Williamsburg that could provide more recognition to the role African Americans have historically played in our community.  Potential stops could include the Cooke Building, First Baptist Church with its Freedom Bell, the Triangle, Brown Hall, and the memorial to the enslaved at William and Mary.”

7. How can we develop better and more varied housing options for people to live in the city of Williamsburg? Particularly related to walkability, which is one of our assets compared to the counties. 

“Williamsburg is already making strides offering different housing options such as the build-out of High Street and the development of Midtown Row.  But there is more to be done.

“Everybody who works in the City of Williamsburg should be able to afford to live here.  I am committed to addressing our needs for more affordable and workforce housing and to working with developers to ensure their plans include mixed-income housing.  As certain areas of our city like the Northeast Triangle are improved, we need to make sure that the cost of living does not increase beyond the ability of current residents to pay.

“Other future considerations for the Planning Commission and City Council will be mixed-use developments, a review of density in various areas, and more diverse and balanced neighborhoods.

“Walkability is important and the city has been making investments to improve walkability such as better pedestrian crossings and more pedestrian and bike lanes.  The new sidewalk being constructed to connect Midtown Row and William and Mary with New Town is our newest investment in creating a more walkable community.”

8. Are there any additional ways you would consider working with Colonial Williamsburg to increase their ability to generate revenue from un-ticketed people walking through the Historic Area?

“While I am committed to working with Colonial Williamsburg to ensure their continued success, I am mindful that the roads through the historic area are public roads and will not support any action that restricts the access of residents to public roads.

“I am excited about the new era at Colonial Williamsburg under the leadership of Cliff Fleet who has already shown his commitment to our city and willingness to collaborate to advance the best interests of CW and of the community.

“I have proposed that CW consider some new approaches to increase revenue and ticket purchases These include making the historic area more welcoming for visitors who don’t enter via the Visitor Center to encourage them to buy tickets or make a contribution.  They can also make it easier for visitors to spend money through creative options like ticketing for individual buildings, more diverse retail, dining, and nightlife options, and a more sophisticated use of modern technology.”

Barbfortheburg@gmail.com

757-229-5109

Caleb T. Rogers

1. What strengths and expertise do you bring to this position?

“Despite my age, I am not a newcomer to our local government. In the last four years, I have served on our Public Housing Advisory Committee, as an Economic Development Intern for the City, and most recently as a Planning Commissioner. These involvements, along with community service work with W&M groups, have shown me all different areas of our City and allowed me to meet countless residents from diverse backgrounds.

“I hope to bolster this experience with personal qualities. I love this City, and I plan to show it through thoughtful work serving our community. Ultimately, I feel my age is an asset, as a multi-generational and energetic City Council will do incredible work for Williamsburg.”

2. What are your priorities for City Council consideration?

“I would most like to see us accomplish a resounding rebound from the economic hardships we are facing today and tomorrow. If there is ever a time for some fresh thinking, it is in these coming months of uncertainty. The City Council should pause non-essential capital projects and instead utilize funds for economic relief in local business subsidies or further assistance purchases.

“Additionally, I am invested in the long-term success of our amazing City, as well. Even amazing places need to be innovative, which I believe we can be to address a number of things. Over recent decades tourism has slightly slowed, our neighborhoods are less-and-less owner-occupied, graduates don’t stay after graduation, and entire families are living in hotels right down the street from me. Our motto is “Virginia’s Colonial Capital,” and in many ways we are still that idyllic City. But to stay with the times, there is always a necessity for original ideas. With five members on our City Council, I feel strongly that I could add to the conversation as one voice already familiar with our City, but also one that thinks in a fresh way.”

3. What is your vision of a future Williamsburg?

 “To maintain our distinction as ‘The South’s Best Small Town.’

“We might not win the Southern Living award every year, but I believe we can further the qualities that make this City incredible: our historic nature, our ideal size, and our sense of community. 

“In order to continue this, we will need to be creative in our considerations. In the future, I would like to see more families moving here, a diversified tourism economy, and efforts to end the “brain drain” of graduates immediately leaving. But that does not mean becoming a metropolis.

“Williamsburg is a very unique City especially because of its small size. We also have a great school system, we are equidistant between the mountains and the beach, we are close to both the state’s and the nation’s capital, and we were created before even the 18th century. My vision for a future Williamsburg is to maintain that distinct character, while staying relevant as a great place to live.”

4. What are your perspectives on the “Tommy Tax” and how and would you want it changed?

“As a taxpayer in this City, I want to know where my tax dollars are going. The City of Williamsburg does a good job telling residents where its priorities will be with the biennial Goals, Initiatives, and Outcomes, but we don’t have a very specific description for the purpose of our Tourism Development Fund.

“Funding that grows our tourism base is vitally important. Senate Bill 942 (the “Tommy Tax”) increased sales taxes in the Historic Triangle by 1%, with all three localities utilizing a percentage how they would like. I have looked extensively into the creation of this tax, and in 2017 I was surprised to see the four City Councilors who deliberated over it, with the mayor recusing himself, having somewhat different visions for what the increased funding could go towards. I do not believe in increasing taxes just for the sake of doing so. I do believe in transparency.

“On City Council, I would like to further define the actual use of our Tourism Development Fund, so that we are purposeful about using taxpayer dollars to fund long-lasting projects that have a high economic yield for our area.”

5. What would you set as budget priorities due to loss tax revenues from COVID-19 restrictions and business losses?

“Our budgetary priorities will not only change until the stay-at-home order is lifted, but instead will need a rethinking to address the lasting effects of a temporary decrease in tourism. 

“In a previous answer, I mentioned the unique character of Williamsburg. One of the qualities that makes up our uniqueness is our strong local business community. The City’s capital improvements are non-recurring expenditures. If there is ever a time to respond, it is in these coming months of uncertainty. The City Council should pause non-essential capital projects and instead utilize this fund for economic relief in local business subsidies or further assistance purchases. Thanks to the good work of our Economic Development Office, local businesses have been recording their losses and the City should work to adequately distribute state and federal relief grants, while also providing locally-based aid.

“The City will also benefit from a history of fiscal conservatism by being able to access cash reserves, or “rainy day,” funds if need be. I am glad to see the City’s proposed financial preparedness plan. Postponing non-critical FY21 expenses was something I initially asked for in a March 27th essay, but I also think utilizing unawarded TDF funds is the correct usage of the fund as it puts local dollars to use locally.”

