Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling Recognizes Rust at Annual Conference Last Week
Herndon, VA- Last week, the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling recognized Delegate Tom Rust for his efforts in proposing legislation and policy initiatives to promote equal access to higher education and to encourage student achievement.
This session, Delegate Rust supported legislation to increase the number of slots at Virginia’s major universities, raise Virginia Tuition Assistance Grants from $2,800 to $3,100, and add an additional $30.8 million to making college degrees more affordable.
“Access and affordability are the two components to higher education that we can consistently improve upon. I am grateful to the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling for recognizing the work that we as a legislature have accomplished this session to help expand access to education, but we need to do more in this regard,” said Delegate Rust. “We need to increase access to our community colleges and trade schools, giving students more options for their futures and expanding career opportunities. STEM education – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education – is one of the keys to our future economy, and we need to provide more opportunities to school boards to invest in STEM initiatives.”
Delegate Rust serves on the House of Delegates Education Committee and is Chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee.
Herndon, VA – The Virginia Chamber of Commerce recognized Delegate Tom Rust at their annual Legislative Awards Recognition Dinner for his support on initiatives that have helped move Virginia forward. Rust received an “A+” rating for supporting pro-business legislation during the 2013 General Assembly session.
Delegate Rust commented, “During the past several years, the General Assembly has focused on strengthening Virginia’s economy and creating jobs. Virginia’s unemployment is now at 5.3%, the lowest unemployment rate east of the Mississippi River, and this is a result of our efforts to increase job growth and promote Virginia businesses. I am honored to be recognized for my efforts to make Virginia one of the top states in the nation to own a business.”
Barry DuVal, President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber stated, “The Legislative Report Card allows us to recognize and honor legislators who uphold free market principles and support the interests of the business community.”
This year the General Assembly passed a landmark transportation bill that passed with bipartisan support. This legislation will ensure long-term, dedicated and sustainable funding to meet Virginia’s vital highway, rail and transit needs in the future. This is important to businesses in the Commonwealth and those who are considering moving to Virginia.
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is the Commonwealth’s largest business advocacy organization with more than 13,000 members.
I have been active during the past several weeks speaking and attending events across the district as well as meeting with constituents. I recently gave an interview to HCTV about the 2013 legislative session which can be viewed on Cox channel 23 or Verizon channel 28. If you have an event you would like me to attend, please contact my legislative office.
Unemployment Down and Economy Growing
Virginia’s unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent according to data released by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast, and the second lowest unemployment rate east of the Mississippi River. Virginia’s unemployment rate is now over a full point lower than any of our neighboring states. This is a result of our efforts to increase job growth and promote Virginia businesses. Unfortunately, one thing that is not in our control is sequestration, and its effects will be evident in the coming months.
Virginia Ranks Best
A report released by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce recognized Virginia among the top three states in the country for innovation and entrepreneurship. This recognition is due to our focus on job creation in the private sector. Virginia is a national leader when it comes to supporting startups and new jobs. Among the findings of the report, Virginia may be the best state in the nation for STEM jobs, with Virginia having the highest share of business establishments in high tech industries.
Making College Affordable
Governor McDonnell recently sent a letter to all state public university presidents asking them to voluntarily keep in-state tuition increases for the upcoming fall semester to the annual increase in the consumer price index. As chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee, I am working to make college more affordable. This past session, I supported legislation to increase the number of slots at Virginia’s major universities, to raise Virginia Tuition Assistance Grants from $2,800 to $3,100 and to add an additional $30.8 million to making college degrees more affordable. This will help achieve our goal of awarding an additional 100,000 degrees over the next 15 years with a focus on science, technology, engineering, math and health disciplines.
Higher Education Recognition
Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling recognized me for my efforts in proposing legislation and policy initiatives to promote equal access to higher education and to encourage student achievement. Access and affordability are the two components to higher education that we can consistently improve upon. I am grateful to the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling for recognizing the work that we as a legislature have accomplished this session to help expand access to education, but we need to do more in this regard. We need to increase access to our community colleges and trade schools, giving students more options for their futures and expanding career opportunities. STEM education – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education – is one of the keys to our future economy, and we need to provide more opportunities to school boards to invest in STEM initiatives.
