Interview: DJ Jordan, Candidate for Virginia House of Delegates

Today we are interviewing DJ Jordan, Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates’ 31st District, about his candidacy, policy, and more about himself.

So I would like to begin by asking you about what the central issue of your campaign is?

My top policy focus is reducing traffic congestion for Prince William and Fauquier County residents. I have commuted to work inside-the-beltway nearly my entire adult life (since 2002 to be specific), and I have experienced first-hand the stress of traffic congestion, and the unnecessary amount of time away from family.

I believe we should be forward-thinking and comprehensive in how we address our traffic congestion. We must move beyond partisan finger-pointing and work together on solutions that ensure that our infrastructure matches population growth, and we must improve bus transit and rail options. I’d also like to reform our Smart Scale program, which determines how the state spends transportation dollars based on a variety of factors, such as cost and region; I want the program to put congestion relief at the top of its’ ranking priority.

I want you to start by telling us more about your career on Capitol Hill and as a PR executive in the D.C. metro area? As a former Congressional intern, I know how hard those Congressional staffers work and how civil service is important to families in your district. Talk to us about what your plans are to help the civil servants in Virginia and the U.S. Federal Government?

Traffic congestion is a major problem for our federal workers, many of whom live in the Virginia suburbs. I also want to incentivize telework options, and make sure the entire 31st District has access to broadband internet. In Fauquier County, there is a huge need for more access to broadband internet service.

Mr. Jordan, I wanted to ask you about this year being the 400th anniversary of Africans reaching Virginia through the slave trade. In my opinion, your candidacy is a testament to how far race relations have come in Virginia, from the atrocity of slavery to now having an African American candidate be a top-tier recruit for the House of Delegates. Tell me about your thoughts on your trip and your thoughts on racial issues in Virginia politics?

Virginia has a deep history on this topic. This year marks the 400th anniversary of Africans being brought to Point Comfort as the beginning of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in what would become the United States.

It was in Virginia that slavery grew and became the backbone of a strong agricultural economy for the colonies and later the Southern states. Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom neighborhood was the site of one of the largest slave trades in the country. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. But despite the racial challenges in Virginia, the Commonwealth has also been the place of great accomplishment and national leadership.

Dred Scott was born into slavery in Virginia but legally fought and succeeded in gaining his freedom and the freedom of his family. Virginia was the home of Booker T. Washington, Robert Russa Moton, and Ella Fitzgerald. Virginia elected Douglas Wilder governor in 1989, making him the first black governor in the country.

Virginia is now home of some of the nation’s most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Virginia is home to two of the 10 economically best regions to live in the nation for African Americans: Richmond and the Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. region, according to Forbes. We have come a long way and I am proud of my state.

Mr. Jordan, often I find that some of the most passionate Republicans are those who don’t fit the stereotypical mold of the Republican Party. For example, I know that we have a mutual friend in Young Republican Federation of Virginia Chairman Thomas Turner. If there’s anything I can say about Thomas, he knows that the message of the Republican Party can benefit the African American community and he works hard for every candidate to convey that message. What are some things that we can do to help minority outreach in the Republican Party to bring more people of different nations/races/faiths to the GOP?

The Republican Party has done a poor job of proactively engaging minority communities. To improve the relationship with minority communities, the Party must devote more resources to engagement and getting the message out year-round. If you don’t define yourself, the other side will define you. But more importantly, the Party must listen. Party leaders must put aside agendas and first understand the needs of our various and diverse communities.

So, I’ve asked some tough questions so far, let me ask one that is easier. You’re a football fan. How are my Washington Redskins and Virginia Tech Hokies going to do this season?

Ha ha. It’s hard being a Washington Redskins fan. Our whole organization doesn’t have strategic direction. My wife has told me for years that she has more faith in our marriage and my likelihood to remain committed to her, because of my years and years of loyalty and commitment to the Redskins through the many ‘ups’ and the many, many, many ‘downs.’

You went to Liberty University for your undergraduate degree and it says that your family attends a church in Woodbridge, so I want to ask you about how your faith and how it guides you in your political life?

My faith is an important part of who I am. The conviction that I have, as a Christian, guides me in how I serve my wife, kids, and community, but also guides how I engage in politics. Because I believe that every person is created in the image of God, I believe every person is worthy of respect and value. I try to look at each person as God sees them, no matter if I agree with their politics or not.

You are on the Board for Virginia Kids Belong, which is an amazing group started by former Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Kelly. For our readers, talk about what Virginia Kids Belong does and what their goals are? You also talk in your bio about how you and your wife have fostered and adopted children. What can we do to change/make existing laws on fostering and adopting children better and more conducive for the children in the system?

Virginia’s Kids Belong is a nonprofit that helps foster children get placed in loving homes. It does this through leveraging relationships and talents of the creative community, business community, and faith community.