6. How can we seek to acknowledge racial disparities and remedy some of the complicated racial history related to past actions that did not include everyone having a seat at the table related to downtown development?

“I’m glad this question is being asked. It is a very important topic, as Williamsburg has not always been open to every community. In fact, there is an unfortunate history of racially-biased land use expansion from institutions in our City, well researched by a friend of mine.

“The first thing we can do is finally see the establishment of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at the Triangle. For over 20 years, a placeholder sign has stood there stating the “future home” of the memorial. Establishing this landmark would be in celebration of all that minority communities bring to Williamsburg, while also encouraging downtown vibrancy in that area. I am encouraged by recent efforts to fund this memorial and I hope they are seen through once and for all.

“But not only should we see surface-level reconciliation, we should see systemic. On the City Council, I would like to see through the official establishment of a Minority Business Council to promote minority-owned businesses in the City. This Council would be one of the first of its kind done at the local level and the conversation around its creation has already begun.

“With these, our community can reconcile with its past and promote an even better future for all of our neighbors.”

7. How can we develop better and more varied housing options for people to live in the city of Williamsburg? Particularly related to walkability, which is one of our assets compared to the counties.

“For walkability, for a growing workforce, and for vibrancy, the City of Williamsburg should be open to incrementally increasing density. We need to seek out solutions to provide housing across the City for every level of income. As is widely known, Williamsburg, despite our incredibly low property tax rate, can economically be a difficult place to live because of our highly priced housing stock. This means plenty of the people who live and breathe a love of Williamsburg actually do so from James City County air! With a City Council amenable to a moderate level of increased density and varied housing options, we can attract the people working in Williamsburg to live in Williamsburg.”

8. Are there any additional ways you would consider working with Colonial Williamsburg to increase their ability to generate revenue from unticketed people walking through the Historic Area?

“Part of the charm of our area is the fact that our nation’s history can be accessed so easily, free of charge. That being said, we should absolutely encourage people to enjoy the amenities Colonial Williamsburg offers to its ticketed visitors. Wayfinding signage and promotional marketing are two examples of ways to do this.

 “On the topic of revenue generation, Colonial Williamsburg also has a great deal of land. While their mission will always be historically-focused, CW could attempt to rezone parcels of land for different uses than their current state. On my term on the Planning Commission, I was excited to vote for just this, in supporting CW’s proposal to rezone an empty field into an outdoor event space called Palace Farms. To diversify our tourism economy, the City Council should maintain an open mind to all innovative ideas, some of which I hope CW would propose to best utilize the space they have for the betterment of this region.”

Paul Freiling

  1. What strengths and expertise do you bring to this position?

“There is a steep learning curve for anyone when she or he is first elected to Council.  Many of the issues with which we deal are complicated and cannot be easily resolved through intuition alone—they require and deserve the application of experience.  I have climbed that curve and am fully prepared to apply all that I have learned as a student at William & Mary, as a worker in the city for 38 years, and through 22 years of broad public service to overcome challenges that face our community and to make the most of the opportunities we enjoy.

“I have the experience of a parent about to graduate a second child from our public-school system and as someone who has served on the School Liaison Committee.  I have served on multiple Boards and Commissions, as chair of two of them prior to my Council tenure.  I understand, inside and out, how our local government works and, more importantly, how to get things done.

“At a recent citizenship program for local Boy Scouts, I was asked what the most important thing was that I do as Mayor.  The answer was easy: I listen, all the while keeping an open mind and being receptive to input.  I take in all that I hear, analyze it, synthesize it, and make a decision.  And in the rendering of that decision I explain my reasoning.  Everyone may not always agree with me, but they will always clearly know where I stand and why.”

2. What are your priorities for City Council consideration?

“Recovery:  Leading our City and the surrounding community through the current COVID-19 health crisis while being prepared, following the end of the threat, to engage in a vigorous resumption of commercial activity providing the best possible outcomes for our residents, businesses, and non-profits

Economic development and diversification:  Encouraging new businesses that complement our existing tourism economy, diversification of tourism offerings to attract new, wider audiences, and strengthening the environment for existing businesses

“Downtown, Midtown and Capitol Landing Road vibrancy:  Revitalizing these key areas as hubs of community and visitor activity, further stimulating our local economy

“Preserving the character of our neighborhoods:  Preserving the aesthetic of the built environment that helps define Williamsburg and ensuring a harmonious living experience for all residents

“Maintaining the high quality of our essential functions:  Promoting public health, safety, and welfare efforts, within a sustainable budget

“Investing in education:  Supporting our teachers and our school system for the benefit of our children and the entire community

“Encouraging a range of housing options within our community:   Benefiting all residents by providing options at different price points, retaining the entrepreneurs, and housing our workforce

“Providing housing for the elderly:  Redeveloping the Blayton Building to provide a better life experience for its residents

“Fiscal responsibility:  Maintaining the lowest property tax rate of any city in Virginia

“Protecting our community’s environment for future generations:  Exceeding the high standards already set by our Go-Green Virginia platinum designation to preserve our natural environment for the younger generation and those yet to come.”


3. What is your vision of a future Williamsburg?

“My professional responsibilities require that I travel to communities across the nation, most of which are places where people have a strong desire to live.  It is an educational experience, providing an opportunity to understand a wide range of wonderful locations and to ask the residents thereof about the strengths and weaknesses of their communities.  And yet, at the conclusion of each trip, I look forward to my return to Williamsburg.  In fact, many of the people I visit wish they lived in Williamsburg.  In short, we already have a high bar of success in so many areas.  The real question is what can we do better.  Here are a few thoughts.

“Inclusivity:  As much as I like to think we are an open-minded community and welcoming to all, there remain bastions of intolerance.  The recent issues related to mistreatment of Asians out of some misplaced resentment over COVID-19 are inexcusable.  An incredibly poignant letter from an anonymous LGBTQ+ member of our community was heartbreaking.  If the author reads this, please contact me directly.  We must do better, and we will.

“Equal opportunity:  We must continue to make progress in closing the achievement gap in our schools across all segments.  This becomes more complex due to significantly more IEPs, English Language Learners, and growing anxiety and depression stress among our students, but is worth every effort.

