A Prince William County resident has thrown his hat into the ring as a challenger to Del. Bob Marshall.
Carl Genthner, a Democrat, is running to represent the 13th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.
The 13th District includes Manassas Park and parts of Prince William County.
Earlier this year, Genthner pursued the Gainesville District supervisor seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
He changed his mind and decided to run for a seat in the House of Delegates after he saw there was no challenger for Marshall, Genthner said.
Genthner said he believes an unopposed election isn't democratic.
Anne Wheeler is now running for Gainesville supervisor, and she is well qualified for the position, Genthner said.
He wouldn't have left the race if he felt there wasn't a qualified person pursing the seat, he added.
Genthner said he worries about what the future holds for younger generations—another reason he decided to run for delegate.
“I am concerned about what the future holds for my granddaughter. She is 12-years-old and in middle school. Over the last couple of years I have seen the legislators attempt to cut funds from education, which I think is a mistake,” he said. “I think we have to have the best schools if we are going to have the best jobs ... I want her to have a good job when she gets out high school. If she chooses to go to college, when she returns, I want her to have good jobs here in Virginia if she wants one.”
If elected, Genthner said he plans to help education by increasing teachers’ salaries as soon as the economy permits.
“Now, I believe that every kid in every school in every county in Virginia deserves to have a world-class education and at the state level we need to see what we can do to make that happen.” he said.
Virginia doesn’t spend as much per student on education as other states do, but yet it still has some of the best schools in the country.
“But I think we need to make them, the best schools in the country,” he said. “Because if we do that, we won’t have a problem diversifying our economy and we won’t have a problem bringing in the new employers for the next generation.”
In addition to education, Genthner said Virginia lawmakers need to look at how they can diversify the state’s economy, especially in Northern Virginia, a region that is affected by the federal government and what goes on in Washington D.C.
“We’re looking at potentially decreasing defense budgets (and) we are looking at perhaps a shrinking federal government,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate over the years to be able to weather the ups and downs of the economy with our government employment, but if that begins to diminish, we have to find a way to diversity our economy up here so that we aren’t so dependent on those two principal employers any longer.”
In the way of transportation, Genthner said he would like to come up with a way of ensuring that the state is able to provide the funding for transportation to the communities that need it.
About a year ago, Prince William County received about $1,600 from the state.
“That’s essentially nothing,” he said.
He would like to implement a, “double lock box” which ensures the legislator can’t take money out of the transportation fund and put it into the general fund, Genthner said. But at the same time, he doesn’t want lawmakers taking money from the general fund and putting it into the transportation fund.
“Because they are unwilling or, unable to settle the transportation funding problem in Richmond, they take money away from education (and) they take money away from public safety and throw it at transportation to kind of paper over the problem,” he said.
You have to make sure the money in the general fund is there for what it's intended:Things like public safety and education, he said.
Genthner, who grew up in Rochester, NY, spent 20 years in the Air Force and was stationed all over the U.S. and the Pacific.
The 62-year-old moved to Virginia in 1988 after he retired from the Air Force He and his wife moved to Gainesville about nine years ago from Alexandria.
“Neither of us were getting any younger … we started looking at where we might be in 10 or 15 years and we found a lovely community in Gainesville.”
Genthner’s campaign headquarters are in Manassas Park on Centreville Road, right behind Enterprise Car Rental.
Genthner said he has spoken to members of the Manassas Park Governing Body such as Councilman Suhas Naddoni about local issues, but he finds the best way to reach out to the community is by knocking on doors and talking to neighbors personally.
For more information on Genthner visit his website at votecarl2011.com