Virginia Del. Dave Albo (R-Dist. 42) made it into the national headlines last year after regaling his colleagues on the floor of the House of Delegates with a story about how the debate over a controversial bill requiring women to get a pre-abortion ultrasound brought an abrupt end to a romantic evening with his wife.
A video of the floor speech went viral online and, after Fairfax Station resident Ed Deitsch watched the video with his wife, Albo had a new opponent in his quest for an 11th term.
“As soon as that video was over, my wife looked at me and said, ‘So when are you going to announce that you’re running?’” Deitsch said. A 59-year-old retired copy center manager, he is now running as a Democrat in the 42nd District, which includes about 53,000 voters in west Springfield, Fairfax Station and Lorton.
At the time, Albo pointed out that he helped broker the compromise that removed the most controversial portion of the ultrasound bill.
While fighting House Republicans’ agenda on women’s issues is a priority for Deitsch, Albo says social issues are not his priority in the legislature.
“I want to put child molesters in prison for life, I want to pave some roads and I want to get kids into college,” Albo said.
Albo, who is 51 and an attorney who grew up in Fairfax County, said he has made some progress on two of his longtime priority issues — transportation improvements and opening up more slots for Northern Virginia students at state universities.
He says he was heavily involved in the crafting of the major transportation funding bill that passed during this year’s General Assembly session, writing the language for the section of the bill that provides Northern Virginia-specific funding through additional taxes and fees.
Now that there is new funding, “I want to make sure the money turns into pavement,” he said.
Thanks to budget incentives and “yelling and screaming for a few years,” Albo said the state’s top universities are now agreeing to reserve more seats for in-state students.
“They’re moving forward, though I wish they were doing more,” he said.
Both Deitsch and Albo agree that the portion of the transportation funding bill that implements a new registration fee on electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel cars needs to be adjusted.
Deitsch believes that fee should be removed entirely.
“To have extra registration fees on hybrids is ridiculous … at a time when every car manufacturer is trying to get vehicles to go farther on a gallon of gas,” he said.
Albo would prefer to see a sliding scale to account for the fact that hybrids do still use gasoline in varying amounts, and therefore pay into the gas tax that funds road improvements, while electric cars do not.
“They need to pay some money for the use of the roads,” he said.
Deitsch’s top priorities are increasing funding for education and ensuring Virginia is protecting the environment.
“Education funding is way down in the commonwealth and its starting to hurt us dramatically,” he said, noting that Virginia is the fourth wealthiest state but ranks 50th in teacher pay.
While a tax increase would not be his first step in increasing schools funding, Deitsch said he would support a tax increase for education “if all else failed.”
Virginia has not done enough to protect its environmental resources, Deitsch said, criticizing proposed uranium mining and the lack of progress on clean water and clean energy projects. He would make environmental protection more of a priority.
Albo cites awards he has received for land conservation during his years in the legislature, including his efforts to help preserve the Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
Elections for the House of Delegates and statewide offices are Nov. 5.