I’d like to push for several reforms at the state level. While maintaining strong standards for safety through extensive background checks, Virginia should make the process to become a foster parent less burdensome, including streamlined training and reduced paperwork, both for social workers and potential foster parents.

In Virginia, six percent of foster children are placed with a relative, much lower than the 32 percent nationwide average. When a child is placed with a relative through kinship care, their opportunities for success increase. Although kinship care is a key strategy in keeping kids out of foster care in the Commonwealth, Virginia has one of the weakest kinship care programs in the country. We must do better. In order to improve outcomes for children, we should support kinship families beyond our current resources.

Your opponent was endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren. What are your thoughts on Senator Warren’s and your opponent’s economic views as it relates to you being an advocate for small business?

My opponent and I care about many of the same things; we just have drastically different ideas for how to get there. Her views are very similar to Senator Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s. I think their views are very liberal and I’m not sure the cost math adds up for the amount of programs they support. Even Joe Biden has rightly pointed out that Senator Warren’s ideas are extremely expensive and unrealistic.

My opponent has received an “F” grade from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for her voting record in Richmond, not once, but twice. In a recent candidate forum, she actually said that she is proud of her “F.” In my opinion, that is a slap in the face to small business owners and their workers in Prince William and Fauquier Counties.

One thing I like about your website is that when you talk about the life issue, you don’t just talk about unplanned pregnancies, which is a bad habit of the Republican Party. You talk about being pro-life from beginning to end. Talk to us about that?

I believe in the dignity of all human life, from the womb to the tomb. As a society, if we fail to value vulnerable human life at one stage, we are more likely to devalue vulnerable life at another stage; whether that be the disabled, the elderly, the immigrant, or the poor. There is a big difference between being pro-birth and pro-LIFE.

Unfortunately, many people within the conservative movement have simply been pro-birth – they demand for women to deliver the baby, and then they’re gone. That’s not right. There are a lot of advocates who serve women faced with unplanned pregnancies, and they – and the women they serve – need the full support of the conservative movement. The pro-life movement must also be more engaged in solutions to address the maternal mortality rates, and the ridiculously high disparity of maternal mortality rates in communities of color.

What is something about DJ Jordan that we don’t know?

I love to coach little league football. For the past several years, I have coached flag football and tackle football for my son’s teams. I took this Fall’s season off because of the campaign, but I miss coaching the team. Being an assistant coach has given me a great opportunity to pour into kids and young men. It’s important that our young boys have positive role models in their community to emulate.

I ask this of every candidate I talk to: what is your favorite part of your district?

My favorite part of my District is that it is sooooo diverse. It is one of the most unique districts in that it is socioeconomically, religiously, culturally, and ethnically diverse. We have urban-suburban neighborhoods in Woodbridge and Dale City, and yet we have rural farmland in parts of the Fauquier County part of the District. It’s fascinating, and interesting. I enjoy meeting the diverse types of cultures and families; it’s like the United Nations in my District.

One of the issues you talk about on your website is the environment. How do Republicans talk about the environment without alienating small business?

I don’t think this is an either-or proposition. Republicans must present a business-friendly, consumer-friendly agenda for the environment that isn’t dictated by extremes. I believe in the scientific evidence that the climate is changing. I am a conservationist, and I believe in environmental stewardship. I believe we must be good stewards of the earth we have been entrusted with.

The answer to our generational climate challenges, including sea level rise, is effective stewardship and strategic planning based on science, facts, and sound research. I believe we need a balanced approach to environmental stewardship that incentivizes innovation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Green New Deal represents the wrong approach, as it would cost anywhere between $51 Trillion and $93 Trillion. Its goals – 100 percent renewable energy in ten years – are unrealistic, according to many scientists and energy experts.

Instead, I believe that America can be a world leader in fostering innovation and reducing government regulations in the development of clean-energy technology. Another environmental topic that is of great importance is the Chesapeake Bay. Rep. Rob Wittman has been a leader on this. It is vitally important for our state government to invest in continuing efforts to clean-up the Chesapeake Bay, especially in the reduction of phosphorous, nitrogen and sediment pollution in our stormwater and waterways.

So let’s pretend it’s the day before Election Day (it’s closer than you think!) and you meet an undecided voter in your district. What’s your closing argument for your candidacy?

Considering that every statewide elected official belongs to one Party, it’s important to elect Republicans in the House of Delegates in order to have a check and balance against Governor Ralph Northam. We need elected leaders that will honor the Virginia Way and work together to get things done for the people. My name is D.J. Jordan, I want to put people over politics, and I need your vote!

Thank you to DJ Jordan for talking with Bearing Drift. Election Day is Tuesday, November 5.