Virginia Senator Dick Black (R) is retiring, and one Democrat and one Republican hope to take his place to represent the 13th District, comprising most of Loudoun County and some of Prince William. The partisan makeup of these two counties has been shifting rapidly in recent years, making this a significant race in control of the General Assembly.
The Democrat is John Bell, the representative from the 87th Assembly district. Ron Meyer, the Republican, currently represents Loudoun's Broad Run district on the Board of Supervisors.
The Greater Greater Washington Elections Committee posed some questions to the candidates, along with other races in 10 Northern Virginia primary elections for General Assembly, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and Commonwealth's Attorney. You can read the responses below. For lack of any better way to order them, we post the responses in the order they are submitted.
We also have responses from Jasmine Moawad Barrientos, who had filed for the Democratic primary but did not qualify for the ballot. We are including her responses here even anyway.
The Elections Committee will be deciding whether to make endorsements in the primaries, which we'll do if there is a clear best candidate in our opinion. To figure that out, we'll look at the questionnaire responses, but also, we'd like to hear from you. Do you have context we should understand about some of these answers? Other information? You can give us your feedback using this form.
The primary is June 11. You can see all of the races, and the responses we've posted so far, at our 2019 primary election page.
How do you see the transportation network changing to deal with growth in the region and increased numbers of trips? Specifically, what role do you see for transit, bicycling, and walking in the transportation network?
Jasmine Moawad Barrientos: I support the idea of Elon's Musk tunnel. I disagree with Greenway toll road it should be eliminated and metro and parallel roads are the key to set aside a private company who does not support the growth of our hospitals nor schools and reaps 10 dollars every day, for Loudoun county residents to go to work. It is unfair, it is abusive and we cant tolerate it. This year incumbent Bell my opponent make posible the increase of the fair pass toll road instead of decreasing it, by 50 cents each way.
Ron Meyer: We need to fix the missing links in our transportation network and invest in encouraging transit/bike use. As Loudoun County Supervisor, I've fought to lower Commuter Bus fares, started a dedicated Capital Program for sidewalks and trails, added a major Stream Valley Park trail to our Budget plan which will connect to our Metro stations, and advocated for a new multi-modal connection from Dulles to Montgomery County. Unlike some, I still believe in building roads to complete missing links in our network, making transportation more efficient across all modes. And unlike some in my party, I believe in lowering the costs of transit to encourage use. I believe in the carrot approach (incentives), rather than the stick approach (tolls) to encouraging multi-modal transportation. We need to be expanding all forms of effective transportation, and my record in Loudoun is a testament to that principle.
John Bell: I support increased investment in multi-modal transportation solutions to meet our complex and urgent needs. For the 13th District, the opening of Metro’s Silver line will significantly change commuting options and transportation networks in Loudoun County and specifically to the Dulles Airport. The Silver Line offers the most robust solution for commuters in the 13th, but continued investment in connecting roadways, bike paths and walkways will be essential to the overall success since many commuters struggle to exit developments to reach major thoroughfares. Another important long term objective must be to grow more businesses in the 13th District so that Loudoun and Prince William counties can become “live, work, and play” communities that reduces commuting distances and also diversifies the tax base.
Do you support adding transportation revenue to replace the loss to Northern Virginia from the 2017 Metro funding increase deal? If so, what new sources of revenue would you support and what types of projects would you like to see prioritized for the funding?
Jasmine Moawad Barrientos: Yes I do. An amazing source of revenue for transportation is passing Virginia drivers licenses for undocumented workers, and is an initiative that brings revenue in car sales, property taxes for Virginia insurance and safety. Its already in place by Marylanders which are actually getting our money. However I have been trying to pass it trough grassroots movement for four years now, to no avail. The legislation never goes beyond the transportation committee at the asembly were stays indefinitely on the shelf. I'm an activist for many years of this and another legislative ideas like the marijuana industry for medical purposes that can definetely bring revenue to Virginia.
Ron Meyer: Absolutely. Taking money away from NVTA was the wrong approach. I supported the other deal on the table which increased revenues, but I would have liked to see us lower the TOT expenditures (which isn't difficult, in my opinion) to make up for this. I support a gas tax floor.
I would support the money returning to NVTA and using their normal formula for awards. My district received $112 million in programed funding from them in their last round, and I think it's the right approach to ranking projects.
John Bell: I voted for the Governors Amendments to SB-1716 (the I-81 bill in the recent reconvene session which restored approximately $20M to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to replace a portion of lost funding. I would also support a number of other actions to replace the remaining deficit a) use of surplus General Funds (which are currently projected) b) redirecting tolls from inside the beltway (which have exceeded projections) c) excess funds from internet sales tax due to the recent Wayfair Supreme Court decision.
Given the growth in jobs and population in the region, what legislation would you champion to support the provision of more affordable housing in your district? How would you address housing supply across the cost spectrum?
Jasmine Moawad Barrientos: We need to take advantage of Amazon headquarters coming to Loudoun county and or Arlington, also, we need to tackle the problem with G287 this is not a law but is a sinister shadow, of frisking immigrants in Prince William county based on their looks, (racial profiling) from the police, many businesses are not going to have the growth they are projecting just because of uncertain future of people moving away from Prince William county regardless of their legal status just the fact of feeling harrassed.
Therefore we have two different situations with two different types of counties, one has a tremendous growth and is like New York on steroids, (Loudoun county) in which the regulatory sprawl should be taken in place, on the other hand we have Prince William county loosing housing values due to scare tactics from some government officials.
Therefore my approach will be supporting two different legislations that can or would intertwine eventually but we cannot just measure with equality but equity if we want a fair approach. A bill can be created in matter of days however in order to champion for it, the legislator needs to understand better the laws and the community. My background as a business Owner lawyer and a real estate entrepreneur could facilitate the process.
Ron Meyer: Forcing localities to add density isn't the answer, but empowering them to add more Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is certainly important. I have championed TOD in Loudoun and just got 3,700 units approved within walking distance of our Metro stations. The biggest challenge localities face is the cost of servicing new density: building schools and transportation infrastructure. The state prioritize assisting with infrastructure in TOD areas. That would be a big help in empowering localities to do the right thing, rather than more mandates.
John Bell: I supported the Governor’s amendments (Amendment 6, item 105) during the 2019 Reconvene Session which increased funding for Affordable Housing by $4 million dollars for a new total of $11 million for the 2018-19 budget. I was a Co-Patron for the HB 2342 (Proffer Bill) which significantly changes the previous proffer law and will aid in providing more affordable housing options and discussions when new developments are proposed.
How would you address housing supply across the cost spectrum? First, I believe that Prince William County should have an Affordable Housing Program. Loudoun and Fairfax have programs which can be leveraged to develop a program in Prince William, which is a critical first step. Second, I support mixed-use developments which include a wide spectrum of housing options and prevents sprawl.
Update: This post has been modified to reflect that Jasmine Moawad Barrientos did not qualify for the ballot.