“Economic Development:  Let’s find ways to keep more of the W&M brainpower here driving our economy and broadening our perspective, which will benefit everyone.”


4. What are your perspectives on the “Tommy Tax” and how and would you want it changed?

“SB942 provides two funding streams that are important to the City of Williamsburg and our two neighboring counties.  While there are differences of opinion about the appropriateness of the source of these funds, there is no doubt that the application of these funds will have significant positive impacts upon our entire community.

“Half of the SB942 money collected in each jurisdiction goes directly to tourism marketing for the region, which is overseen by the Tourism Council.  This marketing pool will allow a level of promotion never previously seen here.  2020 was going to be the first full year of that investment, but we are now on pause.  Even so, once businesses reopen and people begin to travel, we will be well prepared to promote this area in a variety of ways that were never previously possible.  More visitation will mean more spending in our restaurant, hotel, entertainment, retail, and service sectors, which will create more revenue and more jobs.

“The second half of the funds are discretionary for each jurisdiction.  Williamsburg is committing its discretionary money to the TDF for investment in tourism related infrastructure, which will also help draw guests to visit and stay longer, likewise resulting in more revenue for the community.

“If this does not work as planned, SB942 should be repealed.  If it does work well, we need then to use the additional revenue it generates to fund the many other City services that support those in need, enhance quality of life, education, and public safety.”


5. What would you set as budget priorities due to loss tax revenues from COVID-19 restrictions and business losses?

“The City’s FY21 budget is currently under consideration.  Staff will present the budget at our April 9 meeting where Council will advise staff of any needed adjustments.  That revised budget will be the subject of a public hearing at our May 14 meeting, where the public can comment.  We will then vote on the budget at our June 11 meeting, which will be, as it always is, prior to the installation of a new Council.

“Our current worse-case scenario is forecasting a $4M shortfall in revenue for FY20 and an additional shortfall of about $6.5M in FY21.  These are very large numbers for a community of our size.  Even so, we have a funding plan that will result in no reductions in service to our residents if the worst-case scenario is not exceeded. 

“The first line of financial defense will be recouping any unspent money from completed projects in our FY20 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  The second line will be to postpone any non-essential capital expenditures in the FY21 CIP.  It is important to note here that those are postponements and not cancellations of those projects.  The third line will be to dip into our Tourism Development Fund balance of money not yet committed to infrastructure projects.  Here it is important to note that this is not the marketing money portion of SB942 revenue that goes to the Tourism Council.

“By doing all of this, we will retain our current level of service and our cash reserves without raising taxes.”


6. How can we seek to acknowledge racial disparities and remedy some of the complicated racial history related to past actions that did not include everyone having a seat at the table related to downtown development?

“Three primary efforts underway to acknowledge our complicated racial history include W&M’s planned memorial to the enslaved; establishing a community Juneteenth celebration, which is a partnership among W&M, the local NAACP, and the City; and the planned MLK/community leaders memorial the City is working towards.

“This latter memorial is the focus of a community task force being led by local NAACP President Brian Smalls.  The discussion began with a focus on Dr. King.  The group quickly realized that an appropriate memorial should also recognize the contributions of the many Williamsburg residents, who have championed racial equality.  The group is not quite ready to present publicly their thoughts, but they have made great progress on concept, locations, and the commitment of funds to make it possible.   

“Regarding input on any future downtown development, which would mostly be redevelopment, the City has been in discussion with W&M and Colonial Williamsburg to undertake joint community conversations in order to learn what our residents want to see happen in and around downtown.  Weaving together the planning for the priorities of all three entities will be important in order to achieve the most cohesive outcome.  We want input early on from the entire community through this process because it will help us do an even better job of creating a downtown of which we can all be proud and because we recognize that we will be more successful together.  Unfortunately, as with most things today, the COVID-19 threat has placed this effort temporarily on hold.”


7. How can we develop better and more varied housing options for people to live in the city of Williamsburg? Particularly related to walkability, which is one of our assets compared to the counties.

“We are already doing this.  Currently under construction are housing units at High Street and Midtown Row.  The former will have great appeal among the younger professionals, which will be important as we strive to retain a greater portion of the graduating talent at W&M, which in turn will attract more businesses seeking to employ them.  The latter will appeal to students and others who want to live in a place where they can shop, dine, exercise, and find entertainment.  Together, these will take pressure off our neighborhoods around campus.

“We have recently changed the ED zoning language to allow for the potential for senior housing on the Riverside tract.  Additionally, we will be considering a similar request for the parcel at South Henry and 199.  We have approved the workforce housing complex on Parkway Drive.  We are also developing plans for new senior housing downtown on the Blayton site.

“This all needs to be connected.  Over the past several years, we have made great strides in adding sidewalks and bike lanes.  Recently we have added or improved sidewalks on Lafayette, Longhill, Parkway, and Bypass.  Currently, the Monticello multi-use path is under construction.  We are also looking at enhanced pedestrian facilities on South Henry, Capitol Landing, Newport, and Francis.

“In addition to all this, we have asked our Housing Authority Executive Director to lead a task force on housing in order to help us understand and then address whatever gaps may still remain after all of this work is completed.”


8. Are there any additional ways you would consider working with Colonial Williamsburg to increase their ability to generate revenue from unticketed people walking through the Historic Area?

“As an employee of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation it would not be appropriate for me to answer this question because of its potential to become a policy matter before City Council, which creates a conflict of interest.”

W.P. 'Pat' Dent

1. What strengths and expertise do you bring to this position?

“During my tenure as the City of Williamsburg Fire Chief and Coordinator of Emergency Management, I established myself as an effective leader with an unwavering commitment to our great community. I consistently displayed the City’s core values of integrity, caring, accountability, respect and equity. My 38+ years of experience in local government enhanced my strengths in supervising and managing employees, developing and managing budgets, setting organizational priorities, establishing city policies, and proposing necessary ordinances. These strengths have prepared me to transition from a successful public safety leader to a collaborative member of the Williamsburg City Council. I’ve successfully worked with Williamsburg City staff and its vital partners, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the College of William and Mary, and the citizens of Williamsburg, to achieve common goals. My deliberate and thoughtful consideration of issues will prove beneficial as a member of Williamsburg City Council. My experience combined with my passion for serving the public will be an asset to the Williamsburg City Council, while leading the City of Williamsburg into the future.”

