My Motivation

February 8, 2013

Growing up as a teenager in a family of ten kids, an early lesson I learned was that there was not a lot extra spending money readily available.  With so many mouths to feed, my parents spent their hard-earned money on the essentials needed in raising a family of that size.  We didn’t go on many vacations, our cars were almost always older than I was, but through my parents’ hard work and determination, we never wanted for the basics of life. 

One day, when I was complaining to my parents about how our family didn’t have the latest gadgets, my father told me something that has stuck with me and helped guide me through the good and the tough times.  He said, in his always plain-spoken, blunt way, “Any fool can spend money.  But my job is to make sure we cover all the basics before we spend a dime on anything else.” 

Our county government is essential to the quality of life we have here in Prince William.  The taxes that are collected are critical in funding core services that help protect our families, educate our kids, and help us live our lives.  But money is not infinite and, in the end, we have to balance government spending with the tax burden we place on citizens.

I believe that the core responsibilities of government include education, public safety, and critical infrastructure to protect the quality of life for our families.  We must properly fund these core services and do so in a reasonable, responsible way.  Any dollar the County spends beyond these basic services needs to be heavily scrutinized, debated, and justified as a reasonable expense for our local government.

With the reality of sequestration, an economy that is still struggling, and the lingering effects of the Great Recession, we have to reduce the growth of our government bureaucracy and examine all our agency budgets. 

Families are struggling in this economy.  Seniors are seeing their retirement savings depleted; workers are making do with no pay increases; and the spending power of families is declining because of federal monetary policies are eroding the strength of the economy.  Robyn and I have sat at the kitchen table many nights working on stretching our budget, juggling our money to provide for our kids, and doing everything we can to “cover the basics before we spend a dime on anything else.”

My Dad taught me well, and it is a lesson that is very useful today in our family.

During this budget season, you have my commitment that I will continue to push to responsibly fund the core priorities of government – education, public safety, and critical infrastructure.   

However, with every dime we spend beyond that, the words of my father will continue to ring in my ears and be a constant reminder of what our priorities truly need to be in government.