Virginia House of Delegates, 86th District, 2009

Incumbent Del. Tom Rust (R-86th) is challenged by Loudoun County Supervisor Stevens Miller (D-Dulles) in the race for the 86th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. The 86th District includes Herndon and Oak Hill in Fairfax County and the Sterling area of Loudoun County. Members serve two-year terms and Rust is seeking his fifth term representing the 86th District.

Unfortunately, both candidates’ campaigns skimp on providing us with any details about . . . anything. Rust presents a total of four 1-paragraph blurbs on his website to explain his views on ‘the issues’: jobs, education, transportation, and the environment. Miller manages to disappoint even more with a total of only three 1-paragraph blurbs about his ‘issues’: education, taxation, and transportation.

It is clear to me that neither candidate particularly wants anybody’s vote.

A comparison of Rust’s and Miller’s 1-paragraph blurbs reveals that they stand for basically the exact same things. Both candidates claim they want to keep taxes low. Both claim they want to raise funding for our lackluster public schools (though neither presents any plan for actually fixing them). Both claim they will fight for our fair share of transportation dollars from Richmond to fund projects like MetroRail to Dulles Airport. Beyond these broad strokes on a few key issues, we are left to guess whether Rust or Miller will best serve the 86th District.

Digging deep into third-party sources and the public record, only one obvious factor begins to differentiate these two candidates. Rust has a consistent legislative record of working to protect unborn human life (as much as possible in our current culture). Also, he has worked to defend doctors’ and other professionals’ First Amendment right to refuse to provide services they find morally or religiously objectionable. Miller, on the other hand, would apparently prefer that everybody subscribe to the state’s moral mandates instead of their own. That’s not liberty.

Having a basic respect for human life and liberty isn’t very popular any more, and I applaud all candidates with the courage to hold to these positions—especially in ‘liberal’ Northern Virginia where it is often politically damaging. For this reason—and considering that neither Rust nor Miller has given me anything else upon which to base a decision—I endorse the reelection of Del. Tom Rust as 86th District Delegate.

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.