Hart on Valley Unemployment

Brent Finnegan -- October 28th, 2009

Election day is less than a week away. In September, we solicited your questions (on this blog and on Facebook) for Matt Lohr and Gene Hart, the Republican and Democratic Party nominees running for state delegate in the 26th district. Hart responded, but Lohr’s campaign declined to participate (having already declined to participate in a Q&A on republitarian.com). They told me that “the local news media has done a good job of covering the campaign,” and they would rather leave it at that.

So, onto Mary Lou Wylie’s question: “What would Hart and Lohr do to address unemployment?”

Gene Hart’s response:

I continue to believe that solving our current transportation funding crisis to provide adequate revenue to state transportation needs (be it road maintenance or construction, light rail, public transportation, freight rail) is a key to Virginia’s near and longer term economic growth. Already businesses are refusing to come to areas that are our “economic engines” (northern Virginia and Tidewater) because the transportation system is not conducive to getting employees to work or getting them to work without a quality-of-life-destroying commute). That cannot be allowed to continue.

Lest we think that this is just a NoVa problem, I give you: Americast, Rockingham Redi-Mix, Rockingham Precast, Frazier Quarry, etc. Builiding and maintaining roads in Virginia, even in northern Virginia, means jobs here in the Valley.

The new RMH is going to be a local engine for economic activity. But will it reach its potential if we can’t get there? I live in Belmont on the west side of the city and doubt from personal experience that the local road network can support the growth expected/hoped for around the new hospital. We will get some relief from federal stimulus funding to widen Pt. Republic Road. For that we can thank Rep. Perriello not Del. Lohr; we can thank Rep. Nye not Del. Landes; we can thank Rep. Connolly not Del. Gilbert. I don’t expect that the federal government will bail us out to fix Stone Spring Road, Reservoir Street or Boyers Road; that responsibility will fall to the members of the House of Delegates elected this year. Past experience shows the current members will not meet that responsibility.

Now a few more (sorry!) words on what I believe will be an area of job growth in Virginia if we enact proper policies: “green” jobs and alternative energy sources. The current majority in the House of Delegates refuses to understand that Virginia can and must become a national leader in promoting green jobs and alternative and renewable energy sources. While some of these efforts must necessarily focus on longer-term development and emerging technologies, there are a large number of things Virginia can and should do immediately to strengthen our green economic sector.

Currently, Virginia has a voluntary standard for power companies to produce 12% of their power from renewable energy sources by 2022. I support making this a mandatory standard that these companies produce at least 25% of their power from renewable energy sources by 2025. The Commonwealth possesses great potential in wind power, solar energy, biomass and organic-waste-to-energy (especially poultry-waste-to-energy). However, this great potential will not be realized unless we require our power companies to move away from near-total reliance on last century’s energy technologies.

“Green building standards” address the construction and renovation of buildings that are less-costly to operate, conserve energy and water, are safer and healthier for occupants, and produce less waste. Homes and buildings constructed or renovated to these standards save money, energy and natural resources. Tax credits should be available for homeowners purchasing new homes constructed to “green” standards and for homeowners who renovate their existing homes to those standards. I also support the requirement that all new and renovated state- and local government-owned facilities meet the highest level of these standards.

The recent struggles of American automobile manufacturers are well-know to us in Virginia because they have and will continue to cost us jobs in the Commonwealth. However, the focus on these companies’ acknowledged failures obscures the fact that they are now producing or will soon be producing some of the most innovative and fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles in the world. As of 2009-10, there is no reason that state and local agencies (to include police departments) should not be purchasing these hybrid vehicles as they replace the cars and trucks in existing fleets. The best “bailout” that we could provide to Detroit would be to purchase the great products that are now being manufactured here in America with parts often made in Virginia.

(note: I plan to post answers to the other questions tomorrow, Friday, and Monday.)

4 Responses to “Hart on Valley Unemployment”

  1. And the Matt Lohr Employment Enhancement Plan is…




  2. Here are the five stories on WHSV.com that mention Lohr.
    There are currently no stories mentioning Lohr on the WSVAonline.com site.
    And since I don’t subscribe to DNRonline.com, I don’t know how that “local news media” has covered Lohr’s stances, since he apparently doesn’t want to explain or advocate those views for himself.
    Am I missing any “local news media” that has done a good job of getting the word out there for Mr. Lohr?
    The arrogance of someone who thinks they shouldn’t have to answer voter questions even *during a campaign* is astounding.

  3. Callie Skillman says:

    I second Jeremy’s opinion, and only want to add that I actually do read the DNR about four out of five days a week and the only thing they usually report is how much more the GOP candidates have in funding versus the Dems. I have not read a single article actually stating any of Lohr’s opinions.

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