Contenders for the Senate’s 25th District: Aldous Wants To Help Make Jobs
Read about Aldous’ opponent, incumbent Creigh Deeds, here.
Thomas W. Aldous Jr., who since infancy has only known himself to be referred to as “TJ” (for Thomas junior), is challenging Creigh Deeds for the Virginia Senate’s 25th District seat. An attorney with the Zobrist Law Group in Charlottesville and an expert on tax law, Aldous said his top priority if elected will be to encourage job growth in the district.
The oldest of seven children, Aldous, 41, grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He raised chickens as a boy and sold eggs. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1995 and met his wife, Amber, there. They have three children. Aldous earned his law degree from the University of Kansas in 1998 and took a master of law degree in taxation at New York University the next year. He started practicing law in Charlottesville before accepting positions with Maguire Woods in Richmond and after that Baker Hostetler, a firm in Denver. Then he decided to come back to Charlottesville. He is active in the Mormon church and participates as a coach or leader in his children’s sports interests and with the Boy Scouts.
Aldous said he “never had an interest in politics really” before deciding to run. The family had gone to Washington D.C. to tour the capitol and see the famous sites. “We wanted the kids to understand their government and what we have here,” Aldous said. “I saw a glimmer in Addison’s eyes and I thought to myself, ‘What am I doing?’ I am really concerned about where we are going as a country.”
Then he happened to hear a local radio interview in which a Republican party leader was saying that the party was looking for candidates to stand.
“I started praying about it and I talked to my wife about it. She said, “I always thought you would do something like this.’ She’s been my rock and it’s really hard on her because of how much time the campaign takes. With just what I’ve learned so far, anybody who has run for office ought to be praised and thanked. That’s a noble effort. They are trying to serve. It’s like nobody is good enough in the media’s eyes. You have to credit people’s good qualities.
“We don’t have the representation we need to get where we need to go,” said Aldous of his motivation for declaring. “I want to advocate to bring jobs to the district, which means increasing prosperity for everybody. We have too much spending [by the government] and that hurts the demand that individuals can generate. Private enterprise is the key and we need to reduce regulation and help localities.”
Aldous said he has been in touch with officials in the McDonnell administration, particularly Secretary of Commerce Mary Rae Carter, to learn what economic initiatives are underway and how he could support them. He has been talking to county leaders in the district, which includes Allegany, Bath, Highland and Rockbridge (including Lexington and Buena Vista) Counties, west of Albemarle (but not Augusta), as well as Nelson and Charlottesville.
“Economic freedom is the key,” said Aldous. “The system has ups and downs, but compare our country to the rest of the world. Our poorest are better off than in other countries. We have tremendous opportunities. It’s up to people to take advantage of them.
“I don’t have all the ideas, but we can bring our ideas together and cooperate. Jobs underlies everything. I don’t think we need to spend more on education necessarily, but we need to spend more effectively. We have to provide quality teachers and encourage them. We need to make sure their service is compensated for at a level for what they achieve.
“I find most people are happy with their schools. Very few parents tell me they are unhappy. Teachers are really trying. It’s inspiring our kids that I’m concerned about. Teachers inspired me.
“I’m concerned about the atmosphere in terms of economic prosperity and what’s being imposed from D.C.,” Aldous said. “I think what Gov. McDonnell did with Obamacare is something we needed to do. We need to stand up to what’s going on. The [federal] government is trying to regulate dust! It’s too much. It’s too big a burden. Localities also need to be free. I don’t like unfunded mandates. When the top is telling you how the family ought to operate . . . .” No more explanation is necessary to Aldous; on the face of it it’s uncalled-for interference in parents’ responsibilities.
“High taxes hurt the poor most. They can’t tolerate an increase in the gas tax. High taxes hurt us.
“One thing we could do: look at taxes, excise taxes, the gas tax, sales tax. We seriously need to look at tax reform and consolidate. Looking at figures from 2009, the latest available, if you wanted to replace the revenues going into the Virginia Department of Taxation, you could do it with a 6 percent flat tax and get the same income. You get rid of the sales tax. A fair tax, a tax on consumption, is more difficult and politically I don’t think we are ready for it. I don’t want to add a tax to what we already have. We have corporate incentives in the code now that would go away under a flat tax. And tax fairness would incentivize people to come to Virginia.” Utah has gone to a 5.5 percent flat tax, he noted, with the first $12,000 in income free from taxation.
Aldous said he reads tax code all day in his job and can get sick of reading. He does read Scriptures every day, he said, (he is working his way through the Old Testament these days) and for fun likes to read John Grisham novels (which are usually about lawyers). “I like the Reader’s Digest,” he added. He planted a vegetable garden this year but was disappointed in how well it did. But weather-wise, it’s been a rough year for gardeners. “I like working the land. I like agriculture,” he said, going on to show some knowledge of chicken breeds.
“What I like to do most is spend time with my family. Usually, when I’m free I’m going to the things my kids are doing.”