Incumbent Legislators, Challengers Debate at Robinson Secondary School

Braddock District Supervisor forum also held Wednesday

Schools and colleges, transportation woes and complaints of unfair treatment out of Richmond took center stage Wednesday evening at a forum for state lawmakers and their political challengers at the Robinson Legislative Forum.

Candidates for the Braddock District Supervisor race and Sheriff Stan Barry also appeared at the debate, held before a crowd of several hundred people – including many students fulfilling a school civics requirement – at .

Delegate Debate

On education, 37th House District Del. David Bulova, a Democrat representing portions of Fairfax Station, Fairfax City and Centreville, praised the merits of accountability but accused mandates such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) as destroying the “joy of learning” and “teaching to the test” to the detriment of subjects such as music and arts.

, candidate for 41st District delegate challenging Democrat incumbent Eileen Filler-Corn, said he supported school vouchers that give parents a greater say in their child’s education.

“I don’t feel that the Richmond government … should be putting one-size-fits-all mandates on a localized issue such as our public schools,” Kane said. “So, with a voucher system, everybody would be able to send their children where they like, and then the parents can make the decision, not the government.”

, a Republican, said he supported more spots for in-state students at Virginia’s public universities, possibly opting out of NCLB.

, Republican candidate for the 37th District, spoke out against so-called “zero-tolerance” policies at local schools. “I think any policy that we have anywhere that means zero-tolerance really means zero common sense,” he said.

On gun control, Bulova argued what he called a gun show loophole should be closed. “We need to make sure that we keep those guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t legally have them,” he said.

said she supports the Second Amendment but added: “The right to bear arms does not mean that it’s the right to carry a weapon anywhere, whatsoever, at any time. And I believe in that. I believe we need to have reasonable restrictions on access to weapons on people who shouldn’t have them.”

Kane told the crowd he did not believe in any type of gun control measures and viewed them as an infringement of individual rights. “Criminals will still continue to get guns, regardless,” he said. Kane also said that the Virginia Tech shootings could have been averted if students had been allowed to carry guns on campus.

Hugo said he supported mental health checks for gun purposes. 

When asked about the environment, Kane stressed that the way to preserve the environment was to strengthen private property rights, while house of delegates seat, encouraged individual conservation activities, such as using mass transit and walking or riding buses, and utilizing solar energy. Hugo plugged mass transit but said he saw a greater opportunity in a new generation of telecommuters that would reduce commuter traffic.

Kane also said he supports the full legalization of marijuana, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Senate Debate

of the 34th District advocated restoring funding to higher education, albeit in a way that would maximize dollars. , noted that state colleges and universities have not increased capacity alongside rising enrollment numbers. , noted that a new college in the Danville-Martinsville area was being built that would increase capacity and also create jobs.

, running against Barker, said he supported laws to require state colleges admit more in-state students and to tie tuition increases to the inflation rate. A surrogate for , a Republican running in the 34th District, said Northern Virginia students were discriminated against in admission to state colleges and called for geographically-blind admission. Both she and Baker called for greater scrutiny over college and university finances.

On an environment question, Miller Baker said he remained undecided about proposed uranium mining in Southwest Virginia, saying a balance must be struck between the environment and economic development. Mardsen decried spreading fertilizer on sidewalks and streets, leading to nitrogen run-off into waterways, while George Barker highlighted the potential to generate wind energy off of Virginia Beach.

Petersen said, at times, government needs to step in to enforce environmental regulations to ensure public safety. “One, you’ve got to treat everyone equally,” he said. “And two, you can’t be afraid to step up to people when they do something wrong.”

The debate also touched on candidates’ opinions on the state law mandating that school cannot start until after Labor Day. Petersen spoke against the law, and Culipher’s surrogate maintained that local school boards should determine when the school year starts.

Responding to a question about whether Northern Virginia receives less tax dollars from the state than it provides, Barker complained that the state has not kept up with the region’s road maintenance and population growth. Peterson advocated changing the structure of the Commonwealth Transportation Board to better reflect Northern Virginia interests, while Mardsen suggested moving more state functions to a local level. Culipher’s surrogate chimed in, advocating more local control over local dollars.

Braddock District Candidates, Sheriff Speak

Candidates for Braddock District supervisor also weighed in on various subjects, including transportation. spoke in favor of modifying school start times to reduce school bus traffic during the morning rush hour, with secondary schools starting at 9 a.m.

