Luray, VA - John Lesinski, a candidate for the 15th District House of Delegates, is calling for a suspension of legislator pay until Virginia's economy recovers. This salary suspension is part of the 15th District Business Plan, which Lesinski released on his website this morning. Both the pay suspension and the 15th District Business Plan will be discussed today at a 4pm press conference, located at Lesinski's Campaign Headquarters (5 South Broad Street, in Luray).
The call to suspend legislator pay is part of Lesinski's 15th District Business Plan , which is a comprehensive plan to create jobs and grow the economy in the 15th District and throughout Virginia. This 21-page document is available on Lesinski's campaign website http://www.johnfordelegate.com/. Lesinski's plan incorporates the following elements:
* Stop Wasteful Government Spending
* Provide Tax Relief for Businesses
* Grow Our Tourism Economy
* Support Local Agriculture
* Improve Our Transportation Infrastructure
* Expand Job Training and Education Programs
"My opponent claims that creating jobs and growing the economy are not key issues for the 15th District," said Lesinski. "I strongly disagree, and this plan demonstrates that I am taking these issues very seriously."
Virginia's leading business coalition, Virginia Free , ranked Todd Gilbert as the 7th worst legislator out of 100 members of the House of Delegates for his voting record on Virginia business interests. Gilbert has publicly stated that he plans to do nothing to spur job growth in the District. The 15th District has the highest unemployment rate in the Shenandoah Valley and among the highest in the Commonwealth.
Lesinski is confident that his economic plan will better support businesses and residents in the 15th District and beyond. The 15th District Business Plan is intended to be a "living document" that can grow and change with input from business leaders and concerned citizens. Lesinski will be hosting a series of Economic Forums across the 15th District to discuss and gather feedback for this plan.
Gilbert has frequently referred to Lesinski's economic plans as "gimmicks." However, these criticisms are not in line with his own party's leadership, which has recently endorsed many of the concepts Lesinski has put forward. Republican Congressman Eric Cantor recently expressed support for the use of targeted tax credits to spur job creation, which is a central premise for many of Lesinski's economic proposals. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell has also suggested the use of tax credits and has also emphasized that Virginia's government should play a direct role in creating jobs.
"In times of economic hardship, our representatives in Richmond should be the first to sacrifice on behalf of their constituents," said Lesinski.
Virginia taxpayers spend approximately $2.5 million each year to pay members of the General Assembly. One of Lesinski's top priorities in the General Assembly will be to enact legislation to suspend legislator pay until Virginia's economic crisis is over. Lesinski proposes that legislator salaries remain suspended until the Commonwealth's unemployment rate falls below 5% and a budget is passed that does not rely on broad-scale layoffs and tax increases. This plan will save taxpayer money, and it will force legislators to work together to develop compromise solutions on highly politicized budgetary issues.
Lesinski hopes that his opponent will also agree to defer his legislative salary until the economy recovers. Under the guise of fiscal responsibility, Gilbert voted to layoff 60 educators in Shenandoah County and 7,000 employees statewide. However, he has not suggested cutting his own salary as a legislator or as a government lawyer. Lesinski believes that the legislative salary suspension is a first step toward reducing wasteful government spending.
According to Lesinski, "it's simply unfair for politicians to consider cutting jobs or raising taxes while collecting a government paycheck."
John Lesinski is an experienced business leader and currently operates a small business in the Shenandoah Valley. Prior to opening his own business, Lesinski spent 16 years working for a national real estate brokerage firm and was promoted to Executive Vice President. Lesinski is a Rotary Club member and has served on the boards of several prominent industry groups, such as the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Federal City Council.