Love Your Neighbor, Feed Your Neighbor
A food drive is being conducted by multiple local faith based ministries in Loudoun County. Donations can be dropped off at my legislative office, located at 730 Elden Street in Herndon, or at St. Matthews Episcopal Church, located at 201 East Frederick Drive in Sterling. The LINK pantry will benefit from this food drive, and I encourage you to help our neighbors who need a hand up.
Transportation: Six-Year Plan
The Commonwealth Transportation Board is hosting a public hearing to provide Northern Virginia citizens an opportunity to review and provide comments on projects and programs to be included in the Fiscal Years 2014-2019 Six-Year Improvement Program, which includes highway, rail, and public transportation initiatives. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 29 at 6:00 p.m. at the VDOT District Office at 4975 Alliance Drive in Fairfax. Topics of discussion will include pedestrian and road safety, congestion, and preservation of Virginia’s transportation network. Please consider attending so that the CTB knows which projects you feel are deserving of the state’s limited transportation funds.
Lyme Disease and How to Protect Yourself
May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and I encourage you to become educated on how to protect yourself. 280,000 Americans have been diagnosed with Lyme disease since 2002, with an additional 30,000 diagnosed last year alone. The disease can have lifelong debilitating effects such as arthritis, fatigue, and even neurological complications. Here are some precautions that you can take to protect yourself and your family:
- Perform daily tick checks. Remember, ticks that carry Lyme disease can be as small as the size of a pinhead. If you find a tick, consider putting your clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill any remaining ticks.
- Wear long-sleeved, long-legged, light-colored clothing when in grassy areas.
- Tuck pant legs into socks; tuck shirts into pants.
- Use products containing 20% DEET on skin.
- Use products containing permethrin on clothing and footwear.
- Avoid walking in areas with tall grass or in shaded areas. Instead, walk on trails, and avoid brushing against vegetation.
Symptoms of Lyme disease vary among individuals, making Lyme disease difficult to diagnose and treat. The typical “bulls-eye” rash occurs in less than 50% of patients. Joint, musculoskeletal, neurological, and psychological symptoms have also been reported. For more information on lyme disease, please visit:
Remember, Lyme disease is treatable if detected early, and not all ticks carry Lyme disease. Please contact your physician for information regarding the disease and how to protect yourself.
Tom in the Community
- This year, Tom played auctioneer at the Herndon-Reston FISH Fling’s silent auction. $50,000 was raised to help our neighbors and families in need.
- Last month, I had the pleasure of serving as Honorary Chair of the 2013 Northern Virginia Kidney Walk. The event helped to raise funds for the National Kidney Foundation’s initiatives for kidney disease awareness, prevention and treatment.
- I was invited to throw out the opening pitch at Herndon High School’s Baseball Sponsor Appreciation Night. Fortunately, I had some help with my pitch from a junior Hornet!
- Congratulations to Lukas Funke and Eric Hepfinger, two new Eagle Scouts for the Herndon area! It was an honor to be in attendance at their induction ceremony in recognition of their achievement.
- The Second Annual Chantilly Day Festival and Business Expo was a large success, bringing together residents and businesses in recognition of the achievements of the areas small businesses and students. Here, I am speaking with a recipient of a $1,000 STEM scholarship awarded on behalf of the Chantilly-Centreville Chamber of Commerce.
- Last week, I joined Braddock District Supervisor John Cook and Fairfax County Republican Club Chairman Jay McConville to present a gift donation of over 400 personal care items to the Lamb Center, a day-time drop in center for the poor and homeless of Fairfax County. The center provides numerous services to residents such as hot meals, showers, and job readiness development. My sincere thanks to all who helped provide this gift to our friends at the Lamb Center.
- At Herndon’s 29th Annual Mayor’s Volunteer Appreciation Awards, 447 OutstandingService Awards went to those who contributed thousands of hours of community service to Herndon. Congratulations to Ivan Young, Rudy Tassara, Robin Carroll and Kyle Alger who received Distinguished Service Awards.
The center provides numerous services to residents such as hot meals, showers, and job readiness development. Today is just one example of how small, individual contributions can grow into a larger, meaningful gift of support. My sincere thanks to everyone who helped provide this gift to our friends at the Lamb Center.
