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Virginia’s 1st Congressional District Candidate Questionnaire: Rob Wittman

By Susan Larson. Photo copyright Fredericksburg.Today

Incumbent Rob Wittman (R), Matt Rowe (D), and Gail Parker (I) are running for Virginia’s 1st District U.S. House of Representatives seat in the November, 8, 2016, general election.

In advance of the debate at the University of Mary Washington on October 24, Fredericksburg.Today invited each candidate to respond to a brief candidate questionnaire.

Update Monday, Oct. 24: Independent Gail Parker will also be participating in the debate on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. She was not included in the original announcement of the debate, but now confirms she has been invited and is attending. We have invited her to submit responses to our questionnaire.

Virginia’s 1st Congressional District Candidate Questionnaire: Matt Rowe

Virginia’s 1st Congressional District Candidate Questionnaire: Gail Parker

Following are the complete and unedited answers provided by Rep. Rob Wittman.

1 – Traffic is a big concern for constituents in the 1st district. What do you propose to do to improve this problem?
Persistent congestion is a barrier that holds this region back from further growth and opportunity. As a commuter, I’ve spent more than a little time sitting in standstill traffic on I-95, and I’ve seen first-hand the frustration and stagnation that gridlock traffic causes for our community.

There is no question that federal investment has to be a priority, but public and private sector leaders at both local and regional levels play a key role as well. Fredericksburg and Stafford and Prince William counties are some of the fastest growing areas in the region, and they have to commit to future development around already existing infrastructure.

With my support, VDOT recently received a federal FASTLANE grant of $165 million. Those federal dollars combined with $565 million in private investment and $710 million in public funding totals $1.4 billion to improve multi-modal travel along the I-95 corridor in Northern Virginia, the region’s most congested roadway. The project will extend 95 Express Lanes for seven miles north to the Potomac River, converting what is now HOV to HOT lanes, and extends the 95 Express Lanes 10 miles south to Fredericksburg to alleviate backups at the current southern terminus. These combined funds will also be used to construct a new southbound bridge on I-95 across the Rappahannock River and will add new commuter parking, technology upgrades, and truck parking along the corridor. If we can address the worst bottlenecks on the I-95 corridor in Northern Virginia, we can transform travel along the entire East Coast.

2 – What is your stand on immigration reform?
To fix our broken immigration system, we must first secure the border, enforce existing laws, and reform our visa program. I remain adamantly opposed to amnesty in any shape or form. Illegal immigration is a serious threat to our national security and additional significant steps must be taken to secure our borders. I do believe that legal immigration and provisions to ensure temporary and seasonal guest workers are important to business, agriculture, and local economies. I would support efforts that establish, strengthen, improve, a functional guest worker program.

3 – The region is home to many veterans. If elected, what would you do for veterans?
Military service requires significant sacrifice, and Virginia’s military Veterans have my unequivocal commitment when it comes to making sure they get the benefits that they’ve earned and deserve. I’ve made hearing from Veterans about the obstacles that they face a priority, and what I’ve heard at town halls and Veterans events I’ve sponsored all across the First District is this: the VA is failing when it comes to honoring its obligation to our Veterans. My job in Congress is to combat those failures. That’s why I sponsored a legislative package that would streamline the benefits claims process by establishing procedures for more efficient information sharing and would create public-private partnerships with qualified non-profits to aid Veterans in filing benefits claims. We have to target not only inefficiencies but also corruption at the VA. That’s why I supported a piece of legislation that would make it easier for the VA to release employees for wrongdoing and illegality. That’s a must.

But the debt we owe our Veterans has to be repaid through efforts beyond the legislative ones. I’ve made spending time getting to know our Veterans a priority, and I’ve participated in volunteer efforts through Wounded Warriors and other organizations to support our Veteran community through outdoor recreation and fellowship. The valuable contributions that our Veterans have made not only to our national security but to our communities deserve our utmost honor and recognition, and I believe that fighting for that is part of my calling as a public servant.

4 – What would you do to work toward improving bipartisan respect and alleviating gridlock in Congress?
There’s no question that Washington is broken. Year after year, we rely on short-term, stop-gap spending measures to fund government operations, and year after year, we contribute to the complacency, waste, and partisan bickering that has come to characterize Washington.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Folks across the First District have been clear about what they expect from Congress: they expect us to be committed to the task at hand, and they expect us to do our jobs on time. Those are pretty simple demands.

We need time for measured debate about the serious issues that we’re facing as a nation. That’s why I’ve continuously asked the Speaker not to adjourn for August Recess unless and until Congress has gotten through all twelve spending bills. It’s also why I’ve sponsored “No Budget, No Pay” legislation that would withhold pay for Members of Congress unless a budget has been passed by the House and the Senate by a certain deadline.

Ultimately, Congress gets stuck in gridlock because of a lack of respect: a lack of respect for the American people and a lack of respect for folks across the aisle. We may not always agree, but we share an obligation to work together to make sure we’re getting the people’s work done. That’s an obligation that I take seriously.
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About Rob Wittman
Wittman has held the seat since 2007. He is seeking the GOP nomination for Virginia governor in 2017. He previously served as a member of the state House of Delegates and the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors.

Website: Wittman for Congress
Facebook: facebook.com/RobertJWittman/
Twitter: @ReElectWittman

Virginia’s 1st Congressional District
Virginia’s 1st Congressional District includes the City of Fredericksburg and the City of Williamsburg; the counties of Caroline, Essex, Gloucester, King George, King William, King and Queen, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Stafford, Westmoreland, and York; and portions of the City of Newport News and the counties of Fauquier, James City, Prince William and Spotsylvania.

The Debate
The 1st District candidate debate will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, Dodd Auditorium at the University of Mary Washington, 1301 College Ave., Fredericksburg.

More
Fredericksburg Voters’ Guide for the 2016 Presidential General Election

Spotsylvania Voters’ Guide November 2016

Wittman, Rowe to Debate October 24 in Fredericksburg

Voter Registration Deadline Extended in Virginia

Presidential Candidate Jill Stein to Speak at UMW

Actress Bellamy Young and Former Undersecretary of State Judith McHale Campaign in Fredericksburg for Hillary Clinton

Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Speaks in Fredericksburg

Op-Ed: An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Hillary for America Office Opening in Fredericksburg

Matt Rowe Named Democratic Nominee for Congress in Virginia’s First District

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