2. What are your priorities for City Council consideration?

“I entered this campaign for Williamsburg City Council with an open mind and a commitment to be responsive to all citizens. Although I was looking forward to my door to door campaign to obtain a better understanding of priorities from the community, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented door to door campaigning and a number of other planned interactions with the community. Nevertheless, some of the priorities I share with those I have engaged with through telephone conversations, my campaign website and other social media platforms include – Investing in education by supporting our school system and teachers to ensure a quality education for all students. I believe we must support the school system while returning to a sense of normalcy after the COVID-19 health crisis stabilizes and ultimately ends. Additionally, identifying the most cost-effective methods for reducing overcrowding in our schools, thus minimizing the negative impacts on students and teachers. Preserving the character of our neighborhoods to ensure long-term sustainability and protecting the value of our homes. Review current ordinances related to neighborhood preservation to ensure they are accomplishing the desired outcomes. Enhancing the quality of life for all citizens by promoting public health, safety and welfare through a variety of initiatives, programs, and processes while ensuring the City has adequate personnel and material resources to effectively deal with any future crisis.”           

3. What is your vision of a future Williamsburg?

“A community where all citizens, businesses, and other stakeholders continue to come together to solve problems and have conversations about the challenges ahead. A city that builds upon the many strengths of our rich historical significance, our great college, the businesses, and the inviting neighborhoods spread throughout our community. A place that every citizen feels included, every college student remembers us as one of the best experiences of their life, and every visitor feels welcome and promotes us the world over.”

4. What are your perspectives on the “Tommy Tax” and how and would you want it changed?

“Visitors are extremely vital to the economy of Williamsburg.  With the continued decline in visitation, additional funding is necessary to market Williamsburg as a desirable tourist destination. The City provides a great deal of services and maintains a low real estate property tax rate for its citizens. Our surrounding jurisdictions can’t afford to offer lower tax rates, based in part because they don’t have a revenue generating tourism industry similar to the City of Williamsburg. As a member of Williamsburg City Council, I will use my leadership and budgeting experiences to ensure the tourism dollars are utilized efficiently and effectively. Additionally, I will work to create measurable guidelines and accountability to guarantee project outcomes are achieved. As a result of the tax, there are immediate funds available to aggressively promote Williamsburg at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic which will result in a more rapid recover for the Williamsburg economy. If it is determined the use of the tax is not producing the desired outcome, as a member of City Council I will support a request to rescind the ‘Tommy Tax.'”

5. What would you set as budget priorities due to loss tax revenues from COVID-19 restrictions and business losses?

“Budget priorities must include public safety, public health, and public education. With that said, there will obviously be far reaching impacts from COVID-19, which will not be identified until the pandemic stabilizes and has ended. Ongoing and changing priorities will be managed in a manner    to identify and address the numerous impacts thrust upon our citizens, businesses, the City’s budget, and City’s workforce. It will be very important to return our community to a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible when it is safe to do so.”    

6. How can we seek to acknowledge racial disparities and remedy some of the complicated racial history related to past actions that did not include everyone having a seat at the table related to downtown development?

“In all my years as a public servant, particularly as Williamsburg’s Fire Chief, I actively pursued a diverse workforce that was representative of the community I served. As a member of City Council, I will be charged with an even greater responsibility. I will work tirelessly for the inclusion of all minorities and to proactively engage them in the affairs of the City. Additionally, I will diligently work to ensure minorities feel welcomed and included in decisions that impact the City, while seeking to identify minority individuals who are interested in serving on various boards and commissions. As a member of City Council, I will leverage the strength of the York-James City-Williamsburg NAACP Branch to identify and analyze strategies to implement solutions to resolve racial disparities.”

7. How can we develop better and more varied housing options for people to live in the city of Williamsburg? Particularly related to walkability, which is one of our assets compared to the counties.

“We are fortunate to have a variety of housing options in the city which include everything from single family homes in neighborhoods to townhouses and apartments. Some dwellings are in neighborhoods within walking distance to desired amenities and some are a little more remote with limited walkability. This has been an ongoing challenge for years and zoning changes in the past have improved the practicality of this issue. Modifications to the comprehensive plans will have to be considered and should include as much input from citizens as possible throughout the city. It is of critical importance that all neighborhoods have a voice in these development options.”

8. Are there any additional ways you would consider working with Colonial Williamsburg to increase their ability to generate revenue from unticketed people walking through the Historic Area?

“Working with Colonial Williamsburg on various avenues to increase their revenue must be of paramount importance for the Williamsburg City Council. Unticketed people walking through the historic area is merely one side of an issue that has many considerations. These visitors spend money in a variety of businesses such as stores and restaurants throughout downtown. The word of mouth advertisement is virtually unmeasurable and likely leads to additional revenues for Colonial Williamsburg and other businesses. It is not in the best interest of the City or Colonial Williamsburg to portion off sections of what has earned us the reputation of a desirable destination. Any attempt to deny or isolate visitors from walking freely down our public streets can destroy the downtown ambience and potentially alienate our own citizens from frequenting local businesses. The solution should include implementing a process to make purchasing a ticket more attractive and easier. A more patron friendly sales office at the corner of South Henry and Duke of Gloucester streets may result in increased ticket sales. The present facility lacks in appeal, weather protection and comfort when waiting in line. Efforts to identify new and innovative ways to attract additional people while utilizing technology to support new ideas must be an ongoing consideration.”

You also have the opportunity to include a write-in candidate.

Candidate Forums – what was said?

Candidates at Wednesday’s event

If you missed the League candidate forums on Wednesday and Thursday this week, you can read up on the coverage from the Gazette.

The article text is also included below.

Local candidates pitch their experience and vision to voters

By Jack Jacobs

Staff writer

James City County — Incumbents touted accomplishments and argued their experience made them well-suited to continue service, while challengers called for change and said they’re the best to make it happen during a candidates meet-and-greet event Thursday.

The candidates’ shared public appearance at the James City County government complex came as the second of two candidate meet-and-greets this month ahead of the Nov. 5 elections.

The event featured brief remarks by each of the candidates vying for Williamsburg-area offices and an opportunity for handshakes and one-on-one discussions with audience members afterward.

