RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — We round out our Meet the Candidates series with Republican Frank Wagner. He told Capitol Bureau reporter Evanne Armour that we need a fresh approach to education in order to keep up with the demands of a changing workforce.
Frank Wagner has been part of Virginia’s General Assembly for the last 25 years. He started in the House of Delegates before making his way to the Senate. But he doesn’t want to end there.
“It would be the highest honor of my life to be elected governor,” he said.
Wagner lives in Virginia Beach and is in the ship repair business. He says improving transportation is a key part of his platform.
“We do not have a transportation network necessary for the economy we have today, much less an economy we expect to grow and diversify,” he said. “We’re going to need to make those investments and I think it’s very important.”
Wagner says different areas have different transportation needs. One of his priorities is constructing Interstate 73 and the Coal Fields Expressway in order to create more jobs in south side and southwest Virginia.
Aside from transportation, Wagner says we also need to take a fresh approach to education in order to better prepare the workforce.
“What I’m proposing — and a major part of my platform — is actually go back in as early as middle school and really have two paths that schools can get to accreditation,” he said.
One would be what he calls the “traditional SOL” route. The other is setting up career and technical education opportunities.
“There are many jobs that are available today that just require technical education, not a traditional college bound education,” said Wagner.
Wagner says his time as a state legislator has also prepared him to take on Virginia’s economy. He’s on the finance committee and says he’s “intimately familiar” with the budget.
“We have a two-year budget. The outgoing governor, Gov. McAuliffe, will drop the two-year budget in,” he said. “That budget drives what you can do in the administration.”
The republican believes his resume qualifies him to be the next governor.
“This is no different than selecting a CEO of your company. Every shareholder gets input, and so the shareholders of Virginia decide who they want to be their CEO,” he said.
The primary election is June 13.
The last day to register to vote in the primary is Monday, May 22. You can register online or at your local voter registration office.
LIVE: Virginia Beach, VA
COLLEGE: United States Naval Academy
FAMILY: Wife Lucille, four daughters
MENTORS: John Warner / “As far as political figures, he’s the gentleman I’ve tried to pattern myself off of.”
CAMPAIGN SLOGAN: “One veteran, one businessman, one Virginian, one choice.”