“Biologically, you guys need to be in bed (before) that hour,” she told high school students.

Incumbent , a Republican, retorted that only the school board, not the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, has the legal authority to change school hours and suggested alternate improvements to reduce traffic congestion on Braddock Road.
promoted Capital Bikeshare, trains and light rail to ease congestion. “We cannot pave our way out of this mess,” he said. And later: “Rams for rail!” he cheered, a nod to the school’s mascot.

, whose rival was not at the debate, stressed reducing recidivism and promoting rehabilitation among inmates as crucial tools in combating crime in Fairfax County.

“Ninety-five percent of the people (in jail) are coming back into the community within one year,” Barry said. “So our job is to put them on the straight path and keep them from committing crime again.”

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote to Tim Hugo. Hugo said that he he supported mental health checks for gun purposes. Kane said that the Virginia Tech shootings could have been averted if students had been allowed to carry guns on campus.

Linda Bartlett October 20, 2011 at 06:23 PM
"Democrat Janet Oleszek spoke in favor of modifying school start times ...Incumbent Supervisor John Cook, a Republican, retorted that only the school board, not the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, has the legal authority to change school hours." This is not a surprising exchange, especially for any one who attended the forum of the three Braddock Supervisor candidates at Bonnie Brae last week. Each candidate had 30 minutes to discuss their policies, qualification, experience and to take questions from the audience. Cook went first, spent a few minutes on himself then took numerous question, each time giving a detailed and knowledgeable answer. Next, Campbell did the same, except he called on those who had questioned Cook and either agreed or disagreed. Then Oleszek. She called a young special education teacher, Braddock democrat school board candidate Megan McLaughlin, and Chap Petersen out of the audience to do her talking for her. The topic was education, complete with Petersen explaining the state run pension system for teachers. None of the discussion had anything to do with supervisor duties except the implicit agreement between Oleszek and McLaughlin that taxes should go up. It makes you wonder what office Janet thinks she's running for and is she as confused as the audience was that night. We do know the democrats, including Sharon Bulova, are tied together through a Tribbett-Petersen PAC about which there are some legal and political questions.
BurkePatriot October 21, 2011 at 12:39 PM
BurkePatriot October 21, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Eileen Filler-Corn does not believe that law bidding citizens should not be allowed to carry fire arms wherever they wish in the name of protecting us. Vurginia Tech
BurkePatriot October 21, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Eileen Filler-Corn does not believe that law bidding citizens should be allowed to carry fire arms wherever the wish in the name of protecting us. The Virginia Tech massacre was an example of the life saving policy that Eileen Filler-Corn is a proponent of. A criminal murdered dozens of young adults and since law bidding citizens did not carry a gun that day they died. I spoke to a mother at this Robinson event who's son was a student that day and was murdered. He was war veteran in Iraq and could legally carry a weapon but he didn't because he followed the policy of disarmament on campus. When the shooting began he could only use a desk to defend himself by wedging it against the door of the classroom he was in but the shooter shot him through the desk and killed him. If only one or two young adults had a gun they could have saved many lives. One life that could have been saved would have been priceless to a family who lost a son ot daughter that day. It is clear to see that criminals are protected by policy makers who disarm innocent citizens. A partner in crime are those who wish to disarm good people. One of those partners is clear to see. She represents the citizens of the 41st Delegate District. This defender or offender of our individual rights is Eileen Filler-Corn. In liberty, Burke Patriot
Mike Kane October 21, 2011 at 06:34 PM
First off, I'd like to thank the Robinson PTSA for hosting the debate. They did a great job organizing it. I was honored to speak. Second, I'd like to thank patch.com for their continual commitment to journalism excellence. Regarding our schools, I urge people to watch this video here. http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/1230083725001 . It discusses the advantages of school vouchers. The end result is better quality and lower costs. Education is one of the only industries in the country where there is virtually no competition. Imagine if the NFL or MLB played by the same rules. Players would be rewarded not by how good they played, but how long they had been on the team. As for gun control, I'm flat out appalled that Ms. Filler-Corn, and the incumbent delegates, would support any form of gun controls. The first words of her oath when she took office last year were "I do solemnly swear to support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia". The exact text of the 2nd amendment of the United States reads "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." So she is going against her oath. Vote Mike Kane on November 8th. Thank you


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