Candidates make push to the finish line

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On Nov. 6, Alexandrians will go to the polls and elect five members of the Virginia General Assembly: two senators and three delegates. There are no other issues on the ballots. Two of the three races are uncontested, two other incumbents have only nominal opposition from Independent Green Party candidates, leaving only one race, in the 45th House District, truly contested.

The polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Voters may notice Party poll watchers using laptop computers and Personal Data Assistants inside the polling places, a change in policy from the past. The State Board of Elections has decided to permit those devices so that Party poll watchers can check voter lists. Cell phones are still prohibited.

Absentee voting will continue through the day before Election Day, and ballots that are mailed will be counted if they are postmarked on Election Day.
Anyone who wishes to know where to vote should visit the citys voters Web site at www.Alexandriavoter.org or call the Registrars Office at 703-838-4050.

Candidate profiles

  • House District 45

The 45th House District has incumbent Democrat David Englin being challenged by Republican Mark Allen. Englin was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2005, replacing longtime incumbent Democrat Marian Van Landingham, who decided not to seek re-election. During his first term, Englin spoke against the proposed Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage and supported measures that protect affordable housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities. He supported Gov. Tim Kaines (D) universal access to preschool initiative and has stated that K-12 education is off the table when it comes to making budget cuts.

While Englin did not initially support the regional transportation packages, he voted for Kaines amended transportation package. He supports a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants and is in favor of any measures that will restrict harmful emissions from Mirants Potomac River Generating Station. He is opposed to Kaines proposal to combine Virginias three citizen environmental Boards and if the measure is approved, supports a grandfather clause that will exempt any permits that are already being considered from being diverted into the new process.

Englin is a former U.S. Air Force officer who is now a stay-at-home father. He and his wife live in Del Ray, and their son attends Maury Elementary School.

His opponent, Mark Allen, has lived and owned a business in Alexandria since 1983. He moved to the region in 1976 after graduating from the University of Missouris School of Journalism. He attended Georgetown Law School at night and, in 1983, opened a law practice in Old Town. He also owns a real estate title company in Old Town. Allen has never held elected office but has served on the Alexandria Board of Zoning Appeals for eight years; is a past member of the board of directors of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce; and is currently a member of the board of trustees of the Virginia Outdoor Foundation, to which he was appointed by former governor Mark Warner. While he is running as a Republican, Allen has supported both Democrats and Republicans in the past, making financial contributions to Gov. Warner, Sen. John Warner and Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, to name a few.

Allens only new initiative, which he would propose if elected, is to require banks to pay interest on escrow accounts in real estate transactions, which are currently non-interest bearing. The interest earned would be given to local organizations that fund affordable housing projects. In Alexandria, for example, the money would go into the citys Housing Trust Fund. The measure would cost taxpayers nothing and would mean millions of additional dollars for affordable housing, according to Allen.

Allen supports the regional transportation package but believes that the State must take more responsibility for solving transportation problems and must develop a long-term plan that includes funding for mass transit and infrastructure. He supports a statewide ban on smoking and all measures that will make Alexandrias Mirant power plant safer.

He is a supporter of increasing the amount of open space in Virginia and protecting the Commonwealths natural resources. He would support raising taxes to pay for core services and transportation projects. He is pro choice, for gun control and believes that immigration policy is the responsibility of the federal government.

Allen and his wife, Elizabeth, live on Russell Road with their two teen-age daughters, who attend private school.

  • House District 46

Brian Moran has no challenger for the 46th House seat that he has occupied since 1997. He is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and a probable candidate for governor in 2009. During the current campaign, Moran has joined other Democrats in traveling around Virginia to provide support for Democratic candidates, hoping to win a majority in the Senate and make substantial gains in the House of Delegates. In addition to his time, he has contributed substantial amounts of money to these candidates.

A former prosecutor, Moran now has his own law practice in Alexandria. During his tenure in the House of Delegates, he has supported stiffer penalties for those convicted of drunk driving. He has also championed programs that support law enforcement officers and other public safety officers.

Moran supports a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and stronger monitoring and emissions controls on all coal-fired power plants in Virginia, particularly the Mirant plant in Alexandria. He supported the governors amended transportation package and his universal access to preschool initiative. Moran is widely known as someone who works well with all members of the House on both sides of the political aisle.

Moran and his wife, Karen, live on Alexandrias West End with their two children, who attend Macarthur Elementary School.

