With the Prince William County General Election just a little more than seven months away, politicians are beginning to campaign. Read more.
On February 2, the Prince William County Electoral Board appointed Michele White as the new Director of Elections and General Registrar.
White had worked as the general registrar in Culpeper County for ten years, prior to the appointment, according to a release.
Additionally, White has worked to cover 25 elections in her time working in Culpeper, including three presidential elections, according to a release.
She is a graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University, with a degree in Communications and design, according to a release.
White stated that she was excited to work with the voters in the county.
“I am ready for the challenge and to serve the voting public…I will continue the direction of the Election Office to provide clear and easily accessible information for all voters,” said White in a release.
Prior to the appointment, the electoral board had appointed Rokey Suleman as the interim registrar, according to the county website.
Potomac Local reached out to White, but she declined to comment at this time.
Earnie Porta, a financial executive and former mayor of Occoquan, has announced his candidacy for the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
Porta plans to run for the Occoquan seat, currently held by Supervisor Michael May. May plans to run for the Prince William Commonwealth Attorney, and will be vacating his board seat.
He served as Occoquan’s mayor for eight years, during which time he worked on several large projects for the community. The projects include the purchase of the Oaks III property, a sightseeing shuttle service, and a conservation easement to create public park space in Occoquan.
Porta has been working as a senior financial executive for almost fifteen years, and he feels that this equips him with the necessary experience to help with county budgeting.
“[Porta] has been responsible for the compilation and oversight of budgets in excess of $500 million, capital programs in excess of $400 million, and the issuance of taxable and tax-exempt debt in excess of $600 million – expertise that he feels is directly relevant to the financial challenges the county faces today,” according to release.
In addition to his work as former Occoquan Mayor, and as a financial executive, Porta has worked with several organizations over the years. He has served on Patriots for Disabled Divers, the Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition, the Occoquan Historical Society, the Prince William Library Foundation, the Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation, the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association, and the Occoquan/Woodbridge/Neabsco Optimist Club, said a release.
During his campaign, Porta is looking to address business growth, overcrowding in schools, and transportation improvements.
“Better jobs in the county from an improved commercial sector will help, as will telecommute initiatives…but we have to look aggressively at potential transit alternatives that will help alleviate some of the pressure,” said Porta in a release.
Porta and his wife have lived in the Northern Virginia region for almost 30 years and have been Occoquan residents for 13 years.
Maureen Caddigan kicked off her bid to keep her seat as the Prince William County Potomac District Supervisor.
Caddigan held her campaign kick off Thursday night at the Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad on Graham Park Road in Dumfries. About 100 people turned out to greet Caddigan, according to a campaign press release.
Caddigan told Potomac Local she would campaign on a platform of “finishing what she started” by continuing her effort to bring economic development to the Route 1 corridor in Triangle. The is home to the National Museum of the Marine Corps and was once home to several fast food restaurants and other roadside businesses that were demolished to make way for a wider Route 1.
Caddigan was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1991 after serving on the county’s School Board. Two Democrats also interested in the seat – Dumfries Town Councilman Derrick Wood and political newcomer Andrea Bailey – will face each other in a Primary Election in the spring.
Caddigan’s campaign kick-off party featured food and refreshments from Jeremiah’s Kansas City Barbeque. During the event, many who attended pledged to work on Caddigan’s campaign, according to a press release. She refers to campaign volunteers as “Caddigan’s Army,” the release stated.
Once known as the Dumfries Magisterial District, the district was renamed the Potomac District in 2011. It includes the Town of Dumfries, Town of Quantico, as well as areas outside the towns located in Prince William County like Montclair, Brittany, and Potomac Shores.
Currently, no Caddigan has no Republican challengers.
Chris Crawford, a data scientist in the counter-terrorism industry, will be running against the current Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart, for the Republican nomination for the board seat.
According to Crawford, there’s a lack of real leadership on the board.
“I have nothing against Corey [Stewart] personally – I just look at the results…we’ve been promised jobs here for a while…I hear talk about fiscally conservative values, but I see the taxes going up. I hear talk about how we should pull back the residential housing developments until our infrastructure can catch up and our schools, and I see people [on the board] still championing those initiatives…and I see that as a lack of leadership from the board of county supervisors. I feel like I can get us back on track,” Crawford stated.
Crawford, who currently works in Tyson’s Corner as a data scientist, graduated with his M.B.A. from Auburn University, and made the decision to move from business management to counter-terrorism after the events of 9/11.
“After watching all of the things that were going on after [9/11], I decided I wanted to get in the fight. So I left Accenture and joined a defense contractor working for the Navy. And now for a little over 10 years I’ve been doing counter-terrorism work,” Crawford said.
Currently Crawford serves as the Vice-Chair for the Brentsville district of the Prince William County GOP committee, a member of the Glenkirk Teacher Parent Advisory Council, as a representative to the Superintendent Advisory Council on Instruction, and as a member of the Nokesville Raritan.
