Meyer, Simmons Agree on Gridlock

By Fredrick Kunkle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Democratic primary for District 40's delegate to Virginia's General Assembly pits a newcomer to politics who has spent most of his adult life in Fairfax County against a newcomer to the state who unsuccessfully challenged a Republican congressman in Texas.

Both Morris A. Meyer IV of Fairfax and Rex A. Simmons of Fairfax Station hope to challenge Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax). The primary is Tuesday.

Simmons, 55, who has lived in the region for more than 30 years, and Meyer, 42, who moved from Texas last year, agree that the top issue is Northern Virginia's gridlock. Both welcomed the recent transportation measure approved by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and the Republican-controlled General Assembly but described the legislation as flawed and incomplete. They said more must be done to address persistently inadequate levels of funding for transportation.

Simmons said his career experience in oversight roles in federal government would help him root out waste. But he said he also thinks that new taxes are necessary for a steady revenue stream for transportation.

Meyer, who owns a software consulting firm called Surfworks, said he would work to ensure that Northern Virginia's roads received more of the tax money that now goes elsewhere in the commonwealth.

"We don't have a problem building great highways in Virginia, we just build them in the wrong place," Meyer said. He also would push Virginia to grow crops to produce bio-fuels.

On social issues, Simmons said he would support a woman's right to an abortion, and he faulted Hugo's backing a bill to outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Meyer said he would focus on common ground between opponents and supporters of abortion rights: reducing the practice through abstinence, birth control and better health-care access.

Simmons and Meyer also support efforts to allow the children of illegal immigrants to benefit from in-state tuition rates at Virginia colleges and universities.

In the aftermath of the April 16 massacre at Virginia Tech, both Meyer and Simmons said they would work to make sure that people suffering from a mental illness could not obtain firearms. Meyer was also critical of gun laws that allow people to carry firearms or obtain weapons too easily.

"In Virginia, you can buy a gun at any age," Meyer said.

Meyer grew up in Ohio and attended Purdue University, where he studied electrical engineering and computer science. His wife, Teri, works with Sunrise Senior Living in McLean. He has three young children from his current marriage and a previous marriage.

Simmons grew up in North Carolina, attended the University of North Carolina and moved to the region in the mid-1970s to obtain a master's degree at American University.

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