One of the political contests drawing significant interest across Virginia during 2015 pits challenger Susan Stimpson, former Chairwoman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, against incumbent Delegate and House Speaker William Howell for the Republican nomination in House District 28.
The intra-Republican VA race reflects the increasing aggressiveness and strength of “Tea Party” conservatives who oppose tax hikes, government spending increases, and other forms of restrictions on individual liberty that some elected Republican lawmakers have backed.
Note: Ms. Stimpson will speak at a Northern Virginia Tea Party meeting at Grevey’s Restaurant in Falls Church, VA, on December 22 at 7:00 PM.
As the Stafford County Chairwoman during 2010-13, Ms. Stimpson established an enviable record as a cutter of both taxes and spending. According to her website:
Under her leadership Stafford County’s budget was reduced, 9 taxes were lowered or eliminated, and the county prioritized spending to focus on roads, schools, and public safety. Stafford’s economy is booming, reaching #1 in Virginia for job growth and #4 for business growth.
As presented in a recent article by Laura Vozzella in The Washington Post, Ms. Stimpson finds fault in Speaker Howell’s past support of tax increases, especially his “support for a tax-heavy, $1.2 billion-a-year transportation funding overhaul passed in 2013 under then-governor Robert F. McDonnell (R).”
Per Kenric Ward of Watchdog.org, Ms. Stimpson has also criticized “Virginia’s use and alleged misuse of public-private partnerships for road construction,” which rely on high-occupancy toll lanes. Says Ms. Stimpson:
If the tolls do not reach the agreed upon revenue levels, then the taxpayers must kick in tax dollars to offset that shortfall.
For his part, Speaker, and 26-year lawmaker, William Howell argues these transportation public-private partnerships have been successful, reducing taxpayer risks and “leverag(ing) the positives of the private sector to benefit transportation users.”
In welcoming Ms. Stimpson’s political challenge, Speaker Howell highlights his record as a legislator and Republican leader. As stated by Steve Albertson in The Bull Elephant:
Touting the 68-member Republican super-majority he has helped build in the Virginia House of Delegates, Howell’s announcement focused on the highlights of his career, while acknowledging that voters will be looking to the future: “I am running for re-election because I know there is more we can accomplish. Virginia needs real tax reform and relief for families and businesses. We need to increase opportunities and choice in education. And we need to continue to cut spending and make government smaller and more efficient.”
Yes, this classic political donnybrook between an uncompromising conservative outsider and a deal-making establishment insider promises to be the best political theater that Virginia has seen in a long while – going far back to June 2014 when similar forces arrayed against each other in the form of Dave Brat vs. Eric Cantor. Stay tuned for the fireworks!