Hampton, VA – The Virginia Education Association recognized Delegate Tom Rust as a “Legislative Champion” at their state conference last week. He was recognized for supporting public education during the 2013 General Assembly. As a champion of public schools, Rust introduced a center aisle resolution proclaiming the VEA’s 150th anniversary.
“For the past 150 years, the Virginia Education Association has worked tirelessly to give each student a high quality public education, while encouraging the student to realize their full potential so that they can be successful after they graduate,” said Rust. “This is possible because of the outstanding teachers and staff who are dedicated to the students.”
During the 2013 General Assembly session, Delegate Rust copatroned bills on allowing school boards to set their school calendar (HB1467 passed in the House, but failed in the Senate), requiring school boards to prohibit bullying in their policies and procedures (HB1871 will become law on July 1st), providing early intervention in reading and math for underachieving students (HB2068 will become law on July 1st), requiring teacher personnel records be confidential (HB1889 will become law on July 1st), and three bills to improve school safety (HB2343, HB2344, and HB2345 which will become law on July 1st).
Delegate Rust represents Herndon, and parts of Sterling, Oak Hill and Chantilly. He serves on the House of Delegates Education committee, and with the retirement of the chairman is the third ranking committee member. Rust also serves as chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee. Rust was the first of three generations of graduates from Herndon High School, with his grand-daughter graduating from Herndon last year.
The 2013 Reconvene Session and the Special Session of the General Assembly took place on April 3rd. During the Reconvene session, the House of Delegates and the Senate consider the Governor’s vetoes and amendments of bills which passed the General Assembly during the regular session. The Special Session considers the judicial vacancies in the Commonwealth. The Reconvene session began on a sad note, with several members announcing that they will not be seeking reelection. Among these is the longest serving member, Delegate Lacey Putney, who will be remembered for his knowledge of the budget, superb oratory skills, and wit. Other delegates who are not seeking reelection include Delegate Tata, Delegate Purkey, Delegate Johnson, Delegate John Cox, Delegate Crockett-Stark, Delegate Iaquinto and Delegate Merricks. The Special Session dealt with the appointment of judges. Both the House of Delegates and the Senate approved restoring funding for a Circuit Court judge and a General District Court judge in Fairfax County. Unfortunately, the Senate chose to not appoint a judge to the Circuit Court in Loudoun County despite unanimous approval in the House.
I invite you to join me and Team Rust on Sunday, April 21 at 2:30 p.m., for the 2013 Northern Virginia Kidney Walk at the Reston Town Center. I am serving as Honorary Chair of the Northern Virginia Kidney Walk and the funds raised will help support the foundation’s initiatives in awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease and the need for organ donation. This is an issue that hits close to home because I have two people very close to me with diabetes, and kidney health is something that we are all very much aware. So many Americans are unaware of the complications that can accompany issues with diabetes and high blood pressure – both of which are on the rise in the U.S. – and kidney disease is one of them. It kills 90,000 each year – that’s more than breast or prostate cancer. Because symptoms of the disease may not appear until the kidneys are actually failing, millions with kidney damage remain unaware and are not taking steps to protect their health. Early detection and proper treatment can slow the progress of kidney disease. I hope that you will consider participating in the walk with us. 81 cents of every dollar raised goes to vital services that support education, treatment, and patient support programs. If you are interested in walking with us, please visit http://donate.kidney.org/site/TR?team_id=140571&fr_id=5552&pg=team.
My office is offering an internship for a student this spring and summer. Strong communication and organizational skills are required. Applicants need not have prior experience but must express an interest in government, community outreach and engagement. Interested applicants should contact my office at 703-437-9400 or my legislative aide Carol Sinclair at email@example.com. Resume and cover letter are strongly encouraged.
Tax Refund Changes
As a result of new legislation, Virginia has implemented a significant change in the way you may receive your individual income tax refund. There are two options for receiving your refund, direct deposit and the new refund debit card. When filing your return, both paper and software versions of the individual income tax returns require that one of these two options be selected. Requesting a paper refund check is no longer an option.
