Second District Showdown






 


We questioned the congressional candidates about their views—check out the breakdown before heading to the polls in November.

On Nov. 2, Hampton Roads will go to the polls and choose our congressional representatives for the next two years. Congressional districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are situated in the region, and all four races are contested.
We've focused our candidate interviews on the most competitive race—that in the 2nd Congressional District—including incumbent Democrat Congressman and former Foreign Service Officer Glenn Nye, 38; local entrepreneur and Republican candidate Scott Rigell, 50; and former chairman of the Virginia Beach Republican Committee, independent candidate Commodore Kenny Golden, 60.
We also asked one reader in each of the congressional districts what was important to them this election year. You'll find their responses as well as a handy resource for more information on all the candidates running in each district in the pages that follow.

 

Commodore
Kenny Golden

What's the best way to create new and sustainable jobs in the 2nd District and the nation as a whole?

The best ways to create jobs is save jobs here. If we don't save these carriers, we're going to be in deep trouble. They're not going to move one carrier, they're going to move two. That's more than $825 million a year in salary that will leave Hampton Roads, and that doesn't count all the ancillary jobs and high industrial capacity that's needed to maintain an aircraft carrier. We're the only ones on the East Coast that can do that.


What would you define
as a fair tax?


I'd work for a tax on consumption, not income. That's why I think the fair tax is a fair tax. I'd also get rid of the tax on the retirement income of military personnel. That's a disincentive for people to stay in the state of Virginia.

How well has the Obama administration handled issues like the economy, health care reform, national security and foreign affairs, illegal immigration, and the Gulf oil spill? How would your voice alter public policy?

The biggest effect that the administration can have on the economy is to turn confidence around and show a willingness to reduce the deficit. President Obama has done nothing of that sort.

It's a fallacy that we don't have a medical system in this country. We have Medicare, Medicaid and the prescription drug benefit. The president had a golden opportunity at the Blair House meeting. When the Republicans said they liked 80 percent of the proposal, he should have said 'show me the 80 percent you like and we'll pass it right now.' Trying to do every thing in one year is insane. You must first modernize the health care industry that you have.

Our foreign policy has to be based on what is good for our national interest and not how people feel about us in the rest of the world. The President wants to be conciliatory.

President Bush failed us and President Obama is still failing us on immigration. Close the southern borders of the county. Then control the borders and establish the other programs he's talking about, like the guest worker program and others that you absolutely need to conduct business.

By day three of the oil spill, you have a pretty good idea of how bad it is. The President should have empowered a standing joint task force and established a whole infrastructure for dealing with it. That didn't happen because the President doesn't have the knowledge and experience.

Should we explore for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia Beach today? How would the commonwealth and the local cities benefit financially if drilling commenced?

We're set up ideally for that. The area in Little Creek where we built the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel—it's got a rail head, a seaport, and room to build. However, I have called for a moratorium for new exploration. We should take six months to put in place the same type of program that we have in the Navy nuclear program. In Hampton Roads, there have been a dozen nuclear teapots boiling water safely for the last 50 years with no accidents, problems or pollution. The criteria is so strict and the oversight is so intense—that's exactly what we need to do with our oil program.

Would you describe yourself as pro-choice, pro-life or somewhere in the middle of the debate?

I think abortion is wrong. There should be no government funding for abortion anywhere, including military hospitals. I'll put in legislation that will protect young children in the womb. Partial birth abortions are insane to me. We should give a woman other options, including helping her raise the child or give it up for adoption.

What's the biggest issue facing military operations in the 2nd District? What will you do to address it?

The biggest issue is the lack of funding for ongoing maintenance for our ships. Look at the INSURV, a comprehensive inspection of an entire ship done by experts. The trends are not good. The Aegis radar systems are starting to have a 41 percent failure rate. One of the biggest challenges in military operations is properly setting the level of research and development with operational maintenance.

What can be done by the federal government to help solve Hampton Roads' transportation crisis? What specific proposals will you generate?

The first thing I'd do is fix the 460 corridor. I'd like to see another crossing that would allow us to do some sort of rail transportation out of the Southside up to Richmond and beyond. We're the only place that has such bad rail service. I'm a big believer in rail transportation, so a big priority must be high speed rail.

Candidates make promises during campaigns about bringing money to their districts. This money has to come from somewhere. When you get to Washington, what will you promise not to do and how will you make that case to the voters?

