CHRIS CRAWFORD AND COREY STEWART DEBATE THE BEST POLICIES FOR PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY: UPDATED

What is the update? Here is the video of the debate.

This evening I attended the debate between our current Chair of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Corey Stewart, and his challenger for the Republican nomination, Chris Crawford. Both gentlemen did a credible job.  So the debate proved to be quite interesting.

Potomac Local and the Coles District Civic Association sponsored the debate, and the Dar AlNoor Islamic Community Center on Hoadly Road in Woodbridge hosted it. Since I had not been in a mosque before, I was curious to see what would be different.

Arrival

The first thing I noticed was the building itself. I had driven by it, and it is different enough Dar AlNoor Islamic Community Centerthat it stands out.  However, since it is a mosque, it had not occurred to me that I would have any reason to enter it.  So I was a bit surprised to find myself going in.

As I expected, everyone is required to take off their shoes first. Actually, we do that in my house too. So I have no trouble with someone who thinks that is appropriate for God’s house.

Preliminaries

I went up to the second floor, where they have what most Christians would call a fellowship hall.  That is the room that was used for the debate. Children from the mosque initiated the program of events.

  • First we had a reading from the Koran, at least I think that is what it was, apparently both in Arab and English.
  • Next we had the presentation of the American flag.
  • Finally, all recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

With the boys dressed as cub scouts and boy scouts, the only thing that seemed unusual was that girls dressed more conservatively (wearing Muslim garb) than would brownies or girl scouts.

The Debate

The Coles District Civic Association is suppose to post a video of the debate, and I recommend viewing it. My guess is that anyone who takes the time to vote in the Firehouse Primary to select the Republican Party’s nominee for the Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors (scheduled April 25 from 10 AM to 3 PM) will also take the time to watch the video. So what follows are some highlights and observations.

Corey Stewart

What was Corey Stewart’s message?  He wants to sell us on the idea that the county is in good shape and getting better. He says he has focused on three things:

  • Education: With respect to this subject, Stewart said almost nothing. As a practical matter, all the BOCS does is hand over half of its budget to the School Board, and the School Board spends it. So the best he can do is hand over lots of money.
  • Transportation: Stewart repeated much of what he states here on his transportation issue page. All I can say is that I am happy the state, not the county, is paying for most of this road construction.
  • Public Safety: Here Stewart focused primarily on the issue of illegal immigration, and it is hard to fault what Stewart attempted to do. What is wrong with requiring law enforcement to verify the citizenship status of anyone the arrest? What is wrong with turning illegal immigrants to the federal government for deportation? Nothing. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama now has other ideas.

Stewart also discussed two other issues.

  • Attracting commercial businesses to the county: On his issues page, Stewart refers to this subject as Jobs.  Stewart’s problem here is that too many have observed that we have gotten lots new businesses in retail and service sector, but not much else.  To what extent is that Stewart’s fault? Given the Great Recession occurred on his watch, that’s difficult to say.
  • Prosperity: At the same time we had the Great Recession, increased Federal spending led to increased numbers of well paid government workers and contractors in the county. Stewart takes credit for this increase. Is that fair? Has this increase helped our schools? That’s something to think about. Who did Stewart help most? Developers or county residents?

Chris Crawford

Without seeming to be arrogant, Crawford’s problem is to point out Stewart’s legitimate shortcomings and how he can do better. To this end, Crawford focused on:

  • The county’s disappointment with its schools:  Like Stewart, what Crawford said can often be found on his website. With his own children going to schools in Prince William County, Crawford is disappointed with the county’s low SOL scores, the lowest in northern Virginia. Crawford promises to focus funding on schools to reduce class size.
  • Long commutes: Crawford has observed from personal experience (he commutes) that there are relatively few jobs in Prince William County. He referred to an: “Innovation Park that looks like a wheat field.” He promised to attract business by keeping taxes low and striving for good schools. That involves establishing and adhering to budget priorities.

Naturally, Crawford also dealt with other topics.

  • When questioned about his immigration policy, Crawford observed that we need a Republican president. Otherwise, we must deal with the fact that the illegal aliens are now here “legally.” We must help the new arrivals to learn English and to assimilate into our communities.
  • Crawford said that the roads the county is building are being built for development, not for commuters to get to jobs. That is a polite way of saying that Prince William residents are funding development.
  • When Stewart said that Prince William County residents pay the lowest taxes in northern Virginia, Crawford countered that we pay the highest rates, but our homes are worth the least. Property values have not recovered from the Great Recession.
  • When Stewart argued that he is the stronger candidate to help the Republican Party win county-wide, Crawford pointed to our losses during presidential elections.

The Bob FitzSimmonds Controversy

When I saw the venue for the debate, I must admit I raised an eyebrow. Huh? However, the location is in the middle of the county, Muslims have conservative social values, and the candidates had agreed to it. Shrug. Still, I don’t trust the news media. So when the debate moderators (news media) brought up a question about Bob FitzSimmonds’ last controversy, I can’t say I was too surprised. Just disgusted.

On July 29, 2014, Bob FitzSimmonds posted this on his facebook account.

To mark the end of Ramadan, on Sunday, Obama released a statement thanking Muslim Americans “for their many achievements and contributions….to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.”

It is one thing to be gracious on religous holidays, but this is pure nonsense. Exactly what part of our nation’s fabric was woven by Muslims? What about Sikhs, Animists, and Jainists? Should we be thanking them too?

That was in response to this statement from the White House.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

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