The following interview was with Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka, who is one of three candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the 30th Senate District of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
What are your major strengths as a candidate that will not only lead to victory in the Democratic Primary but also the November election?
I’m a husband, father and lifelong Democrat, and this race is deeply personal to me. I grew up in a single-parent home and was born to a teenage mother who often struggled to support my sisters and me. I’m driven by steadfast commitment to equal opportunity: no matter where people start in life, they should have the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
My personal, professional, and public service experience demonstrate my capacity to win on the things that matter for our community. As a dad with two girls in public elementary school, I speak from direct, current experience when I fight for the highest quality education system in Virginia. I run, walk and bike along the greenways and trails of Northern Virginia, and like my friends and neighbors here in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax, I don’t want to see overdevelopment stifle future generations’ opportunity to live in a cleaner, greener community. I know what it’s like to struggle to make ends-meet, so my commitment to progressive tax reform comes from personal experience and a hard look at the facts; the bottom 20% of income earners shouldn’t pay a higher percentage of income taxes than the top 20% of earners.
When voters this August and this November meet me, consider my experience and my policy priorities, I’m confident they’ll find that we’re on the same team, fighting for new ideas to move us forward.
Should you win election, how would you plan to work alongside a Republican Governor and Senate Republicans?
I disagree with the Governor and Senate and House Republicans on many issues. That said, I don’t always agree with Democrats in the House and Senate, either. My principles inform my party affiliation, not the other way around. I will work with members of both parties to see that the policies that come out of Richmond do the most good for the people of the 30th Senate District, and for the Commonwealth. This means reaching across the aisle when it is in the best interests of my constituents, and standing my ground when it is not.
As a member of Alexandria City Council, what do you consider to be one of your successes in that role and would you try to expand upon this success should you become Senator?
As a member of the Alexandria City Council, I have been a stalwart champion of education and am proud of my work to expand early education opportunities and protect schools from painful and counterproductive spending cuts. While money is not a cure-all solution to the challenges we face in our education system, defunding K-12 education to the point of cutting programs that have proven successful – just as more families are entering the public school system – is categorically the wrong way to go.
I’m especially proud of my work with Governor Kaine to expand access to pre-school in Virginia. Improving our education system starts by making sure children start Kindergarten ready to learn. We know through bounds of research that the first five years of life play an enormous role in a child’s ability to learn to read, to stay out of trouble and to graduate high school and go to college. That has driven my commitment to early childhood education, which will remain a priority for me in Richmond where I’ll continue to advocate for expanded Pre-K for all Virginia families.
Most of your support, save the notable endorsement of Congressman Gerry Connolly, appears to come from Alexandria. How will you effectively reach out to the Arlington and Fairfax portions of the 30th District?
Alexandria voters have supported me in each of my elections to the City Council over the last 8 years, so Alexandria is my natural base of support. I am proud of my community, the work we have done together, and the evidence that I’ve earned the confidence of my friends and neighbors here in Alexandria.
But that work has not been done in a vacuum. I have worked with Arlington and Fairfax officials in the 30th on a range of issues like aircraft noise, human services, environmental cooperation and transportation planning. Along with everybody that lives in this region, my family travels throughout the district regularly; we spend time swimming and using parks in Fairfax, recreating and biking in Arlington as well as enjoying our hometown of Alexandria. Regional cooperation is critical to our quality of life.
My campaign will be one of outreach and inclusion to all parts of the district, communicating the same call for new ideas to move us forward.
One of your opponents, Adam Ebbin, has argued that he should be Senator because unlike yourself and Arlington County School Board Chair Libby Garvey he has legislative experience at the State Level, namely as a Delegate. How do you counter his experience factor?
Over the past several months I’ve spent hours each week on the doorsteps of 30th district voters, and they’re telling me we need new ideas in Richmond. I have eight years of local government experience; I have balanced budgets and worked on issues that range from public education to public safety, and I don’t think “experience in Richmond” necessarily translates to “leadership experience.” Leadership is a lot more than knowing where the bathrooms are in the state house. I have solved hard problems that had evaded others, and pushed for new, innovative ways of thinking I believe that hands on experience working on a range of issues with the entire community is what we need in Richmond.