You need to have a deep understanding of how the military budget works. You may say we need to be more business oriented, but the business here is the U.S. military. My first hire will be an individual who understands what a program element
is—the basic unit of measure in a military budget. One of the biggest things I'll be working on is the Defense Authorization Bill, and I will not entertain earmarks that should not be a part of it.

 

Rep. Glenn Nye

What's the best way to create new and sustainable jobs in the 2nd District and
the nation as a whole?


Small businesses are the driving force behind our economy. And the best way to encourage job growth is to support these small businesses. As chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Technology and Contracting, I have worked to make sure our small businesses have the resources they need to thrive—through tax cuts, incentives to hire and access to capital.

What would you define as a fair tax?

I believe that a fair tax is one that doesn't place an unbearable burden on our families. I have worked across the aisle to champion several fiscally responsible tax cuts, which serve as an important economic tool for businesses and allow Americans to keep their hard earned incomes. For instance, we need to place a higher priority on targeted long-term business tax cuts. Consistency and the ability to plan ahead are crucial for business growth. Who is going to hire a new employee if they don't know how revenues will be affected six months from now? We need to extend taxes like the R&D tax credit, eliminate the estate tax, incentivize banks to lend to small businesses, and keep capital gains taxes at their current reduced levels.

How well has the Obama administration handled issues like the economy, health care reform, national security and foreign affairs, illegal immigration, and the Gulf oil spill? How would your voice alter
public policy?


When President Obama took office, his administration faced a number of grave challenges, including an economy on the verge of collapse. While I believe his administration has handled many of these challenges well, I haven't always voted alongside the President. At the end of the day, I vote in the best interests of the people I represent in Virginia's 2nd District.

Should we explore for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia Beach today? How would the commonwealth and the local cities benefit financially if drilling commenced?

I am supportive of offshore drilling so long as it does not interfere with military operations and it is done in a safe and responsible manner. The Navy has identified certain areas where it cannot allow drilling because of operational and training missions. I do not support drilling in those areas.

To protect our national security, we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I believe that expanding domestic oil and natural gas drilling, including offshore drilling, will be necessary to achieve this goal. In the long-term, however, we must continue to develop more renewable energy sources, and I am partnering with the City of Virginia Beach to potentially bring offshore wind farms, and thousands of jobs, to our community. It's important to note that offshore wind must also comply with the needs of our Armed Forces.

Would you describe yourself as pro-choice, pro-life or somewhere in the middle of the debate?

As a Christian, I strongly believe Congress should strive to drastically reduce the number of abortions. We can do more to prevent unintended pregnancies and strengthen families. However, I do believe that with the counsel of her minister, family, and doctor, a woman should be allowed to make the reproductive health decisions that are appropriate for her.

What's the biggest issue facing military operations in the 2nd District? What will you do to address it?

The Navy's proposal to move a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier from NS Norfolk to NS Mayport in Florida continues to be the biggest issue facing military operations in our district. The move is unnecessary, redundant, and diverts critical defense funding from more pressing Navy priorities. I have fought this move since before I took office—successfully getting the potential move delayed to 2019—and will continue to fight it until the Navy drops the proposal altogether.

What can be done by the federal government to help solve Hampton Roads' transportation crisis? What specific proposals will you generate?

Traffic congestion in Hampton Roads is debilitating. A feasible and energy-efficient solution to this problem is the addition of high-speed rail connecting Hampton Roads to the rest of Virginia and the Eastern Seaboard. In addition, I have been working to ensure the federal transportation system works for Hampton Roads. I supported the Recovery Act, which funded the widening of Witchduck Road to 6 lanes, improving our local infrastructure by relieving the traffic congestion at one of our busiest thoroughfares. Additionally, I recently introduced legislation that would allow servicemembers to use the HOV lane. These initiatives would decrease traffic and help get people in our district where they need to go—to school, to work and to duty.

Candidates make promises during campaigns about bringing money to their districts. This money has to come from somewhere. When you get to Washington, what will you promise not to do and how will you make that case to the voters?

When I was first elected to Congress, I pledged to keep the federal government from spending beyond its means. My record of fiscal responsibility reflects this pledge. I took decisive action by voting against the bloated yearly budget, seven non-defense appropriations bills that increased spending, and the $350 billion Wall Street bailout. In fact, I recently introduced the SWEEP Act, legislation that will identify and root out unnecessary, duplicative, and wasteful government spending. I also voted against health care reform legislation because it simply cost too much.

