A group of Northern Virginia businessmen announced yesterday that they have formed a political action committee to lobby for more state aid to education and highway construction and to support candidates across the state who are sympathetic to the area's needs.
"We believe the time has come to harness the substantial economic power in Northern Virginia and unite . . . to see that our region's needs are properly addressed by our state government," said C. Daniel Clemente, a Fairfax County businessman and developer who conceived the idea for NoVaPAC.
Clemente, who played a major role this year in raising about $700,000 for Republican J. Marshall Coleman's unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor, said NoVaPAC would be nonpartisan.
Clemente said the committee will operate out of McLean and will make a "concerted effort to get grass-roots" support. "It's not another business, Realtor, builders PAC," said Stephen A. Korfonta Jr., the PAC's executive director.
Clemente acknowledged that largely urban Northern Virginia traditionally has been looked on with varying degrees of envy and skepticism by downstate legislators.
But he said NoVaPAC would try to avoid confrontation by stressing how much Northern Virginia's rapidly developing businesses boost the state as a whole.
"I think cooperation depends on how you approach it," said Clemente. "If you approach it in a confrontational way, it's regionalism."
Clemente said he expects some legislative candidates in other areas of the state to be wary of NoVaPAC money, but that he hopes other regions, such as the Tidewater area, will create similar PACs to promote common goals.
Clemente said NoVaPAC in some cases may encourage local businesses and individuals to make separate donations to political candidates rather than funneling the money through the PAC, which could be criticized by a recipient's opponent.
"We could play a very important role," Clemente said.
Clemente, 49, who said he had lived in Virginia for 25 years but did not become "interested in what's happening in Richmond" until this year, said the PAC would emphasize research to support Northern Virginia's claim to more state support.
Clemente and Korfonta said they have not established a budget for the new PAC but plan to raise funds through direct mail and to hold a fund-raiser in the spring. There are no regularly scheduled elections for the legislature until 1987.