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Win For Dem In 33rd District Would Continue Public Service Career

© Leesburg Today - 07/27/2015

A retired federal employee, Chuck Hedges already has performed years of public service. But he's setting his sights on a government job in a different capital these days.

The 67-year-old Democrat is challenging Republican Del. David A. LaRock in the 33rd District, which takes in parts of Loudoun, Clarke and Frederick counties.

In a recent interview, Hedges said his work experience has provided him with skills that could help him be an effective lawmaker in Richmond.

For example, the Lovettsville-area resident said that he performed risk analysis when he worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. And he learned how to develop ""win-win"" scenarios from conflict-resolution work.

He's also had to manage an organization with multimillion-dollar budgets, as well as hire and fire employees.

""I think we have an opportunity to really have quality representation in Richmond,"" Hedges said in the interview at Leesburg Today's office, ""and we need to look at all the needs of all the people.""

To wit, the political newcomer criticized LaRock as representing only those on the extreme right of the political spectrum. And he said he's been hearing from those he called ""Joe May Republicans."" LaRock was elected in 2013 after defeating May, a moderate who served two decades, in a GOP primary.

Hedges said he was originally a Barry Goldwater Republican, but he eventually moved to the Democratic side of the aisle with the civil rights movement.

He said he was first approached to run in January, and he identified education, transportation and jobs as the three major issues in the 33rd District.

In terms of education, he said he would work to make sure Loudoun County receives enough state funding to be able to provide universal full-day kindergarten. Expanding the current full-day program to every elementary school is a decision that would have to be made by the School Board, but Hedges said he also would try to use the ""bully pulpit"" of a House seat to influence that decision.

On transportation, he said that Virginia should study the feasibility of issuing revenue bonds to buy the Dulles Greenway, an option that's been suggested by May and other lawmakers, though one that's failed to gain traction in the legislature.

And on jobs, Hedges said that Loudoun's many vineyards and its fledging hops industry provide a way to create employment while protecting the land.

The Democrat said that Virginia's seniors need to be respected, as well. To keep them in their own homes as long as possible, he suggested offering tax credits for the installation of safety measures such as railings or ramps.

Hedges outpaced LaRock in campaign fundraising in the most recent reporting period, May 28 to June 30. He raised $16,200 to the incumbent's $15,375. The challenger had $20,620 on hand to LaRock's $22,432.

Hedges is married and has two sons and five grandchildren.

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