Earlier this month, our readers submitted questions for Patch's Ask the Candidates forum.
Responses from Kevin Chisholm, an Independent candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Virginia's 10th District, can be found below, unedited.
You can read responses from Kristin Cabral here.
According to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Fairfax County has a gross county product of $108.7 billion. Ignoring the spinoff effect government contracts and defense industries provide to its local economy, what can Fairfax County do to attract and retain more local businesses that engage in commercial interests outside this sector?
Fairfax County will gain the most fiscal strength by doing its best to make the county a desired place to live. This will attract higher skilled and higher salaried workers, retain retirees, and attract tourism.
One in 88 children is diagnosed with autism in this country. Will you continue funding for research, education and long-term care? If so, how? And Will you support and fund Individuals with Disability Act (IDEA)?
Based on discussion with knowledgeable people in the field, the good news is the number of individuals with autism is likely not increasing, but is being diagnosed more effectively and earlier. Continued early diagnosis is very important in affectively helping families affected by autism. I would support continued funding that identifies early identification of autism and for programs that help autistic students in classrooms. I would support improvements in long-term care in communities that includes community based care. Our goal should be to provide opportunities for autistic individuals to contribute to society to the greatest extent possible.
What can you do at the federal level to make shopping local more attractive to consumers?
In the long run, lowering federal taxes will have a positive effect on consumer spending since a higher percentage of American paychecks will be available to taxpayers.
Should MWAA continue to have a permanent hand in Metro by controlling tolls on the Dulles Toll Road to pay for the Silver Line? Can or should the federal government help reduce the impact of the Silver Line on toll drivers?
Investigations into unethical actions by MWAA are still underway and wrong doing is being revealed. I recommend awaiting the outcome to determine a path forward.
I have taken very strong stands on this issue since it relates to our national security in that use of transit systems helps to lower our use of oil. The federal government should provide incentives to accomplish this objective. One such incentive is matching funds for public transit projects. At a minimum, the federal government should provide a third of the funding for qualifying projects. State and local governments should determine the source of their funding. I believe that local property taxes for those property owners who benefit most from the presence of Metro is one fair source of revenue.
I propose a sliding scale in federal support based in part on how much federal money, per capita, the state is taking for highway projects. In my view, states could receive up to 75% federal funding for qualifying transit projects. The greatest federal support would be for states that receive the lowest amount of federal highway funding (per capita).
How would you address the timidity of bank lending these days? Specifically, we seem to have gone from zero down mortgages without even an ID requirement from borrowers to banks afraid to do anything. Can we set the wheel about where it was from WWII to 1985 and let us move on?
The last thing the federal government needs to do (again) is encourage lending to financially under-qualified persons. That is a primary cause of the need for bailouts of recent years. We do citizens no benefit by coddling them with loans that will end of in bankruptcy. Truth is that banks are usually the best judge for who is qualified to lend to. Government should help with loans to start-up small businesses as it now does.
Describe your leadership style. What is your approach in balancing what the people want with your own belief system?
Well, Congress is a body of consensus and driving toward a reasonable consensus would be my objective. My “style”? Lets face it, I am an engineer, I have no style. Well, seriously, I would try to build bridges between House Members who otherwise find no common ground.
Explain your philosophy on the federal government’s role in our local and regional problems. We seek federal money for major projects like the Rail to Dulles, but where would you draw the line?
Philosophically, I am a believer, in the long run, in a federal government that is tamed in size. Let’s face it, on a practical level the activities of the state and local government are very relevant in our lives. They provide your water, wastewater treatment, health protection, much of the environmental protection, much of the day-to-day security and fire response, and most of the transportation amenities.
On transportation, I have a different position. I believe that encouragement of transportation that uses less oil is of national importance for two reasons. Use of less oil is important from a national security and environmental perspective, and limited government funds (for government at all levels) are making the “automobile only” way impossible. It is very expensive to build and maintain roadways for private automobiles. Thinking that we can sustain that technology as the primary mode of transit for everyone for eons of time is an economic fatal flaw.
A major difference between President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney is how they would handle the defense budget over the next four years. Would you, like Romney, vote to shift funds spend on the war in Afghanistan to the Pentagon’s base budget? Or would you, like Obama, want to see that money spent on deficit reduction or other non-defense needs? Or do you have a different plan for the defense budget?
I would use savings to reduce the deficit. And as with any part of the Federal government, I would look to reduce government costs where possible.
What are your thoughts on No Child Left Behind? Would you like to see it repealed, modified or left alone?
Realistically, states and local governments make the big decisions about education. It is ultimately up to them to see that all citizens have the opportunity to have a good education. One place the federal government could play a role is in emphasizing technically competent education. The program is currently called STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
I believe it is also possible that in the extreme case where states that do not assure their youth in an equitable way the opportunity for a reasonable education, that Federal courts could play a role. If a state were inherently and egregiously negligent in offering a good education to youth of all demographics, then federal civil rights laws might be relevant.
Attempts to incentivize competent education can be effective, provided that efforts to “teach to the test” are not overzealous. It is possible that the benefits of No Child Left Behind have already seen their day. I would like to hear more from others on this though.
Explain your religious backgrounds and what role that plays in your policy decisions.
I was raised a Catholic, then I reformed for a few years, and now I am a practicing Methodist. I am also a believer in science and strong woman. The latter two play a bigger role in my policy decisions.