All candidates were asked:
Major objective: Name one objective, or piece of legislation, you would seek if elected.
Equal Rights Amendment: Is it realistic to expect the Virginia House to approve the Equal Rights Amendment? Do you support its passage. Why or why not?
Local funding: The Reagan administration budget cuts will be felt in Virginia in the coming year, forcing some state and local governments to curtail some activities. Should the state provide funds or taxing sources to local government to make up for these cuts?
Flora Crater, 67, of 2310 Barbour Rd., Falls Church, is editor and publisher of The Woman Activist, a national publication for women's rights. She is the founder of the Virginia Women's Political Caucus and the Northern Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women. She is active in the Democratic Party.
Major objective: I will introduce a human rights law to establish a state agency with enforcement powers to guarantee equal opportunity in employment, education, housing, public accomodations, public services and laws regardless of age, sex, creed, color, national origin, handicap or marital status.
Equal Rights Amendment: It is realistic to pursue ratification of the ERA. My experience as head of "Craters Raiders," the lobby organization considered "the single group most responsible for getting the ERA through Congress," plus my knowledge of Virginia state politics as publisher of "The Almanac of Virginia Politics" and two statewide campaigns for office, make clear to me that an effective strategy can secure ERA approval in Virginia. Redistricting and the election this year of all 100 members of the House of Delegates as well as the announcement of at least six anti-ERA delegates who will not be seeking reelection are all factors of change that enhance the possibility of ratification. As vice chair of the Virginia ERA Ratification Council, I conducted a survey of the legislators which showed a lack of information among those opposed to the ERA. We are now able to pinpoint and remedy this lack. Women and men need the constitutional guarantee that laws will apply to theme equally and not differently because of their sex.
Local funding: The State of Virginia has a fiscal and moral obligation to meet the needs of its citizens. The Reagan Republican budget cuts will force the state to look more closely at this responsibility and determine at what level it can best be met. In cases where the state does not meet this obligation, either in funds or taxing power, the localities must be given the power they need to take care of their people.
Elaine A. Lailas, 42, of 1160 Old Gate Ct., McLean, is an adjunct faculty member at Northern Virginia Community College and an instructor at the Fairfax County Adult Education Program. She has been active in the state division of the American Association of University Women.
Major objective: An objective of primary importance to me is the protection of public funds for public education. It is important that all citizens have access to quality educational programs. Public education is the foundation by which we ensure our country's investment in its future -- the education of our children. I will work to guarantee adequate funding for quality education as mandated by the Standards of Quality in Public Education. It is imperative to address the needs of our pluralistic society as well as the continually changing world of technology through the strengthening of continuing education, adult education programs and the community college system.Through efforts in this area, employment opportunities for Northern Virginia residents would also be enhanced.
Equal Rights Amendment: As an increasing number of individuals, such as myself, who support the ERA seek election to the Virginia House of Delegates, I feel optimistic that it will not be long before Virginia will join the other states who have ratified this amendment. I strongly support the passage of the ERA because this is an amendment for the rights of all individuals.
Local Funding: Serious consideration will have to be given to the impact of the federal budget cuts on the Commonwealth of Virginia. State and local governments will have to reexamine priorities. Given the federal tax cuts, consideration may be needed to utilize this as an opportunity to increase revenues to ensure needed services. But most importantly to not further burden Virginia residents, governmental fiscal responsibility will have to be exerted without sacrificing human needs. A strong state leadership, as well as cost-effective management of monies, is imperative to guarantee resources for those services that will be provided at the state and local levels.
Conrad J. Marshall, 43, of 9214 Potomac Ridge Rd., Great Falls, is an attorney and vice president, director and legal counsel to the McLean Community Center Inc. He is a member of the Great Falls Citizens Association and served on a task force to study 1981 property tax increases.
Major objective: Curb prime by amending existing criminal laws and toughening up the penalties. For example, I would seek to eliminate the artificial distinction on penalties for burglaries committed in the daytime (one to 10 years, or less than one year in the discretion of the judge or jury) and those committed in the night time (five to 20 years). Also, substantially increase the penalty for use of handguns in the commission of a felony, which now carries a meager one-to-three-year mandatory sentence. I would increase the penalty to seven years on the first offense, 15 years on the second and life imprisonment thereafter, with no probation, no parole and no suspension of sentence.
Equal Rights Amendment: Not as the House is presently constituted. I support and will work for the passage of the ERA as such action is obviously necessary to eliminate the conscious and sometimes unconscious discrimination suffered by women since time immemorial.
Local funding: Realistically, I don't see what choice the states will have but to provide funds or taxing sources to local governments to make up to some degree for the budget cuts made by the Reagan administration. This is particularly true for programs that must be continued for the well-being of our citizenry. While our federal taxes will be somewhat reduced over the next few years, our state and local taxes will have to be increased to pick up the slack. We are going to have to come to grips with this reality, and soon, too, as the block grants will fall far short of our needs.
Nora A. Squyres, 60, of 3705 S. George Mason Dr., Falls Church, is a financial analyst with the federal government. She has served as an economist and intelligence officer for the government. She is a Navy veteran and is a former college instructor in consumer economics.
Major objective: My first objective will be ratification of the three-sentence ERA to the U.S. Constitution, which states: Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Section 2. The Congress shall have the pwoer to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
Equal Rights Amendment: I believe the chances for ratification are about 50-50. Both gubernatorial candidates are pro-ERA and will be in a position to exert strong leadership on its behalf. The final result will depend on the attitude of the members of the House of Delegates elected in November. National polls show that increasing numbers of Americans, especially women, now approve ratification. Reasons given are that more women are becoming aware of the true dimensions of the economic as well as legal inequalities which exist, ranging from the inequitable distribution of property in the dissolution of a marriage to unequal pay for equal work.
Local funding: Before any present programs or services are curtailed or canceled, they should be reevaluated on the basis of current need. If determined to be essential and in the public interest, every effort should be made to absorb the cuts through restructuring or more efficient administration. I feel that responsible state government must then provide funds or taxing sources to local governments to compensate for the remaining deficits.