Name: Michael Bartley
Race: House of Delegates, 94th District
Biography: Michael D. Bartley was born on Jan. 1, 1978 in Cambridge, Ohio. Yes, he was the first baby born in the hospital. His family moved to Oregon, Ohio when Michael started middle school. He graduated in 1996 from Clay High School after earning his Eagle Scout award.
In 2000 he graduated from Tri-State University (now Trine University) in Angola, Indiana with his bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering. The summer after graduation he married his girlfriend of two years, Amanda, and moved to Newport News. Nineteen years later, Michael is a senior structural engineer at Eagle Technologies LLC, a deacon at Warwick United Church of Christ, and proud parent of Charlotte, 8 and Emily, 6.
Additionally, Michael and Amanda, 39, invited her mother Maryjean, 66, and grandmother Jean, 92, to move down from Indiana to live with them.
Why should residents elect you to the Virginia House of Delegates?
The Commonwealth wastes an unimaginable number of lives and wealth through its vice laws. We must end all victimless crimes. “No victim, no crime.” Substance abuse is a mental health issue, not a criminal one. Imprisoning people creates single family households, reduces employability, and forces us to pay good money for prosecution and imprisonment. It also causes victims of crimes to not receive justice as it misallocates police resources.
Many state regulations are designed to support established businesses and for no other reason. Occupational licensing for occupations that do not involve public safety prevents out of state professionals from practicing, prevents competition, and increases rates of recidivism. Certificates of public need allow hospitals to prevent competition. Studies have shown that states with certificates of public need have higher costs and worse medical outcomes. Neither of my opponents came out against this policy when asked in the last debate.
What is the biggest issue facing your district, and how do you plan to address it?
When I was a child, my family moved twice; both times were because my mother decided that I could not receive an adequate education where we lived. As my parents were a Presbyterian minister and an elementary school teacher, we could not afford private school, and because my zoned school could not accommodate a gifted student that had dyslexia, we had no choice but to move.
The Newport News City Council refuses to give the school system enough money. Also, the school board is unable to cut enough fat to give teachers a raise. Student funding in the Commonwealth varies depending on where you live; with the legacy of Jim Crow housing policies, where you live still has somewhat to do with your race. Milliken vs. Bradley was upheld 45 years ago and affirms the idea that children in poor areas should have less opportunities than children in more affluent areas. Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote in his dissenting opinion that “school district lines, however innocently drawn, will surely be perceived as fences to separate the races when, under a Detroit-only decree, white parents withdraw their children from the Detroit city schools and move to the suburbs in order to continue them in all-white schools.”
The solution to this is to fund the students, not the schools, from the state only. Funding will be based on grade and any special needs. Children will be able to take their money to any public school in the state. Private and home schools will get 75% of the child’s money in a voucher. Allowing students to move will encourage good schools like Deer Park Elementary to expand or be copied. It would also force schools like the elementary school I attended to end. Allowing principals to control budgets will have them competing for the best teachers so they can create the best education for their students. This competition is what makes our universities the envy of the world, lets spread it to K-12.
What was the most important vote taken in the Virginia General Assembly in 2019, and why?
The most important vote was on HB2356, also known as the ‘Bribe of Amazon.com with a $750 million’ bill. When this much money is divided by the population of Virginia, it works out that the company is taking $88 from each citizen. I don’t know what you would do with that money, but I doubt you would just give it away to a giant, successful company. Because Jeff Bezos owns 12% of Amazon, we are literally taking $10 from every Virginian and giving it to the world’s richest man. This is an extreme case of reverse Robin Hood, authorized after a grueling nine minutes of debate.
This is the same type of government, picking winners and losers, that encourages bribes. When it does not work out, it ends like the failed People’s Express deal that Newport News residents were left on the hook for.