By Mason Votes Writer Ethan Vaughan
Susan Conrad, a master’s candidate at George Mason University studying for a degree in Instructional Technology, is running for the House of Delegates 40th District seat. She is campaigning on a transportation platform that would require raising gas taxes and automobile registration fees.
“It’s not going to be popular,” said Conrad, who recommended raising the gas tax by about five cents and the registration fee by five dollars. “But the longer we wait, the more it’ll cost. Fairfax roads only got one million dollars for road maintenance this year. People don’t want to pay to fix pot-holes, so they’ll wind up paying for a new car alignment. They don’t want to pay a gas tax, but they burn three dollars in gas a day sitting on Route 66.”
Conrad said that Northern Virginia needs expanded roads, and, ultimately, a much larger Metro system that goes “at least to Gainesville.”
“Those projects will take years to finish,” said Conrad. “In the meantime, there’s some other things we can do.”
Conrad proposed tax incentives for businesses to stagger their work hours, ensuring that “a portion of their workforce will not be on the road at certain times. That way, we can spread out use of the roads.”
Conrad said that a large part of the problem comes from Republican lawmakers in the House of Delegates who have taken from the wealthy communities in Northern Virginia without giving enough back.
“For every education dollar we sent to Richmond, we only get 25 cents back,” she said. “And the local economy has to make up the difference. Just over in Prince William County, they get 56 cents back. There all of these formulas they have down there, and none of the money is coming back to Fairfax.”
Conrad went on to say that a lack of funds affected the entire community, from university students coping with rising tuition to commuters facing long commutes, to businesses who find operating in the area difficult due to “overwhelming traffic.”
“We’re at a pivotal point,” stressed Conrad. “If we don’t allocate money to education, roads, and economic development, we’re going to be in trouble.”
Conrad made clear that she wasn’t advocating withholding funds from the rest of the Commonwealth.
“I definitely feel we have to help,” she stated. “I’m not saying we should get one dollar back for every dollar we give, because when we help other parts of the state we all benefit. However, there’s a disproportionate amount not coming back. Eighty percent of the state’s money is coming from here. If we don’t develop infrastructure here, the whole state is jeopardy.”
While I am always in support of local Democrats, Conrad has been running a non-campaign in the 40th. Two years ago I volunteered for Rex Simmons, who also ran against Tim Hugo, and lost by (I think) 7 points. You need to run an aggressive and well-funded campaign to win here, so I don’t understand what a candidate gets out of just being on the ballot with virtually no other action.
If you want to highlight a GMU alumni running for Delegate who has a fighting chance, look at Charniele Herring, a GMU Law graduate serving in the 46th District. She was elected to replace Brian Moran earlier this year and is up for re-election next Tuesday. Herring’s opponent recently spoke to a Republican women’s group in Clifton (which is in Conrad’s district), and said:
Even though she is an Asian-American candidate, this comment seems bizarre to me. For the other issues facing this District’s election, I invite you to look at both candidates’ websites to see where they stand.
You are so wrong about Sue. You never volunteered to help in her campaign. If you did, you would know that her campaign has been a hit with voters who are tired of candidates with their hundreds of signs in the highway medians, obnoxius robocalls, slick mailers, nasty tv ads and expensive consultants and pollsters.
Sue is running a grassroots campaign—accepting only small contributions from real people–and labor, representing working people. She has attended all the candidate debates in her district, Centreville Days, Clifton Days, and got endorsed by the Washington Post as a “Straight Talker” and “Refreshing Change” compared to her opponent, and oh yeah, she was endorsed by Hugo’s former challenger Rex Simmons, who urged all 40th District residents to vote for Sue. Doing nothing–far from the truth. She has HUGO scared…he is spending money like a drunken sailor to make sure he buries her in campaign junk.
You would not know that…since you have sat on your hands in this campaign….get out there and vote at least…against Tim HUGO on Election Day. Support Susan who is a current GMU student! Remember all that counts is who votes on election day–not the size of ones campaign war chest….get your friends out to vote for Sue Conrad, DEmocrat for the 40th District–the GRassRoots Candidate!
I hope I am wrong about Sue Conrad. But you and I know what it takes to win. The real question is, how many doors has she knocked on and is she getting enough support from the voters in the 40th? Nobody who knows me can say I’ve been sitting on my hands in this election. I was a Field Organizer for Moran, and since the primary have been volunteering every weekend for local Democrats such as Greg Werkheiser, John Bell, Mark Keam, Mark Sickles, and all the while supporting our Democratic statewide ticket. I wish Sue all the best; I’ll be putting my energy where I think it counts the most.