Based on his background in chemistry, Mr. Anderson is convinced that chemicals in our environment from industrial, agricultural and even pharmaceutical practices is responsible for many of the health issues we are facing today. Our DNA is being impacted by these chemicals and other factors leading to birth defects, autism, etc. As a result, Mr. Anderson is opposed to the expansion of many industrial and agricultural practices and better protections for those that are on-going.
One area of concern is the possibility of fracking in eastern Virginia. If it cannot be banned outright then Mr. Anderson would push for greater safeguards and contingency plans. He favors full disclosure of any hazardous characteristics of fracking fluids, additional baseline assessments, continuous monitoring of both air and water quality, more secure end environmental acceptable storage and treatment of waste fracking fluids, and the setup of a contingency fund paid for by the industry to pay for any problems that develop from the operations. Other areas of concern include handling of existing coal ash ponds, power plant pollution control, and agricultural and lawn runoff impacting streams and rivers.
Although there are always ”natural” fluctuations in global temperatures over time, Mr. Anderson is convinced that the “global warming” we are seeing is “unnatural” and that humans have made a significant contribution to the rise in global temperatures. Although fossil fuel consumption is only one contributor, deforestation being another, population growth and livestock production expansion being a third, Mr. Anderson is opposed to continued use of fossil fuels beyond the time it takes to replace their use with renewable forms of energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, and other yet to be developed alternatives (e.g. wave power). Mr Anderson will support all legislation that will curtail Virginia’s contribution to “global warming” such as clean energy plans. He will also support all legislation that will expand the use of renewables and will seek to introduce legislation that will expand the renewable’s industry in Virginia.
Every day, we hear from company executives that a higher minimum wage will make them go out of business. Yet there are many examples of companies who pay their employees more and are even more successful then these minimum wage companies. For example, consider Costco and Walmart. Costco has a starting wage of $11.50 per hour and their average wage is $21.00 per hour. Walmart has a starting salary of $9 per hour and an average wage of $13.00 per hour for non-supervisory personnel. Yet investor returns from 2005 to the present for Costco has been almost five times those for Walmart. Many other examples also exist in the fast food industry and the convenience store/service station industry. What makes the difference? Higher wages lead to much lower turnover which leads to greater productivity, loyalty and commitment. Mr. Anderson’s position is that if corporations are not going to treat their employees fairly with a livable wage than it is up to the state to force them.
As a college educator, Mr. Anderson witnesses first-hand the deficiencies in our K12 educational system. Students often lack communications skills to take advantage of the education that they are being offered. They do not ask questions when they are having problems understanding material and they do not readily participate in the classes. Students also lack critical thinking and problems solving skills. If a problem requires use of many concepts to solve, it baffles them. Finally, many students have a great deal of trouble even using algebra to solve problems. Currently, Mr. Anderson does not have a solution for the above, but will be devoting much of his time during this campaign discussing this state of education with educational professionals. Mr. Anderson is aware of the complex situation with public schools receiving local, state and federal funding with many strings attached.
Another desire on Mr. Anderson’s part is to expand funded pre-K programs, especially for the children of poverty. These children do not have a choice on the family situation they are born into yet this outcome has been shown to greatly impact their ability to get themselves out of poverty. Often these children also end up incarcerated. We pay one way or the other. Giving them a chance through better preparation for public school and higher education should be preferred by all humans.
Finally, Mr. Anderson is opposed to school voucher programs, not because he thinks that public schools are doing a terrific job. The problem is that providing vouchers will ultimately take away funds for education for the underprivileged. Vouchers will enable those sending their children to private schools a refund on some of their costs but take away none of the costs of public schools. Therefore, public schools will end up teaching nearly the same amount of students with less money than they have now.
Mr. Anderson believes a highly educated society leads to a more informed and democratic society, a more prosperous society, and a more peaceful society. With higher education comes greater innovation and greater productivity improvements, greater participation in government affairs and community development, and as a result a more satisfied and happy society. Consequently, Mr. Anderson believes that we need to do whatever possible to make higher education more affordable so that a greater percentage of our citizens can complete a college education. Affordability can come from more on-demand and on-line courses and/or tax credits based on need.
Everyone is for economic development. It helps people get out of poverty and feel good about themselves. However, we cannot simply seek economic development for economic development’s sake. We must consider all of the “externalities” such as environmental impacts. As a result, Mr. Anderson is not for fossil fuel related industries or many chemical-related industries. Mr. Anderson’s long-term vision for economic development in Virginia is to make Virginia a world “innovation center”, add “green” industries, and add “green” agriculture. Mr. Anderson is opposed to continued expansion of military and intelligence spending. While these activities provide jobs, there are many more productive uses for our taxes. Mr. Anderson sees greater benefit in putting that military and intelligence spending into “green” research and development. “Green” research and development that could eliminate poverty throughout the world and provide meaningful lives for all without the need for warfare and terrorism.