By Joe Beck
Mark Berg, 55, is running as the Republican candidate in the 29th District of the House of Delegates. Berg is a retired family physician and Frederick County resident. He has also owned and operated a small home improvement business and held posts with the state and Frederick County Republican Party. He is a member of the Apple Valley tea party, holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is a classical violinist. He has been an active opponent of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
The following questions were written by Joe Beck and the answers were provided by Mark Berg.
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. Provision for making high quality education available to every student in the commonwealth is a top priority. Consideration should be given not only to overall teacher pay but also to how compensation is determined. Local school districts should be the principal entities that determine public school teachers' pay and how their compensation is determined within each district. The state has an interest in providing a reasonable base of funding, which localities can supplement, that helps ensure each student has access to quality education.
Q. What, if any, changes to state laws governing the acceptance and reporting of gifts to elected officials do you support?
A. I am not familiar with all the intricacies of the state laws governing the acceptance and reporting of gifts to elected officials. However, I favor laws that call for a high degree of transparency in this area so that citizens know which entities or individuals are influencing those elected officials.
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. Income taxes cannot be considered in a vacuum - -the total tax burden on individuals and businesses must be taken into account. Overall, taxes should not be raised, but rather lowered if that is possible. Decreasing taxes leaves more money in the private sector, which is much better than government in determining the most beneficial products and services on which to spend money. Taxes could be decreased by cutting waste in government programs, decreasing funding to low-priority projects or programs, and decreasing the size and scope of government.
Q. Do you support or oppose Virginia's ban on same sex marriage?
A. I support Virginia's ban on same sex marriage. I do not support the redefinition of "marriage," which is a covenant between a man and a woman. However, I do believe government must treat all individuals fairly. Care must be taken to preserve individual liberty and ensure that no group of people is singled out for preferential treatment.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org