Before filing your return, please ensure that both the banking information and the birth date(s) have been entered correctly on your return. If you use a Tax Preparer, please make sure the preparer selects the option that works best for you and that, when selecting direct deposit, the correct banking information is used. While using direct deposit is still the fastest method for receiving your refund, the refund debit card offers a secure and convenient alternative to paper and takes about the same amount of time as paper refund checks did previously. Please visit the Department’s website for additional information such as where and how to use the refund debit card, how to use the card for free, transactions with associated fees, the fee schedule, and how the card works for joint filers.
Join me for Coffee
I would like you to join me for coffee on April 20th at 9 a.m. at the Starbucks in the Fox Mill Shopping Center. This is an opportunity for you to discuss the issues facing Virginia and our community. I always enjoy hearing from constituents, and I hope you will consider attending.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Herndon High School Robotics team for receiving the Engineering Inspiration Award at the Regional FIRST Robotics competition. They will be competing at the World championship in St. Louis at the end of the April. Good Luck!
A team of Chantilly High School students won first place in the 2013 Governor’s Challenge in Economics and Personal Finance (advanced economics division) in Richmond. This challenge is part of a national competition to get students excited about economics and personal finance. “Virginia students must be equipped with effective money management skills and an understanding of how our ever-changing, fast-paced global economy works,” commented Governor McDonnell.
The Herndon High School Marching Band, “The Pride of Herndon” has been selected by members of Congress and the United States Marine Band to represent Virginia in the 2013 Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade. This is a very prestigious honor and they are excited to travel to Hawaii to perform.
Recently I was awarded a “Legislative Champion” award by the Virginia Education Association. I was recognized for my support of public education during the 2013 General Assembly session where I introduced a resolution proclaiming the VEA’s 150th anniversary. For the past 150 years, the VEA has worked tirelessly to give each student a high quality public education, while encouraging the student to realize their full potential so that they can be successful after they graduate. We have outstanding teachers and staff who are dedicated to their profession.
I was also given an “A+” rating by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce in their 2013 Legislative Report Card. The Report Card recognizes legislators for their support of initiatives that will help move Virginia forward. Each year, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce develops a legislative report card based on goals set by Virginia’s business community to increase job opportunities, lower the state’s unemployment rate, and invigorate economic development.
It is my honor to represent you in Richmond as your Delegate in the Virginia General Assembly. Part of my job is to keep you informed about the issues facing the Commonwealth. I also value your comments, concerns, and suggestions. I can be reached by phone at 703-437-9400 or by email at DelTRust@house.virginia.gov. You can also ‘like’ me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.
Amendments Include Two Major Policy Issues Addressed by Del. Rust
Herndon, VA…Delegate Tom Rust released today the following statement regarding Governor McDonnell’s amendments to the transportation package:
“Yesterday, Governor McDonnell released a series of edits to the transportation funding and reform package following his review of the bipartisan compromise bill passed by the General Assembly last month. The Governor’s amendments strengthen the bill’s legal context, clarifying some of its administrative and technical aspects while adhering to the original goals set by the Governor and the General Assembly. These edits ensure that the bill fully complies with the Virginia Constitution, and that Virginia’s Executive Branch agencies can properly implement the bill’s new funding mechanisms as intended by the bipartisan compromise reached by the General Assembly. The edits proposed also revisit some of the contributions Virginia businesses and citizens have been asked to make, in particular the alternative fuel vehicle registration fee and the transient occupancy tax in Northern Virginia.
“Earlier this month, I submitted a formal recommendation to the Governor asking that the alternative fuel vehicle registration fee be reevaluated and the terms “alternative fuel” and “hybrid” be given clarification so as to determine whether the proposed registration fee is an equitable one. I understand and agree that everyone should contribute to road construction and maintenance. However, I also believe that we should not discourage the use of environmentally-friendly vehicles. The Governor has now clarified the issue, stating that the original $100 registration fee was based on a 17.5 cent per gallon gas tax. Given that the bill passed reduces the rate of taxation on gasoline, the new $64 registration fee now reflects a more appropriate contribution amount.
“My other recommendation expressed concern regarding the additional 3 percent transient occupancy tax (TOT) in Northern Virginia and its effect on the hospitality industry. The Governor has clarified this point as well, reducing the rate to 2 percent to ensure that our hotels in the region remain competitive.
