(Oct. 3, 2016) Catherine Read talks with Virginia Senator Scott Surovell (SD-36) about a variety of topics in advance of the Nov. 8th elections. The presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has the potential to create additional electoral opportunities here in Virginia if U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia is elected Vice President. There is also a competitive Congressional race in the 10th District between two women candidates: incumbent Barbara Comstock (R) and challenger LuAnn Bennett (D).
One of the major local ballot issues in Fairfax County is the Meals Tax Referendum. The proposed tax would raise an estimated $100 million in additional revenues earmarked for the school budget, public safety, mental health services and tax relief. Senator Surovell’s district has a high number of Title I schools that would benefit from additional investment. The lack of teacher raises has made recruitment and retention of teachers an ongoing challenge for the Fairfax County Public School system. The Meals Tax is opposed by many in the restaurant industry in a campaign spearheaded by the locally owned Great American Restaurant Company.
Senator Surovell also takes us through parts of the Route 1 redevelopment plan. This particular part of Northern Virginia has some of the highest rates of poverty which greatly affects the schools, housing and transportation in the area. Senate District 36 has a great deal of economic and ethnic diversity. Sen. Surovell shows us maps, renderings and plans for redeveloping key parts of the area to include better transportation solutions and mixed use developments that provide additional housing solutions.
In the final segment, Senator Surovell discusses the Potomac water quality and the challenges of both cleaning up the waterways and protecting them from future pollution. He specifically addresses the disposal of coal ash and the problem with raw sewage originating in Alexandria. Efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed are dependent on vigilance about the waterways that feed into it.