Issues

Education

Education is the foundation of my platform. I understand the challenges and potential in our education system from my experience as a student in our public schools, community colleges, and universities, as well as being a teaching assistant at Virginia Tech. I will be a leader for promoting quality education in Virginia’s public schools and university systems.

We have a great K-12 schools in the 12th District and I will work to protect and increase their funding. I will roll back Delegate Yost’s misguided plan that allows the state to take over control of our local schools. I also believe it is important to take steps to increase teacher salaries, decrease the number of tests students take, and think creatively about how to improve our schools.

At the university level, I will be a strong supporter for Virginia Tech, Radford University, and New River Community College. We must ensure that college stays affordable for students and our universities remain strong and competitive. These universities offer an important link to growing our region’s economy, providing students with marketable skills, and improving Virginians’ quality of life. I will work to make sure the 12th District’s universities flourish.

Local Economy

I am blessed to come from a fifth generation Montgomery County business family. I know first-hand the power of the local economy. I am committed to bringing jobs to Southwest Virginia by working to support and showcase local businesses in the New River Valley. We must capitalize on our growing technology sector, and I will work to promote more commercialization of university research. Additionally, one of my first legislative acts will be to make sure that Virginia companies get first crack at state contracts—instead of companies from Mexico, China and India.

I also believe the 12th District can be a leader in the modern renaissance of the small farmer. My brother is a local farmer, and I know we can find ways to connect consumers with local farmers to promote our local agricultural industry. It is important to me to act, live and buy locally.

Environment

Protecting our environment and preserving our region’s natural beauty are priorities for me. I want our future generations to be able to enjoy the natural wonders we have in the New River Valley and throughout the Commonwealth. Incorporating environmentally smart decisions into individuals and businesses is something I strive to do personally and something I will advance through legislation in Richmond.

In addition to preservation, we have tremendous opportunities to turn environmentally smart decisions into economic drivers by creating green businesses that hire local workers, stimulating environmental practices in businesses and individuals, and expanding our eco-tourism industry. I will work to help individuals and businesses take common sense steps, like encouraging energy efficiencies, to help our environment and foster a strong local economy.

Women’s Rights

One of the reasons that I entered this race was the extreme positions that my opponent has taken on women’s healthcare issues. I grew up watching my grandmother, former Delegate Joan Munford, be a strong advocate for the rights of women and I couldn’t stand by as my own representative moved our Commonwealth backwards. As a father, husband and son, I will be a strong advocate for women in Richmond and fight to protect the rights that groundbreaking women like my grandmother fought for decades ago.

In Richmond, I will stand up to the Republican extremists that are trying to take away a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions. Further, I believe that women’s rights should not be limited to discussions about reproductive rights. I am a strong supporter of policies to establish equal pay, maternity leave, and other measures that promote fair and equal treatment of women.

Getting our fair share

I believe that we need leadership in Richmond to ensure Southwest Virginia gets its fair share of state resources. This issue has been recently visible with the state’s new transportation package. Delegate Yost’s inability to bring money back to our region demonstrates he is out of touch and not able to provide us with the leadership we deserve.  I will go to Richmond and fight to make sure the New River Valley is getting its fair share of transportation, education, and public service dollars.