House candidates take chance to make their case to electorate

By Joe Beck

MIDDLETOWN — Local political activists got a chance Friday to hear Del. Barbara Comstock and Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust take turns explaining which of them would be the best choice to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Vienna.

Independent Green Party candidate Dianne L. Blais, Independent Brad A. Eickholt and Libertarian William Redpath also made pitches at the Hob Nob in the Valley sponsored by the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Comstock of McLean described the campaign as a “battle between being stuck in the status quo or moving forward.”

Comstock said she supported the Keystone pipeline that would bring oil from Canada through the United States on its way to coastal ports. She said she also supported more offshore oil drilling and called for more military spending.

“We know how important it is to restore our military with the dire situation we are facing,” she said in alluding to violence in the Middle East and Ukraine.

Comstock said as a small businesswoman she knows better than most politicians about what she perceives as the harmful effects of the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m the candidate who understands how Obamacare is hurting our economy,” Comstock said.

Comstock drew her loudest applause in stating her position on immigration: “Washington needs to stop playing politics, secure our borders, enforce our laws and make us safe.”

She also praised Wolf and law enforcement officials for their efforts to stop the spread of heroin in the area.

Foust said his background as someone who attended school and worked fulltime while obtaining an MBA and law degree make him unusually well suited to appreciate the struggles of people trying to overcome economic uncertainty.

“Our country is not producing the kind of opportunities I had,” Foust said.

As chairman of the Fairfax County Economic Advisory Commission, Foust said he knows how to make government boost the economy.

“When I get to Washington, we’re going to focus on jobs and economic development,” Foust said, citing medical research and infrastructure improvements among his top priorities.

Dianne Blais listed several changes she wanted to see in campaign and election laws to make the system more competitive for candidates such as herself.

She called for proportional representation, an end to gerrymandered congressional districts, full public financing of elections and an end to corporate donations to candidates.

She said she favored a single payer health care system and Medicaid expansion in Virginia.

Brad Eickholt said he “counted myself among the people who give Congress a 14 percent approval rating.”

In explaining the reason for his long shot campaign, Eickholt told the audience: “It takes only one election to make a change. It takes only one election to send a signal. It takes only one election to start a movement, and I think that election is now.”

Eickholt said he was running to put an end to the “outrageous amount of money” needed to run for Congress, “ridiculous looking congressional districts” drawn up to ensure re-election for incumbents and other abuses of power under the two-party system.

William Redpath ran as a Libertarian for governor in 2001, for Senate in 2008 and Congress in the 10th District in 2010.

Redpath promised to work toward ending corporate welfare and the departments of education, energy and housing and urban development.

He also said he would push for a flat tax for all Americans, repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace the current Medicare system with a voucher-type program.

The straw poll results showed Comstock winning with 207 votes or 75.27 percent. Foust took 18.9 percent, Redpath 3.27 percent, Eickholt 2.18 percent and Blais less than 1 percent.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com