John Wandling advocates education, environment

Published 11:43 am Friday, June 9, 2017

John Wandling of Carrollton, an Army veteran and retired information technology professional, cites his disappointment and alarm at the results of the 2016 presidential election as one of his primary motivations for seeking the Democratic nomination for 64th district delegate.

“I felt I needed to do more than just vote,” Wandling said during his interview with The Tidewater News editorial staff. “As far as the [64th] District, what I can do immediately [if elected] is help with infrastructure.

“I think Virginia, in general, has a good start on technical education, and I want to help get good jobs here, jobs with living wages. When we talk about living wages, we need to look long and hard at what the minimum wage is and get it up to what the minimum living wage for rural areas is, which is about $15 per hour.”

In addition to advocating for a higher statewide minimum wage, Wandling said his legislative priorities would include ending gerrymandering, restoring voting rights to felons once they’ve served their time, protecting Virginia’s quality of life and continuing to support career and technical education in schools and community colleges.

“Make partisan redistricting illegal,” he said. “Every year it’s been shelved by Republicans because they want to keep their jobs. Impartial redistricting might end up costing me a job, but it’s the right thing to do.

“As far as quality of life goes, we need good employees, skilled trades and a good environment for people to live in — open spaces, clean air and water. I want to make sure those are maintained in our state.”

Wandling added that he felt cuts to funding for environmental protections such as efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay would also be bad for Virginia’s economy, arguing that many Virginians make a living off the bay.

When asked how his proposal for raising the state’s minimum wage might impact small businesses, Wandling responded that if you can’t afford to pay people a decent wage, maybe some rethinking of your business plan was necessary. He also suggested having a state-level apprentice program where the Commonwealth could partially subsidize an employee’s salary while he obtains and industry certification on the job.

When asked if he would be in favor or opposed to lowering Virginia’s current corporate tax rate of 6 percent, compared to North Carolina’s 3 percent rate, Wandling said he would favor a progressive corporate tax, where if you’re just starting out, you wouldn’t pay anything.

“We have to counteract what our neighbors are doing and be just as good as they are,” he said.

When asked about his stance on the Second Amendment, Wandling said he believes the government has a right to regulate who owns guns and who has access to them in order to keep guns out of the hands of people who are incompetent or mentally ill, but that if someone were to be turned down, there should always be due process and a way to appeal the decision.

Wandling has been endorsed by the Clean Money Squad, a bipartisan group of Virginians who oppose candidates owned by special interests, and by Rebecca Mercer, the former principal of Smithfield High School.

For more information, visit his website,