Sen. Tommy Norment, R-James City County, touted his years of experience, accomplishments and seniority in the Senate in his argument on why he should be reelected.

Norment has been in the Senate since 1992. He said he’s been a driving force in containing the cost of public education and making Virginia a top state for business while in the Senate. He carried the legislation that recently delivered tax relief checks for Virginians. He noted he’s been able to work himself up to powerful positions — he’s the senate majority leader and co-chairman of the chamber’s finance committee — and has built relationships on both sides of the aisle.

“I have been able to lead, I have been able to deliver, and I would welcome your support and opportunity to continue to do that,” he said.

Trevor Herrin, the Republican candidate for the Roberts District seat on the James City County Board of Supervisors, said the county had faltered in business and job creation, affordable housing needs and oversight of development.

“This board has spent a great deal of time and money developing a comprehensive plan four years ago, and four years later we have failed to make much progress on that plan,” Herrin said.

If elected, Herrin would work to tackle those problems. He would work to make the county more business friendly, and said job creation is a priority. Herrin felt the county needs more affordable housing options for residents and that more should be done to preserve rural and historic lands.

The seat’s Democratic incumbent, Supervisor John McGlennon, painted a different picture of the county. He noted that in his tenure on the board, he’s worked successfully to improve the county and would look to continue his work if reelected.

”I’ve served on the Board of Supervisors for a while and I take great pride in what we’ve built,” he said.

McGlennon noted the county earned AAA bond ratings from all three major national rating agencies during his time in office. The county has also seen its parks and recreational department thrive. McGlennon said the county faces challenges related to population growth, but that he has a track record of weighing rezoning requests and questions of development carefully.

He also cast himself as an advocate for the community on the state level, too, saying he worked to encourage the changes to the Historic Triangle sales tax bill that excluded groceries from the tax.

Sean Gormus, an Independent candidate for Williamsburg-James City County sheriff, wants to emphasize community engagement if elected.

Gormus has a background in the community side of policing thanks to his time as a school resource officer in James City County Police Department.

He said the sheriff’s office can do more than its current duties providing security in the courthouse and other tasks.

He voiced an interest in community outreach such as a mentorship program, and also felt the sheriff’s office should be more present at community events and should make itself more available to support local police departments in crisis situations.

“I feel like there’s so much more that our community deserves,” Gormus said.

David Hardin is also running for Williamsburg-James City County sheriff, and he said experience would be key to success.

He has that experience as the office’s chief deputy and already has some familiarity with the duties of the office’s top job.

Hardin, a Republican, said law enforcement out in the community is handled well enough already by local police departments. He cast himself as a driving force behind the force’s accreditation and would work to maintain that if elected.

“We will continue to serve the citizens in our community,” he said.

Gerald Mitchell, a Democratic contender for Williamsburg-James City County sheriff, would work to do more community outreach and provide greater transparency if elected.

The military policeman noted his leadership experience, both in small units and precincts. He said more training for deputies would be a focus if elected.

“I’m certain that we can, and that we will, do better,” Mitchell said.

Sheriff Danny Diggs wants to continue to serve as boss of York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office. He pointed to his years of experience in the job and accomplishments in that time as to why he should continue to be sheriff.

Diggs, a Republican, was elected sheriff in 1999.

He said that though York County’s population is up, crime is down, and that the community seems happy with how things are going. He said he has worked hard to maintain the agency’s accreditation and noted the variety of community outreach programs the agency offers.

“I enjoy serving as your sheriff and my deputies want to me to continue serving as sheriff,” Diggs said.

Scott Williams, who has experience in various roles as a Newport News police officer, wants to bring what he described as a culture change to the York-Poquoson sheriff’s office, one firmly rooted in community policing.

If elected, Williams would work to make deputies more of a presence in the community beyond doing the work of law enforcement. He said he would bring the public more fully into conversations about the agency’s future.

“I want to change the culture to a proactive, community-policing law enforcement agency,” Williams said.

The League of Women Voters of the Williamsburg Area and the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance sponsored the event.

Jack Jacobs,

757-298-6007,

jojacobs@vagazette.com,

@jajacobs_

Candidates talk policy and with voters at meet-and-greet

Seven candidates participated in an informal meet-and-greet at Williamsburg Regional Library before meeting attendees later on. (Madeline Monroe/staff)

By Madeline Monroe

Staff writer

WILLIAMSBURG — Local candidates talked policy and cracked jokes at a meet-and-greet with voters Wednesday evening at Williamsburg Regional Library.

Seven candidates running for state and local offices spoke to a group of about 100 people at the first of two events sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Williamsburg Area and Greater Williamsburg Tourism and Chamber Alliance Business Council.

The night started with candidates introducing themselves before discussing policy.

Third Senate District Democratic candidate Herb Jones said his opponent had not taken care of resident’s healthcare needs, particularly for firefighters and first responders with cancer. For 96th House of Delegates District Democratic candidate Mark Downey, his experience as a physician led him to believe that mental health care services should be expanded.

“When I first started my practice, about 10% of my practice was mental health care,” he said. “Now it’s about 30%.”

Highlighting his record on Medicaid expansion, 93rd House of Delegates Democratic incumbent Mike Mullin praised Medicaid’s new enrollment of 330,000 low-income Virginians as an accomplishment.

“It’s making sure that almost 3,000 people here in the 93rd district have access to a doctor,” he said.

While talking with small business owners, 96th district Republican candidate Amanda Batten said they have trouble finding affordable health care for themselves.

As she knocked on doors to talk with constituents, Batten said she also learned that taxes which did not provide a perceived return on investment, such as the tourism tax, were viewed unfavorably.

“The widening of Interstate 64 is something where folks feel like they are receiving that return (from taxes),” she said.

For 93rd House of Delegates district Republican candidate Heather Cordasco, she said her goal is to make Virginia more business friendly and less taxing on constituents if elected.

“We must make sure that we keep our rainy day fund funded when times are good so that we can meet our promises and our responsibilities without immediately going to raise taxes,” she said.

On the topic of education, ensuring access to early childhood education should be a priority, Downey said.

“If people have a good foundation, then they’re less likely to drop out of school and more likely to attain higher education levels and be more successful adults,” he said.

