Election 2017 Candidates for 64th District Delegate seat
Oct 13, 2017, 08:12
Emily Brewer Why are you running for office? Iíve lived in the region my entire life. Having grown up here, Iíve watched countless friends move away because we arenít connecting the next generation with jobs and opportunities. This is a wonderful place to raise a family, but we have to ensure that my generation has the same opportunity to do that for their children. In Richmond, I will work to create the best environment for business by cutting unnecessary regulations that are harming our local businesses and allow them to compete in todayís economy. Fostering an economic climate that creates opportunity for new small businesses to open is key. As a business owner, I understand firsthand what the barriers are, and will work to remove them. What experience do you have that qualifies you for this office? I am not a politician, I am a small business owner who has been civically engaged in the region my entire life. We need to elect leaders who have an ear to the ground and are willing to listen to the needs of all those they represent. As a business owner, I understand that Virginiaís tax code needs to be reformed. As a board member for the Paul D. Camp Community College Foundation, I have seen the challenges our schools face and will fight to provide our children with the best education possible. In Richmond, I will work tirelessly to get government out of the way, grow small businesses, and create high-paying jobs in the region. What do you feel is the most pressing issue affecting the state today, and how would you address it? I know the essential role that a good education plays in securing a bright future for our kids. It is imperative to make sure that we have a direct school to workforce pipeline. In Richmond, I will fight to bring the best educational opportunities to our K-12 schools. Not everyone is meant to go to college and thatís okay, but we need to increase vocational and trade programs for students to have another path to a high-paying career. How would you prioritize the spending vs. revenues and where do you feel the tax rate should be to meet the needs of the state? Unnecessary government spending is one of the major factors that limits our ability to properly fund schools, protect our neighborhoods, or pave new roads. Without strong schools, safe communities, and a reliable transportation system, thereís no way for us to attract new businesses and create jobs. Virginiaís economy has been growing at an astonishingly slow rate over the last few years. Making sure we get our economy back on track starts with trimming away the fat and working to modernize government. Cutting spending is great progress, but Virginiaís outdated tax code still taxes Virginia companies based on where the business is located, instead of where the service is performed, like Maryland and North Carolina. If there is a Virginia cyber security company providing security services for a computer in North Carolina, then that Virginia company is taxed in both Virginia and North Carolina. Alternatively, if the roles were reversed and the company was in North Carolina protecting a Virginia computer, that company would not be taxed at all. In Richmond, I will work to reform the tax code so Virginia companies can begin to compete on the same level as companies in Maryland or North Carolina What would be your plan to fund aging schools, and please explain why districts across Virginia are short on funds while the lottery revenues rise? Our children are the future of this country and making sure we provide them with the best education possible is vital to the health of our economy and the Commonwealth. Keeping administrative costs down, expanding private sector involvement in workforce training programs, and working to ensure sources of revenue intended for schools get to schools are all steps I will take towards properly funding our schools. In 2016, the General Assembly re-established the lottery proceeds distribution sending additional money back to schools with no strings attached. By FY 2018, 29% of all proceeds will be returned to local schools. I am fully supportive of re-evaluating the portion of proceeds that are given back to schools and increasing it further if possible. What are ways you feel you could bring in new businesses and jobs? Nearly 85% of all new job growth comes from entrepreneurs, startups, or new businesses. I will fight to make it easier for these companies to get access to capital, hire employees, and sell their products. Virginia has a great workforce, but we have to do more to ensure our workers have the right skills and education in order to attract the worldís best companies to the Commonwealth. In Richmond, I will work towards meaningful and effective, regulatory and tax reforms that will reduce the cost of doing business and inspire job growth. What are your three top goals if elected? Too many families in Virginia have experienced failed adoptions because of the complex process. Having been adopted, I will sponsor important legislation to streamline and modernize the adoption process, and make adopting children from Virginia easier for loving, caring families. As a small business owner, I will fight to keep taxes low, cut unnecessary government regulations, and create high-paying jobs in the region. Most importantly, I will be an ACTIVE representative that will be accessible to all. My plan is to open a district office as well as holding office hours in each of the seven localities. That service has never been offered, but the citizens of this area deserve to have their elected representative in their community. Please provide any biographical information you feel is important. Emily Brewer is a small business owner from Holland, Virginia. She is seeking the Republican nomination in the 64th House of Delegates District. Emily serves on the Paul D. Camp Community College Foundation Board and the board of Suffolk Business Women. The 64th District covers Counties of Isle of Wight (part), Prince George (part), Southampton (part), Surry (part), and Sussex (part); Cities of Franklin (part) and Suffolk (part).
