Editor’s Note: In November, Alexandrians will go to the polls to elect three members of the Virginia House of Delegates and two Virginia state senators. Over the next few weeks, The Alexandria Times will profile candidates in each race. We begin this week with the 49th House District in which Democratic incumbent Adam Ebbin is being challenged by Independent Green Party candidate James Ronald Ron Fisher.
The 49th District includes parts of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County. In 2000, the district became the only minority/majority district in Virginia in which the majority of the residents are of Hispanic origin. Ebbin has represented the 49th District since 2003.
About Adam Ebbin
Ebbin is a native of Commack, NY, who has lived in Alexandria since 1989. He is a graduate of The American University in Washington, D.C., and was a Fellow at The University of Virginias Sorenson Institute of Political Leadership in 2000. Before his election to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2003, he served as Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry under Governor Mark Warner.
As a member of the House of Delegates, he serves on the Education, Transportation and Health and Welfare and Institutions committees. In 2005, he gave more than $65,000 to Democratic candidates throughout Virginia through his political action committee and from funds his campaign raised.
I have learned many things since I was elected in 2003 but perhaps most importantly, I have learned the value of reaching out to people who dont necessarily agree with you on issues. No one person can accomplish things in the General Assembly by himself. Getting legislation passed requires collaboration and cooperation with other Democrats, Republicans and Independents, Ebbin said.
Ebbin is widely known in the House of Delegates as an advocate for immigrants. That does not mean that I dont support law enforcement officers rights to determine the immigration status of suspects before they are released on bail. I just dont want to see those who have been granted the legal right to be in this country or those who are born here unfairly targeted and harassed. We saw anti immigrant legislation introduced in the General Assembly last year and we have seen such legislation passed in Prince William and Loudoun counties. I am certain that we are going to see such legislation introduced once again and we must hope that cooler heads prevail and that legislation will be defeated, Ebbin said.
Over the past four years, Ebbin has supported legislation to increase funding for mental health, education and human service programs.
I am very concerned about the upcoming budget discussions and we need to make certain that the small gains we have made in these areas over the past couple of years arent erased. I have been a supporter of Gov. Kaines pre-school initiatives and hope that we can find some funding to support those programs. We are going to have to prioritize and look for ways to form partnerships with private providers to maximize the resources we have available.
I would like to prevent tuition at our state colleges and universities from increasingly significantly but we are facing many challenges at these institutions, Ebbin said.
He supported the regional transportation funding package that the General Assembly passed last year but would also support additional tax on gasoline. The regional package was a good start but doesnt go far enough toward solving our problems in Northern Virginia, he said.
He supports legislation that will make Mirants Potomac River Generating Station as clean as it can be. If Mirant is more cooperative, I think they will do much better with legislators. I think we are all pretty realistic about the climate in Richmond even though we share the Citys concerns about the health impacts that the plant presents, Ebbin said.
The first openly gay legislator to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly, four years later, I dont think thats the first thing my colleagues from different parts of the state would say about me. The press made much of that when I first ran and I did speak against the proposed Marriage Amendment but I have not made that my defining issue, he said.
About Ron Fisher
Ron Fisher was born and grew up in a small town in Tennessee, the ninth of 13 children. He is a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy and retired as a navy captain in 1984. Since then, he has worked for two engineering firms and started a non-profit organization dedicated to fire prevention in the military. He moved to the area in 1977 and lives in Arlington. Although he has never run for political office, he has volunteered for many candidates over the years. Most recently, he worked on Republican presidential candidate John McCains campaign in 1999 and 2000.
?I am running as a member of the Independent Green Party because both major political parties have lost touch with the people they represent, Fisher said. Members of the Independent Green Party adhere to certain principles but vote their conscience not how the Party leaders say they should vote.
?I believe that my years in the navy and my work after I retired qualify me to go to Richmond and serve as a State Delegate, Fisher said.
If elected, I will support the repeal of all of Virginias regressive taxes such as the sales tax on food and maybe all sales tax. I believe that all of an individuals wealth should be taxed as property. That means stocks, bonds and all of the wealth that anyone has, he said.
On education: Every person should receive a free education, from kindergarten through college. My education at the Naval Academy was free and I got one of the best educations available in this country, Fisher said.
Healthcare is a big issue for Fisher. I believe in a one payer system that gets people everything from mental health services to long-term disability coverage to health care to life insurance. I also believe that we should take money away from those who are obese or who dont take care of themselves. They would get health coverage but would not receive as much money for that purpose as someone who takes care of himself, Fisher said. Fisher would like voters to know that, I am a caring individual whose experience makes me qualified to represent them.