Ed. note — The Independent News asked candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to the 81st 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.
Kimberly Anne Tucker
Neighborhood: Oceana area, Virginia Beach
Age on Primary Day: 51
Occupation: Retired educator and full-time grandmother
Campaign website: kimberlyannetucker.com
Campaign phone number: (262) 737-4788
Campaign email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social media: @kimberlyannetucker on Facebook and @kimberlytucker on Twitter
What are your specific qualifications for this office? I have over 20 years of teaching experience at the preschool, middle and high school level. I have also been a school administrator and taught teacher preparation courses at Old Dominion University. I have worked in suburban, urban and alternative education settings. One thing I have learned is that no matter their background, people want to be heard. I also have a strong dedication to constituent services and meeting the individualized needs of people. My campaign slogan is “I’m not running for office, I’m running for you!”
What, to you, is the most important local issue facing the district and how will you address it if elected? People care deeply about a wide variety of issues ranging from public education, jobs, social justice, gerrymandering to access to affordable quality healthcare which is the cornerstone of my campaign and main motivation for running. Most of all though, people tell me that they are frustrated by the partisan gridlock that has crippled our legislative process. Our legislative process is broken. I often say that there is no republican water and no democratic air. There are some issues that should not be politicized. Unfortunately, amidst the political wrangling we have come to expect, people have been forgotten. I will make constituent services a center piece of my campaign. I have reached out to people with whom I have fundamental differences. I need to know what they would expect of me as their legislator regardless of their party affiliation. Despite what we see in the media, there is common ground. We have to be willing to find it.
Will you advocate for state support to local education efforts, including higher education? How so? I have spent nearly 20 years as an educator including the time I spent as a pre-school teacher. Public education is critical to the viability of our state. We will not be able to remain competitive and attract companies who want to operate in Virginia if we don’t provide them with well-educated employees. Further, our viability as a nation is at risk if we don’t maintain our competitive edge in the world. That can only happen with a well-educated society. We must fully fund public education and support our teachers so that public schools are the schools of choice. We must also provide opportunities for higher, career and technical education. Additionally, we must provide incentives to companies to offer internships and apprenticeships.
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. My priorities for the agricultural community include increasing incentives for agricultural entrepreneurs small and family farms. I will find opportunities to add value to agricultural crops by increasing incentives for clean energy production and boutique farms. We need to make sure that we follow the law but enact fair immigration policies that minimize any negative impact on the industry.
As a new legislator this is an area that I look forward to studying extensively by having ongoing substantive conversations these constituents. One of the ways I would work to support this community is to bridge the gap between the agricultural and hospitality industries. Linking programs that connect retiring farmers with farmers hoping to get into the industry have worked effectively in other areas to increase the number of new people getting the industry. I will also keep an on Virginia Beach and Chesapeake City Councils and Planning Commissions so as to offer alternatives to residential development in agricultural zones.
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? Our area has a thriving hospitality industry but digital platforms like Air BnB have opened up another market. There must, however, be a balance between government over reach attempting to regulate private home-based business opportunities with the need to ensure health and safety standards for people who rent rooms using this technology. Any efforts to regulate these private rentals should not create an undue burden on residents that restrict their ability to run profitable home-based businesses.
Do you support state funding to help localities pay for purchase of development rights programs meant to ensure farmland remains productive in rural areas? I will work to expand state matching funds for development rights programs like Open Space and Agricultural that protect the Rural and Natural Lands in the 81st House District. These programs help localities protect the viability of our farmlands and rural areas. While I consider myself a city girl, I have spent a lot of time studying the positions of people who are frustrated by developers and utility companies who do not listen to citizens who value their rural way of life and beautiful green spaces, agriculture and wild-life. There are over 31 species of rare plants and animals, for example, in the southern area of Chesapeake that will not survive if developers and utility companies like Dominion Power are allowed to make decisions regarding land use.
Do you support access to reproductive care for women? Why or why not? I support access to reproductive freedom for women. I will support the General Assembly 2016 Lawmaker Statement of Intent in Support of Reproductive Freedom including a woman’s right to make personal and private decisions. I will support legislation that improving access to the range of women’s health care including but not limited to contraception, equitable access to health care and health education free from intimidation.
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? Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and investment in clean energy are issues that greatly impact our coastal communities. According to reports I have read, Virginia’s coastal regions face a higher threat level than any other area in the country. The issues confronting our coastal communities are complicated and I am not an expert in environmental science but common sense approaches such as those proposed in the last General Assembly session such as the creation of the Coastal Protection and Flooding office move us towards finding effective scientifically based solutions.
Do you support efforts to ensure nonpartisan redistricting at the state level in 2021? Why or why not? I absolutely support effort to ensure non-partisan redistricting at the state level in 2021. This is perhaps one of the greatest threats we face to our democracy. Political gerrymandering has a direct and detrimental negative impact on the engagement of the electorate. When people begin to feel that their vote doesn’t matter, they disengage from the political process and allowing partisan politics to become more and more entrenched. Regardless of which party is in the majority, we cannot afford to continue to allow our democratic process to erode.
