I recently had a chance to interview Bert Dodson (by email), Democrat running for the Senate in the newly-formed 22nd District. He is a businessman from Lynchburg, and has served on the City Council. Here then are the questions I asked and answers from Mr. Dodson. My questions are in italics, his answer has his initial beside it.
MB: How would you translate your extensive business experience to results in solving Virginia’s continuing fiscal difficulties?
BD: Being a business owner will give me a unique perspective in the State Senate. I understand the implications that laws, taxes, and regulations have on business and how beneficial or harmful they actually are. I can find a balance between creating a climate that will attract business and one that protects the natural ecology and beauty of our state.
What would be your number one priority in helping solve the Commonwealth’s transportation problems?
BD: My number one priority in solving our transportation problems will be to create bipartisan support. Until both sides are willing to sit down and discuss solutions, a comprehensive long-term transportation plan will not be achievable.
If you had to pick one challenge in Virginia in terms of governance, which would you choose to work on first after taking office?
BD: I would support legislation or a constitutional amendment to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process. Worthy of consideration is the creation of an independent and bipartisan commission that would recommend compact and contiguous districts. I believe that there is significant momentum for nonpartisan redistricting, and I hope it would be considered seriously during next year’s General Assembly session.
Finally, briefly, what steps would you advocate in order to address the growing difficulties with education at every level in the Commonwealth?
BD: Education is the foundation of our society. If we want to stay competitive as a Commonwealth, we need to invest in the education of our children and grandchildren. K-12 teachers should be paid a competitive wage that will attract the best and brightest into that profession. Old and outdated k-12 schools should be renovated so the children who attend those schools are not at a disadvantage. Steps need to be taken to prevent college tuition from spiking year after year. College should be made more affordable for those who cannot afford it. Community college and trade schools should be readily available for high school graduates and unemployed entering workforce-retraining programs.
Thank you Mr. Dodson, for your time.