Tuesday, January 05, 2010

What David Marsden Says in Front of Friendly Audiences

Scenes from a Debate

This past fall, my congregation hosted a debate between David Marsden and Kerry Bolognese for the 41st House of Delegates seat. The congregation I attend is much more liberal than conservative, politically speaking, though people of all political stripes are always given a gracious welcome. Little did Mr. Marsden know that this blogger was present.

During the debate, the candidates were asked several questions submitted by congregation members. I am not going to recount every question and answer here. However, given Delegate Marsden’s claim to being “moderate,” I think that the highlights of his responses in a recent forum should be shared with the public.

David Marsden attacked the idea of a tax cut. He said that programs such as schools and roads that compete for funding would get hurt. He wants to give better funding to community colleges when the economy recovers. Unlike Kerry Bolognese, Marsden made no commitment to monitoring how money is actually spent.

Marsden insists that as a low tax State, Virginia does not have the money to get work done. The fact that Northern Virginia gets back only 30% of its highway dollars did not seem to bother him. Rather, he said that the 17-cent per gallon gas tax does not buy what it used to (despite the fact that Northern Virginia has a lot more people paying this tax).

As far as public-private partnerships are concerned, David Marsden thinks that the “public” part is just not there. Apparently, Northern Virginia does not have a lot of “shovel-ready” projects. Apparently, extending Metro to Fort Belvoir is a good idea in Marsden’s mind. (Ah, but aren’t we lacking in money?)

Marsden was most interesting when asked about waste that can be eliminated. When Kerry Bolognese recounted the Wilder Commission as well as specific items (and given the short time given for responses, no one can give a complete list), Marsden’s attitude was that it was like finding “$2.98 from couch cushions.” (his words) He thinks that we have reached a limit as far as cost savings are concerned while spending “needs” have been raised.

When asked about what pet project he would want to fund for the 41st District, Marsden responded that he had introduced three bills to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. These bills could create jobs for watermen. Marsden did not mention how many Chesapeake Bay watermen lived in Burke and Springfield.

On card check issues, when Bolognese noted what a disaster it would be, Marsden insisted that card check was compatible with small businesses. Of course, he gave the usual union line about how we owe having weekends to unions. He claims that he would only apply card check to large employers, though he did not give a specific figure.

When asked about fighting crime and gangs, David Marsden did support prosecution. He also mentioned having gang prevention activities and outlawing pneumatic weapons. Kerry Bolognese pointed out that Marsden opposed HB 1626, which would allow homeowners to protect themselves. Also, on crime issues, Marsden supports closing “loopholes” at gun shows and supports legislation to mandate background checks.

Finally, Marsden was amusing on other energy and environmental issues. He supports environmental initiatives that are “fiscally sound’ (of course), but then he said he supported setting up windmills in an old Ford plant. Marsden came out opposing drilling off the coast of Virginia, giving the excuse that it would interfere with Navy bombing exercises. He must be glad that his opponent in the State Senate race knows a thing or two about the Navy!

In summary, while Marsden has done a lot of admirable work in the juvenile justice field, has a long record of public service, and isn’t as radically pro-abortion as some of his Democratic colleagues, he is still very much out of touch with voters of the 37th District and rather uncurious about government accountability. You would think someone with the long public service record he claims would understand where to look for cost savings, but perhaps David Marsden has grown comfortable in the fact that government runs on someone else’s money. Perhaps, in front of an audience he perceives as more liberal, he could be more candid about the kind of person he is. Voters of the 37th District will be well-served by electing Steve Hunt as the next State Senator to get quality representation in Richmond.