The Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance invited both candidates to respond to our questionnaire. Only Delegate Bob Marshall chose to respond. Here is his response, Survey Response from Delegate Bob Marshall (You will need Adobe Reader to view the file. Get the free download from here.). Note that our questionnaire includes 39 questions. Thus, the candidates who respond trust us (the voters) with a considerable amount of information about their views, much more than we can provide with our condensed voter guide.
Candidate John Bell did not choose to respond to our questionnaire. So we researched his position on each issue. Our voter guide shows what we were able to uncover. What follows shows our sources.
- Issue: End abortion on demand, if permitted by the Supreme Court.
Bell directly said he is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, contrasting him with the anti-abortion activist-turned-politician Marshall, co-author of the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages and civil unions that voters approved in 2006.
“My feeling is as long as Roe versus Wade is the law off the land in the United States, no time should be put into that issue in Virginia legislation,” said Bell. (from here)
- Issue: Add sexual orientation to state nondiscrimination-in-hiring law.
He also said he’d support legislation prohibiting bias in the public and private workforces based on sexual orientation and would support legislation allowing Virginia companies to provide life insurance benefits to the same-sex partners of employees. (from here)
- Issue: Train state police to assist in enforcing immigration laws.
Regarding the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement 287 (g) opt-in program which allows local law enforcement agents to begin the proceedings for deporting incarcerated illegal immigrants, Bell said, “I don’t really have a position on that” as he was not familiar with the issue.
Aside from pledging to learn more about 287 (g), Bell, who volunteered for now-President Barack Obama’s campaign, plans to knock on more than 12,000 doors and has enlisted more than 100 volunteers to help him out.
- Issue: Repeal the Marriage Amendment that defines marriage to be between one-man and one-woman.
Bell said he supports same-sex marriage and called the Marshall-Newman Amendment “a disgrace to the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
“I believe it’s a black mark on our state,” he said. “It enshrines our Constitution with discrimination. I believe the Constitution should guarantee the rights of citizens, not guarantee taking them away.”
Bell said he would not only vote to repeal the amendment, but would sponsor such an initiative. (from here)
- Issue: Repeal one-gun a month law
- Issue: Increase the gasoline tax to pay for transportation improvements.
Transportation fixes cost a lot, however. Bell said he would attack the road money issue by cutting waste in state government and employing cost-efficient maintenance efforts.
If those didn’t save enough money, then he would consider a tax increase, probably in the gas tax.
It would be the most reasonable option, he said, noting that sometimes states with higher gas taxes don’t have higher gas prices, meaning oil companies are just pocketing the difference.
“So we’re not seeing a lower gas price by not raising it,” Bell said.
On the following issues, we were not able to find a position statement by Bell.
- Tax credits for private elementary and secondary school tuition.
- Make illegal aliens eligible for in-state tuition rates.
- Give transportation priority for new dollars in general fund budget.
- Fund universal preschool for 4 year-olds.
- Prohibit employers from requiring workers to join union.