1. Jobs. 14 of the top 20 employers in the Commonwealth of Virginia are federal or state government agencies. In the environment of shrinking government budgets and consolidation of contracting and spending, where will new jobs come from? I will work on strengthening the foundations of our small businesses, giving them incentives to invest, remain here, create jobs here, and ensure that their success, and the success of our region, grows independently of government spending.
2. Transportation - Northern Virginia is a net donor to the Commonwealth: that means we get back less than we pay into the state treasury. We need to do a better job of ensuring that our hard-earned tax dollars are being utilized to improve our physical infrastructure - easing congestion, improving the condition of our roads, and making travel safer and more enjoyable.
3. Schools - another area where Northern Virginia, especially Fairfax County, puts in far more dollars to the state coffers than we ever see returned to our children's education. It is time to re-evaluate the formulas used for the state education disbursement. And, as a parent of a child in the Fairfax County Schools, I will work to ensure that every dollar invested into the school system goes towards educating our children - not teaching to meaningless tests.
4. Civil Liberties. I strongly believe in individual rights and civil liberties of all Americans. That includes the right to the freedom of speech and religion without fear of retribution, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures (which include asset forfeiture, unreasonable extension of eminent domain, and digital surveillance).
5. Animal Rescue. Shelter killing of healthy, treatable dogs and cats in government-run shelters is preventable and avoidable, and we need to hold our government accountable for utilizing their allotted dollars towards helping the animals in their care - providing sufficient food, necessary treatment, and finding them forever homes. (more on that here).