On Wednesday August 12, 2009, The Senior Statesmen of Virginia and The Charlottesville Senior Center, Inc., co-sponsored a CANDIDATES SHOWCASE featuring the candidates for the House of Delegates seats serving the Charlottesville-Albemarle area: Rob Bell, Steve Landes, Greg Marrow, Cynthia Neff, Brandon Smith and David Toscano. The candidates made brief statements on their positions on various issues after which the session was opened for questions from the attendees. Today’s program was moderated by SSV board member Sue Liberman.
25th House District: Counties of Albemarle (part), Augusta (part), Rockingham (part) and the City of Waynesboro
Steve Landes (Republican) is the incumbent delegate representing the 25th House District. Steve is serving his seventh term in the House. He is a member of the House Education Committee; and Appropriations, Rules, and Privileges and Elections Committees, and is vice chairman of the House Education Committee. He is the first non-attorney to serve as chairman and as a member of the Virginia Code Commission. Steve is also past president of the Weyers Cave Ruritan Club. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Center for Rural Virginia and is vice chairman. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia. Steve is a member of both the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Conference of State Legislators’ Education Committees.
From 1988 to 1992 he served as legislative assistant to his predecessor, former Delegate A.R. “Pete” Giesen, Jr., and from 1993 to 1995 served as Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s district director and district representative. Steve is the community relations coordinator for DuPont Community Credit Union, which is headquartered in Waynesboro,Virginia. He served as executive director of NewBiz Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley’s small business incubator, for five years. Steve was a life insurance agent and registered representative with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. Steve also worked at Davis & Davis Marketing, Inc.-a Staunton based marketing and advertising firm as a media buyer and then as an account executive.
Greg Marrow (Democrat) is a candidate for delegate for the 25th House District. Greg is a local optometrist who practices with his wife in Harrisonburg. He graduated from the University of New England, top in his class, with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology before earning a doctorate of optometry at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN. Greg is also a decorated US Navy veteran with over a decade of service on ships, in the Mediterranean Sea, and at the end of his military career, as the department head of the Optometry Clinic at the Naval Hospital at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. Here he was awarded the prestigious Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal for fiscal responsibility in stream lining efficiency in the clinic, support of troop readiness, and saving taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars each year. Greg has been involved in politics for several decades and has worked for candidates on both sides of the aisle. He has worked tirelessly to improve the health and prosperity of his community and in 2006 was awarded a civilian medal of merit by the Valley Voice Reading Service for outstanding support and contribution to Virginia’s blind and visually impaired. In addition to this effort, Greg and his wife Christi have donated thousands of dollars to local libraries, needy charities, churches and schools. Greg and Christi were drawn to the Valley years ago and have been in love with it ever since, learning very quickly that this is a great place to raise a family. In addition to managing a successful business, Greg and Christi are raising two wonderfully bright children, Cami, age 4, and Cade, age 2. In his spare time Greg enjoys hiking the Appalachian Trail, and raising alpacas and chickens on his small farm, and riding his Harley.
57th House District: County of Albemarle (part), and the City of Charlottesville
David Toscano (Democrat) is the incumbent delegate representing the 57th House District. David Toscano was elected to his first term in the Virginia House of Delegates in November 2005. David was born in Syracuse, New York in 1950, the first of five children. He was educated in the public schools, received a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in 1972, a Ph.D. from Boston College in 1979, and a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1986. He has taught at various colleges and universities, including Boston College, the University of Maryland (European Division), Piedmont Virginia Community College, the University of Virginia, and James Madison University. He is an attorney with Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., specializing in family law and real estate. David served on the Charlottesville City Council from 1990 to 2002 and as mayor from 1994 to 1996.
David is a resident of the City of Charlottesville, where he lives with his wife of 30 years, Nancy A. Tramontin, and their son, Matthew.
David serves on the Courts of Justice, Transportation, and Science and Technology Committees in the House of Delegates. He is also a member of the Disability Commission, the Joint Commission to Study Math, Science and Technology Education in the Commonwealth, and the Joint Subcommittee to Study Land Use Tools in the Commonwealth. He is also a member of the United Way Board and the Chamber of Commerce.
Robert Brandon Smith III (Independent) is a candidate for delegate for the 57th House District. Brandon lists the following qualifications and experience:
o A Virginian (Alexandrian) o Episcopalian o Carpenter and Drywall Mechanic o United States Marine Corps brat o Graduate of Princess Anne High School o Tested first in Senior Class in 1965 in knowledge of Current Events and World Affairs (Time Magazine- Certificate of Excellence) o Attended Randolph-Macon College-studied history; played lacrosse o 2nd twenty-five years in Richmond o Resided in Charlottesville and Nelson County since 1994 o Long time community, pro-choice, environmental, historic preservation, etc. citizen activist/volunteer o Founding Member (1975) Cornucopia Natural Foods Co-op Richmond. o Convened Richmond Greens in 1989 o Led same Greens in successful fight against proposed medical waste incinerator, for New York medical waste o Actions in Charlottesville include: for bike lanes, for Living Wages, on Population and Ethics Committees of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Sustainability Council.o Bicycle, no car o Follow the Iroquois, in public decisions account for impact on the seventh generation. “My country? Sir, my country is Virginia!” John Randolph of Roanoke
58th House District: Counties of Albemarle (part), Fluvanna (part), Greene, and Orange (part)
Rob Bell (Republican) is the incumbent delegate representing the 58th House District. An honors graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia Law School, Rob Bell served as a state prosecutor for five years. He prosecuted over 2,400 cases, working with the police and crime victims to bring criminals to justice.
Representing the 58th House District Rob has written laws that crack down on drunk driving. He was named the 2005 Outstanding Legislator by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)-Virginia. He is also interested in school safety. In recent years, he has written laws to ban criminal sex offenders from school property during school hours and to require additional background checks on school personnel. In 2008, Rob helped overhaul Virginia’s mental health laws in light of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
An Eagle Scout, Rob was an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts and with the public schools prior to his election in 2001. Rob’s wife, Jessica, is a schoolteacher. She is currently staying home to raise their children, Robbie and Evelyn. The Bells live in Albemarle County and are members of Aldersgate United Methodist Church.
Cynthia Neff (Democrat) is running for delegate to the General Assembly from the 58th District. After a long career in business she has decided to turn her time and talents to public service and an opportunity to bring a common sense, practical business approach to state government.
Cynthia grew up in a military family, moving often throughout her childhood. After spending her high school years in Oklahoma, she left home at 17. While attending college and working full time at the Post Office, in doctor’s offices and convalescent hospitals, she began her interest in public service, and served with the Flying Samaritans to provide medical care for those who could not afford it. After school, Cynthia opened a gift store with a friend and served on a number of merchant and small business associations, even testifying to members of the legislature on the needs of small business. She then went to work at IBM, starting in sales and operations. Throughout the next 25 years, she worked in a number of managerial and executive capacities for the company. From sales, to marketing, manufacturing, public policy, personal privacy, and human resources, she saw how most every aspect of the company’s decisions affected the lives of the people working there. She retired from the executive ranks at IBM.
Cynthia left the business world in 2006 and looked for the ideal spot to call home. As the sole caretaker of an elderly parent, she looked for an area close to her family; one with excellent health care resources; and one with the cultural events of a college town with the rural setting and sense of community. Albemarle County was the natural choice. Cynthia puts all of her experience to work as the chair of the AIDS/HIV Services Group Board of Directors, the Advisory Council of the Legal Aid Justice Center, as Court Appointed Special Advocate working with abused and endangered children and other volunteer organizations focused on helping the most vulnerable members of the community.