In Mullin’s statement, he focused on raising pay for teachers. While he helped pass a 5% pay raise for teachers this year, he said legislators need to keep going. “We need to continue to at least get to the national average and hopefully exceed it.”

An advocate of common-sense gun reform, Mullin mentioned his co-sponsorship of universal background checks. Downey said addressing the link between mental health and gun deaths from suicide should also be a priority through red-flag laws. For Jones, nothing has been done to reduce gun violence in Virginia.

“Nothing has happened since Virginia Tech, and we had another incident (in Virginia Beach) this year.”

York County’s 1st District Board of Supervisors candidates discussed their backgrounds and spoke on local issues relating to education, inclusion, the economy, safety and York’s progress in those areas.

Challenging six-term Republican incumbent Walt Zaremba is Democratic candidate Dalila Johnson. After graduating high school in Colombia, South America, she came to the United States and enlisted in the U.S. Navy before working in banking.

“What we do here for the next couple of years, 10 years, is going to affect all of us,” she said.

As another veteran, Zaremba thanked Johnson for her service and noted his extensive service in the U.S. Army before he earned his law degree in 1992. Zaremba pointed to York’s achievements in education and safety and the county’s low tax rate during his tenure as supervisor.

“I still have spirit and desire and love for York County citizens to be their Board of Supervisor (representative) again,” he said.

Later in the evening, candidates mingled with citizens to discuss issues they cared about.

Cordasco, who voiced support for creating pathways for alternative education, said that at the meet-and-greet she had some conversations about her role in workforce development.

“I had someone come up to meet and didn’t know I was the one who brought Manufacturing Day to the county (schools),” she said.

When asked by a retired college professor if there was any one thing that he could fix, Jones responded that he would address issues in education. “I think early childhood education is key.”

Attendees approached Johnson about an idea she had shared to help make her district less isolated by creating a citizens’ council, she said, which would gather community leaders to solve problems alongside supervisors and make informing members of her district easier.

Madeline Monroe,

madeline.monroe

@virginiamedia.com

Virginia Senate Candidates: Survey Answers

Every election, the League of Women Voters sends identical questions to candidates for office. See the responses of the Senate candidates for Virginia here. Go to vote411.org for more.

The following formatting is excerpted from The League of Women Voters of Fairfax Voters’ Guide. VOTE411.org’s content is duplicated in this publication.

U.S. Senate for Virginia

The U.S. Senate term is six years. Each state is represented by two Senators who have staggered terms. There is no limit to the number of terms they may serve. Senators serve their constituents as they offer legislation, serve on committees, debate new bills and amendments to previous legislation. They also serve to advise and consent on matters such as ratification of treaties and confirmation of high-level positions, including U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Senators must be at least 30 years old, have been a U.S. citizen for the last nine years or longer, and inhabit the state they seek to represent. A Senator’s salary is $174,000. See the Virginia Department of Elections website for all the races and candidates: vote.virginia.gov

Biographical Info of the Candidates for US Senate:

Tim M. Kaine
Party: Democratic
Website: http://timkaine.com/
Education: University of Missouri – B.A. in Economics; Harvard Law School
Experience: Civil Rights Lawyer; Richmond City Council; Mayor of
Richmond; Virginia Lieutenant Governor; Virginia Governor; Democratic
National Committee Chairman; and US Senator of Virginia on the Senate Armed
Services; Foreign Relations; Budget; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Committees.
Facebook: facebook.com/SenatorKaine/
Twitter: @timkaine

Corey Stewart
Party: Republican
Website: www.coreystewart.com
Education: Juris Doctorate, William Mitchell College of Law; B.S., Foreign
Service, Georgetown University
Experience: Corey Stewart is the at-large elected Chairman of the Prince
William Board of County Supervisors. Previously, he served as the Virginia
Chairman for the Donald J. Trump for President campaign. He is an International Trade Attorney in private practice.
Facebook: facebook.com/CoreyStewartVA
Twitter: @CoreyStewartVA

Matt J. Waters
Party: Libertarian
Website: www.mattwaters.com
Education: BA George Mason University MS Reformed Theological
Seminary (2019)
Experience: Business owner/entrepreneur, 10 years Vice President
National Non-Profit Organization Senior Officer, Advertising Agency
Facebook: facebook.com/WatersForUSSenate/
Twitter: @VASenate2018

Questions & Answers
I. What policies and resources do you propose to ensure election integrity and security in the United States?

Tim M. Kaine: The recent Omnibus bill that passed earlier this year included an additional $307 million for the 
FBI’s work to secure the 2018 U.S. midterm elections and fight against future Russian cyberattacks. The bill also provided $380 million for the Election Assistance Commission to increase cybersecurity for state voting systems and protect elections against foreign interference. We need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect our elections systems from cyberattacks. In addition, we need to ensure we are protecting all critical sensitive information from being hacked, such as: health, education, and banking infrastructure. States hold the majority of sensitive information. Virginia has been at the forefront of ensuring that we are taking all steps necessary to protect our infrastructure from any potential attack. I also strongly support states and localities taking the necessary steps to back up their elections with paper ballots.

Corey Stewart: I fully support voter ID laws, which serve to prevent various kinds of election fraud: impersonation fraud; registration under fictitious names; voting in more than one state; and non-citizen voting.
States that have enacted this commonsense reform found no depressing effect on voter turnout.

Matt J. Waters: The Constitution is clear on the issue: 15th & 19th Amendments secure the right of citizens to vote. Congress has the power to enforce this via legislation.

II. What policies, e.g. tariffs, taxes, tax cuts, do you propose to promote economic security for all Americans?

Tim M. Kaine: We must invest in Virginians, value diversity, and grow the talented workforce that makes our economy thrive. I introduced bills to support families, by increasing tax credits to lift families out of poverty, and increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 over a 7-year period. We lost an opportunity to pass a tax reform
bill that would put middle-class families and small businesses first. Instead, Republicans jammed through a bill that will raise taxes on millions of Americans. We must give more of the benefits to the middle class instead of big corporations. I introduced an amendment to this bill to provide long-term middle class tax relief and reduce the amount the bill adds to the deficit. Republicans blocked my amendment. I also have strong concerns with the President imposing tariffs on our major allies, resulting in steep tariffs being imposed on Virginia products. I have urged the President to reverse course and make it clear to our allies that we are honest brokers.

