Guest Commentary: Plans for a Strong, Progressive Voice in Richmond

May 16, 2013 9:30 AM0 comments

If history is an indication, fewer than 50 percent of registered voters will turn out to vote in the 2013 General Election to pick a new Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and member of the House of Delegates. And that’s a shame, because there is a lot at stake in this year’s elections.

My name is Marcus Simon, and I am running to represent the people of Falls Church in the Virginia General Assembly this November. With your help, I will provide our community with a strong, progressive voice in Richmond.

I got my start in public service more than 20 years ago when I was hired by Delegate Jim Scott to serve as his legislative aide. He’s been my mentor and friend ever since. By his example, I’ve learned that you can have a meaningful positive impact on people’s everyday lives by working on their behalf on state issues. If I earn the chance to serve, I will always strive to live up to the high standards Jim has set during his illustrious 40 years in public service.

As a lifelong resident of Northern Virginia, a father of two young children, a small business owner and a civic leader, I will bring a deep understanding of the issues that matter most to our community. I’ll focus on the things that affect our quality of life every day: reducing traffic congestion, supporting quality education, protecting the environment, defending the rights of women and minorities, and supporting responsible gun policies so we keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

I will work to ensure the legislature remains focused on those issues rather than the mean-spirited, divisive, and sometimes wacky proposals (think minting our own Virginia currency) that too often dominate the headlines from Richmond. From my years working in government and in my legal practice, I have learned how to bring people together to achieve common sense solutions to the challenges we face. That’s the approach I’ll take if you elect me to the House of Delegates.

As the impact of sequestration and spending cuts are beginning to be felt in our community, it is more important than ever that we diversify our local economy and work to attract new industries to the area. Traditionally we’ve been able to recruit companies by telling them we are convenient to downtown Washington D.C. and Tysons Corner. Although the City of Falls Church is a mere three miles from Tyson’s Corner and eight miles to the White House, if it takes you 35 minutes to drive those three miles or an hour to cover the eight, are we still convenient and attractive?

We need to continue to invest in transportation. This year the General Assembly was able to pass a bipartisan transportation funding compromise, an improvement over the old status quo, proving that we can work together across party lines when the issues are important enough. I promise to look for opportunities to find wins for Northern Virginia, regardless of which party first takes the initiative.

My mother was a teacher in Fairfax County public schools when I was growing up. As your delegate, I will fight to make sure state funding of our schools is made a high priority, that our teachers are paid something closer to what they are actually worth, and that we allow them to teach our children how to think, not just how to take a test.

We need to make it clear that Virginia is a state that welcomes everyone. We want people to move not just their business here, we want them to look at Virginia and say I want to raise my family here – and that family may be Mom and a Dad or it may be two Moms, or a single Mom with children.

These are the issues that are important to me, and I believe they are important to all of you as well. But I am not taking that, or anything about this election for granted. I plan to meet as many of you as possible this summer to ask: What matters to you and your family? My plan is to knock on 10,000 doors before Election Day.

Some of you may remember that Jim Scott, who recently announced his retirement, earned the nickname “Landslide Jim” after he won his first election by a single vote. As his first full-time aide I learned early that every vote matters. I’ve built my business by out-working the competition, always being there for my clients, on the phone or in person, doing whatever it takes to get the deal done. No one will work harder for your vote on the campaign trail this year, and no one will work harder for you in Richmond than I will as your delegate.

 


Marcus Simon is a candidate for the 53rd District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

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