Candidates in three state senate races fielded questions from constituents at a candidates’ brunch at Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria on Sunday.
The brunch was hosted by the Brotherhood of Beth El Congregation. 36th District candidates Jeff Frederick and Sen. Toddy Puller, 39th District candidates Miller Baker and Sen. George Barker, and 31st District candidate Barbara Favola. Favola’s opponent, Caren Merrick, was not present.
Immigration, transportation, HOT lanes, and BRAC were discussed at length.
“We haven’t done anything significant for transportation funding since 1986,” said Sen. Puller. “We did get the formula changed a little bit for Northern Virginia. It’s just outrageous what we have not done for our citizens as far as transportation formula and the money that follows it.”
All candidates agreed that education funding needs to be a priority for the state and that teacher salaries need to be increased.
"Teachers have to be paid better," said Frederick. "It's such an important job, they’re educating the future of our Commonweath and our communities. If you look at education funding over last few years it's been down but over the last 10 years it’s skyrocketed."
Sen. Puller noted that the state achieved the goal of paying the national average salary to teachers once in the 19 years she has been in Richmond.
"Our teachers need to be rewarded for what they do for our children," said Puller. "Our teachers need to be thanked for what they do and they need to be thanked by being given enough money to raise their family."
Route 1 revitalization was a hot topic for candidates Puller and Frederick.
“My opponent never did any work on the Route 1 corridor in six years that he’s served in the General Assembly,” said Puller. “I’ve been fighting for Route 1 in both counties and we are getting some improvement." She noted that Route 1 is starting to improve, improvements to the intersection of Route 1 and Route 123.
“We still got some room to improve it more. We are the best-managed state in country. We're the best state to do business in and best state to raise a child. We serve you very well and we serve you very cheaply,” Puller continued.
As for Frederick, he said of his opponent, "We have a different philosophy of what ails Virginia government."