Every voter has something to contribute to how we govern ourselves as a Commonwealth. Accordingly, every day since my fellow citizens elected me to the House of Delegates in 1998, my primary objective has been to represent our shared interests in deliberations at the Capitol.
To do so, I meet regularly with individual citizens, civic associations, local officials and employees, and educators, and I receive, ponder, and respond to a steady stream of calls, letters, and email. Your interests and concerns then become the portfolio that I carry to Richmond, and which I represent in each and every vote that I cast on your behalf.
In deciding how to vote as your delegate to the House, I consider both my core convictions and our place within the larger Commonwealth of Virginia. For example, we all want the best public schools, from kindergarten through college. We all want a good transportation system. And, we all want to be safe and secure in our homes and neighborhoods.
On these and other perennial issues, most differences concern only how to achieve a shared objective. The challenge to which I devote my energies on any major issue, therefore, is how to balance the ethical relationship among ends, means, and consequences.
For example, there is broad consensus that everyone should have access to healthcare. But, what are the best means of achieving this good end? Should government or the private sector be the principal insurer? In either case, what would be the consequences for taxpayers, for businesses, for doctors and nurses, for hospital systems and patients? And, would individual liberty be enhanced—or diminished?
It is because the means and consequences matter as much as the ends or objectives of public policy that I embrace principles of the Republican Party. While independency is possible at the local level, to be effective in Richmond every legislator must declare an allegiance. For example, though there are two Independents in the House of Delegates, both are members of the Republican Caucus. Each represents a traditional, rural district. (One of them is my seatmate.)
Our system of government is characterized by faction and friction—exactly as the Founders intended. Within these necessary constraints, it has I believe been the Republicans in the House—including my fellow neighboring delegates Sam Nixon, Kirk Cox, Manoli Loupassi, Watkins Abbitt, Bill Janis, and Tommy Wright—who have protected us against too much taxation and too much governmental spending at any level. And also, I might add, against too-intrusive a state government.
Our achievements in the current biennium have been significant. We increased state support for public education. We prevented costly new proposals just before the recession confirmed our judgment against an increase in state spending—and taxation. And, through my own legislation, we have preserved 220,000 acres of land for the future, and for farming, through permanent conservation easements.
These achievements, and also a complete record of my votes on every bill that has come before the House of Delegates, are readily accessible to you by visiting the official webpage of the House of Delegates. To do so, please click on the resources link in the top of the page.
Of course there is much more to be done, on many issues. Which is precisely why I am seeking voters’ support to continue to represent your best interests, within the context of our beautiful and bountiful Commonwealth, for another term.
As the father of four children, each of whom was graduated from our public schools, Delegate Lee Ware understands the vital importance of parent-and-teacher cooperation in the creation and maintenance of outstanding schools. His wife, Kathy, as a PTO leader, complemented this devotion for many years.
Like you, Lee Ware is a taxpayer. Like you, he understands that voters rightly expect state government to maximize the efficiency of the public purse—including in administering taxpayer dollars for education. This is why he champions strict fiscal discipline in state spending generally, and this is why he works to funnelDelegate Lee Ware on Education taxpayer dollars to the classroom. Lee Ware has helped engineer a 123% increase in state funds for Chesterfield Schools during his decade as our Delegate. For Powhatan Schools the increase has been 175%.
Attracting and retaining the best-qualified teachers, and ensuring that our children are given every opportunity to experience—and to excel—in the adventure of learning, are among his legislative priorities.
Named Virginia’s ‘Outstanding Teacher on the Constitution’ in an annual ceremony by the John Marshall Foundation, and the first public school teacher appointed to the State Board of Education, Lee Ware brings the unique experience of the classroom to the Capitol for his constituents. To him, education is both a personal career and a public commitment.
Virginia's transportation issues are a growth issue and Delegate Lee Ware believes we need a state-wide transportation reform plan that addresses both road construction as well as development and growth.
Delegate Ware also supports additional rail improvements that help take cars off our roads and enable families to spend more time with one another - not stuck in traffic.
As both a county supervisor and now as a legislator, Delegate Ware has worked for comprehensive planning that balances commercial development and residential expansion.
He crafted the legislation that enhanced Virginia's conservation easements, leading to the preservation of 220,000 acres—and also of numerous family farms.
His bill of the 2009 Session to create "green roof" incentives for environmentally-friendly building was passed into law. And another of his 2009 bills—to enable counties to better preserve Virginia's 3,000 miles of "scenic byways" —was passed by the House of Delegates.
As vice chairman of the House committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources, Delegate Ware is a leader on every issue of importance to Virginia’s largest industry, to restoring the Bay, and to the wise use—and also the faithful renewal—of the resources of nature that make Virginia both bountiful and beautiful. His advocacy of wise land use and urban design contributes both to our prosperity and to the attractiveness of the communities in which we live.
It seems that everyday there is a story about how government spending is increasing and taxpayers are shelling out more money. Delegate Ware supports keeping the rate of growth of governmental taxing and spending in balance with economic conditions in the private sector.
Like you, Lee expects government to use fiscal restraint when spending our hard-earned tax dollars, and he believes that providing tax incentives to businesses - not more governmental spending - is the key to spurring economic recovery.