Virginia House District 39
The Virginia House of Delegates is one of two parts in the Virginia General Assembly, the other being the Senate of Virginia. The House is presided over by the Speaker of theHouse, who is elected from among the House membership by the Delegates. It has 100 members elected for terms of two years; unlike most states, these elections take place during odd-numbered years. The annual salary for delegates is $17,640 per year.
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Vivian Watts (Dem)
Retired Executive Director, Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocates
What changes in Virginia's method of drawing electoral district lines (redistricting) would you support? (500 characters)
How would you ensure voting access for all qualified Virginians? (400 Characters)
What options would you propose to increase highway and public transportation funding? (500 characters)
What are your legislative priorities? (400 characters)
Delegate 1996- and 1982-85; Va Secretary of Transportation & Public Safety 1986-90; research analyst with national accounting firms, U.S. Justice Dept, and Fairfax Co Chamber of Commerce; Washington Post Citizen of the Year; U of Michigan cum laude
Since 2000, I’ve supported bills for an independent bi-partisan commission because packing minority party strength into as few districts as possible has produced polarization and low voter turnout. Further, I hope the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejecting Virginia’s current Delegate districts will prevent gerrymandering through requiring less than plus or minus 1% difference in population. This tool used to pack Black voters in one part of the state doubled the number of split neighborhoods statewide.
Recently, I got bills passed to stop challenges if the “full” name on a person’s ID isn’t identical to the voting book and to allow persons to give their name and address in writing rather than be intimidated by having to say it again and again. I’ll continue to push for no-excuse absentee voting, keeping polls open until 8pm, and in-person voting in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
In 2013, legislation I’d carried for years finally passed that in its first 3 years produced $2.5 billion new NoVa regional funds. In 2015, I got state construction allocations by population and priority maintenance for sub-standard subdivision streets. This is progress but it’ll take time to reduce the backlog from 28 years of refusing to increase funds. Further changes include getting the state gas tax floor on our 2.1% regional transit tax and hammering out equitable, dedicated Metro funding.
I’m focused on addressing school needs and mental health services by treating densely populated counties the same as cities and towns regarding taxing authority and state road maintenance payments, which would increase spending on snow removal and paving by $14 million a year. Also, all state funding formulas should reflect our high CPI, like 25% higher pay for state troopers in NoVa does.
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