  • House District 49

Two-term Democrat Adam Ebbin is being challenged by Independent Green Party candidate James Ronald Ron Fisher in the 49th House District. Ebbin was first elected in 2003, replacing longtime delegate Karin Darner, who decided not to seek re-election. Ebbin has shown a willingness to reach out to both Republicans and Democrats to get legislation passed. His initiative to require the State to make State facilities as green as possible was defeated in the House but became reality through an executive order of the governor. He has successfully advocated for additional funding for mental health services and for early childhood education.

Ebbin represents a District that has the largest number of voting immigrants in Virginia. He has staunchly supported the enforcement of all laws but has opposed any law that might lead to racial profiling and unfair treatment of persons who are legally living and working in the United States.

He supported Kaines transportation amendments, supports a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants, and would like to see more regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Ebbin lives in Alexandria.

His challenger is Ron Fisher, who is running as a member of the Independent Green Party. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Fisher retired as a navy captain and has operated two different businesses since then. His primary focus is defense fire prevention and safety. Although he has never run for elected office before, he has worked on several political campaigns, most recently on Republican John McCains presidential campaign in 2000.

Fisher would like to see the sales tax on food repealed and might support the repeal of all sales tax. He believes that every child is entitled to a free public education from kindergarten throu
gh college. He supports building affordable housing on unused government land and providing transportation from those developments to jobs.

He supports a single-payer health care system that would provide health care, mental health care, long-term disability insurance and life insurance. All possessions, including money, should be taxed as property. Fisher believes that there would be sufficient money to pay for these initiatives if the United States was not involved in the war in Iraq.

Fisher and his wife live in Arlington. They have four grown sons who attended public school in Fairfax County.

  • The  30th Senatorial District

Democrat Patricia S. PatsyTicer has no opponent for the Senate seat in the 30th District. She was first elected to the Virginia General Assembly in 1995. Prior to that, she served as mayor of Alexandria and before that as a member of City Council. Prior to her career in politics, she worked in real estate.

As a state senator, Ticer is well-known for her support of social services and early childhood programs. She has sponsored several bills that have led to substantial increases in payment to Virginias foster parents but believes that not enough has been done. She has also supported additional mandatory testing on infants to identify certain disabilities at an earlier age.

She has proposed many bills to establish and adequately fund land conservation efforts throughout Virginia and efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Her efforts to protect and preserve Virginias forests are also well documented.

Ticer supported the governors amended transportation package, is in favor of a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants, and sponsored the only successful legislation to limit emissions from the Mirant plant in Alexandria.
Ticer lives in Old Town.

  • The  35th Senatorial District

Richard Saslaw, the minority leader in the Senate, is being challenged by Independent Green Party candidate Mario Palmiotto. A Democrat, Saslaw was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1975 and then to the Virginia Senate in 1979. For 27 years, he has served as an independent voice for Northern Virginia. He came to the region in 1960 after leaving military service. Since that time, he has owned and operated service stations in Maryland and Virginia.

Saslaw was the only member of Alexandrias legislative delegation who did not support the regional transportation package because he believes that it is the responsibility of the State government to adequately fund transportation solutions throughout the Commonwealth. He would raise the tax on gasoline to pay for infrastructure improvements and to support mass-transit projects.

He is a staunch supporter of additional funding for mental health services, believing that they have been neglected for far too long. He also supports Gov. Kaines universal access to preschool and hopes to find additional funding for those programs in the near future.

Saslaw believes that the City of Alexandria should work with Mirant to make the Potomac River Generating Station as clean and safe as possible under federal and state law, and that these laws and environmental regulations should be strictly monitored and enforced. He supports a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants and believes that such a ban will pass perhaps this year.

Like Moran, Saslaw has spent much of his time traveling throughout Virginia to support other Democratic candidates with his time and money. His goal is to help elect a Democratic majority in the Senate and make substantial Democratic gains in the House of Delegates.

Saslaw and his wife live in Fairfax County. They have an adult daughter who attended Thomas Jefferson High School.

His opponent, Mario Palmiotto, did not respond to requests for information about his positions. According to his responses to candidate questionnaires, his one issue seems to be light rail as a transportation solution for Northern Virginia. He has raised almost no money.

Palmiotto is a retired government and private auditor. He lives in Fairfax County and has volunteered his time as a youth coach in various sports.

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