“Ultimately, these series of amendments keep the original intent and goals of the bill intact while addressing some specific concerns raised by residents and the business community. I applaud the Governor for his leadership and the General Assembly for its focus on putting Virginia, and its jobs, first. In 2001, when I first announced my candidacy for the 86th District in the House of Delegates, I made a commitment to follow through on the transportation crisis, to work on finding a path to sustainable funding. For twelve years, I have fought hard to maintain and secure funding for our distressed infrastructure. Now, after twelve years, that work has culminated in a sustainable, long-term solution crafted out of compromise, collaboration, and bipartisanship. It is the product of leadership and a commitment to keep Virginia first – on jobs, on the economy – and on the right track to its future prosperity.”
It’s been almost three weeks since the end of the 2013 Legislative Session, and during this time, I have been visiting and speaking with residents and families on the accomplishments that we’ve made for Virginians and that have defined this past session as a success.
The 2013 legislative session has been the most productive, and most rewarding, in my time of service to the district. We passed the first new, significant, and sustainable transportation bill in 27 years with bipartisan support. We’ve also we achieved significant victories for Virginians on healthcare, education, and job creation legislation – by working together and putting Virginia first.
This year, we strengthened our economy and workforce, addressed transportation needs, and improved our education system. We have taken a results-oriented approach to governing based on collaboration and ideas, not partisanship. I am proud of having been a part of this approach and of what we have accomplished this session for Virginia.
Coffee with Tom
This past session I received thousands of calls, emails, and letters with comments and suggestions on how to improve or strengthen legislation before the General Assembly. Communication is key to action. It’s helped the Lyme community, for example, advocate for and strengthen the recently passed Lyme disease disclosure bill, of which I was chief co-patron.
To make myself more accessible to a larger number of constituents, I’ve already scheduled a number of coffees and meet ups throughout the district. Whether in town, or at a friend’s home, I would be happy to speak with you and your neighbors on issues important to you.
To host a coffee or join me in town for one already scheduled, please call our legislative office at 703-437-9400.
On Medicaid Expansion
Medicaid currently consumes 25 percent of the Virginia General Fund and its cost is growing faster than any other item in the budget, including transportation and education. Currently, Virginia receives 50 percent of its funding for Medicaid from the federal government.
As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), each state is allowed to make its own informed decision on Medicaid expansion. It provides that the federal government will pay 100 percent during the first three years of expansion and 90 percent then on.
Under current Virginia law, the Governor has the ability to unilaterally decide to expand Medicaid. However, the General Assembly felt that the best way to address Medicaid expansion is to create a reform commission: the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC). This commission is comprised of 5 delegates, 5 senators, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, and the Secretary of Finance. The mission of MIRC is to assess whether specific cost-reductions and efficiency benchmarks will have been met before Virginia will expand Medicaid coverage. Expansion requires the vote of at least 3 delegates and 3 senators on the commission.
Governor McDonnell stated, “The language of the budget actually places a firewall against expansion consideration, unless real, sustainable cost-saving reforms are implemented at the state and federal level.”
The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) has estimated reforming Medicaid and extending coverage will create a net savings to the General Fund of $317 million from FY2014-2018. Over the next ten years, Virginia residents and businesses will pay $10.2 billion in taxes regardless of whether we extend Medicaid coverage or not. If expansion occurs, Virginians will receive $9.9 billion in benefits.
The concern that has been raised, which is valid in my opinion, is if the federal government, with all its fiscal problems, will be able to fund the program at the level currently set in the Affordable Care Act. To protect Virginia, the Medicaid expansion language states, and putting it simply, that if at any time federal funding fails, Virginia can withdraw from expansion.
I support providing more families with needed medical care, but Medicaid expansion must be done efficiently and economically. Reforms are essential to insure the cost-to-benefit ratio remains appropriate. Virginians deserve a cost-effective, efficient Medicaid system and I believe the Commission will ensure this.
On Alternate Fuel Vehicles
As to the $100 registration fee on hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, this is an issue where some of my constituents have expressed frustration. The fee was part of the compromise plan and was intended to ensure that all motorists contribute to Virginia’s road infrastructure. However, there are varying classes of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. Some consume gasoline, and therefore are subject to a gas tax, and some do not. I will continue to work with the Governor and the General Assembly to clarify this issue before the legislation is enacted.
On Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure
Governor McDonnell signed into law HB 1933, the Lyme Disease Testing Information Disclosure Act, of which I was chief co-patron. The bill requires that all patients tested for Lyme disease are given written disclosure of the limitations of serological testing for the disease and the potential for false negative results. I support this bill because I believe that patient education saves lives, and now all Virginians can be given the proper access to information that can help stop the spread of Lyme disease.Patient education saves lives, and now all Virginias will be given the proper access to information that can help stop the spread of Lyme!ological testing for the disease and the potential for false negative results.ological testing for the disease and the potential for false negative results. Patient education saves lives, and now all Virginias will be given the proper access to information that can help stop the spread of Lyme!potential
According to the National Capital Lyme Disease Association, 71 percent of patients who undergo Lyme disease testing can expect a false negative result. Lyme disease is potentially crippling even in its early stages, and a misdiagnosis can lead to severe and permanent damage if the illness is left untreated.
I have received numerous emails from residents who suffer from Lyme disease, and a close friend suffers today because she received a false negative when she first went to her doctor with symptoms. Early detection of the disease is key to its proper treatment.
Early symptoms of Lyme disease may include headache, stiff neck, fever, muscle aches, and fatigue, and may include a bulls-eye rash – the common, most obvious symptom of the disease. If left untreated or if treatment is delayed, the disease can become chronic with serious, debilitating complications. A few examples include: joint pain and swelling, heart disease, neurological problems such as Bell’s palsy, dizziness, irritability, ADHD-like symptoms, cognitive dysfunction, muscle weakness, and neuropathy. This bill will ensure that patients are aware of the limitations of current testing.
Virginia Public Schools: Fourth Best in the Nation
In a recent study by Education Week, Virginia’s educational system was ranked fourth best in the nation. The Commonwealth ranked high in the category of “teaching profession,” and eighth best in “K-12 achievement”. Virginia received its lowest ranking in “school finance,” a category that looks at both equity in funding among school districts and overall financial support for education. Another study recently released found that Virginia’s fourth grade students have the second strongest vocabulary skills in the nation, and Virginia’s eighth grade students ranked fourth. Virginia’s teachers are among the best in the nation, and I am committed to continue providing the funding our schools need to make Virginia’s success in education a continuing trend.
Read Across America
Thank you to the teachers, staff, and students of the Herndon and Oak Hill elementary schools that invited me to participate in National Read Across America Day. Good reading skills build a critical foundation needed for success in the classroom and beyond. I will continue to provide the funding our teachers need to give our children the best education possible.
Our Newest Eagle Scouts
I was pleased to attend several Eagle Scout ceremonies this past month, where I presented each scout with a Virginia State Flag, flown over the Capitol in Richmond in honor of their achievement. Our newest Eagle Scouts include John Colwell, Devin Colahan, Brandon Longworth, Andrew O’Connell, Jeffrey O’Connell, and Jacob Reeves.
This session, I received thousands of emails and phone calls from residents expressing their thoughts and concerns on legislation before the General Assembly. I cannot express with enough emphasis just how important constituent feedback is to this process. I encourage those who are active in responding to legislation to encourage their friends and neighbors to do the same, to participate in the legislative process, whether through email, phone, or mail.
I also encourage you to call our legislative office at 703-437-9400 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific questions, concerns, or comments.
It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve as your Delegate in the Virginia General Assembly. Thank you for allowing me to represent you.
Files 5x the Number of Signatures Required to Qualify for Primary Election Ballot
Herndon, VA . . . March 12, 2013 – Yesterday, Del. Tom Rust completed the requirements for access to June’s Primary Election ballot by filing five times the number of signatures required by the State Board of Elections. Rust’s early filing places him at the top of the primary ballot. The Rust campaign began its field operation in February, mobilizing volunteers and reaching out to thousands of voters during this qualification process.
“Tom is not your traditional candidate, and we will not be running a traditional campaign,” said Rust’s campaign manager Luisa Guerra. “He is an independent thinker who believes that collaboration and hard work solve tough problems. Partisan accusations and finger- pointing have never been conducive to solving big, tough issues. Just look at Washington.”
