Two candidates who know each other well are facing off again in the 55th District House of Delegates race.

Incumbent Republican and retired businessman Buddy Fowler is being challenged by Democrat Morgan Goodman, an environmental specialist at the Virginia Department for Environmental Quality, in the Nov. 5 election. It’s a repeat of the race two years ago to see who will represent the district that includes the western section of Hanover County, most of Caroline County’s southwestern half and the southeastern corner of Spotsylvania County.

Fowler, 64, is seeking to win the district for the fourth time, while this is 37-year-old Goodman’s second run for statewide office.

The candidates both list improving public education as a top priority, though they would get to that in different ways.

Fowler wants closer scrutiny of the Standards of Learning subjects taught to all Virginia students, and a shift to learning that’s focused more on expanding a student’s knowledge as opposed to proficiency in test-taking.

Goodman wants to see more counselors in public schools and better teacher pay, which she sees as the best way to give students a chance to be competitive in the 21st century.

Fowler’s other two top priorities in this year’s campaign are free-market reforms in health care and revisiting the 2013 transportation tax legislation, which he said has “failed to produce sufficient revenue.”

Goodman’s other two priorities include fighting for the expansion of high-speed internet and protecting the environment while promoting “a clean energy future that reduces emissions and creates quality jobs for Virginians.”

Fowler, who is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington, is former owner of Dr. Copy Inc., which provided billing services for doctors and dentists. Before being elected to the House of Delegates in 2013, he worked for 14 years as a legislative aide to Republican delegates John Cox and Frank Hargrove.

Goodman is a lifelong Virginian who has worked for the federal government, the nonprofit sector and now the state government. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and a master’s degree in environmental and natural resource policy.

On her campaign website, Goodman says she is running for office because she believes Virginia needs “legislators that listen more than they talk. I believe there is a disconnect between what the people of this district want and need and what is actually getting accomplished in Richmond.”

She said bringing the voices of her constituents to the General Assembly would help to ensure that “it isn’t just corporations that get to say what laws are made in Virginia.”

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Fowler leads in funds raised to date in the race with a total of $72,355, while the Goodman campaign has raised $56,820.

A lifelong resident of Virginia, Fowler lives in Hanover County, where he and wife Patsy raised their three children. He’s a member of the Clay Springs Ruritan Club and has been an active member of Ashland Boy Scout Troop 700, and the Ashland Little League.

The incumbent is an outdoors enthusiast and enjoys fishing and hunting and is a member of numerous outdoor organizations including Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Virginia Hunting Dog Owner’s Association.

Goodman, who lives in Mechanicsville, is a vice president of the PTA at her children’s school and co-leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. When not on the campaign trail, she and her family enjoy going to football games, visiting state and local parks, and attending some of the many festivals and local events in communities around the state.

Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415

rhedelt@freelancestar.com

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