By Joe Beck
WINCHESTER -- John Foust, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 10th District, spent about an hour Monday fielding questions on topics ranging from immigration to U.S. foreign policy and economic development.
Foust also devoted a significant part of his appearance to talking about education and the role it played in helping him become a lawyer after spending his college years working as a steel mill laborer in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
Foust said he worried that the affordable education that allowed him to move ahead is disappearing for the current generation of students.
"Young people in this country, and the country generally, don't have the same opportunities that I had," Foust told an audience of about 60 at Shenandoah University. "I just believe Congress is so dysfunctional now and, in particular, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has stopped this country from progressing and moving forward for too long."
Foust, a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, is running against Del. Barbara Comstock. Both are from McLean.
Foust called Northern Virginia's education system the region's No. 1 asset "in attracting jobs from all over the world."
"Barbara Comstock voted to slash $620 million in state support for our state education system," Foust said, adding that Comstock also voted against former Gov. Bob McDonnell's bipartisan transportation funding bill last year. She did so, Foust said, despite the heavy traffic congestion that has long been the region's biggest problem in attracting employers.
"I'm telling you that bill is a game changer," Foust of the transportation package. "It passed, no thanks to Barbara Comstock."
Foust also criticized Comstock for supporting efforts to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion throughout the United States and another abortion-related vote that some critics believe could threaten access to birth control.
Foust also criticized Comstock for opposing Medicaid expansion, a stance she also shares with most other Republicans. Foust said he believes the opposition is costing Virginia tens of thousands of jobs.
"We will run on her record and demonstrate why she should not be going to Congress," Foust said of Comstock.
Johanna Persing, a spokeswoman with the Comstock campaign, replied by email to Foust's criticisms:
"We don't expect that John Foust told the people of Winchester and Frederick County about his support for the Obama-Pelosi tax raising agenda and his long history of supporting tax increases, including property tax increases, a 20 percent sales tax increase, a meals tax increase and the hundreds of millions in health care tax increases that he supports in Obamacare."
Foust said he supports a U.S. Senate bill that would try to resolve the debate over immigration through a combination of increased border security, legalizing the status of 11 million illegal immigrants and providing them with a pathway to U.S. citizenship.
Foust said border security should come first, but he also praised immigrants as an asset to the nation.
"Immigrants are really a phenomenal contributor to Northern Virginia's economy," Foust said.
On foreign policy, Foust said he supported recent air strikes against Islamic radicals who have overrun parts of Syria and Iraq in recent weeks but he opposes reintroducing U.S. ground troops into the Middle East.
"We can't keep getting involved in every ground war," Foust said.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org