Who am I?
My name is Reed Heddleston and I am running for the House of Delegates in the 51st district of Virginia.
I had the opportunity to serve over two decades in the Air Force as a pilot and 14 years in the private sector as a Senior Vice President at SAIC creating jobs here in Virginia.
Virginia invested in my future at an early age with scholarships that allowed me to attend college and was able to provide me with a landscape to further pursue opportunities that I was passionate for.
I graduated from the Virginia Military Institute receiving a BA in Economics and Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, where I received an MBA in Finance. After graduation, I attended flight school at Moody AFB, Georgia and began my career in the military. It is because of Virginia's investment in me that I am the person I am today.
I am now retired and live in the district with my wife Carol of forty years. We met while we both were graduate students at Emory University. Carol worked as a nursing instructor for fourteen years at George Mason University retiring in 2011. She now volunteers at the Prince William Free Clinic. We have three children, Thomas, Erin and Lindsey, who all attended public schools in Prince William County and four grandchildren.
Why am I running?
I'm running for the House of Delegates because I don't believe our values and issues are being represented in Richmond. When I speak to people all over the district they tell me the same thing: Richmond needs to focus on our real issues, creating good paying jobs, strengthening our schools, and addressing our transportation issues. Instead, politicians like my opponent have focused on a narrow social agenda.
As the 51st District's Delegate, I will fight for practical transportation solutions, a first class public education and attracting 21st century jobs to Virginia to grow and strengthen the economy. I'll work to keep the General Assembly focused on the real issues, where finding common ground and common-sense solutions will improve the lives of all Virginians.
As an Air Force veteran and someone who worked as a Senior Vice President at a Fortune 500 company, I believe that I have the experience and background to represent the 51st District well. The 51st is a District that is seeing tremendous growth. It is a District of federal workers and contractors, entrepreneurs, middle class families, veterans, and active military personnel. We don't have time for political gamesmanship. Our growth has created real challenges that must be addressed. Our potential creates real opportunities that must be seized.
The top two goals in my first year in office would be to find a solution to our transportation crisis and to fight to keep the General Assembly focused on the real issues that every day Virginians face -- not the extreme legislation that is the priority of the Virginian Republican party.
The transportation crisis in the commonwealth must be addressed. When a commute takes hours when it should take minutes and the the roads commuters are taking to get to work are crumbling we have crisis of leadership. Fringe legislators like my opponent would rather leave citizens stranded on the roadways than tackle the tough problems that our commonwealth faces. We must invest in Virginia's infrastructure in order for our state economy to remain competitive.
For too long, tea party legislators like my opponent have spent their energies focused on out-of-step fringe policies that only prove to further their own extreme agenda rather than the interests of the people of this district.
I will fight for Virginia's families by confronting these issues head on, listening to the people of the 51st district, and not special interests.
My DFA Values
One of the main reasons why I have decided to run for office is because the commonwealth of Virginia invested in me at an early age. Virginia knew that in order to build a successful state economy and a thriving middle class, they needed an educated workforce.
At that time Virginia spent on average $20,000 per student to subsidize higher education. Now when tuition fees have skyrocketed, they only spend $8000 per student. It was that focus on community that made the commonwealth so successful. We need to make our community a priority again. This can be done by investing in a first class public education, providing adequate roads for transportation, and fighting for equality whenever there is injustice.
I believe that community, security, and liberty are all intrinsically intertwined. It is liberty that builds a strong community and a community that works together leads to economic and physical security. My campaign is inherently based on these ideals and I look forward to bringing these issues to the forefront.
My Campaign is People Powered!
Running a people powered campaign does not fill just a personal philosophy that I have towards campaigns, but it is an absolute necessity in order to achieve victory in November.
One of the central themes of my campaign is listening. My opponent has spent four years in the legislature listening to his fellow tea party Republicans rather than to the people of the 51st district. During my campaign, the people of the 51st district will not go unheard. Every day I knock on the doors of potential constituents, not just to talk about issues that I am passionate about, but to hear about the issues that they care about as well. Letting them know I am listening is a top priority.
This race cannot be one without people power. Canvasses, phone banks, letters to the editor, social media are all strategies that are not just effective, but allow anyone who is interested to be active with the campaign. I have personally canvassed for candidates and issues that I support in the past and I look forward to running a campaign based on grassroots passion, not just because it is a personal philosophy of mine -- but because it is the key to victory.