The six candidates running in the Democratic primary race for five seats in the 19th legislative district so far are conduction low-key, low-budget campaigns.
All the candidates admit that it is likely that the race will continue to remain "quiet" because they share similar views on most of the issues.
Even the financing of the campaigns a being affected by the uneventfulness of the race. Four of the contenders - including one of the incumbents, Richard L. Saslaw - say they will spend less than $500 on their respective primary campaigns. The others who are keeping expenses to a minimum are Gladys Keating, D. Dashiell Sibley and Vernon L. (Lee) Strang, Jr.
The other incumbent, Thomas J. Rothrock, who is finishing up his third term in the House of Delegates, says he expects to spend "nothing."
Only one of the candidates, Michael Patrick Leahy, a Northern VIrginia Community College student, expects to greatly outspend his competition. Leahy estimates he will spend between $1200 and $1500 in the primary race.
Both Rothrock and Saslaw say they expect to win renomination in the June 14 primary, leaving the other four candidates to battle over the remaining three seats.
The last time the Democrats held a legislative primary in the 19th district, which comprises 113,512 registered voters in the southern half of Fairfax County, was in 1971. In 1973 and 1975 only five candidates filed for the five party nominations.
Here are the candidates and their views:
Gladys B. Keating, 53, 5911 Brookview Dr., has twice run unsuccessfully in the same legislative district in 1973 and 1975, losing in the last race by 647 votes.
Keating notes that she is "one of the few non-incumbents running on a record," citing 16 years of community involvement and her present post as vice president of the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council.
Calling Virginia's laws on women "archaic," Keating said, if elected, she would seek to change the inheritance laws which discriminate against women and work to get legal recognition of the wife's contribution to a marriage whether she has a job or is a homemaker. She also would support the Equal Rights Amendment.
Keating said she would allow local governments more flexibility in taxing so they could cut their heavy reliance on the property tax.
She also would support legislation allowing collective bargaining for public employees, with a "no-strike" provision in the law.
Michael Patrick Leahy, 22, 8601 Raleigh Ave., Annandale, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, has been a community activist and Democratic Party worker.
Leahy said though "some members of the Fairfax Democratic Committee thought I was too outspoken (for his stand favoring fines instead of prison terms as a deterrent for marijuana users), I'm not going to lie, I'm not going to be a plastic politician."
Leahy said his political base includes the students at NOVA.
Leahy spports passage of the ERA, collective bargaining for public employees with a no-strike provision and a moratorium on property assessment. Only parcels that are developed or sold should be reassessed, he said.
Better management techniques and measures like zero-based budgeting would balance the state budget without curtailing services or raising taxes, Leahy believes.
Thomas Jefferson Rothrock, 44, 1082 Windermere Lane, Fairfax, is and attorney seeking his fourth consecutive term to the House of Delegates.
Rothrock said he does not favor a general tax increase in either sales or income tax and he would like to see the tax on food eliminated although he concedes the latter is a "political improbability" since the food tax accounts for approximately one quarter of the total sales tax revenue statewide.
In the past, Rothrock has supported legislation that would have given local governments the option to impose their own sales tax.
As for relieving the lacal property tax burden in Fairfax, Rothrock says there is" not a great deal (the state delegates) can offer."
Rothrock said he has supported all efforts to bring the ERA to the House floor. And he favors collective bargaining for public employees with a no-strike provision.
Finally, Rothrock called Virginia's support for Metro "shameful" in comparison to Maryland's aid to the rail transport system. He would like to see a percentage of the state gas tax go towards Metro and more support for mass transit all over the state, not only in Northern Virginia.
Richard L. Saslaw, 37, 8508 Raleigh Ave., Annandale, now completing his first term in the House, said that "if you're an incumbent, you've got to run on your record." He recently told a group of Democrats that during his first term as a state delegate he has "performed."
Saslaw said he supported the "meet and confer" bill in committee that would have allowed public employees some power to negotiate salaries with local governing bodies.
Saslaw also voted for a motion to get the ERA bill onto the House floor for a vote, but the motion failed.
A real estate salesman, who made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic congressional nomination in 1974 (losing lto Herb Harris), Saslaw says he "would like to see much of (the) state control of local government relaxed" but he said the state should retain control over taxing powers.
Saslaw said he would like to see the annual property reassessment increase limited to 6 per cent in any one year.
D. Dashiell Sibley, 26, 8503 Barrington Ct., Springfield, said he finds voters in Northern Virginia "frustrated by the lack of action" in the General Assembly.
A former Army officer and now employed as circulation manager of the Northern Virginian magazine, Sibley is a part-time student at George Mason University where he is working on a master's degree in public administration. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1972.
Sibley believes "a local option sales tax would be a possibility," and says he would have voted for the 4 per cent gas tax if he had been in the legislature during the last session. He favors using parimutuel betting or a lottery in place of the tax on food which most severely affects the families with an income under $10,000, he said.
Sibley also would like to see collective bargaining on a no-strike basis allowed for public exployees.
Sibley said he would vote for the ERA if elected and he would support "sunset legislation" as a policy of the state government, by which all new programs would automatically die within a certain period unless the legislature specifically authorized their continuance.
Vernon L. (Lee) Strang Jr., 23, 6308 Pioneer Dr., Springfield, said he would like to " restore a little bit of faith in government." He said that the legislature "is supposed to be made up of citizens, but most are lawyers and real estate agents who aren't average, every day citizens."
Strang told a group of Democratic women in Mt. Vernon that "there's an inherent difference between most political newcomers and me - I'm not interested in gaining political power; I'm interested in community involvement."
Strang has an associate degree in education from Northern Virginia Community College and is presently a third-year student at George Mason University where he is studying psychology. He serves on a committee studying the problem of juvenile delinquency in Fairfax County and is secretary for the board of the Mt. Vernon Center for Community Mental Health.
Strang, who would like to get "more autonomy for Norther Virginia," supports giving local bodies more diverse taxing authority, even the option of enaction a local income tax. Strang would like to see the tax put back on capital gains and favors a tax break for senior citizens.
Like his fellow candidates, Strang wants passage of the ERA and no-strike collective bargaining legislation for public employees.