Rebecca S. Colaw 1. Why are you running for office? I am an American. I love this country and commonwealth. I believe in the Constitution and the freedom this country offers to the world. I think our founders got it right. People need to be involved in government and politics, because if we arenít, government controls us and loses sight of the fact that it works for us. Freedom is then lost. I was born to a nurse and an engineer. I learned to nurture people and build from ideas. I have never run for office and am not a politician by standard terms. Like many of district residents, I still work for a living, every day. I run a small law practice in Suffolk, Virginia. I want to serve the district in which I live. I am a lawyer, retired military officer and disabled veteran of the Persian Gulf War. I have defended the Constitution of this great land since I was 24 years old. Our freedoms are eroding and many have not even noticed. That is why Iím running for office because it takes the ordinary American to make a difference. 2. What experience do you have that qualifies you for this office? Iíve spent my whole life fighting for what is right. Iíve fought all over the world for this country as an Air Force officer. Iíve served in the Persian Gulf War, walked the jungles of Colombia and was shot at by Serbians in Sarajevo. And when I was in the military, I went to school at night and earned my degree to become a lawyer. Iíve spent the past 15 years using that degree to fight for the families of Virginia. When a child is abused, I am often the only advocate that kid has ó and I donít let anything stand in the way of their safety and well-being. Iíve fought to protect kids who were raped, kidnapped, and abused in other ways that are unimaginable. What Iíve brought to these experiences is a value of service to my fellow citizens. Iíve fought alongside folks of all parties and beliefs. The one thing we have in common is our love of this country and commonwealth. Thatís why I will fight for the people of the district no matter what party they belong to. And I will take my fight to both political parties ó because they are more concerned about fighting each other than fighting for the people of the 64th District. 3. What do you feel is the most pressing issue affecting the state today, and how would you address it? Healthcare: People are our most important assets in Virginia. Republican Delegates and Senators should start working with Democrats to keep what works and fix what doesnít work in the current law. Expanding Medicaid is not about handing out free health care for people who wonít work. Instead, expanding Medicaid would provide health care for 400,000 Virginians who make too much money for Medicaid at current levels, but still canít afford health insurance. You or your neighbor may be among the hundreds of thousands of Virginians who work hard every day but may be ruined by a single injury or illness. Thirty-one states have expanded Medicaid, including deep red states. Those states understand that it doesnít make sense to throw away money that has already been earmarked for the expansion. Many health care costs now being paid for by the General Fund would be covered by federal funds under Medicaid expansion (e.g., FAMIS program for certain populations, inmate inpatient hospital services, etc), resulting in significant cost savings for Virginia. Insurance premiums for privately insured consumers have already been elevated because health care providers have had to cover their costs for caring for the uninsured. If more residents were covered under Medicaid expansion, the reduction in uncompensated care would reduce premiums. We must look at the whole picture. Health insurance: improves financial health, controls costs, reduces the death rate, creates jobs and provides for a healthier, more productive workforce that will enable us to grow our state economy. 4. How would you prioritize the spending vs. revenues and where do you feel the tax rate should be to meet the needs of the state? I run a small business. You donít spend what you donít have. On average for 2018 Healthcare (37%) and Education (21%) are the two largest expenses we will have in Virginia. Other spending (4%), Pensions (13%), Protection (4%), Transportation (11%), Welfare (5%) General Government (3%), and Interest (2%). Virginiaís budget for 2018 has been reduced from $ 52,186,885,006 in 2017 to $ 51,935,526,343. I believe that healthcare and education are two of the most important issues in the district and should have priority in spending. We could get a tremendous boost to the costs of Healthcare with the Medicaid expansion. Then the tax dollars used to pay the stateís current healthcare costs could be used to bolster other programs. The state sales tax rate in Virginia is 4.300%. With local taxes, the total sales tax rate is between 5.300% and 6.000%. Virginiaís income tax bracket for single and married for $17,000 is 5.75%. I believe that we could look at raising the sales tax and lowering the income tax. With may items in the state purchased by tourists and out of state visitors, we could raise money on their expenditures and purchasing power. We could also look at adding a one cent increase in property tax state wide. For example, in the 64th the money raised would look like this. A one cent tax increase in property tax would raise in Sussex: $85,300.00 