May 31 2005
Watching the governor’s race here in VA there is a feeling that the reps will take back control after our brief experiment in electing a democrat (Mark Warner). But while that seems to be the trend, the Kilgore/Connaughton duo (the most likely and best combination) need to take steps to lock up both the nomination and the general election. And they can do this by promoting a few simple issues that would tip Northern Virginia (NOVA) towards them and ensure success at the polls. For non Virginians, our state-wide elections tip whichever way vote-dense NOVA goes.
So, for their contemplation I offer up the following items:
(1) Eliminate the Dulles Toll Road tolls. The toll road was supposed have been paid for by tolls and then opened up to free access. It never happened. And recently the tolls were upped to pay for much needed (and much dreaded) Metro Rail access to Dulles International Airport. OK, I think we all can see the benefits of Metro out to Dulles Airport – but after that project has been paid for Kilgore/Connaughton should promise to close down the toll booths. The region is growing, unemployment is incredibly low, housing prices are sky rocketing and traffic is chewing up gas. All of this equates to plenty of revenues to deal with the regional issues. Just as Gilmore took a bold move on the toy (car) tax, the new republicans can get rid of something that costs one section of one county a heavy extra tax in another bold move.
(2) Revamp the Standards Of Learning (SOL) teaching. SOL’s are a good thing in the sense they test all kids to make sure they have the minimal skills to move into society and succeed. The problem is the school systems teach to the test too much. I do not have the answer, but so many teachers and parents are frustrated with this situation even opening the topic to discussion and refinement would win support.
(3) Expand real life training courses. Why don’t schools teach what income taxes are and how to deal with them? Why don’t schools teach kids how to handle credit cards and debt and savings? How many other key life skills could schools teach to prepare our children for the modern world (e.g., computer networking setup)? We need to replace the drive to promote PC themes, like diverse sexual life styles, with topics that give our kids a foundation to control their lives.
(4) Eliminate the tax hikes passed recently which took us from a budget surplus to an obscene budget surplus. The hallmark point of the Warner administration was when it finally won passage of the largest tax hike in recent memory in response to the economic down turn emanating from 9-11, only to report simultaneously that economic growth from the federal tax cuts had left the state in the black. They had debated the tax hikes for so long the economy had already recovered. Goverments do not need surpluses – families do so they can save for school. Simple message.
Some of these topics extend well beyond NOVA so they can only bolster some wins. Get onto these issues and propose honest solutions. Winning will follow.