Crawford stated that his motivation to run came from seeing his family and other families in the community dealing with difficult issues, like overcrowding in schools and a lack of growth in the local economy.
“I’ve been living here in the county for a few years now, and my family – we really like living here…and I feel like this county has so much potential, but as I’ve gotten more involved with different groups…I’ve just started to notice some of the problems that were affecting me, were actually affecting a lot of people,” Crawford commented.
During his campaign, Crawford hopes to address several issues including economic development, expansion in education support, and a closer look at tax rate increases. To do this, Crawford has proposed going back to active using the county’s strategic plan, which according to him, has fallen by the wayside.
Crawford currently lives in Brentsville with his wife and three children.
It was recently announced that the Chairman of the county GOP committee forgot to file the paperwork for a state-run Republican primary race, and the format for this year’s Republican primaries are being determined, according to Crawford.
Ruth Anderson, a retired Air Force veteran, and wife of Delegate Richard Anderson has announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination for the Occoquan Supervisor seat.
Supervisor Michael May, who will be running for Prince William Commonwealth Attorney this election cycle, has held the seat for several years.
Anderson has her Master’s degree in Nursing from the University of Kansas. During her 21-year career in the United States Air Force, she worked in emergency service and intensive care units, including command over medical units at the Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, according to a release.
Currently Anderson works as the director of the Virginia Supply Program of the Brother’s Brother Foundation, as well as serving as an active member in Lake Ridge Baptist Church.
Anderson has worked in outreach programs for the Prince William County school system and was an appointed member of the Prince William County Historical Commission.
During her candidacy, Anderson intends to speak about tax rates, education, and transportation, among several other countywide issues.
“As Occoquan District Supervisor, I’ll work hard to prioritize county spending on public safety, quality education, transportation infrastructure, and other core services. It’s important that we protect the taxpayers with commonsense solutions to the fiscal challenges facing our community. After a lifetime of military and public service, I’m ready to serve,” said Anderson in a release.
Anderson and her husband live in Woodbridge and have both children and grandchildren.
The Republican nomination for the Occoquan Supervisor race will take place on April 25.
Candice Bennett, a small business owner, has announced her candidacy for the Mt. Vernon District Supervisor seat. Bennett is hoping to take over the seat from the long time incumbent Gerry Hyland, who has held the office since 1988.
She received her Master’s degree in security policy studies from George Washington University. Bennett is a graduate of the Sorensen Campaign Training Program, Leadership Fairfax and the Tuck Executive Education program at Dartmouth, according to a release.
Bennett currently operates a consulting firm in Lorton and was previous a director at Penn, Schoen and Berland – a well-known Democratic polling firm in Washington D.C. During her time at the polling firm, she worked with several elected officials including Senator Tim Kaine.
Additionally, Bennett has served as president of the Junior League of Northern Virginia, and as a member of the Women Presidents’ Education Organization, Leadership Fairfax, the Women Presidents’ Organization, American Marketing Association and the Marketing Research Association. She has served on the National Committee of the National Council of the National Museum of American History, the Friends of the National Zoo, and the James Smithson Society.
During her candidacy, Bennett is looking to address education, affordable housing, and economic development, along with several other Democratically supported issues.
“As I’ve lived in the district, I’ve become familiar with many of the key issues facing our community. As supervisor, my priorities would include education; affordable housing, especially for seniors; ensuring that the Lorton landfill fulfills its promise to open a 250-acre park; economic development and jobs; and transportation. All of these issues are critical to ensuring that the Mt. Vernon District and Fairfax County as a whole continue to thrive,” said Bennett in a release.
According to Bennett, her desire to run for the position was motivated by her work as a business and volunteer in the community.
“I am running for Mt. Vernon District Supervisor because I am passionate about improving our community. Over the past few years, I’ve served in a business and volunteer capacity, and I believe now is the time to take the next step to really make a difference for our district. I look forward to earning the vote of my fellow residents of the Mt. Vernon district,” Bennett said in a release.
Bennett lives in Lorton with her husband, an Iraqi War veteran.
The House of Delegates in Richmond has passed bill HB 1672 – legislation that will remove the A to F grading system of school districts in Virginia.
The grading system is for school districts, not for individual student’s grades.
The A to F grading system for school districts was first implemented after bill HB 1999 was passed during the 2013 General Assembly session.
Support for the new legislation to remove the earlier grading system was immense, as the system had unintended consequences on schools.
“When the [original] bill was passed a couple of years ago, we were all concerned about what it would do to some of our schools – and the various categories they would be placed in. [We felt] that some of our schools and students would be disenfranchised by this piece of legislation, and it had the potential of penalizing some schools in a way that would not be reflective of the [school’s] efforts and their stance academically,” said Delegate Luke Torian.
The grading system was used on school districts, based upon their “student growth” defined in HB 1999 as maintaining proficiency on state assessments and growth and improvement based on a statewide average.
Schools with a low-grade rating on the scale would be in jeopardy of losing their accreditation, according to Torian.
