Who am I?
Bill Fleming attended elementary school in Petersburg, VA and high school in Alexandria, VA. He went to N.C. State University and earned a BS in physics and attended ROTC. Bill continued his graduate studies in physics at N.C. State, completed officer training at Ft. Gordon, GA, and earned a PhD in physics. After school, Bill was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, worked at IBM Research, San Jose, CA; was VP and a Board Member at MILCOM Systems Corp., Virginia Beach, VA; and Network Interfaces Corp., Virginia Beach, VA. Other postdoctoral studies include design for manufacturability and decision analysis at Stanford University, management at Old Dominion University, process analysis and optimization at University of Virginia, and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.
Bill’s social and community involvement includes 9 years as a Cubmaster, coaching sports teams, and membership on the Saratoga Education Foundation in Saratoga, CA. He is currently a member of the Public Policy and Wetlands committees of Lynnhaven River Now, a Chesapeake Bay Foundation steward, and a member of several other environmental groups including the Nature Conservancy, the Back Bay Restoration Foundation, and the James River Association. Bill is also a member of the Citizens Committee to Protect the Elderly in Virginia Beach.
Bill Fleming first got involved in political campaigning after attending a DFA Campaign Academy in 2008. He spent time canvassing, phone banking, registering voters, hauling literature, poll watching, and other “in the trenches” activities for both Obama campaigns as well as the campaigns of Jim Web, Creigh Deeds, and Tim Kaine.
Why am I running?
Democracy in the western hemisphere started in Virginia in 1619. Virginia is also the first state to call itself a Commonwealth. These were appropriately taught to be important and historic events when I was in elementary school. However, this history of Virginia has been one of struggle between powerful self-interests and those who want to advance the philosophies of democracy and commonwealth. In the 1800s Virginia was economically strangled by debt owed to private interests after the Civil War. In the early 1900s Virginia sadly was the birthplace of the poll tax, which was used to keep lower and middle class whites and blacks from voting. More recently, we have seen continuing efforts to restrict voting in order to benefit those in power and their special interest supporters. Rather than focusing on the commonwealth and common good of the people, the General Assembly continues to provide financial advantage to special interests at the expense of the people and the common good. At the same time, there are increased attacks on the rights and freedoms of women, economically disadvantaged, and other groups, undermining of support for education, stifling of renewable energy production, and denial of health care.
Currently there are only 32 Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates. I am running to increase the number of Democrats in the House by one more. If other new candidates run and win in other districts, we will hopefully increase the number of House Democrats toward or beyond 50. If we do not achieve a Democratic House majority in 2013, I hope to go to groups in other House districts to encourage more Democrats to run in 2015. The spirit of commonwealth can become more of a reality.
Virginia Clinic Network: Currently there are 1 million Virginians (1 in 8) who do not have any form of health insurance. In addition, in many areas of the state it is very difficult to find medical care if you are on Medicare or Medicaid. I want to propose that Virginia fund Virginia primary care clinics using money from state and federal sources to provide basic/primary medical care. The patient electronic medical records would be centrally located in cloud infrastructure in order save money for all clinics. Much of the primary care would be provided by nurse practitioners or physicians assistants with backup by board certified physicians. Access would be eligible to all Virginians who would have a medical card with a photo ID. For those with medical insurance, the clinics would bill the insurer. Medicare or Medicaid would be charged to those covered by these programs. More serious medical problems would be referred up to hospitals.
Education Reform: The current education system in Virginia is suffering from lack of support and focus. I want to provide more support for teachers and the schools in general by fixing state budget problems that result in lower pay and support for our teachers. I also want to get the state away from SOL programs and switch to a uniform set of classroom competencies based on analyzing what students really need to learn in order to succeed and be successful.
Sustainable Energy Utility: Utility companies and the state have failed to promote sustainable energy production from sources such as solar and wind. I want to submit legislation to create a separate sustainable energy utility that would either directly build sustainable energy sources or become the intermediary for individuals or small businesses to sell electricity to the grid. This sustainable utility would use bonds or stock offerings to start building up production. The state regulators would require that sustainable energy be purchased by the existing utility at an attractive rate.
My DFA Values
DFA Values are consistent with the concept of Commonwealth, a philosophical vision to which Virginia is supposed to aspire. The commonwealth of the people of Virginia includes good public infrastructure, good public schools, a good environment, and good systems to help the people achieve their personal goals and success. A well run commonwealth should help ensure opportunity, freedom, a secure community, and affordable health care. The state government should be focused on promoting the common good of the people of Virginia, not the private interests of special interests.
My Campaign is People Powered!
First, my campaign is founded on strategy and tactics taught by progressive grassroots organizations including Democracy for America, New Organizing Institute, and Progressive Majority. All three of these groups are focused on motivating and teaching people to mount grassroots campaigns to help people represent the people’s interests in local, state, and national office. The campaign is also based upon the training of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, which teaches people to run ethical campaigns and work for better government.
Second, this campaign has been powered by an increasing number of friends with whom I worked with during OFA grassroots work from 2008 to now. As I have been collecting petition signatures and talking to people in the neighborhoods of this district, I have met other OFA volunteers who I had not worked with directly but have offered to help with this campaign. Finally, I have been inspired and motivated by Dr. William “Fergie” Reid, a civil rights and voting rights leader in the 1950s and 1960s as well as the first African-American to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly in the 1900s.