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WYDaily sent an identical questionnaire to each candidate running for 93rd District seat in the House of Delegates.
Del. Monty Mason, the incumbent, faces newcomer Lara Overy in the race. Mason’s answers are unedited and presented below.
The election takes place Nov. 3.
Read a completed questionnaire from Overy here.
1. What are the three major issues facing the 93rd District right now? How would you address those issues? Outline specific policy objectives.
1.) Improving Education- I am a strong advocate for ensuring that every child, regardless of means can attend pre-K. In the General Assembly I helped eliminate the A-F grading scale that was a simplistic solution to a complex problem. I will continue to push to reduce the number of SOLs.
2.) Supporting our Veterans- I have introduced and helped pass two bills that are now law that will help veterans. One would allow veterans to receive academic credit for their military training, standardizing the process across Virginia and allowing veterans to receive more out of their GI Bill. The second is a military identifier bill for the children of military families in public schools, which will help children of military families to receive the best education possible.
3.) Improving Transportation- I have been one of the biggest backers of expanding I-64. We have fully funded the first two legs of the I-64 expansion to lower 199 this year and need to solidify funding for the expansion to upper 199. Three lanes to Richmond is vital but not the complete answer. We must also continue to work on the effectiveness of our bus service, develop rapid transit bus lanes on the Peninsula, and get a third train daily to Newport News.
2. On a statewide level, what challenges do you think need to be addressed in the next legislative session? How would you address them?
We need to work for policies that help diversify our economy and expand job opportunities. We need to promote 21st Century economic opportunities accentuating our natural assets in technology, cyber-security, and our military operations.
3. In 2014, a prolonged dispute over whether to accept federal Medicaid dollars as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act brought the state to the verge of a shutdown. In the 2015 legislative session, the issue received little attention. Will you advocate to accept the federal money or do you believe the decision not to accept the funds should remain? Explain your answer.
Virginians are currently sending our tax dollars to other states rather than helping hard working Virginians. I think that we need to keep Virginia’s tax dollars here. We currently spend around $250 million dollars out of the general fund helping our teaching hospitals (UVA+VCU) recoup some costs of unexpected care. Riverside hospital estimated they spent $100 million last year treating the uninsured and received $0. With 70% of those eligible for the expansion of health care employed this is the right thing to do financially and morally.
4. Talk about your philosophy for how – or if – the state should fund public education. Be specific to these phases: pre-K, K-12 and higher education.
I believe that every child regardless of means should be able to attend pre-K. Studies have shown that kids who go to pre-K enter school better prepared to learn. We need to fully fund our public education system so that our children have the best education possible. Students attending our colleges are graduating with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. We need to help our students so they don’t start their careers deep in debt.
5. Why are you the best person to represent the constituents of the 93rd District?
As the State Delegate for the 93rd District I have been getting things done on the issues that people care about. I have worked to expand job opportunities for our veterans, helped children receive a better education, and worked to help small businesses. I have shown that I can work with both Republicans and Democrats to get the policy objective accomplished. We have gotten a lot done in the past two years, but there is still a lot more work to be done.