“Even out of session, Tom is up at 5 am reading constituent emails and letters before heading into a 12 hour work day. He will read every comment or opinion that comes in on every piece of legislation before him. He looks to bring people into the process, and that is exactly how our campaign will operate. We’re not just reaching out to people who have a particular partisan persuasion. We’re going to initiate a conversation with everyone. We want everyone to become familiar with Tom’s history of bipartisanship leadership and the accomplishments that leadership style has produced,” said Guerra.
Just last month, Rust voted in support of the first new long-term, sustainable transportation funding package in 27 years. The package is a product of bipartisan collaboration and planning to address Virginia’s critical transportation issue.
“Tom was a co-patron on and voted to pass the transportation funding package because he truly believes it was the right and responsible thing to do. The General Assembly created a responsible plan to fund needed transportation projects – a plan to pay as we go, not run up our state’s debt. There is not enough money to even cover basic maintenance projects. This is not a problem you ignore. It wasn’t an easy vote, but it was a necessary vote. That’s called leadership, and it’s what you can expect from Tom,” said Guerra.
It appears that we may experience the largest snow event of the season, so I want to take this opportunity to provide you with some information you may find helpful. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for our area. Possible power outages are possible due to the heavy snow and gusty winds which are predicted. Resident’s are encouraged to work from home if possible. Here is some information that you may find helpful.
This storm reminds us to be ready for any emergency; now is the time to prepare! Whether you are stuck in your car or confined in your home, it is important to be ready. The first step is to have a disaster supply kit in your home and your car, complete with food, water, and blankets among other things. The next step is to have a plan that prepares you for different types of emergencies. The final step is to stay informed using different types of media. You can get free worksheets at www.ReadyVirginia.gov that will aid you in planning for an emergency.
Emergency Supplies: Keep extra batteries and flashlights available; keep cell phones charged; fill gas tank; keep warm clothing and blankets in your car should you become stuck.
Space heaters: Never plug them into extension cords; plug into wall outlets. Keep space heaters at least three feet from other objects, and turn off before going to bed.
Generators: Practice property safety procedures including operating them in a well-ventilated area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Stay informed during power outages. Be sure you have a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio (and extra batteries). Get one with the NOAA Weather Radio band so you can hear winter weather reports directly from the National Weather Service as well as local radio stations. These are available at electronics, discount and sporting goods stores, and online from many retail outlets. Models are available for those with special needs.
Don’t use candles during power outages: Many home fires in winter are caused by candles. Flashlights are much safer. Be sure to have plenty of extra batteries.
- VA Power: 1-888-667-3000
- Emergency shelters: 211
- Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management: 703-324-2362
- Loudoun County Office of Emergency Management: 703-777-0333
- Herndon Dept of Public Works: 703-435-6860
- VDOT: see below
By 4 a.m. Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will deploy more than 4,000 salt trucks and plows throughout northern Virginia in preparation for up to a foot of wet, heavy snow. Emergency tree contractors are on standby as strong winds could bring down trees and power lines. Their goal is to have all roads passable within 48 hours after the storm ends, so please be patient.
In northern Virginia, VDOT has one snow removal program for high volume roads such has Interstates 66, 95, 395, 495, Routes 1, 7, 15, 28, 50, Fairfax County Parkway, Prince William Parkway, etc.), and another snow removal program for subdivisions (main thoroughfares in neighborhoods, residential streets and cul de sacs). Therefore, crews will be working on high volume roads and in subdivisions concurrently. Within each of these programs, roads with the highest traffic volumes are cleared first.
Tools that VDOT will be using include:
* A mobile weather station for roads
* A new 22,000-ton salt dome
* A fleet of trucks to help clear the I-495 Express Lanes
* A website where the public can track snow removal in their neighborhoods.
* A portable snow meter for park-n-ride lots so to quickly access needed parking spaces
* Nearly 4,000 trucks and plows, mostly contracted, will now be available for snow and ice removal in northern Virginia
* Expanded pre-treating of roads
VDOT’s winter resources:
* For snow removal information: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/snow.asp
* To see the status of plowing in your neighborhood: http://novasnowplowing.virginia.gov. Please note that the website only tracks VDOT maintained neighborhoods and that the website is only active when two or more inches of snow have fallen.
