Issues

Creating Good Paying Jobs

As a successful businessman, Tom experienced firsthand the impact our state government can have on job creation. Tom will continue to work to keep taxes fair because he understands raising taxes on the middle class right now will only hurt our economy even more. His work to keep Virginia business friendly earned Tom the Virginia Foundation for Research and Economic Education’s (VA-FREE) top ranking among the entire House of Delegates.

Improving Public Education

Tom knows a strong public education system is the foundation of a strong local economy. A graduate of Herndon High who also sent his own children to public schools, Tom remains committed to our public school system – fighting to raise teacher pay and increase K-12 funding. And as a former member of both the Virginia Tech and Longwood Board of Visitors and current Chairman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Tom is leading the fight to make in-state universities affordable and accessible for Virginia students. In 2011, Tom voted to increase the number of in-state tuition slots and increase the total number of degrees awarded by Virginia Universities.

Fixing Transportation

Tom’s bipartisan work to provide transportation solutions that support our local economy have earned him numerous awards and accolades, including the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance “Dust, Blood and Sweat” Award and the Committee for Dulles’ “Tower of Dulles” Award. As our independent voice in Richmond, Tom will continue to work to secure transportation dollars for projects like rail to Dulles that are vital to attracting and keeping employers in our community.

With interest rates and construction cost at an all time low, Tom believes the return on transportation infrastructure investment is near an all time high. That’s why in 2011 Tom worked to pass almost $4 billion in new transportation spending over the next 3 years, without raising our taxes.

Protecting the Environment

Promoting alternative energy not only improves the environment, it also can create good paying jobs right here in Virginia. Tom pushed legislation to encourage the consumption of clean energy as well as a bill designed to reduce the regulation on clean energy projects so that they may be more easily connected into our current electrical grid. In 2005 and 2011 Tom was ranked as one of the Top legislators by the Virginia Conservation League and given special thanks for leading on environmental friendly legislation.

Health Care

Healthcare is primarily a federal issue, but the General Assembly has taken action to make health care more affordable.  Some of the bills Tom has worked for and supported to improve our health care are outlined below:

HB 1958 (2011): Health Insurance. This bill requires dependent coverage of health insurance to employees until they reach age 26. It requires managed care health insurance plans to look for the intentional misrepresentation in advance of a rescission of coverage.

HB 2024 (2009):  Flexible Benefits Health Insurance.  This bill give small businesses flexibility to offer affordable health insurance plans which will reduce the number of Virginians who are uninsured.

HB 397 (2008):  Affordable Health Care.  This bill removes certain limitations in deductibles that a HMO may require its participants to pay.

HB761 & HB759 (2006):  Long Term Healthcare.  This bill provides tax credits for purchase of private long term care insurance and public-private partnership programs.

In addition to the above, Tom has supported through the budget expanded access and support to Virginia’s Community health centers and forty seven free clinics (including the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic).

Neighborhood Preservation

Keeping our neighborhoods wonderful places to live is everyone’s job but on occasion the State and local governments need to step in to help.  One of the issues that Tom is aware of is overcrowding (a zoning issue) and commercial vehicle parking in residential neighborhoods.  To assist local governments in their efforts to preserve neighborhoods, Tom has worked for the following bills:

HB 2150 (2009) Notice of Sale.  An issue brought to his attention was when homes are foreclosed on or abandoned, the local government has difficulty in obtaining information about who has ownership.  If the local government cannot determine a contact point then maintenance of the home (yard, structure, etc) cannot be enforced resulting in degradation of the neighborhood.  Tom’s bill requires a notice be given to the chief administrative office of the local government when residential property becomes subject to a sale under a deed of trust.  With this information, the local government can take appropriate steps to preserve the neighborhood.  Tom was the chief sponsor of this legislation.

HB1107 (2008) Fines for overcrowding related to overcrowding. Overcrowding in some of our residential neighborhoods is a serious issue.  This bill, of which Tom was the chief sponsor, increases the fines for repeat violators, which builds on his previous bills to increase the fines.

HB1730 (2003).  Regulation of Parking. In an effort to give local governments more authority to regulate the parking of commercial type vehicles in residential areas, the General Assembly passed this bill giving Fairfax the authority to regulate by ordinance the parking of these type vehicles.  Tom was a co-sponsor of this legislation.

Mental Health

After the Virginia Tech tragedy Tom Rust joined with other delegates and worked to close gaps in the mental health system by providing sweeping reforms to Virginia’s mandatory outpatient treatment laws.  Tom also worked to provide additional community mental retardation waiver slots while establishing a goal of eliminating the urgent care waiting list.

Unemployment Benefits

Even though Northern Virginia is doing better than the rest of Virginia, and Virginia is doing better than the rest of the nation, there are still too many Virginians unemployed.  To help sustain them during this difficult economic time, Tom Rust supported the following increased unemployment benefits:

  • Extension of benefits from twenty six weeks to fifty nine weeks and now to seventy two weeks.
  • Increase weekly benefits by $25.
  • Extended COBRA insurance.
  • Keeping almost 1000 currently eligible Virginians from falling off the program rolls.
  • Tom has been a supporter of Autism since 2007, when HJ105 was passed.  During the 2009 General Assembly session, he was a co-patron of HB1588, which mandated coverage for autism, but it was defeated in committee before he could vote for it. His support for insurance coverage of autism treatment is unwavering.

Autism

Tom has been a supporter of Autism since 2007, when HJ105 was passed.  In 2011 Tom was the chief co-patron of the HB 2467, which requires state-regulated health plans to provide treatment for children with autism between the ages of two to six. The bill states that the child may receive an annual maximum benefit of $35,000 of coverage. Tom has helped Virginia become one of the twenty-six states that have provided an autism insurance reformation.