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2017 Primary: Questions for candidates seeking the Republican nomination to the 21st Virginia House of Delegates District on June 13

The 21st Virginia House of Delegates District includes parts of Virginia Beach, such as Salem, and a portion of Chesapeake. That majority of the district’s voters are in Virginia Beach. [Via Virginia Public Access Project]

Ed. note — The Independent News asked candidates seeking the Republican nomination to the 21st Virginia House District in the Tuesday, June 13, primary to answer questions about a range of issues. The following responses initially appeared in print on Friday, May 26. Responses to question have not been edited for grammar or style. The following responses appear in the order in which candidates appear on the ballot. 


Ron Villanueva

[Incumbent]

Neighborhood/community of residence & city: Hillcrest (Centerville/Princess Anne Area), Virginia Beach

Age on June 13: 47

Occupation: Entrepreneur and business development consultant

Key endorsements: Chesapeake Mayor Allan Krasnoff, National Rifle Association, U.S. Rep Scott Taylor, R-2nd District

Campaign website: ronv21.com

Campaign phone number: (757) 955-3522

Campaign email: teamron@ronv21.com

Social media: Facebook (Delegate Ron Villanueva) or follow us on Twitter or Instagram at DelRVillanueva

What are your specific qualifications for this office? My qualifications are the following:

I am a lifelong resident of the 21st House District and have represented the district working for our families and getting results.

I’m focused on solutions for job creation and economic prosperity for all Virginians, transportation infrastructure and funding, reducing taxes and eliminating burdensome government regulations, k-12 public education investment, veteran’s issues, small business and workforce development, flooding and hurricane preparedness. As Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, I have helped to move Virginia’s transportation infrastructure forward from our roads and highways, ports, airports, rail and transit, while implementing new accountability and planning measures.

I am involved in our community and work in regular partnership with the citizens and government working to make a difference. I served on Virginia Beach City Council for 7 1⁄2 years, ODU Board of Visitors, and the Virginia Beach Safe Schools Task Force. I am a veteran U.S. Coast Guard Reserves and participate in community organizations such as Operation Smile, Virginia Beach Jaycees Charities, my children’s school PTAs, and at St. Mark’s and Matthew’s Catholic Church.

What, to you, is the most important local issue facing the district and how will you address it if elected? Coastal flooding and damage from Hurricane Matthew affected the heart of my district, badly impacting areas like Windsor Oaks, Princess Anne Plaza, Salem, Green Run. Many homes were flooded and families were displaced due to the long months of repairs that had to be made to their homes.

Roads in my district were impassable because of the high waters, which caused downed power lines and trees. During my tenure on City Council and since 2009 as your Delegate I have put forth funding solutions, local planning requirements, better coordination efforts between the Federal, State, and Local government in working for real solutions to help flooding mitigation and this ongoing issue.

 Will you advocate for state support to local education efforts, including higher education? How so? I voted for this year’s budget that increases in funding to VB schools by $13 Million and to Chesapeake schools by $11 million with no new taxes or fees. I am the only candidate in this race who has a record of fighting for our public schools. As a product of the public schools and having children in public schools, I understand what the schools needs/priorities are. As your delegate, I work regularly with education leaders and industry in developing workforce and job creation opportunities.

I am a strong advocate for education and I listen to the concerns of parents, teachers, students.

What priorities do you have that will help support the agriculture community? Please be specific about how you will work on issues impacting this industry.  Agriculture is Virginia’s #1 economic growth engine. From the many goods and services that are derived from agriculture, Virginia remains one of the top states to do business with both domestically and abroad. The industry supports thousands of jobs and I have been endorsed in the past by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation for my efforts in strengthening our transportation networks, investing in our ports to increase Virginia exports, and supporting initiatives in bioscience that can help agriculture products have strong shelf life. I advocate for 4-H programs, sponsor initiatives promoting agricultural heritage, and support land preservation efforts.

As your State Delegate, I understand the priorities and needs of the industry and will continue to work for solutions. I have worked to end burdensome regulations and support small business initiatives in agriculture and agribusiness. I will continue to listen to industry and the stakeholders in promoting this vital industry.

Do you support the ability of local governments to tax and create appropriate local zoning laws governing rentals of homes and apartments through digital platforms such as Airbnb, such as efforts in the recent session? Why or why not? Yes. I support the power of local governments to enact zoning laws to protect the communities in their locality. While I support home sharing such as Airbnb and others, I do agree that there must be laws, regulations and zoning ordinances in place to protect consumers and the neighbors. While there is a great marketplace for those who choose list their homes with short term rental companies, if they work with local officials they will work with homeowners to create great benefits for our community and protect those who live there.

 Do you support state funding to help localities pay for purchase of development rights programs meant to ensure farmland remains productive in rural areas? Please explain why or why not. Yes, I support this program. It is important to provide localities with the help they need to preserve land, plan future growth, and protect jobs. As a former City Councilman and as your State Delegate, I have supported municipal and state budgets that help localities pay for the purchase of development for agricultural reserve, Naval Air Station Oceana and Transition Area programs, and open space programs. I am the only candidate that has a record of supporting and implementing these programs. I recognize that preserving farmland is an important tool to help protect our economic prosperity.

Do you support access to reproductive care for women? Why or why not? Give an example of legislation you might support or oppose on this issue. Yes, this past session I supported legislation which is now law to extend oral contraceptive prescriptions to 12 months to ensure that women have reliable access to reproductive health care.

