Republican Bob Marshall has proven over his 18 year career to be one of the most extreme social conservatives in the House of Delegates. The good news is that this year he is opposed by a Democratic candidate, John Bell, who exudes reasonableness, common sense and moderation - the polar opposite of what the residents of the 13th district (covering parts of Loudon and Prince William Counties) have come to expect from "Sideshow Bob". In the following interview, John Bell expounds on his "call to service" and his vision for working to solve the real problems that bedevil his constituents. (BTW, see other recent interviews with Democrats in key House races - Greg Werkheiser and Margi Vanderhye.)
Meet John Bell
My call to service began in 1981, when I joined the Air Force right after high school. I traveled all over the world, I did a couple of tours in the Far East, my last tour was in Germany, and I was a comptroller in the Middle East. My service was a great time for me - it was a labor of love. I was really young when I joined, and I learned a lot about life. On school nights and weekends, I got my bachelor's degree, eventually became a senior non-commissioned officer in the Air Force,. As an officer, I enjoyed public service, I managed budgets, and I was in charge of solving problems to make our missions work.
I'm married, and my wife Margaret is also retired from the Air Force, where she served for 20 years. We have five children, and we've had two serve on active duty and one in the International Guard - my daughter's there today in Tennessee. My son John just returned from his sixth trip to the Middle East, and is now on active duty for the Air Force. So we have a big military family, it's a big part of what we're about. My heart goes out to the veterans who are in harm's way today and I don't forget about them either and I do what I can to support them.