Chohany challenges incumbent

Published 10:42 pm Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mickey Chohany is challenging incumbent Sen. John Miller for his First District seat in the General Assembly.

Only Suffolk’s Harbour View precinct will vote in the race for First District, which also includes parts of Newport News, Williamsburg, and James City and York counties. The North Suffolk precinct is a newcomer to the First District after the statewide redistricting process.

Chohany, a Republican, is an entrepreneur who owns several businesses in the hospitality industry. He said he was prompted to run when the redistricting process moved him from Sen. Tommy Norment’s district into Miller’s.

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“I looked at who that leadership was going to be and the values and the things he stood for and the way he voted on bills,” Chohany said. “I just decided the district deserved more than that. At the end of the day, it’s really for the future, for our kids and grandkids.”

Chohany’s first priority will be jobs, he said, followed quickly by transportation and education.

“Talking to constituents, it’s clear that jobs and the economy is a sour point in this area,” he said. “That really needs to get jump-started. Who better to understand that than a job creator and businessman, anyway?”

Chohany has ideas for creating jobs and taxpayers, starting with what he’s termed the “BI Bill.”

The BI Bill, he said, would work similarly to the GI Bill, only in private business. For example, a car dealership might pay for a worker to go to mechanic’s school in exchange for a guarantee of two years of working for them after they get out. The state then would give the employer a credit on part of the money he spent sending the worker to school.

“You’re creating someone that has a job, can go out and buy a TV set, buy a home, buy a car and can then start to help our economy,” Chohany said.

He said he favors creating more taxpayers over raising taxes.

“I’ve got a short appetite for wanting to increase taxes when we haven’t handled our spending very well,” he said. “Raising taxes is not the answer. Creating taxpayers is.”

Transportation also is a priority, he said.

“Whether you live in Suffolk or Williamsburg, if we’re going to meet each other, we’re going to be challenged,” he said. “It really is a funding issue. The gridlock in this area is just unprecedented.”

Chohany said he knows how to create jobs because he has done it for years in private business.

“I know the meaningfulness,” he said. “I have a taste for the repercussions. I really have a strong grasp of that cause and effect.”

Chohany also said he will make education a priority in Richmond, advocating for vocational workforce training.

“Not everyone is meant to go on to college,” he said. “For those kids getting out of high school or don’t even complete high school, what do we do for them?”

Chohany is one of the founders of the Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association and a former Williamsburg City Councilman. He and his wife of 21 years have two daughters, ages 20 and 15.

His campaign website is