Economic development, innovation and jobs
Virginians are blessed with freedoms and opportunities unseen around the globe. In an ever-competitive global economy, we cannot take any of this for granted. We must diversify Virginia’s economy as much as possible.
We all want Virginia to be the best place to live, work, invest, and do business. If we make Virginia less attractive economically we encourage investors and jobs to go elsewhere. Our government must consider this in every decision it makes. As a former U.S. trade ambassador, I know the formula for success: we must invest in our infrastructure, keep our taxes low, demand efficiency and good policies from our state government, minimize costly regulations, and most of all invest in education and training for our children. I am committed to taking this experience to Richmond, and working every day to make Virginia the top place to do business – not just in America, but also in the World.
Quality of life
If we are to continue to prosper, Virginians need the best education system. My wife and I are blessed with four amazing children. Our kids have all greatly benefited from the top-notch public, private and religious schools in Northern Virginia. Their education has been essential in preparing them to be successful. My older kids have attended Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and my oldest daughter is a second-generation George Mason University student studying to be a teacher.
The world is constantly changing and our educational system must evolve with it. Parents and local communities know best how to educate their children, and they must have the tools necessary to support their students. As a George Mason graduate, and a member of the George Mason School of Business Council, I understand that Public/Private partnerships are essential to maintain relevance in the job marketplace.
Anyone who lives in Northern Virginia knows the traffic challenges we all face. This problem creates economic inefficiencies and lowers our quality of life. We must look for outside the box solutions to our transportation problems, like focusing on cost effective solutions through private/public partnerships to develop an infrastructure that is fast and efficient.
Meeting the health care needs of our communities while allowing people to make their own health care choices is critically important. Our children, the elderly and those in need of mental health care should be a particular focus. Unfortunately our federal government has forced on our citizens a dysfunctional system that is increasing costs, limiting choice, and adding to our debt. This is the opposite of what we should be doing.
Our most vulnerable Virginians deserve a strong, accountable Medicaid program that focuses resources to those most in need – not a program that adopts policies that make this essential safety net program unsustainable. The State of Virginia should not further burden an already stressed Medicaid system with more obligations for which there is unreliable funding. This is not helping our families, children and businesses, and it is adding more burdens in the form of debt and future taxes. Welding a troubled federal program with another troubled state program would be irresponsible. Medicaid costs are out of control and eating up valuable resources that could be spent on transportation, education, and economic development; and Obamacare has been a disaster as premiums jump, doctors and hospitals are lost, and care will suffer.
Governing responsibly and responsively
I strongly believe that the hallmark for responsible, accountable government is low taxes, balanced budgets, limited regulations and open, fair and transparent competition for government investments. The key to responsiveness is making decisions and accountability as local and representative as possible. With this as our guide, I believe we can address constituent needs and react quickly to problems and issues as they arise. Public officials must earn the trust of the voters, and that starts with the fear that their government is bought and paid for. That is why I will never accept such gifts as your delegate in Richmond.
Respect and Rights
Our nation’s foundation of tolerance of minority opinions was first established here in Virginia. We can and should be passionate about our core beliefs. However, we must recognize that respect for each other is an essential part of finding solutions and moving Virginia forward. We have a responsibility to represent ourselves thoughtfully, and to carefully listen to those we disagree with in the public arena – but sadly that is all too often missing in Richmond. We need to recognize that people have a right to disagree with us and should not lose their rights and freedoms simply because they disagree with our political or religious views. I am committed to fighting for your rights to freely practice your faith, stand for your values, and your freedom of expression.