Virginia’s upcoming district election, slated for Nov. 7 (early voting starts Sept. 22), is in the throes of a pivotal electoral contest that hinges on more than just campaign promises.
Running on the Republican ticket is Ed McGovern — a passionate advocate for equal access to quality education, economic innovation, and pro-life stances, sat down with Vision Times in an exclusive interview to share why he believes he’s the right candidate to represent Virginia’s 18th Delegate District.
“I came here in 1993 with my wife, and we chose Fairfax County for its schools,” said Ed, emphasizing how having access to quality education is so important for the constituents he hopes to represent. “[Back then], the schools were considered excellent. You could say they were head and shoulders over everybody else. We need that. My kids went to public schools and benefited from the academics and activities.”
A retired Federal employee, Ed went on to share how his family has witnessed firsthand the transformative potential of a sound education; noting how his opponent, Kathy Tran (D), has been “tied with the powerful teachers union and a current educational establishment that has lacked focus on academic standards.”
Ed aims to course-correct the school system across the state to address issues such as discrimination, lack of transparency, and to refocus on academic merit. Fairfax Co. schools are not over a cliff, but they need a change of direction.
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Specifically, Fairfax Co Public Schools (FCPS) unilaterally changing the enrollment criteria at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHS), a prestigious school located in Alexandria, VA — did not involve parents, taxpayers, or the rest of Virginia. This has resulted in discrimination and diluted academic standards. This will be addressed under Ed’s leadership.
“I’m there for that, and I will work hard to get that situation with Thomas Jefferson fixed. That needs to change — that is discrimination,” said McGovern.
On green energy
With the global environmental crisis casting a long shadow over the future of the state, transitioning away from fossil fuels is a top priority, Ed pointed out. But the “how” will determine if the transition actually happens.” Mandates (which democrats refuse to discuss) suffocate innovation.
“I’m there for innovation, for getting workable solutions,” he said. However, he also urges caution, noting, “[But people] need to understand that when you put heavier cars on the road… how do you maintain the roads with an even-smaller gas tax?” While transitioning is crucial, it’s equally important to find sustainable, practical solutions, he said.
“We need to have a practical solution to work energy through the grid, which my opponent has not considered,” he added.
Highlighting how Northern Virginia has mismanaged transportation funds by redirecting tax dollars to unaccountable regional bodies, Ed shared that he is committed to revamping roads, metro, and toll systems within the state.
In order to achieve this, devising innovative transportation solutions is imperative, said Ed. With an acute understanding of “traffic bottlenecks” and their associated stress, Ed is a staunch believer in “strategic allocation of transportation funds” in order to bring real, transformative benefits.
A pro-life viewpoint
When it comes to his stance on the controversial topic of abortion, Ed did not mince words. “I am pro-life,” he declared, highlighting what he views as “extremist opinions/policies” from his opponent that are in stark opposition to what he believes in.
“My opponent says you can have an abortion during birth,” he said. But Ed McGovern’s belief is rooted in a broader perspective. “We think things are better when you have respect for life. It’s more uplifting.”
Ed McGovern also had a clear message for the Asian American diaspora in Virginia. “Schools. Education is critical. It [equals] to opportunity,” he shared. Recognizing the aspirations of immigrants, many of whom endured a lot of hardship and turmoil to chase the American Dream, he had a message for them. “The public schools are there to lift people up, to give them a chance. The schools must be for everybody.”
Stepping back from more specific issues, McGovern also diagnosed a macro problem: a lack of political equilibrium. He recalled a time when Fairfax County was more balanced and coherent, remarking, “I’ve seen balance. We’ve had Republican delegates that come out of Fairfax County.” He thus urges for a return to bipartisan collaboration.
“Balance is what works. Balance is what gets things done,” he told Vision Times.
A message to voters
In his concluding remarks, Ed McGovern leaves voters with a phrase from the Founders he hopes they’ll keep in mind when it comes time to vote: “Checks and balances.” As a nod to the American ideal of checks and balances, it’s definitely something he feels is currently missing in Fairfax County.
“The country was founded on checks and balances. We don’t have that in Fairfax County,” he said, adding that his campaign aims to restore that balance, all the while strengthening the school system, and building a more robust economy where all residents of Virginia can thrive.
Virginia’s House of Delegates election is slated for Nov. 7, 2023. Early voting starts Sept. 22. The Republican primary for this office scheduled for June 20, 2023 was canceled.