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Delegate Candidate Danny Smith Seeks to Take Dem-Controlled Seat

Pro-environment, pro-gay rights and gay himself, Danny Smith, the 38th district delegate Republican candidate, is running a somewhat unconventional campaign for a party which, in Virginia, has been veering further to the right in recent years. Danny-Smith

Pro-environment, pro-gay rights and gay himself, Danny Smith, the 38th district delegate Republican candidate, is running a somewhat unconventional campaign for a party which, in Virginia, has been veering further to the right in recent years.

Danny-Smith

Danny Smith (Photo: Courtesy of Smith)

Smith, who touts himself as “a fresh voice” from Northern Virginia with “no political baggage,” is vying for a seat he sought before, losing 59 to 37 percent, in 2001 against incumbent Bob Hull, a Democrat, who has represented the 38th district since 1992.

Now, with Hull’s defeat in a June primary against Fairfax County School Board member Kaye Kory, the race is wide open to new faces and a redefinition of politics.

The 38th district, which used to include the City of Falls Church until redistricting in 2001, encompasses the Mason District and areas of southern Fairfax County that together comprise a large part of greater Falls Church. The district is also home to a diverse economic and ethnic population, as well as to thousands of recent immigrants.

After announcing his campaign in May, the 25-year resident of Fairfax County has knocked on more than 5,000 doors, he says, and believes his outlook for Northern Virginia meshes well with the district’s citizens. So he told the News-Press in an interview this week.

“Northern Virginians are fiscally conservative, and moderate to liberal on social issues,” Smith said.

“There’s a lot of people who are disaffected by Hull’s loss,” he argued, “who will take a second look at the race and ask, ‘Which candidate has the most effective ideas?'”

Smith’s platform carries stances that toe the Republican party line, with the economy and transportation taking precedence.

“First of all, we need to keep Virginia one of the best states to do business in, and get people back to work,” Smith said.

Smith has campaigned for measures to reduce taxes on small businesses and to offer incentives to attract more business to the state. Both he and his Democratic opponent Kory support the elimination of the state food tax.

On transportation and education, Smith said “transportation woes have gone unaddressed,” and that he supports “expanding access to affordable education” to ensure students “are getting the right skills for this century.”

It’s the issue of sexual orientation, however, where Smith radically departs from the Republican base.

In 2001, Smith ran without a nod from the state GOP. But this year, the party has officially backed his candidacy.

Smith said he supports moves to bring civil rights equality to Virginia’s LGBT population, in particular the repeal of the Marshall-Newman amendment, which Virginians passed by a 57-percent majority in a 2006 referendum. The amendment prohibited gay marriage in the state constitution.

“As a gay man myself, I think you should be able to marry the person you love no matter what,” he said. “Everybody should be treated the same.”

Smith has also said that he supports laws addressing LGBT discrimination in the workplace.

Even so, no mention of Smith’s stances on gay rights issues appears on his campaign’s web site, and Smith supports Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, who has written and said harshly derogatory things about gays as a state lawmaker and attorney general.

“Right now, I am focused on my own race and how my ideas contrast with my opponent’s” Smith said. “The election should focus on who has the best qualifications and the best strategic view for going forward in Virginia.”

On the environment, Smith said “politicians’ words have not been matched by actions” in saving the Chesapeake Bay and finding alternatives to coal power and other fossil fuels.

“We must make sure we take the lead in matching words with actions,” Smith said. “Can we parlay our words into cooperative efforts between public and private initiatives in Virginia?”

Coming from a county which has experienced drastic budget shortfalls, Smith pledged to “find ways to give the county and municipalities more jurisdiction and flexibility at their levels.”

“It’s time to dial down the political rhetoric,” said Smith, “and bring a fresh voice to Richmond.”

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