Letter: ‘My goal is . . . to make a difference’

I am Bob Zwick and I am running for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates because I believe that my knowledge and experience will best serve the citizens of the 18th district. When I heard that Todd Benson was running, I was delighted. After he dropped out, I kept waiting for someone with the wisdom and experience we need in Richmond to enter the race. That never happened and at the urging of many residents of the 18th district of both parties, I decided to run.

I live here because I like it here. If I wanted to live in Fairfax, I would. I hold traditional Virginia values. I care for the land and people. I believe in a quality education. I believe in self-reliance. I believe in a hand up, not a hand out. I hate waste.

My father was my greatest teacher. He grew up on the family dairy farm in Southington, Conn. After World War II, he attended the University of Connecticut on the GI bill. Later he went to Harvard, where he received his Ph.D. in Economics and, in 1955, I was born. My grandfather tried many things to make his farm profitable but nothing worked until its final crop – houses. Finding himself in need of employment, my father went to work for the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica. In 1965, my father joined the Johnson Administration and, as LBJ’s budget director, he balanced the federal budget, something that would not happen again for another 30 years. It was while we were living in the Washington area that I first fell in love with rural Virginia. I was a member of the Boy Scouts and we frequently camped in and around the area where I now live. As a scout, I also learned the need for stewardship of the land. I feel blessed that I am able to live here full time.

I attended Connecticut College in New London, where I helped found WCNI-FM, a community-based, non-commercial radio station. At one point, we installed a wind turbine on top of our broadcast tower and probably became the first radio station in the country to be powered by green energy.

In 1981, I went to work for a software company which went out of business in 1984 due to the recession and I found myself in need of a job. One of my clients in Fairfax needed support for his system so I acquired the rights to the software I had developed and moved to Virginia, where we started a new software company. Over the next 25 years, we became one of the largest suppliers of accounts receivable management systems in the world. We had clients in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. We opened offices in six states and four countries on three continents. Our debt-factoring division had more than $20 billion in managed assets. Eventually, my equity interest was acquired by a venture capital firm. While I was no longer president, I did remain with the company for several more years until retiring at the end of 2008.

I am involved in the affairs of several local organizations, including as president of Fauquier Domestic Violence Services and The Center for Arts, Music and Performance. I am also active in local and state governments. I have frequently traveled to Richmond to lobby on conservation issues and have involved myself in local issues that are a concern to me. I believe that I have made a difference.

My goal in this election is to make a difference, not to score points. I’ve spent the last few weeks traveling across the district, and I’ve heard many people express their frustration about government. I share their frustration. The system in Washington is broken, but here in Virginia we do things differently. We have a tradition of civility. I want to put the interests of Virginians ahead of politics. Public service should not be about wining political victories, but rather governing responsibly. We need to come together to solve the real problems that challenge us today.

We need to return to local governments the power to determine what regulations, if any, they need to protect the future of their residents. To this end, I will work to modify or eliminate the Dillon Rule.

I have been a conservationist all of my life. For years, I have lobbied the General Assembly on conservation issues. I will continue to lead the fight to conserve open spaces and our rural landscapes, while promoting efforts to plan for growth. I will protect our clean air, clean water and natural environment. I want to keep Virginia a safe and beautiful place to live, work and raise a family.

We need to ensure we have the infrastructure we need for the future. High-speed internet access should be available to everyone in the Commonwealth. We need a modern transportation system to move our residents as well as the goods and services that we need and produce.

I believe that Virginia should be a national leader in the production and use of green energy.

One of Virginia’s greatest assets is its world-class higher education system. Both our two- and four-year degree colleges are critical to our future. We need to support technical education and workforce training to maintain and enhance employment opportunities across Virginia.

I support smaller class sizes, early-childhood education, classroom technology, vocational training and increased teacher salaries.

Bob Zwick
The Plains

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