Incumbent Saslaw faces independent challenger


On Nov. 6, Alexandrians will elect three members of the Virginia House of Delegates and two members of the Virginia Senate to represent them. In the 30th Senatorial District, incumbent Democrat Patricia S. Patsy Ticer has no opposition. In the 35th, incumbent Democrat Richard Saslaw is being challenged by Independent Green Party candidate Mario Palmiotto.

About Richard Saslaw
Saslaw has served in the Virginia Senate for 27 years and is now the Minority Leader. Prior to that, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates for two terms. He is a businessman who has owned and operated service stations in Virginia and Maryland. He has lived in the region since leaving military service in 1960. His daughter attended Thomas Jefferson High School, and he and his wife live in Fairfax County. During this election cycle, Saslaw has raised $59,450. He has spent $118,067 and, as of the end of this reporting period, Sept. 30, had $207,504 in the bank.

One of our goals is to elect Democrats and gain a majority in both the House and the Senate in Virginia, Saslaw said in an earlier interview. We have some very good Democratic candidates all around the state, and I am optimistic.

To that end, Saslaw has joined House Democratic Caucus Chairman Brian Moran, traveling throughout Virginia to support various candidates. He has also contributed money to many of those Democrats campaigns.

The issues
Saslaw was the only member of the Northern Virginia legislative delegation who did not support last years regional transportation bills.

It is the states responsibility to provide adequate funding to help solve all of our transportation problems, Saslaw said. If we raise the gas tax by just 1 cent, we can begin to achieve those solutions without causing our taxpayers significant hardship. Forcing localities to impose fees and raise local taxes is not the right way to address these statewide problems.

On the states budget shortfalls: The real estate market is not doing as well as it has in the past, so we are facing some hard decisions during the upcoming budget process. I do not believe that this will be the year for many new initiatives. However, I do hope that we dont lose the gains we have made in funding our mental health and education needs. We must protect our most vulnerable citizens, Saslaw said.

Saslaw is a realist about Alexandrias efforts to close Mirants Potomac River Generating Station. I drove by the plant the other day, and it seems to me that they are making some improvements, he said. The region is growing and so is the demand for power. The city needs to work with the owners of the plant to make it the cleanest facility it can be instead of wasting money on lawsuits. That would be a better use of taxpayers money.

Alexandria will have two vacancies, one on the Circuit Court and one in General District Court when Judge John Kloch and Judge Robert Giammittorio retire later this year. The last time the General Assembly was asked to make judicial appointments for the city, the House ignored the recommendations of the local Bar Association and the local legislative delegation.

In the Senate, we have always gone along with the local legislative delegations and that wont change this year. The results of the November election should tell us whats going to happen in the House, Saslaw said.

About Mario Palmiotto
Mario Palmiotto did not respond to a request for information for this article, but here is a brief description of him and his views. He is 62 years old and is a retired government and private auditor. He lives in the Columbia Pines neighborhood and has never held public office. However, he has been a longtime volunteer youth coach and was a member and the chairman of his Neighborhood Watch program. He has raised no money.

According to Palmiottos responses to various questionnaires, he sees traffic congestion as the biggest problem facing the region. He believes that this problem can be solved by expanding rail service and also believes that this solution will limit the impact on the environment.

His primary campaign platform is: Its time for a change.

(No usable photo was available of challenger Mario Palmiotto)