How will you work in the Virginia General Assembly to help coastal communities address issues such as sea level rise or impacts on natural resources? As your State Delegate, I have worked for solutions for flooding mitigation projects. With Virginia Beach and Chesapeake having billions worth of unmet flooding mitigation projects, I have put the discussion of sea level rise and funding at the forefront. My legislation, the Virginia Coastal Protection Act addresses funding and has garnered coastal community localities and the Virginia Municipal League.

I have fostered collaborative initiatives with industry, military, community addressing recurrent flooding. I will continue to work with all levels of government for flooding and disaster relief resource coordination. I will continue to be a leader in this issue.

Do you support efforts to ensure nonpartisan redistricting at the state level in 2021? Why or why not? The 21st House District is a competitive district and every two years I run and have been fortunate to re-elected. Elections are strong when voters participate and elect their candidate. More importantly, I listen to the voters.

Last year, an unelected expert was appointed to draw Virginia’s congressional districts and placed Chesapeake in the same congressional district as downtown Richmond where these areas have nothing in common. The General Assembly would have not made that decision because legislative boundaries are to be drawn that are compact, contiguous, share a community of interest. We are held accountable for our decisions by you.

Our region contains a large population of active duty and retired military families. How have you or would you work on their behalf? As a veteran, I understand the needs of our military families and veterans. I am the only candidate who has a strong record of supporting our veterans and families for state benefits, job training, tax relief, and protecting our military assets.

As Chief Co-patron, I helped to bring a new veterans’ care center (350 bed facility) to Virginia Beach that will provide much needed long-term care services to our veterans. I was Chief Budget Patron for the Virginia Values Veterans Program (V3) that works with private industry in hiring transitioning veterans. I will continue to work on veterans’ issues.


Bill Haley

Neighborhood/community of residence & city: Kempsville/Winsor Woods/Princess Anne/Greenbrier: Virginia Beach and Chesapeake

Age on June 13: 49

Occupation: Sales

Campaign website: Haley2017.com

Campaign phone number: (757) 408-8255

Campaign email: Bill@Haley2017.com

Social media: facebook.com/BillHaley2017

What are your specific qualifications for this office? As someone who has lived in this community their whole life, I know what we need to create a better environment for economic growth. I know that for us to make that economic progress, the role of government must be limited. I have studied public policy extensively, and through that process, I have developed an understanding of the negative effects too much government control has over our community.

What, to you, is the most important local issue facing the district and how will you address it if elected? The structure of the welfare system is entrapping to many in poverty. I believe we should use charities to train people up and bring them into the workforce. Instead of incentivizing people to not start working because of the benefit cliffs, we should require those on assistance to earn part of their benefits by working for charities as a transition to independence.

I will empower parents with school choice. The choice of who controls the education of children is extremely important. When deciding between politicians, bureaucrats, or parents, I choose parents.  

Will you advocate for state support to local education efforts, including higher education? How so? Taxing everyone to benefit only those who are pursuing higher education and their increase earning potential is not wise nor fair to those without a degree.  We need to allow free enterprise to lower the cost of colleges.  We should give students the option of free, online sources as an alternative to high-price textbooks.  Students taking free MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) by first rate colleges will be given full credit towards their degree, thus greatly reducing their tuition.  I will open accreditations to new educational models that recognize real world experience.  

What priorities do you have that will help support the agriculture community? Please be specific about how you will work on issues impacting this industry. Government intrusion in any industry is mostly negative. I will work on removing ineffective regulations and trade barriers to agriculture products. 

Do you support the ability of local governments to tax and create appropriate local zoning laws governing rentals of homes and apartments through digital platforms such as Airbnb, such as efforts in the recent session? Why or why not? No. I believe that private Home Owners’ Associations or apartment complexes should have their own rules. This allows for specific solutions to problems or circumstances that we cannot understand or regulate as a state government. Platforms such as Airbnb and others have their own regulations.

Do you support state funding to help localities pay for purchase of development rights programs meant to ensure farmland remains productive in rural areas? Please explain why or why not. I do not support this form of state funding. Government subsidies create government control and distort the important role of prices in the economy. Our farmers should have control over what they grow. Programs like the one listed often come with requirements and loopholes that demand farmers only grow certain crops, over-regulate land use, etc. Our farmers should have control over what they grow and how they use their land. 

Do you support access to reproductive care for women?  Why or why not? Give an example of legislation you might support or oppose on this issue. Women should have control over their reproductive care. However, every right stops when it starts infringing on other people’s rights. The right of a baby to be alive is infringed when a woman chooses to end the life of the child. I am Pro-life. Outside of protecting a life, government’s role should be very limited and women should control their own health care

How will you work in the Virginia General Assembly to help coastal communities address issues such as sea level rise or impacts on natural resources? I will champion pro-business policies so the economy grows at the highest levels. It takes more money, a larger economy, and a higher standard of living for us to address these challenges. Higher tax rates depress the economy. I think it is far better for the private sector to handle most of these issues. Governments have a role; however, most solutions will be in the private sector and we should not over tax the free enterprise system. This allows people to use their own money earned from the flourishing economy to address the needs of climate change. 

Do you support efforts to ensure nonpartisan redistricting at the state level in 2021? Why or why not? I support the goals of nonpartisan redistricting; however, details are everything. I will favor efforts to have compactness and focus on localities being as whole as possible within districts lines. 

Our region contains a large population of active duty and retired military families. How have you or would you work on their behalf? Every person that has earned VA benefits should be given the option of taking a voucher to buy a private health insurance plan. There should be many options that merge VA specialty hospitals and doctors with private insurance plans. This will support and aid our active and retired military community by increasing their options and opportunities for care.


© 2017 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

The Independent News

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