Washington Post Endorses Representative Amundson
District 44: Incumbent Kristen J. Amundson (D) is the easy choice here, having chalked up a record of community service that Greg B. Scoma (R) cannot match.
Mount Vernon Gazette Endorses Amundson
Amundson for 44th
Mount Vernon has had the benefit of Kris Amundson's representation for more than 10 years, first as the Mount Vernon representative to the Fairfax County School Board, and then in the Virginia House of Delegates. Republicans thought that they had redistricted her out of her seat, but that effort failed.
"Partisan control of redistricting is the wrong thing for democracy," Amundson said, in efforts to get the General Assembly to study nonpartisan redistricting.
Representatives in the General Assembly with local government experience is a plus for Northern Virginia. Amundson supports efforts to bring a greater share of state transportation and education dollars back to Northern Virginia, and broadening revenue base for counties.
Her grasp of the local impacts will help as BRAC moves 21,000 jobs from Arlington and Alexandria to Fort Belvoir. She identifies transportation woes as the primary concern of her constituents, and BRAC measures will only add to the problem.
Amundson's experience on the School Board and continuing expertise on education issues are key in the House of Delegates, where education funding is a constant battle, and very minor changes in the law can mean a shift of millions of dollars.
Greg Scoma (R), Amundson's opponent, is an earnest first-time candidate. A former Marine, the Mount Vernon resident has dedicated countless hours to dozens of community service efforts ranging the from serving on the public safety committee of the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Associations, to delivering meals to people with HIV/AIDS through Food and Friends.
"I feel that it is an accomplishment to have spent over three decades helping others without losing the motivation to serve, Scoma said, describing elected office as the next logical step in his public service efforts. The community is lucky to have people like Scoma, and we look forward to his continued involvement.
Candidates Forum Held
October 20, 2005
By Steve Hunt
Candidates for the House of Delegates (or their surrogates) in the 42nd, 43rd, 44th, and 45th Districts addressed a sparse audience at the Mount Vernon - Lee Chamber of Commerce's "Candidates Community Forum" Monday night at the South County Center.
Participants were David Oblon speaking for state Del. Dave Albo (R-42nd), state Del. Mark Sickles (D-43rd) and his Republican opponent Ron Grignol, state Del. Kris Amundson (D-44th), Republican opponent Greg Scoma and Independent Green opponent Gail Parker, and in the 45th District race candidate David Englin (D) and Craig Romm speaking on behalf of Chris Gregerson (R ).
Chamber president Barbara Sullivan was the moderator. The format for the evening was for each candidate or surrogate to give a three-minute opening statement, followed by questions submitted by the audience and ready by Sullivan and a one-minute closing statement.
Oblon told the chamber members that as a lawyer who founded his own firm, Albo knows what its like to start and operate a business, adding that Albo has received top scores from numerous pro-business organizations.
Albo's primary issues are transportation, education, and public safety, and Oblon noted that Albo has helped bring money back to the area for transportation improvements including funds for I-95, Metro and VRE, and worked to bring about the new South County Secondary School through an innovative public private partnership.
As a senior member on the House Courts of Justice committee, Albo has been integral in making communities safer throughout the region and all over Virginia, Oblon said.
Oblon described Albo as "a good man as a partner" and recommended him as a delegate.
Albo is being challenged by Democrat Greg Werkheiser.
In the 43rd District race, Grignol said he is enjoying running for office and while "Mark is a nice guy," it's easy to tell the difference between him and Sickles.
Grignol said it wasn't necessary to raise taxes last year which resulted in a huge surplus.
"I don't believe that there's nothing left to cut in the Virginia budget," said Grignol.
Grignol said Virginians should not be forced to move from their homes to other states because they cannot afford the rising real estate taxes.
Sickles noted he joined the chamber 12 yeas ago and two years ago when he was a candidate he told them he wouldn't forget them once he was elected delegate as has made their legislative agenda his priority.
Sickles said the future is bright now that Gov. Mark Warner (D), the Democrats and moderate Republicans have worked together to address the fiscal shortfall left by the previous Republican governor.
In the 44th, Amundson told of starting off as a kindergarten volunteer, then being on the county school board and now service as a state delegate.
Amundson touted her pro-business legislation, noting that she has been able to work to bring both sides of the aisle together for the best interests of the business community.
She cited the bipartisan tax reform as the way which brought $129 million in new education funding for Fairfax County which allowed the board of supervisors to reduce the property tax by 4 cents.
Parker thanked Amundson and Scoma for running for office and commended the members of the audience for attending the forum.
Parker stressed that she is an advocate for rail as its safer, cleaner, is an alternative to rising gas prices, and could be used as a means for evacuating in case of an emergency.
Parker describer herself as fiscally conservative and socially responsible.
Scoma said in addition to having a high quality education system, schools need to be safe for children.
Regarding affordable housing, Scoma said he doesn't see that happening in the area.
Scoma, a Marine Corps veteran described himself as a "doer," adding that it's time for change in the 44th District.
In the 45th, Englin said he is running to continue the progressive leadership by Del. Marian Van Landingham who has held the seat for 24 years.
Englin said that he has lived in many places while he was in the military, but he chose to make northern Virginia his home because of its strong community values.
Englin, who defeated five other candidates in a Democratic primary in June, said he supports Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine's plan for early education for children in Kaine's race for governor.
Englin said he is not afraid to stand up for what's right and has a detailed agenda for what he would do as delegate.
Romm, Gregerson's director of communications, said Gregerson has had a life of service to his country as a veteran and to his community as a civic leader and school volunteer.
Gregerson understands the need for more affordable housing in the area, and supports former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore's plan to cap real estate assessment increases by 5 percent in Kilgore's race for governor, said Romm.
Romm said Gregerson would work as a delegate to ensure all children have the skills they need to succeed in the future, rather just advance grade through grade.
Following the opening remarks, the candidates and surrogates answered questions on a wide variety of topics including the transportation trust fund, gangs, and affordable housing.