To the editor:
While his reference to Senator Mark Warner as the carpet-bagging former governor reveals Lee Hernlys letter (Delegate David Englin Strikes Again, May 27, 2010) to be a transparent partisan attack, it contains some misstatements I feel compelled to correct.
First, as a Jewish elected official, I have always spoken out against anti-Semitism, regardless of the source. In the case of Gov. Bob McDonnells (R) appointment of Fred Malek to chair Virginias Government Reform Commission, I am disturbed by Maleks past history of purging Jews from government during the Nixon administration; however, the fact that he was fined $100,000 by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2008 for his personal role in a $75-million fraud against Connecticut taxpayers is alone sufficient to disqualify him from chairing Virginias Government Reform Commission.
Second, Hernly claims that I wasted taxpayer dollars creating a website to enable citizens to contact Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli (R) and express their opposition to his lawsuit attacking health care reform. Thats false. I did create a website that enabled Cuccinnelli to hear from thousands of his constituents who support health care reform. I make no apologies for helping mobilize Virginians to stand up to Cuccinellis crusades against health care reform, climate change and the independence of scientific research at our public universities. But those efforts are funded by political contributions, not taxpayer money.
Third, Hernly dismisses my criticism of Malek by attacking me for trying to raise taxes on the average citizen. Thats a predictable sound bite that misrepresents my record. Its true that I have tried to raise the gas tax, which is a user fee on our roads, reduces traffic congestion by incentivizing mass transit and improves air quality by reducing carbon emissions.
Its also true that I have tried to raise the cigarette tax to the national average, which would bring in $324 million annually and save more than $1 billion in long-term health care costs. However, I also helped create and expand Virginias Energy Star and Water Sense Sales Tax Holiday, and I am fighting for a reform package that would eliminate the state sales tax on food, lower income taxes for the middle class and eliminate corporate income taxes for 22,000 struggling businesses.
I also developed the Renewable Energy Job Creation Tax Credit, which this year passed as a bipartisan Green Jobs Bill (the McDonnell Administrations press release of the bill signing even acknowledged my role.)
Finally, to answer Hernlys question about why Alexandria elects folks like this, I hope its in part because most Alexandrians share my belief that governing is about making responsible and not purely ideological choices.
Del. David Englin
Delegate of Virginias 45th District