Funding Education in our Rural District

There are at least two major issues that need to be addressed for us to improve school funding in District 18:

  1. Challenging the current tax loopholes that drive down Fauquier’s school funding, and
  2. Finding new sources of revenue to support schools in less populated rural areas.

Loophole – Wealthy tax breaks directly impact school funding

Income inequality is huge problem in the 18th. Higher real estate values and retail sales hurt Fauquier’s Composite Index, which Virginia uses to determine local ability to pay for public education. In practical terms this means the state looks at our real estate value and says: “You have a lot of money so you should be able to pay a larger share for schools.” The problem is tax breaks for rich land owners undermine this system. It is especially tough in rural areas where income inequality is more pronounced. It also doesn’t help that our incumbent Delegate, Michael Webert’s family is in the rich land owner category making it unlikely for him to take this on. When I’m elected, I will work hard to get proper funding for our schools.

Dedicated Revenue specifically to rural schools

Many Virginians assume when they buy a lottery ticket the profit is going directly to schools. That is not the case. School districts in Virginia get less than 30 percent of the total sales. The money goes into Virginia’s General Fund which is used to plug holes in the budget. I propose a dedicated portion of the total lottery ticket sales guaranteed for rural schools that need it the most. The General Assembly is the body which determines how monies are distributed from the lottery. District 18’s Delegate should be advocating for better use of this money for rural needs.

Hate: Up Close and Personal

Fear, confusion, and anger have taken hold of Virginia. Charlottesville is on our doorstep and it’s up close and personal for those of us in District 18. There are no more excuses. We cannot deny the fact that the political climate has fanned the flames of extremism. It’s not a coincidence that the largest gathering of white supremacists in twenty years is happening right now or that it led to an act of domestic terrorism. Trump’s leadership (or lack there of) has opened the door to incendiary extremist beliefs. As a result, a young woman has died. This is scary stuff.

So what do we do?

Change the political climate and stop this madness by electing new leaders. November 7th is our first opportunity to tell the world that Virginia is for Lovers and there is no place in our Commonwealth for hate.

So what can you do?

Mark your calendar, November 7th. Bring yourself and two others to the polls. Make your voice heard in your family, your community and let the people you care about know you want Virginia to be for Lovers, not haters. YOU have the power to unseat the Trump-ists in District 18. Vote Tristan Shields.

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Melania Trump, Politicians Stealing & Upcoming Podcasts

You may or may not know that my brother, Rory, and I (Shields Brothers) create and produce a podcast called Who Stole What? We’ve been on a hiatus but we’re going to start up again with a music/political slant.  I’ll be talking about issues that you care about and some fun music too.

For a taste, here is an episode from last year that we recorded during the 2016 Presidential election. It’s all about politicians stealing. We happen to open with Melania Trump’s plagiarized RNC convention speech.  Click to listen. You can also find it on iTunes, TuneIn Radio and other podcast apps.