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 military wife and mother (all three of my children have or are currently service members) I know first-hand the challenges faced by our military families. I am particularly passionate about supporting military families and children who deserve additional when one or more parents are on deployment. I am also passionate about supporting military families who struggle with mental health and substance abuse issues. Our military members risk their lives and sacrifice more than most people could ever imagine. They deserve our support and I will fight hard to make sure these needs are not ignored.
Age on Primary Day: 69
Occupation: Infrastructure services analyst
Campaign website: nancycarothers.com
Campaign phone number: (757) 777-8950
Campaign email: email@example.com
Social media: facebook.com/delegate81st
What are your specific qualifications for this office? I grew up in this areas and know it well. If fact, I co-authored the book: Insiders’ Guide to Virginia Beach. As a former activist/lobbyist for worker safety, I am experienced working with Virginia legislators and agencies such as the State Crime Commission. On the national level, my committee was successful working with a coalition of law enforcement professionals, victims groups, and union officials to achieve OSHA recommendations. I gained a great deal of specific knowledge on education issues when I was Communications Director of the Santa Clara County California Office of Education (including San Jose and Palo Alto), and specific knowledge on health care and humanitarian issues as Public Relations Director of Samaritan House of San Mateo, which ran two free medical clinics and dental clinics for families below the poverty level, plus food and clothing distribution and shelter.
What, to you, is the most important local issue facing the district and how will you address it if elected? I’ve been going door to door asking voters what issues matter. Answers range from schools to preventing offshore drilling and banning Menhaden fishing.However, many express more concern over the current national administration’s policies. They are worried about the challenge to democracy and the cuts in funding and protection for things that affect the well-being of Virginia families. This confirms my decision to enter the race based on my determination to fight within Virginia to uphold our rights, provide affordable health care, resist diminishment of equal public education, maintain food programs for hungry children and elders, and protect Virginia’s natural environment.
Will you advocate for state support to local education efforts, including higher education? How so? I strongly support full funding of our public schools, as opposed to promoting vouchers and charter schools. I also think we must find a way to increase teachers’ salaries more than just the slight cost of living increase. We need more technical and vocational training opportunities. As for higher education, David Toscano, Democratic Leader of the House, points to the fact that higher education funding has declined from a 14 percent share of the General Fund budget to 10 percent in recent years. This tide should be turned. In addition, I agree with him that the legislature should adopt a five-year program to meet the goal of financing 67 percent of the costs of in-state students attending Virginia colleges.
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. In addition to talking to farmers about their priorities, in April I attended the Virginia Economy, Workforce, Exports, and Imports conference, which included Agriculture Secretary Gooden. On a statewide level, he was pushing to encourage combining agricultural innovation with entrepreneurship, to create “agri-preneurs.”
I can definitely use more input from local farmers, but for now from the vantage of the legislature, I want to look into:
► Encouraging training in new agricultural technologies
► Further enhancing the PDR program and the Virginia Farm Link program.
► Finding new ways to increase the already thriving farm goods export market
► Further encouraging opportunities in agri-tourism
► Allowing farmers more freedom to control the economic aspects of the use of solar panels
► Providing more support for sustainable agriculture
► Supporting the effort to increase our bee population
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? Earlier this year, the legislature passed Senate Bill 1578, which reaffirms that the localities have the authority to regulate such rentals within their borders. I agree with this bill that the proper authority on this matter is the locality. While I am believe strongly in supporting individual endeavors and local small businesses, I think that a positive outcome of this legislation will be enabling localities to ensure the safety of customers, such as requiring smoke detectors
Do you support state funding to help localities pay for purchase of development rights programs meant to ensure farmland remains productive in rural areas? Last year, Virginia Beach received the largest allocation in the history of the state’s PDR program. I support this program not only because of the importance of farming as part of our district’s culture and beauty, but because of farming’s economic importance.
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. I proudly belong to Planned Parenthood. The value of contraceptive care extends beyond the immediate recipient because the recipient will have more opportunity to contribute to society if she is able to determine the timing of when to have her children. I oppose any legislation that would move us backwards on women’s reproductive rights or 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? Sea level rise threatens not only our residential and natural areas, but some of our nation’s critical military bases. The cause is climate change, which is why I was in DC April 29 to be part of the People’s Climate Change March. Then on May 16, I applauded our governor’s new environmental initiative. In Richmond, I will support coordinated regional, state, and Federal efforts to further develop actionable solutions to create coastal resilience. I understand these solutions might include building levees to protect vulnerable areas, raising roads, decreasing development along the coast, and creating marshes to absorb flooding.
Do you support efforts to ensure nonpartisan redistricting at the state level in 2021? Why or why not? Absolutely! The contours of our 81st district have been extremely gerrymandered so that various communities have been carved out of it in ludicrous ways. We absolutely need nonpartisan redistricting that will make sense to the electorate as a whole and not just to a dominant party.
Our region contains a large population of active duty and retired military families. How have you or would you work on their behalf? My Dad was veteran, and for retired veterans who need a “hand up,” I have contributed to VetsHouse and attended and supported the Stars and Stripes fundraiser. At the state level, I want to see what more can be done to help unemployed vets gain sustaining employment.
Employment is also a challenge for military spouses and former military transitioning to civilian life. I was a military spouse and remember being unable to find a job as a temporary member of a community. I want to look into what more the state can do to help former military members transfer their skills to civilian jobs, and to help military spouses gain employment.
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