* For real-time traffic updates and road conditions: Visit http://www.511virginia.org/, download the 511 smartphone app, or follow @511northernva on Twitter
* Reporting unplowed roads or hazardous conditions: email email@example.com or call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623)
To make the snow removal process easier, VDOT has a few recommendations and reminders for local citizens:
1. When shoveling your own sidewalk/driveway, leave at least 5 feet of snow from the curb until after the plow has passed through. Remember VDOT is not responsible for clearing sidewalks; resident’s are encouraged to clear sidewalks, especially those close to schools.
2. Avoid parking on the street, but if you have to park your car on the street, park on the odd numbered side of the street. The more cars are parked on the street, the less amount of snow is able to be plowed.
3. Stay off the roads and allow VDOT to do their job. Most traffic accidents happen within the first 2 hours after a storm starts. Abandoned cars are one of the biggest obstacles to the plowing process.
4. Remember that it is harder for crews to plow packed snow and especially ice. Don’t expect to be able to see black pavement once the plow comes through.
5. The goal is to make all roads one lane passable, not clear them completely of snow.
6. Do NOT pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary. Treat these as you would emergency response vehicles.
7. Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your car.
Town of Herndon
For those residents who live in the Town of Herndon, snow removal is provided by the Town. The Department of Public Works Operations Center will be staffed continuously during the snow storm. You can contact them at 703-435-6860. They ask residents not to park on side streets or cul-de-sacs.
As always, during every storm, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (703) 437-9400 if you are having issues regarding either snow removal or storm outages. Keep warm and stay safe.
Richmond – Delegate Tom Rust (R-Herndon) issued the following statement regarding the General Assembly’s recent passage of the comprehensive transportation funding and reform package:
“Ease of transportation is a basic need – it keeps the people and businesses that sustain our economy moving, and it is a core function of government to provide for a modern transportation system that can accommodate this need. Congestion and immobility not only hurt how we go about doing business in Northern Virginia, but our very quality of life. How we go about our daily routines, the ways in which we connect with each other and with our communities, and the health of our living environments are all inextricably linked to accessibility and mobility.
“Working together and moving past party lines, the General Assembly has passed the first sustainable, long-term transportation funding and reform plan in 27 years. With improved vehicle fuel efficiency, the return on the gas tax has moved into steady decline and is no longer a dependable, stable source of transportation revenue.
“To keep pace with our growing need for transportation funding, the reform plan reduces and replaces the current 17.5 cent per gallon gas tax with a 3.5 percent wholesale gas tax that grows with the economy, making this a more sustainable source of revenue.
“This reduction is matched by a 1 percent increase in the sales tax in Northern Virginia, raising the sales tax to 6 percent, with all revenue diverted exclusively to new transportation construction in the region. The Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. area is the most congested area in the nation, costing the average motorist in Northern Virginia up to $1,400 per year according to a study conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute. Additional funding is critical to providing for badly needed transportation projects. Under the new plan, of the $3.5 billion in revenue which will be raised over the next five years, Northern Virginia will receive an additional $350 million per year in funding by this regional mechanism.
“Also, the new plan dedicates an additional $200 million per year of general fund revenue to transportation without deflecting any money from our schools. The plan increases the existing sales tax diverted to education funding from 1 and 1/8 percent to 1 and 1/4 percent for a total of $495 million per year.
“The health of our economy is tied to our accessibility to the workplace and the movement of its goods and services. Northern Virginia will not continue to attract new businesses to the region if its infrastructure frustrates the way businesses operate or slows their accessibility to clients and consumers. I served as co-patron of the package, voted in support of it, and believe it is an effective and responsible piece of legislation.
“There simply is no existing revenue to fund our infrastructure needs. Passing along a chronic problem to future generations would be irresponsible and only worsen our economic recovery in the long-term. We either make these small, incremental investments now, or risk passing along an unstable and unsafe transportation system to a future generation whose need for improved transportation will be met with an even greater urgency than that we face at present.”
A more complete analysis of the package will follow in the next issue of the Rust report from Richmond.