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Issues

Education

Brent will introduce legislation that will increase teacher and employee salaries, reduce bureaucracy and the number of SOL’s, and invest in a 21st Century education for all our students. 

As a former school board member and high school teacher, Brent has experience both in the classroom and at the administration level, where he was involved in policy formation.  He is proud of Virginia Beach schools, which are ranked among the top in the nation, but recognizes there is always room for improvement.  

Our teachers are integral to the success of our schools and our students. Our teachers are professionals who have committed their careers to developing the minds of our future, and we must do more to support the work they do. We should work to provide meaningful raises for teachers, and not settle for so-called raises that are then offset by decreased benefits.  While on the School Board, Brent took the lead on teacher funding.  He proposed plans to increase the pay of our employees through existing resources.  Rather than spend the saved dollars on teacher raises, the majority of the board twice decided to spend the resources on other items.  We should also commit to ensuring that our teachers’ valuable time is spent wisely. As a member of the School Board, Brent fought to make sure our teachers could focus on teaching, and weren’t wasting their time in unnecessary meetings.  On several occasions, Brent stood up to the Superintendent and the Chairman of the School Board to protect our teacher’s planning time from bureaucratic encroachment.

Virginia Beach is leading the nation in the movement to provide students with a 21st Century education, which centers around teaching critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and communication skills.  We also continue to invest in vocational education, the arts, and science and technology.  We have developed our curriculum in response to feedback from employers and colleges about what skills they look for in our graduates.  Unfortunately, our efforts have been thwarted by antiquated state mandates and standardized testing. As a member of the House of Delegates, Brent will work to change the state requirements that are hampering our progress. He will introduce legislation to reduce the number of SOL’s administered each year so that our students can get back to learning and our teachers can get back to do what they do best – TEACH!

 

Creating jobs and diversifying our economy

Brent will introduce legislation that will streamline state programs that assist small businesses and keep taxes low. He will work to bring new opportunities to Virginia Beach through investing in new energy sources, rebuilding our infrastructure, and providing tax credits for small businesses that hire new employees.

Thanks to Virginia Beach’s geographic assets, including the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, we have built our economy around the defense industry and tourism.  We are the proud home to Oceana, the master jet base, and many other military installations.  We must protect these assets and build on them.  We also need to work to bring new businesses and industries to Virginia Beach. To that end, we should streamline the process of creating a new business by creating a one-stop shop for licensing and applying for available incentives.  Currently, the state spends $13 billion dollars on tax credits, many of which have long out lived their usefulness or are not achieving their goals. To ensure that the state is offering the right incentives and tax credits there should be an annual audit and a five-year sunset on all tax credits. The General Assembly can re-enact those credits the audit demonstrates are useful. It can then re-allocate the tax credits to programs that actually work and invest in developing new energy sources, research and design, and modeling and simulation.

 

Honoring the service of active duty and veterans

Brent will introduce legislation that will offer tax credits for businesses that hire veterans; ease school enrollment and sports participation for dependents; Protect in-state college tuition for active duty, veterans, and dependents.

Virginia Beach has a great tradition of military service and being home to so many of our country’s brave veterans and active duty service members. These brave men and women provide a great resource to our area and they deserve our gratitude. Too often our government makes life difficult on our military service members. Our schools make it difficult to enroll their children, transfer schools, or get their kids involved in extracurricular activities. This should not be tolerated and can be fixed through legislation, any dependent should automatically be eligible for extracurricular activities without having to wait and any dependent whose parents are serving out of state should be able to enroll in the school of the person they are staying with, without being harassed and investigated. Dependents, veterans, and active duty members should receive in state tuition at any state college or university without regard to number of years living in Virginia. A college education will help veterans find work after their service, and to further assist with their job search we should offer tax credits to businesses that hire veterans.

 

Transportation

Brent will introduce legislation that will require an annual audit of VDOT; put all transportation funds into a lock box so that it can’t be raided for other items; fund projects that benefit Virginia Beach, utilize smart growth planning; and reform the Public-Private Partnership Act to protect the tax payer.

For the first time in over 20 years, the General Assembly passed legislation that will begin to deal with our transportation issues. We must do everything we can to make sure that this investment isn’t wasted and benefits our region, not just Northern Virginia.  We should require annual audits of VDOT to ensure that VDOT spends funding on the right projects, rather than misusing our tax dollars. The legislature raised our taxes, so let’s make sure they are put to work for us.

We should tie transportation spending to land use by restoring legislation that requires smart growth planning such as compact development areas and secondary street connectivity. Finally, we should reform the Public-Private Transportation Act to eliminate closed-door deals and non-compete clauses.  For example, we should include affected localities in negotiations, and create legislative oversight and approval for toll increases.