 

Scott Rigell

What's the best way to
create new and sustainable
jobs in the 2nd District and
the nation as a whole?
Hiring new employees requires confidence in the future—I know that from first-hand experience. Yet virtually every action taken by this Congress has caused entrepreneurs to fear rather than look forward to the future. To restore confidence in our economy, we need strong leadership that will create a low tax, less bureaucratic environment and stop the reckless growth of the federal government. If given the privilege to serve, I'll use my 30 years of proven business experience—20 as an entrepreneur—to move forward my number one priority: putting America back to work by creating jobs right here in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.

What would you define as a fair tax?

Taxes are fair when they are as low as possible to allow for the core functions of our government. Overly complicated and excessive taxes hold back job creation. Yet in the midst of this deeply painful recession, Democrats in Congress will likely raise taxes on millions of Americans when capital gains, dividends, death, marriage penalty and income taxes skyrocket effective Jan. 1, 2011. We are taxed enough. Washington elites who have never started or run a business do not understand that. I firmly oppose tax increases and proudly signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

How well has the Obama administration handled issues like the economy, health care reform, national security and foreign affairs, illegal immigration, and the Gulf oil spill? How would your voice alter
public policy?


Our nation is on the wrong track and deeply divided in large part because the administration has moved far too fast on far too many issues. Massive legislation was forced through Congress without careful review. Of the health care bill, Speaker Pelosi said, "We have to pass the bill to know what's in it." That stunning admission should disturb every American, regardless of party affiliation. Congressman Nye supports Nancy Pelosi's leadership and vision for America. His very first vote was to make her Speaker of the House, and he would certainly cast that same vote again if sent back to Congress in January. In clear contrast to the freshman incumbent who is part of a team that embraces big government, I will bring a strong, experienced, and civil voice to Washington calling for new national priorities: creating jobs, cutting federal spending and changing Congress.

Should we explore for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia Beach today? How would the commonwealth and the local cities benefit financially if drilling commenced?

The catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is inexcusable. British Petroleum and our federal government failed the American people; both should be held fully accountable. I support a limited moratorium on offshore drilling because we have a moral obligation to leave the next generation with clean air, clean soil and clean water. The moratorium gives us time to learn from what happened. Offshore energy exploration should continue, but only after we have absolute confidence that our systems, equipment and contingency plans fully safeguard human life and our environment. I will help move America towards energy independence. It makes America safer and also represents enormous potential to put Americans right here in our district back to work harnessing the full range of available energy sources, including wind, tidal, solar, biomass and nuclear.

Would you describe yourself as pro-choice, pro-life or somewhere in the middle of the debate?

I am pro-life. I believe America is at its very best when protecting the innocent.

What's the biggest issue facing military operations in the 2nd District? What will you do to address it?

The operational tempo required to fight two wars simultaneously places extraordinary demands on our people and equipment. Each year, we ask our brave men and women in uniform to do more with less. To their great credit, they have done so with distinction, bravery and honor. But people and equipment have limits. In serving our district, I will be the strongest advocate for our men and women in uniform, ensuring that they receive the very best leadership, equipment, training and care.

Regarding jobs, elected officials from other states work relentlessly to poach our military assets and commands, representing a very serious threat to our local economy. To keep and grow jobs here in our district, we need better leadership. I will replace the current approach, characterized by "undecided" and "too little-too late" with a business plan and leadership leveraging the unique advantages we have in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.

What can be done by the federal government to help solve Hampton Roads' transportation crisis? What specific proposals will you generate?

I will work closely with Gov. Bob McDonnell, our Virginia delegation and our local leaders to ensure that Virginia takes full advantage of all federal resources available to solve our transportation challenges. We must renew the federal legislation that provides funding for our nation's highways and transit systems, which is vital for Virginia's transportation funding.

We must transform our federal funding structure on transportation to give greater authority and funding flexibility to the states by reducing the reams of federal mandates and stipulations attached to federal funds. We must become more market driven in transportation so we can better identify projects that make sense in an environment of limited financial resources—and identify projects which might attract private investment.

Candidates make promises during campaigns about bringing money to their districts. This money has to come from somewhere. When you get to Washington, what will you promise not to do and how will you make that case to the voters?

My personal mission is changing Congress. I have already led in this area by introducing specific congressional reforms that challenge a Congress completely detached from us and financial reality. From eliminating perks and ultra-generous retirement privileges, to rolling back office budget increases, I will live by my reforms, whether enacted into law or not.

 

 

 

 

For the rest of this article with information on how local citizens stand on the current administration, see the October 2010 issue of Hampton Roads Magazine.

Add your comment: