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2017 Elections: Questions for candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates 21st District

The 21st Virginia House of Delegates District. [Courtesy of Virginia Public Access Project]

Ed. note — The Independent News asked candidates for the 21st District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates to answer the following questions. This appeared in print on Friday, Nov. 3. Responses to question have not been edited. The following responses appear in the order of the candidate’s names on the ballot. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.


Kelly Fowler

[Democrat]

Residence: Hillcrest in Virginia Beach

Age on Election Day: 36

Occupation: Real Estate

Key endorsements: Virginian-Pilot, ALF-CIO, Americans for Responsible Solutions

voteforfowler.com (757) 416-1629  kellyfowler@voteforfowler.com  @KellyFowlerForDelegate on Facebook; @voteforfowler on Twitter; @KellyFowlerForDelegate on Instagram

What are your specific qualifications for this office? For my entire life I have been called to help people, however I did not realize until my recent attendance of the Women’s March in Washington DC that I could make so much more of a difference. I currently lead a team of women in real estate helping military families relocate. I am a former public school teacher, and I serve the community in other ways, for example, serving on my HOA board. I know the struggles of working families, and want to make Virginia’s government work for real Virginians.

What, to you, is the most important local issue facing the district and how will you address it if elected? There are thousands in District 21 who currently fall “in the gap” – they make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough for an ACA subsidy. At the same time, Virginia is sending our tax money to other states to cover their citizens. I fully support the Medicaid expansion so that all of our citizens have access to healthcare. 

How will you be an advocate for state support to local education efforts, including higher education? We need to fully fund our public schools. We need raised for teachers (we are currently 47th in the nation for teacher salaries). We need to allow teachers to teach. Higher education is important, but it isn’t necessary for all jobs. We need not only to make colleges affordable, but also to make sure that those who do not choose college as their path have access to technical schools and training so that they can have access to good paying jobs.

What priorities do you have that will help support the agriculture community? Please be specific about how you have worked or will work on issues impacting this industry. Our natural resources are vital to Virginia’s economic future and our quality of life. I support funding for open space and land conservation initiatives, innovative programs that encourage the preservation of farmland for agricultural use, and state and local efforts to encourage efforts that discourage suburban sprawl.

 I believe that clean air and clean water are necessary for our communities. I believe that climate change is real, and that we need to take steps to reduce our reliance on carbon based fuels so that we can mitigate sea level rise.

Do you support access to reproductive health care for women? Why or why not? Give an example of legislation you might support or oppose on this issue. All women should have access to health care, including for their reproductive health. I have been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, whose services I have used, because I believe that a woman’s healthcare decisions should be made between that woman and her doctor based on what is best for her, and her family. I was appalled by the Day of Tears vote in the last legislative session. Our government should never be shaming women for making difficult personal choices.

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 is an important issue to our community. When Hurricane Matthew hit last year, there was no warning, and suddenly there was water in residents’ homes. I actually had rescued a friend of mine and her family from the water- emergency services couldn’t get to them. We need to hold localities accountable both for the maintenance on the systems that should be draining the water, and for their response when we do have a large storm.

Do you support efforts to ensure nonpartisan redistricting? Why or why not? Yes. Voters should choose their representatives. Representatives should not be choosing their voters. Nonpartisan redistricting will only strengthen our democracy.


Ron A. Villanueva

[Republican Incumbent]

Residence: Hillcrest in Virginia Beach 

Age on Election Day: 47 

Occupation: Business Development Consultant/Entrepreneur 

Key endorsements: Chesapeake Mayor Alan Krasnoff; Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce; National Rifle Association 

ronv21.com  (757) 955-3522  teamron@ronv21.com ♦ @DelRVillanueva on Twitter and Facebook; @delegateronvillanueva on Instagram

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 have a record of results 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, Cox Communications Charities, my children’s school PTAs, Green Run HS booster, 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 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 was a champion for this year’s budget that increases funding to VB schools by $13 Million and to Chesapeake schools by $11 million with no new taxes or fees. I have a record of fighting for our public schools for increase in funding, SOL reforms, and safer schools. As a product of the public schools and having children in public schools, I understand what the schools needs/priorities are and as your delegate I have worked regularly with government, education leaders, and industry in developing workforce and job creation opportunities. 

I’m 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 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 be re-elected. Elections are strong when voters participate and elect their candidate. More importantly, I listen to the voters. We are held accountable for our decisions by you. If it’s the will of our district voters I will support this effort; however, districts should be contiguous and be areas of commonality.


© 2017 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

The Independent News

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