My campaign for the House of Delegates begins each morning at 5:00AM with a bunch of slugs. No, not the garden variety, but the hard-working residents of Stafford County who silently line up in the pre-dawn hours to commute with strangers in the hopes of beating traffic. My campaign will give a voice to those silent slugs.
I’m Tim Ciampaglio and I’m seeking the Republican nomination for the Second District of the Virginia House of Delegates. My op-ed will discuss what I will do as your Delegate and how I will distinguish myself from my opponent. I plan to do that by discussing two large spending projects and compare how my opponent mishandled one (transportation), and how I will deliver superior results on the other (Veterans’ health care). The message you’ll receive is that when it comes to efficient government, I’m the only candidate that has delivered on it, and the only one that has a specific plan to keep delivering it to the residents of Stafford and Prince William Counties.
Back to the slugs. I campaign with the slugs because I respect them. They live in Stafford County so they can give their families the fullest of what life has to offer. They have made the decision to miss breakfast with their children, to quietly ride for an hour or more with total strangers to put in a full day of work, just to give their families the best life they can afford. I campaign with the slugs because these are my kind of people; the people that get up at ridiculous hours of the morning to put their families first. I have said on the campaign trail that no elected official will work harder for you than I will, and I’m proving that because I campaign with them at 5:00 in the morning, and then I go to work. In the quiet of the morning, that message is being received loud and clear.
I campaign with the slugs because the slugs are the people that were misled by my opponent when he voted for the transportation tax, and they are the people he’s trying to mislead in this campaign. Both of us will campaign on making Virginia government leaner and delivering more effective results. I’ve done it. He did the opposite. And the slugs know that.
This is what it means to be a fiscal conservative. A fiscal conservative sets the lowest tax rate possible to bring in the revenue that is necessary to provide the core services of the government to the taxpayer, in a way that delivers the quality of service the taxpayer expects, and without wasting any of the tax revenue (at peak efficiency). A fiscal conservative prioritizes the goals of the spending, prioritizes the manner in which your tax money is spent, and prioritizes them publicly so the taxpayer knows that their money taken for a project is spent on that specific project, rather than being reshuffled to other spending programs like a New York City street card game. So, my conservative taxation priorities are: 1) set the lowest tax rates possible, 2) provide the core services, 3) at the highest quality service levels, and 4) without wasting any taxpayer money (peak operational efficiency).
Back to the slugs. When I talk to the slugs, I learn a lot about transportation in Northern Virginia. I also learn a lot about my opponent. Some of those slugs are funny. They’ve referred to my opponent as Mark “Duden-hiker” because he hiked taxes on them to make transportation better, and yet they’re still in the slug line. One of them must be a “CSI” fan because he kept assuring me that “he won’t be fooled again” by my opponent. But mostly I learn just how badly my opponent botched transportation.
When he voted for the transportation tax, he raised six separate taxes on my constituents: the state sales tax on Stafford, the regional sales tax on Prince William, the regional property transfer tax on Prince William, the Northern Virginia hotel tax on our business owners, an alternative fuel vehicle tax for hybrid owners, and a car tax on car sales. Six taxes raised on Northern Virginians, and yet still they line up in the early hours of the morning.
The transportation tax imposed on Northern Virginia was marketed as being very important to Northern Virginia because…Hampton Roads needed a new Route 460! So my opponent took my Stafford slugs’ money and he appropriated it to Hampton Roads. And the state spent two years developing the Route 460 project and spent a whopping $290 million on it. That’s right…$290 million! But before you think about taking a trip to Hampton Roads to see what $290 million bought you, I’ll save you the time. The company never put the first shovel into the ground. Not one inch of road was laid out. The first project from my opponent’s transportation tax vote wasted all $290 million of your money. Every single penny. The state canceled the project on this April 15.
Now it’s my turn to show you why I’ll deliver on a big project. I’m a business owner. I do strategic planning, and when federal government agencies really lose their way, I get called in to turn them around. My most recent project was strategic planning for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). I was hired to revise their strategic plan at the same time details leaked out about just how poorly they delivered health care to Veterans. If there is anything I know better than health care to Veterans, and as a retired Coast Guard Officer that does have particular importance to me, it’s how to deliver services and results to taxpayers, especially our Veterans who served us and now need us to serve them.
At the same time the state canceled the 460 project, they voted to provide an initial $65 million for construction of two Veterans Health Administration facilities in Virginia, one of which will be in Prince William County. It’s very unusual for the state to pay for a federal facility, but Virginia has a large share of Veterans and is at the very bottom of rankings for VHA facilities per Veteran, so Virginia’s contribution fast tracks the projects. Now that the money has been appropriated, our focus, my focus, will be on making sure your taxpayer money is spent well to provide top level health care for our Veterans.
There are three goals of VHA care: first, provide Veterans with personalized, proactive, patient-driven health care; second, achieve measurable improvements in health outcomes; and third, align resources to deliver sustained value to Veterans. The expertise comes in developing the return on investment metrics to make sure that what went wrong in the VHA does not happen here. It can’t. As your next Delegate, I won’t allow it to happen. I won’t allow it to happen because I am the lead subject matter expert for the VHA on developing these metrics. When I am your Delegate, the Virginia-funded VHA facilities will be designed to meet these returns from the beginning. We will not waste one cent chasing goals that have not been clearly defined before the first dollar is spent. Our Veterans capably served us. As your delegate, I will make sure that the money Virginia has put into construction for the facility will lead to the care the Veterans deserve.
I have helped the VHA work towards peak efficiency (eliminate wasteful spending) through project prioritization and strategic planning. I will proactively prevent waste in the Virginia government, and not just on this health facility, but with transportation as well. I will be an advocate for putting a lockbox around our transportation funds. I will prioritize the projects, and make sure the public knows the priority list. I will make sure I track spending on transportation. I owe that to my family. I owe that to your family. I owe that to my friends in the slug line.
Even in the dark of the morning, the slugs are still able to see $290 million of their transportation tax dollars completely and totally wasted by the Virginia government. And as they said, they will not be fooled again.
Timothy Ciampaglio is a candidate for the Republican Nomination in Virginia’s 2nd Delegate District