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Thank You for the High Honor of Public Service

November 2, 2017 2:29 pm

Dear Prince William families, friends, and neighbors,

Over the course of our combined 51 years of military service, my wife Ruth and I wore the Air Force uniform and worked in partnership during our two lifetimes of service. After retiring from military service, we chose to continue our partnership, but this time in public service—she as the Occoquan District Supervisor on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and me as the 51st House District Delegate to the Virginia General Assembly.

Service is the lifetime thread that ties Ruth and I to one other—and to the community, we love to serve. With that commitment to our fellow citizens, I am again a candidate for reelection in Virginia’s 51st House District.

As a native and life-long Virginian, I graduated from Virginia Tech and have been a resident of Prince William County for almost two decades. First elected in 2009, I have served in the General Assembly for eight years (four terms) and have accumulated the required seniority that permits me to pass consequential legislation on behalf of our community and Commonwealth. This year, I had one of the highest success rates in the House in passing legislation that focused on job creation, economic development, transportation, education, public safety, and military veterans.

Today, I chair both the House Science and Technology Committee and the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS). As chair of both bodies, I lead all initiatives in the legislative branch of Virginia state government regarding Cybersecurity and other science and technology matters. Both bodies have been crucial to economic development and creating jobs across the Commonwealth. This year, my House Bill 1738 eliminated the retail sales and use tax on aircraft parts, engines, and supplies. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the most respected accounting firm in the country, estimates that my bill will likely double the $1 billion aircraft maintenance industry in Virginia and double the number of aircraft maintenance jobs.

As JCOTS chair, I oversaw a major study over the last year of the Virginia aviation and space industry, which will produce legislation over the next four years that will energize this sector of economic activity. In November, I plan to meet with the newly-elected Governor to explore ways to integrate recommendations from the study into his economic development proposals for the state legislature. After that, I will navigate these initiatives through the General Assembly and to the Governor’s desk for signature.

I sit on the House Appropriations Committee that constructs the two-year Virginia state budget. Prince William Delegates Scott Lingamfelter (R-31) and Luke Torian (D-52) also sit on the committee, and we work in bipartisan fashion to ensure that PWC is fairly represented in the budget. Earlier this year, we worked to craft a balanced budget, cautious spending plans, and a $134M budget surplus. I was particularly pleased that we added $18M to the Governor’s K-12 public education budget, as well as an additional $20M to his request for public colleges and universities. I expect that we will do even better in 2018 and 2019, and I have asked the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee to move me to the Appropriations K-12 Subcommittee so that I can work on K-12 education issues.

I also sit on the House Transportation Committee that worked to create the SMART SCALE scoring process for prioritizing transportation projects, using congestion reduction as the primary criteria. We’ve now done two rounds of SMART SCALE projects, and NoVA received $580M, more than any other district and 25% of all SMART SCALE funding. As a member of the Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) Board, I have been deeply involved with successfully addressing the transit needs of our community. And as a member of the Virginia-North Carolina High-Speed Rail Compact, I am working to build high-speed rail transit along the eastern seaboard of our country.

I co-chair the House-Senate Military and Veterans Caucus, a joint body that is the clearinghouse for all military and veteran legislation and makes better the lives of 50,000 PWC veterans and 800,000 Virginia veterans. I was Chief Patron of the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) bill in 2013 that has now certified 700 companies on the hiring of military veterans and, as of this month, has hired 30,000 Virginia veterans. My goal over the next four years is to increase the number of veterans hired under the V3 program to 50,000. I was Chief Co-Patron of this year’s bill that authorized the Puller Northern Virginia Veterans Care Center on the Fauquier-PWC border. It will provide full-time residential services to 128 military veterans, create 150 jobs, and stimulate our regional economy. With last week’s groundbreaking, the project is now underway.

Lastly, I chair the Virginia War Memorial that honors thousands of Virginians who have given their lives in uniform, many of whom were Prince William County natives. We recently began a major multi-million dollar construction project to further expand the educational mission of this world-class facility.
I am deeply devoted to Virginia families. On the House Appropriations Committee, I have fought hard for increased funding for the Virginia healthcare safety net, which funds the physical and mental health needs of our most vulnerable citizens. I am a strong and loud advocate for meaningful increases in ID/DD waivers for Virginians with disabilities. This year, I successfully wrote, passed, and sent to the Governor a bill that will make Virginia state government a model employer for citizens with disabilities. For my efforts, Virginians with Disabilities awarded me their “Collaborations Leadership Award” as their number one legislator. And in an unexpected turn, the Disability Caucus of the Democratic Party of Virginia presented this Republican with their “Trailblazer Award” for my work with citizens with disabilities.

I am pleased that my reelection campaign has been endorsed by numerous organizations, to include the Virginia, NOVA, and Prince William Chambers of Commerce; the 7,000 member companies of the Virginia Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business; the Virginia Retail Merchants Association; the Virginia, NOVA, and Prince William Realtor Associations; the Northern Virginia Technology Council; the Virginia AgriBusiness Council; police, firefighter, and first responder organizations; the military veteran community; and animal rights organizations.

When I return to Richmond next January, I plan to double my efforts at passing common-sense legislation that makes better the lives of our Prince William neighbors. My goal is to sponsor legislation that builds on the successes of the last several years, with a laser focus on job creation, economic development, transportation, education, and military veterans.

If I may ever assist Prince William individuals or families in any way, I can be reached directly at DelRAnderson@house.virginia.gov or at 571-264-9983 (our legislative district office), 703-730-1380 (home), or 703-282-9653 (my personal cell phone). Thank you, Prince William, for the high honor of public service!

Del. Rich Anderson has represented the 51st House District (Prince William County) in the Virginia General Assembly since 2010. He is a retired 30-year Air Force colonel who now co-chairs the joint House-Senate Military and Veterans Caucus, the central clearing house for bills that affect 50,000 Prince William County veterans and 800,000 Virginia veterans. Anderson chairs the House Science and Technology Committee and the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) and sits as a member of three other standing House committees:  Appropriations (Budget), General Laws, and Transportation. He also chairs four other bodies:  The Virginia War Memorial Board, the Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN) Board, the Virginia Commission on Civic Education, and the General Assembly Aviation Caucus.