By Joe Beck
Colin Harris, 22, grew up and lives in Orlean in Fauquier County. He works at Aurora Flight Sciences, a Manasssas aerospace firm. His past jobs have included working for Democrats and Republicans in Congress and for the Office of Management and Budget in the executive branch. He lists hunting and fishing as his hobbies.
The following questions were written by Joe Beck and the answers were provided by Colin Harris.
Q. Should teachers be paid more? If so, how much more and what, if any, role does the state have as a funding source?
A. We rank 31st in teacher salaries in the nation; funding for public education is falling more on our localities and educators are being forced to teach to the test. Virginia should increase investment in education to attract the best educators and reform the SOLs. My opponent voted for the Opportunity Education Institution law that strips power from our communities to give it to a group of Richmond politicians, and it's actually unconstitutional. Even Ken Cuccinelli's office said they couldn't defend the law. This extreme overreach into our lives and community must end. It's time for Virginia to invest in education.
Q. What, if any, changes to state laws governing the acceptance and reporting of gifts to elected officials do you support?
A. I would like to see a $100 limit on gifts to elected officials and family members. The public trust has been broken by extremist Richmond politicians who care more about feathering their own nests than working to create jobs and investing in an educated workforce. An elected official's family should not be able to fly on an all-expenses paid trip to Tahiti with lobbyists to the tune of $10,000 and not have to report it. Public service is defined by serving people, not serving them up on a silver platter to special interests.
Q. Should state income taxes for individuals and businesses be raised, lowered, or kept the same? What should the extra revenue be spent on if taxes are raised? What spending programs should be cut if they are lowered?
A. With Virginia's current rainy day fund and the extremist shutdown injuring our economy, it's time to provide tax relief for small businesses and to create tax incentives for businesses that hire veterans and businesses that create sustainable jobs right here in Virginia. It's time for Richmond to get to work creating economic growth and prosperity. Richmond is too focused on interfering in our private lives and interfering in local matters like when my opponent decided to follow the extremist agenda to impose Richmond's power on the town of Front Royal, and then not answering calls or emails for five days.
Q. Do you support or oppose Virginia's ban on same sex marriage?
A. I don't believe it's the business of state government to be involved in people's private lives, and I don't believe that we should be discriminating against Virginians. We need to be welcoming to small business, along with the families and workers of all of those businesses. The more welcoming we are, the more business-friendly we will become.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org