Like many residents in the Southside, 49-year-old Bill Haley grew up in a military family. Originally from California, Haley’s parents moved from the west coast to Virginia Beach nearly 45 years ago when he was in preschool, and he’s been here ever since.
The upcoming June primary for the House of Delegates District 21 isn’t Haley’s first attempt at taking an office, though. In both 2013 and 2015, Haley campaigned to oppose Senator John Cosgrove of District 14 but fell short in both primary elections.
Haley, who describes himself as a conservative Christian, currently lives in Chesapeake with his wife Ruth, and their three daughters – Kelly, Katie and Courtney. For more than 24 years, Haley has worked in sales for Frito Lay.
Each of Haley’s daughters was home-schooled, and the decision to do so is a large part of why Haley said he’s hoping to take the seat away from Del. Ron Villanueva, who has held the office since 2010. Haley said he’s passionate about school choice, or legislation designed to provide parents with educational options other than public schools for their children.
“It’s wrong for the government to say that we’re going to pay for your child’s education only if we control the curriculum and religious environment,” Haley said.
Haley’s platform is also centered around “reducing government control” and strengthening many of the constitution’s amendments. As a delegate, Haley said he aims to “restore liberty to the Commonwealth.”
What are your qualifications for the office?
I study greatly on the issues.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest problem facing Virginia Beach? How will you address that problem?
I want to leave Virginia Beach stuff to the city council. I’m very big on separating state powers from local powers. I don’t like joint powers, like having state and local control the same items.
What specific plans do you have concerning education?
School choice. Once we elect a school board, whatever money we give for public schools, I want the school boards to control it. I don’t want state delegates and senators, or even city council, to do a lot of controlling. Obviously, the state delegates and the city council sets the budget, but I want the school board to have control. I also believe that we should not have a situation where 100 percent of the money goes to 90 percent of the children, and the remaining 10 percent get zero. I say 10 percent and 90 percent because I believe that that’s roughly the percentages of children going to private and public schools. I’d rather exempt the people outside of the system from the education tax or establish education savings accounts, which is a way to put money into a child’s education account through government funds.
What is the top transportation issue impacting the city? What do you propose to fix it?
I truly did not want the Tide in Virginia Beach. [Villanueva] felt differently about that. I truly believe we just need to focus on maintaining roads that we do have versus building new ones. We might be able to expand the width of roads or improve them at intersections, but we have enough roads.
How can the city address and fund developing stormwater issues?
Stormwater is a very big issue right now. I don’t like the fact that they’re wanting to raise taxes to cover the situation. We should be able to address it with the current budget. I agree with what John Moss wrote, that there’s money in the budget and we don’t need to raise taxes.
What other issues are most important to you?
Free enterprise regulatory reform. There’s a lot of bad and ineffective regulations out there. It’s a quicker way to get of ineffective or hostile regulations from anything to labor law or food safety. I think we can increase standards if you allow the private sector to come in and look for different ways to regulate or improve standards.
Transitioning from welfare to charity. The main thing there is we shouldn’t contribute to helping the poor because we should, but how we do it is important. What we’re doing right now is trapping too many people into poverty. I want to go through more of a charity model where people who are getting the benefits should have to work through a charity, and those charities are tasked with the job of defraying the costs of helping the poor. There’s a lot of people either on welfare or disability, even unemployment compensation, that could give hours to that kind of program.
How will you serve your district differently than Del. Villanueva?
From 2009 to this year, the budget grew 40 percent. When the government is involved in a certain area of the economy, those things grow at a much higher rate of inflation than the private sector. A 40 percent increase in the state budget is outrageous. The budget needs to be better controlled.