Corey Stewart: President Trump’s tax cuts have already done much to promote economic security for all Americans – with black, Hispanic, Asian and youth unemployment now at all-time lows. I would vote to make these tax cuts permanent. I additionally support President Trump’s efforts to renegotiate unfair trade agreements with other nations, in the best interests of American workers.

Matt J. Waters: One-hundred percent of US taxpayers’ income from January 1 to April 18 goes to local, state and federal government. The government takes 33% of our property on an annual basis–more than most Americans spend on food, clothing and shelter combined. The Libertarian Party believes taxation is theft; that the government’s role is to do three things and three things only: protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or property). Personal federal income taxes were not allowed in the US until 1913 and the passage of the 16th Amendment. As Senator, I propose repealing the 16th Amendment, abolishing the IRS, and giving every American taxpayer a $12,000 pay raise. This ultimate measure will lead to major reforms in the
contract between government and the people.

III. What is your position on using a citizenship question on the 2020 Census survey?

Tim M. Kaine: I am opposed to asking individuals whether or not they are citizens on the 2020 Census survey because it will result in fewer people being counted or participating in the process. The rhetoric coming from this administration is sending fear into communities of color and this could lead to a distortion of who is residing in the U.S. Data collected by the Census is essential in bringing federal dollars and determining the political representation of our communities. The federal funds are distributed to state and local government to support schools, health care, housing, and other vital public benefits. There are about 300 federal programs that use Census data to determine how and where the money is spent. The Census occurs once every ten years and it is critical that we get a complete and accurate count. For these reasons, I oppose including a citizenship question on the 2020 Census survey.

Corey Stewart: I support reinstating the citizenship question on the 2020 Census survey. Electoral seats should be determined according to the population of actual citizens, not total population size.

Matt J. Waters: This is entirely in the purview of the Congress according to Section 1 Article 8 of the Constitution.

IV. What are your proposals for an immigration policy?

Tim M. Kaine: In 2013, the first major bill that I voted on was an immigration reform bill that was bipartisan and included a pathway to citizenship for many individuals living in the U.S. I supported the Senate’s 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill that would reform our visa system, protect Dreamers and TPS recipients, and protect our borders. This country is a nation of immigrants who have played an integral role in our society, have brought the skills and talents to make the U.S. globally competitive. Our immigration system has unfairly kept millions of people who contribute to the United States living in the shadows of our society. I have been a strong and loud critic of this administration’s treatment of Dreamers, proposals to limit legal
immigration, travel bans, and all attempts to separate families. Earlier this year, I worked with my colleagues in the Senate to find a solution to protect Dreamers, create a pathway to citizenship, while protecting our borders.

Corey Stewart: Immigration should be managed in a way that benefits our nation. I would end the Visa lottery in favor of a merit-based system. We should have zero tolerance for illegal alien crime. I favor the prosecution of state and local officials who brazenly flout our nation’s immigration laws by declaring “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens. Finally, I would vote to fund construction and maintenance of a true wall, to stem the flow of migrants and contraband across our southern border.

Matt J. Waters: I support reforming the current Immigration system/laws and review the three major agencies responsible for Immigration: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”); and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”). I support DACA. I do not support the
Wall for financial and results oriented reasons (It won’t solve the problem). I believe we need to change the laws on chain migration. 70% of all immigration to US are relatives coming to live here. I would advocate moving to a merit based system based on skills and America’s labor needs. I support E-verify, and tighter border security. I also support renewable work permits for non-US citizens working in the US, as this will raise salaries of non-US citizens such that they would not undercut current worker salaries.

V. What do you propose to ensure high quality, affordable and accessible health care?

Tim M. Kaine: I believe that access to health care is a right for all Virginians and I strongly support the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid Expansion in Virginia. I have fought against “repeal and replace” of the ACA, and threats to Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP (Virginia’s “FAMIS” program). The ACA prevents individuals from being denied health insurance if they have a pre-existing condition, and provides access to preventive care that will
help reduce the cost and incidence of chronic diseases. Since passage of the ACA, more than 300,000 Virginians have gained access to quality affordable health care through its federally-run exchange. I have supported legislation to continue to expand health care coverage and make important fixes to the ACA. I also introduced the Medicare-X Choice Act which would create an affordable public option, so Americans could choose whether to purchase one of the existing private plans on the exchange or a Medicare-X public plan.

Corey Stewart: Obamacare has failed to deliver on its promises, as too many individuals and families have learned the hard way. I strongly favor health savings accounts, as well as the restoration of short-term and low cost
“no-frills” plans. We should allow insurance plans to be sold across state lines (more competition is healthy). Ultimately, we need a free market, consumer-driven health care system that puts the needs of patients first.

Matt J. Waters: 1. Since Obamacare was passed in 2014, the cost of insurance for self-employed has skyrocketed. I would join with the dozen governors who have sued the Labor Dept to allow small businesses and the self-employed to form association health plans (AHPs). 2. Promote Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that put consumers in the drivers seat for current and future healthcare costs. HSAs eliminate the gatekeeper that tells the consumer what is allowed or not under their plan. These plans have shown to reduce overall health costs. Generally, I would advocate for the government to get out of the healthcare business. The government track record on health care is easily seen in the VA Hospital and impending bankruptcy of Medicare and
Medicaid. I favor allow companies to compete for consumer business not unlike other businesses, and for customers to choose between multiple health care offerings, or none at all.

VI. What policies do you propose to reduce gun violence?

Tim M. Kaine: I was Governor of Virginia during the shooting that took place at Virginia Tech, killing 32 individuals, and injuring 17. I issued an executive order and signed a law requiring courts to report all involuntary mental health commitments to the database used to check the criminal records of gun buyers. I also signed other mental health reforms and vetoed bills that would have increased the presence of firearms in the public sphere. As a U.S. Senator, I support requiring a completed background check for every gun buyer who purchases a gun from a federally-licensed gun dealer. I am a cosponsor of legislation to close the gun show and private sale loopholes, require private sales go through a federal firearms licensee, and penalize states that fail to make data available to the national background check system. I am also a co-sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban, which bans the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons
and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Corey Stewart: Firearms themselves are not the problem, as John Lott has thoroughly documented in his book, More Guns, Less Crime. We can – and we must – do more to reduce gun violence, without trampling on the 2nd
Amendment rights of lawful Americans. I strongly favor attacking the root causes of violence, through education, smarter policing, and improved mental health care. In addition, we should hire armed security
personnel – perhaps retired police officers – to protect our nation’s schools.

