Local Commentary

News from the Front Row: Kaye Kory’s Richmond Report

These are demanding and often confusing times for all of us. Fulfilling our daily obligations to live a responsible life can be difficult in and of itself. Bearing up under the constant barrage of news makes this even tougher. And the pressure that in Virginia, we are facing a very consequential election in a little less than a month with many campaigns asking for attention and help — our money, our time — and all described as “Urgent!” Are we really expected to put aside our regularly scheduled lives for this?

The answer is YES. The outcome of the election on Nov. 5 is quite likely to change those regular schedules and daily lives.

Let’s take the obvious effects first:

How much do you value the condition of the roads you drive on? How frustrated are you with the increasingly obstructive congestion you have to navigate every day? How is this tied to the upcoming election? Well, our transportation funding comes from two sources: local and state.

Candidates are running for offices at every state and local level and many of those offices determine the amount of money invested in our roads.

Do you drive your children to school? Wait for them at the school bus stops? The amount of time spent by you and/or the bus driver transporting children is a direct result of road conditions and congestion. Add in the air pollution that is emitted by car and bus driving and the extra pollution coming from idling in traffic. Did you know that Fairfax County is one of a very few counties in Virginia that received an F in ozone pollution as rated by the American Lung Association? This rating is based on the number of days that ozone reaches an unhealthy level. Again, we are back to combustion engines and our roadways. Back to the decisions made by our state and locally elected officials; all of whom — State Senators, State Delegates, County Boards of Supervisors, Commonwealth Attorneys, School Board Members, and Soil and Water Conservation District Members — will be elected in less than a month. Decisions about transportation are not made in isolation, one elected at a time. They are made by bodies of elected officials working together or refusing to do so. It is important to view this election with a wide lens, as well as with both long-term and short-term results in mind.

One more daily life effect: children in school. Are your children’s classes overcrowded? Is your children’s teacher overworked and under-paid? Are your children learning what they need to know to achieve the future you envision for them? Education funding is determined by local and state officials. Teachers’ salaries and the curriculum content taught in our overcrowded classrooms are determined by local and state officials. Are you planning to send your children to a community college or a state university? Do you have a 529 account to assist with the tuition? Universities and community colleges are partially funded by state officials, tuition for state universities is determined by state officials and 529 accounts are held and managed by state officials.

Universities and community colleges are partially funded by state officials, tuition for state universities is determined by state officials and 529 accounts are held and managed by state officials.

I hope I have demonstrated the “Urgent!” nature of our elections on November 5th; the urgency of participating in campaigns and the urgency of voting. Some folks say “If you don’t contribute or vote, don’t complain”. I say do both and then complain. Finally, I remind you that when and where you vote, as well as your eligibility to vote is decided by the state and local representatives you elect. “Urgent!”


Delegate Kory represents the 38th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. She may be emailed at DelKKory@house.virginia.gov.