Hugh “Mac’’ Cannon, 34, is making his second run against longtime Del. Kenneth Plum (D-Reston) to represent the 36th District of Virginia, which includes Reston and Vienna.
Cannon, a native of Oakton, graduated from Paul VI High School and Virginia Tech and is completing a master’s degree from George Mason University. He is the executive director of a trade group, The American Council of Engineering Companies.
Cannon and his wife, Amy, live in Reston and are parents of three preschool-age children. Cannon sat down recently with Reston Patch to discuss his candidacy.
Reston Patch: Why have you returned for your second run to represent the 36th District?
Mac Cannon: As you know, I’m a Republican. I’m a member of a party and you run under a flag, and that’s fine. But that’s not me. I’m not a partisan person. I spend a lot of time bringing people together—that’s who I am. One of the big concerns I have is that hyper-partisanship needs to go away. It does nobody any good. What would do some good is for me to fight for the things we need in Northern Virginia. That’s who I am and that’s why I am running.
RP: You’ve also expressed a concern about this particular seat.
MC: Well, there’s a history here. [Plum had no Republican challenger for four election cycles.] That’s nothing against Ken. But I don’t believe anyone should go unchallenged. I believe in a vigorous contest.
RP: What would be your top priority as the 36th District Delegate?
MC: I want to be a voice that fights for the people up here in Northern Virginia. It’s an old argument, but old arguments remain so because they haven’t been solved. We need more money here. We need to keep more of our own money. When I’m knocking on doors, that’s a concern I hear. And people tell me they don’t see that they have an advocate that down there and is pushing for that.
RP: What are some of the specific concerns you hear when talking to potential constituents?
MC: Well, transportation is a big one. That’s so much of your quality of life. It’s a practical matter – can you get where you want to go? Can you get to work, to school, to shop? The Metro is going to be great and everyone is excited about the Metro. But there are worries about it too.
RP: Such as?
MC: People are really concerned about what the traffic is going to be. They are concerned about their safety. We have spot improvements in the plan for some of the roads around the Metro. And we have the widening of Sunset Hills, and we have plans for an overpass from Soapstone over the Toll Road. But the problem is, the Metro is opening in 2013 and those improvements are not slated until 2030. That’s not going to cut it.
RP: How can you make a difference?
MC: I’m a person who can push hard for Northern Virginia and still be civil. I think a lot of things don’t get done because people don’t want to work together. I’m not a party operative. I’m not going to be the Caucus Chair of a party. I’m not for higher taxes, especially in this economy, but I’m not going to be signing any pledges. My pledge is to my constituents. I’m an independent vote. I don’t tell you what the issues are. My job is to hear from you what your issues are, and then to represent you.