Who am I?
A native of Hagerstown, Maryland, Jerry spent his life searching for a place to help. He quickly discovered that the church was where he could best serve. He has served as pastor to United Church of Christ congregations in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. And since moving to Northern Virginia in 1996, he started and grew a new congregation right here in Centreville. In addition, he served for seven years as the Associate Conference Minister in the Central Atlantic region, where he supported 41 separate churches and their pastors. But working as a local pastor was only the beginning for Jerry. He has also served in international delegations to Columbia, Honduras and Poland for local organizations like the Centreville Rotary Club and the United Church of Christ.
Near and dear to Jerry’s heart is his service as a member and chaplain of the Centreville Station #17 Volunteer Fire Department. As the chaplain Jerry is often one of the first responders on site to work with local families that have suffered tragedies – A duty he does not take lightly. He also works with the families of our fallen heroes, and makes sure that they have the counseling and support they need during the most difficult of times.
As immigration has been a hot button issue in Northern Virginia over the past decade, Jerry has dedicated his time to protect children and families from bigotry, hate and racism. Working solely with private funders, Jerry helped organize the Centreville Labor Resource Center to help immigrants assimilate and find jobs in Northern Virginia, keeping them off the streets and out of parking lots begging for work. In 2011, Jerry and wife, Alice were honored by the Centreville Historic Foundation as “Citizens of the Year” for organizing a community forum that brought real positive changes to the integration of new communities in our area.
In the end, Jerry’s service is just a reflection of his family. In 1965, Jerry married his college sweetheart Alice, since then the two of them have always focused their efforts on making their community a better place to live and raise a family. Their four children are now grown, and Jerry likes to spend his spare time spoiling his nine grandchildren and teaching them the true values of helping those in need.
Why am I running?
My opponent, who is my Va. House delegate, has not been serving my community well. His actions and stated views do not represent the diversity of our district. Much of his efforts in the House have been negative and hostile toward the immigrant community. With total consistency he has stood with his fellow right-wing Republicans to support discrimination toward sexual minorities in employment and child adoptions, restrict women's health care options, and fail to support the regional needs for improved transportation and quality education. I believe I am in the best position of any Democrat to defeat him in this year's election and give the representation our district needs and deserves.
Political leaders in our region have been asking me to run for the past four years. I was excited by President Obama's re-election campaign and I identify with his stated goals for our country as they relate to Virginia and our region.
Democrats need to step forward and work hard and smart to take back control of the state. We should not be a minority in the House of Delegates. The current policies and legislation serve to move our state backward and make it a less desirable state in which to live and work. As a Democrat, I have the commitment to make a different this year and win this race for my community and Virginia.
My first goal is to expand my accessibility to the electorate by having regularly announced gatherings in various times and places and in various media venues to both listen to people and also be able to explain my positions and actions.
My second goal is to work for alleviating the greatest needs of our region's working families, in all their variety of configurations: with the need for jobs, adequate pay, access to good education, transportation, and health care, all of which impact Virginia's families.
My DFA Values
I would initiate and support legislation that would build community in efforts to solve local problems; increase safety awareness, disaster preparedness, and recreational and fitness opportunities. I would seek to protect the future of our citizens by advanced planning for highways,education, low cost housing, public transportation, and accessible health care. I would work for fair and equitable taxation that would support the needs of Virginia.
Our families and our neighborhoods need more security that could come from improved gun safety and greater access to mental health treatment. I would look for ways to strengthen our state's economy, be more welcoming to new industry and more tourism, and better fund our public schools and highter education institutions.
I would uphold the right to privacy in all the personal and electronic transactions of our age. I would work to end discrimination in all its forms and honor the right of every individual in their free choices in life, including but not limited to choosing a marriage partner, the right to vote, the right to bargain for wages and conditions of employment,and the right to a quality education.
My work as a delegate would not be confined to the time in the General Assembly, but also between sessions when I might lend the power of my position to draw people together to determine community needs and solutions, as well as to celebrate our diversity and our freedoms.
My Campaign is People Powered!
In 2010-2011 I participated in organizing a privately funded, no-fee, labor resource center in Centreville. After a year of operation, the Center has over 375 registered workers and over 300 contractors and homeowners who use the center. Opened in Dec. 2011, it is the result of grass-roots support with years of monthly meetings, discussions, meetings with immigrant day laborers, legal and health experts and seeking funds from foundations, the faith community, individuals, and area businesses. An estimate of the workers' earnings spent in the community is about $200,000 in one year.
Another example is my involvement with volunteers in recent political campaigns, what I most enjoy is canvassing, including conversations with volunteers and with residents. Canvassing allows me to have an open conversation with those in the district. The person to person contact builds trust in the process as well as support for candidates.
A third example is working with a very active volunteer fire department that cooperates with around-the-clock career staff. With about 100 members, the Centreville Volunteer Fire Dept., which owns the fire station in Fairfax County as a part of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Dept., raises over $1 million with bingo and other fund-raising activities, purchases new front-line vehicles, runs a canteen truck for refreshments at incidents, and paid off a $2+ million mortgage already for a 1995 station expansion project. The membership comes from every walk of life and ethnic group in our area. The "operational" members have the same professional training as the career staff, with as many hours of training each year as the hours of operation, such running calls.