Matt J. Waters: For voters concerned about gun violence, I too share this concern. Of the 38,000 gun related deaths in 2016, 25,000+ are suicides by mostly white men, age 25-65. Black on black violence contributes to an
additional 8,000 gun related deaths annually. Combined, these statistics represent over 87% of the gun related deaths in America. If we desire to reduce gun violence in America, we must address medical depression and we
review the War on Drugs policy (DEA) that may be a leading cause of violence in urban areas. As Senator, I will call for an end to the War on Drugs, and the elimination of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). This will help
drive down black on black violence, and ultimately save lives. Regarding depression and other causes of suicide, this is an area that is best left to families, specialized non-profit organizations and the medical profession to
treat.

VII. What are your legislative priorities?

Tim M. Kaine: My campaign is focused on access to good paying jobs, education, health care, and true equality for all. Virginia has a strong military presence and as the father of a marine, my priorities in the Senate are to
ensure that the U.S. stays out of unnecessary wars and if we engage that we are successful. I along with Senator Corker are leading an effort to replace the 2001 and 2002 authorization for use of military force with an updated AUMF against al-Qaida, the Taliban and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. I have fought against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and believe that we need to continue to improve access to affordable quality health care. I introduced legislation, Medicare-X, a public plan that would provide another option for low-cost health insurance choices and create more competition in the marketplace. Finally, career and technical education (CTE) has always been a passion of mine and I believe CTE can strengthen the links between the
classroom and the workplace.

Corey Stewart: In the United States Senate, I will fight tirelessly to:
• Lower taxes, grow the economy, and bring back jobs
• Build the wall, end sanctuary cities, and crack down on criminal illegal aliens
• Defend 2nd Amendment rights, while attacking the root causes of violent crime
• Fully repeal and replace Obamacare
•Rebuild our military and support our veterans

Matt J. Waters: We must stop out of control government spending. The $22 trillion debt is the single greatest threat facing this country. We are adding $1 million a minute to the debt. To eliminate it, we must enact 1.Reform Entitlements, 2. Cut Government Spending (military/domestic and foreign programs/agencies) and 3.Eliminate the personal federal income tax (this will force cuts in spending, and return property to the American
taxpayer).

Disclaimer: The contact information provided in “Voters’ Guide” was furnished by the campaigns to the League of Women Voters of
the Fairfax Area (LWVFA), obtained from the Fairfax County Office of Elections, or official websites. The LWVFA is not responsible for any
changes or inaccuracies in the listings; the information was current as of October 21, 2018. This is not an official publication for any
campaign or candidate, but information only. The LWVFA can be reached at 703-658-9150, on the web at www.LWV-Fairfax.org, on our
Facebook page, www.facebook.com/lwvfairfax, twitter.com/LWVfairfax, or at LWVUS www.vote411.org.

W&M President Rowe to Speak at Fall Meeting

by Phoebe Kent, The Voter co-editor

The Williamsburg League’s fall program features The College of William & Mary’s new president Katherine A. Rowe. The October 10 event at Legacy Hall begins at 4:30 pm. A reception will follow President Rowe’s remarks.

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In July The College of William & Mary began an exciting new chapter; its 28th president is a recognized leader, teacher, scholar, and entrepreneur – and its first woman president. Prior to William & Mary, Rowe held a number of leadership positions in higher education.

From 2014 to 2018, she was provost, dean of the faculty, and Sophia Smith Professor of English Language & Literature at Smith College. She is deeply interested in design thinking, entrepreneurship, and the digital humanities and has been nationally recognized as an innovator in higher education. During her tenure, Smith transformed its liberal arts curriculum, greatly increased diversity in faculty hiring, launched one of the first statistical and data sciences majors at a liberal arts college (and the first at a women’s college) and broke national fundraising records for women’s colleges.

Prior to joining Smith, Rowe spent 16 years at Bryn Mawr College as an English professor, department chair and director of the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center for leadership and public engagement. Before that she was an assistant professor of literature at Yale. Rowe is cofounder and former CEO of Luminary Digital Media, which developed a series of educational apps enhancing student engagement and learning of classic Shakespearean texts.

Rowe earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from Carleton College and a master’s and a PhD in English and American literature from Harvard. She has completed graduate work in Cinema and Media Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her areas of research and scholarship include Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Medieval and Renaissance drama and media history.

Rowe has coached Ultimate Frisbee and led multiple teams to state championships in Pennsylvania. She was a World Ultimate Club Finalist and a Women’s Nationals Finalist. She and her husband Bruce Jacobson have two adult children, Danny and Beah.

Unanimously elected by William & Mary’s Board of Visitors in February, President Rowe was officially sworn in on July 2. She describes her goal for her first semester as one of “sustained, strategic listening” to all elements of the community. We are indeed fortunate to have this early opportunity to meet and hear her.

League Study Group Update: School Choice in Virginia

support our schools graphicDo Virginia’s public schools face fierce competition and challenges from the private and corporate sectors?
Should donors get tax breaks by giving to private schools through scholarship foundations?

The Virginia LWV School Choice Task Force has done considerable research concluding that our Education Position needs to be supplemented with specifics on Virginia school choice options. Public funds ARE going to private schools. The task force analyzed the parameters, funding, and administration of Virginia’s Tuition Tax Credit programs, private Virtual Schools, and proposals for Voucher Programs that have a negative impact on public school funding.

Even though Virginia has been, in comparison to some states, conservative in authorizing tax credit and voucher programs, there is a strong interest from some legislators, private schools and profit-making companies to expand them. There are major concerns about the level of quality of the private schools and private resources that receive the public funds. Those schools, including for-profit online learning programs, may have inadequate oversight, accountability, accreditation, transparency, student retention rates, achievement, curriculum, and protection of rights. Already some public funds go to private schools that include religious training, thereby compromising the separation of church and state.

The eight current Charter Schools in Virginia are public, are authorized and monitored by the local school board, and must abide by extensive Virginia Code requirements.

Our Virginia public school funding needs continued protection.

Join us on April 11th to learn more about this issue that affects the future
of all public schools in Virginia.

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