in Surry: $89,100.00 in Suffolk: $902,600.00 in Prince George: $260,000.00 in Isle of Wight County: $423,600.00 in Southampton: $136,100.00 5. What would be your plan to fund aging schools, and please explain why districts across Virginia are short on funds while the lottery revenues rise? As stated above we could use a one cent tax increase in property tax to help bolster up our education systems and schools. Additionally, money freed up from the Medicaid expansion could be targeted at schools as well and an overhaul of how the lottery funds are used needs to be accomplished. ē in Sussex 2015-2016: $17.5 million was spent on education with 47.4% being paid by Sussex, 42.8% being paid by the state, and 9.7% being paid by the federal government. ē in Surry for 2015-2016: $15.5 million was spent on education with 79% being paid by Surry, 14.3% being paid by the state, and 6.7% being paid by the federal government. ē in Suffolk for 2015-2016: $149.9 million was spent on education with 39.6% being paid by Suffolk, 51.2% being paid by the state, and 8.4% being paid by the federal government. ē in Prince George for 2015-2016: $64.4 million was spent on education with 79% being paid by Prince George, 14.3% being paid by the state, and 13.4% being paid by the federal government. ē in Isle of Wight County for 2015-2016: $56.3 million was spent on education with 45.4% being paid by Prince George, 48.8% being paid by the state, and 5.9% being paid by the federal government. ē in Southampton County for 2015-2016: $34.1 million was spent on education with 47.1% being paid by Southampton, 51.4% being paid by the state, and 6.9% being paid by the federal government. 6. What are ways you feel you could bring in new businesses and jobs? Small businesses are the engines of our Commonwealth, but we are over burdening these businesses with taxes and fees that make it extremely difficult for them to survive and operate. I propose that for businesses with 20 or fewer employees, we review and reduce employer share of taxes, eliminate yearly property tax on purchased equipment and set a fixed price for business license fees not based on gross revenue. Virginia employs nearly 55,000 farmers who generate approximately $3.3 billion in total output. However, our average farmer is over 50 years old. We need to recruit new farmers. And we need to review and adjust the personal yearly property tax that they pay on their farm equipment. Crash crops like hemp (used for clothing and other products) would allow farmers to broaden their marketability. We could also look at adjusting the tax structure to allow current farmers to survive and to encourage others to consider farming as a career. 7. What are your three top goals if elected? To work issues: Expand Medicaid, increase education funding, increase broadband internet and cellular services for rural areas, serve veterans, and support small business. To break the partisan gridlock and work for all the people of the district thereby returning the government to the people. To fight for the people of the 64th and make them matter at the state level to help improve lives on the local level. 8. Please provide any biographical information you feel is important. Iím proud to be a Democrat, a defender of the U.S. Constitution, a believer in freedom and service before self and that Duty, Honor, Country are not just words. I have multi-generational family ties to the Commonwealth of Virginia. From the time of the Revolutionary War, a member of my family has served and fought in every American war. Educationally, I hold a Bachelorís of Science degree in Communications and Broadcast Management as well as a Masterís degree in Criminal Justice. In 2001, while a military member and attending night school, I earned my Juris Doctor Degree, and began practicing law. I have worked since I was 14 years old. In 1984, I enlisted in the United States Air Force and served as a commissioned officer. While serving in 1990, I was deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm to King Fahd International Airport, located in Saudi Arabia and I am a Persian Gulf War Veteran as well as a Veteran on many conflicts and operations. During my tenure, I developed the inter-agency model for the media response to a domestic terrorist attacks utilizing weapons of mass destruction and organized coordinated efforts of response with the FBI, FEMA, state and local authorities. I have worked extensively with local, state and federal government officials, as well as community leaders on terrorism related issues. In addition, Iíve had the privilege of speaking as a team builder and educator, both locally as well as nationally. I proudly retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service. I locally operate a law practice in Suffolk, Virginia. Throughout my experiences, I have been able help many people in need, however I feel that I have much more to offer to all citizens. With that said, I now begin this journey within my own district. I am extremely passionate about the rights of everyone regardless of nationality, color, religion, race, creed or sexual orientation. I am a strong supporter of our nations great charter--The Constitution--and I truly believe in our founding principles that ďlife, liberty and the pursuit of happinessĒ is for ALL Americans. I stand ready to fight for and represent the people of the 64th.