“[Schools] were given a particular rating, based on certain criterions that were presented in the [earlier] legislation…The legislation was just too broad, in general,” said Torian.
Now that the bill has passed the floor of the House, it will now be moved to a Senate floor vote, before being placed in front of Governor McAuliffe for final approval.
While the legislation removes the current school district grading system, it does not articulate a new one. Torian stated that the originating legislator of the A to F system, Delegate Thomas Greason, will be working on legislation to implement a new system.
“I think what Delegate Greason is doing – he’s looking at some other alternatives…He will be talking to the leading educational organizations here, to design a new bill that will serve his intent. But right now what we don’t want to do – we don’t want to put forward something that is going to adversely impact schools,” Torian commented.
The legislation is considered a relief for many school districts, such as Manassas City Schools, whose school board outlined the removal of the A to F system as a legislative priority for 2015.
“The Board believes it does not indicate a division’s success in preparing students for career/college readiness,” said Almeta Radford, Public Communications Coordinator for Manassas City Schools.
Atif Qarni, a teacher in Prince William County and a veteran, has decided to run for the 29th District Senate seat currently held by Senator Chuck Colgan.
Colgan has made the decision to retire, after almost 40 years in his seat.
Before working as a teacher in Dale City at Beville Middle School for six years, he served in the Marine Corps for eight years. He has his Master’s degree from George Mason University. Qarni currently lives in Manassas with his wife and two children.
During his candidacy, Qarni has three main issues he hopes to address – education, transportation and strengthening small businesses.
“I want to restore the funding for public education. With the transportation bill that was passed, the state is looking at where to invest money – I want to really fight for those dollars to be focused on Prince William County – really fixing some of the infrastructure issues that we have,” Qarni said.
According to Qarni, the way to deal with the growing issue of residents having to leave the area to find jobs is by investing in small businesses.
“A lot of people are leaving the county – I want to bring jobs back to the county – and I think that the best way to do that is really strengthening our small businesses,” said Qarni.
While he did not win the delegate race against Marshall, Qarni stated that the race taught him things that he will bring into this Senate race.
“I had a good grasp of running prior to [the delegate race], but I feel that I’m even stronger in that area. I can really represent the concerns the folks have in our district,” Qarni commented.
Qarni feels that he and Colgan share some core values that will allow him to continue that political legacy.
“Senator Colgan has done a lot for our district – with his 40 years of service, especially with the community colleges…and I’m big on education. So one of my hopes is to really continue in that regard, but focus more on K-12 education,” said Qarni.
“What sets me apart [from the other primary candidates] is my service background. With my military service, having served my country for eight years, and having gone to combat in Iraq…and my service as a teacher. I understand this district better than anybody.”
The primary will take place on June 9.
Qarni mentioned during his interview that he felt a candidate forum with Futrell and McPike would be an appropriate venue for voters to assess the candidates.
Maureen McDonnell has been painted in two different lights: as a selfless, hardworking, dedicated mother, wife and community leader, and as a hostile and greedy woman responsible for ruining the career of her husband, former Gov. Bob McDonnell, and sending him to jail.
Virginia’s former first lady has been under the media’s scrutiny for two years, since the bribery scheme involving the McDonnells came to light. Last fall, both Bob and Maureen McDonnell were convicted of multiple counts of public corruption. On Friday, Maureen McDonnell was sentenced to a year in prison by U.S. District Court Judge James Spencer.
“The true person she is should not be brushed aside,” Spencer told the courtroom. “This is never a place where she wanted to be.”
Maureen McDonnell’s lawyers asked that she be given probation with 4,000 hours of community service. The prosecution sought a prison term of 18 months.
In handing down a sentence closer to what prosecutors wanted, Spencer apparently rejected the view of Maureen McDonnell portrayed in court papers filed by her defense lawyers on Feb. 6.
The defense team’s sentencing memorandum detailed Maureen McDonnell’s life, including her struggle in the spotlight as first lady, and argued that imprisonment would be inappropriate.
The document said Maureen McDonnell was born into a family dedicated to faith, service and hard work. Both of her parents worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She was the third of nine children.
“Maureen’s devotion to her family extended beyond caring for her siblings and helping her mother take care of the house – Maureen also went to great lengths to make her father happy,” defense lawyers said. They said Maureen McDonnell became a Washington Redskins cheerleader to please her father in the early 1970s.
The former governor and his wife met in 1973 while he was a student at Notre Dame.
“She found in Bob a man committed to the same values her parents had engrained in her: faith, service, discipline, and hard work,” the memorandum continued. The couple was married in 1976. Following their wedding, Maureen McDonnell devoted herself to a life of serving others, her lawyers wrote.
In 1991, Bob McDonnell ran in his first campaign, for a Virginia Beach seat in the House of Delegates. Defense lawyers described this time in Maureen’s life as stressful as she cared for five children and supported her husband’s career.
“Maureen continued to shore up the family finances by waiting tables, installing water filters, and continuing home-based businesses that would allow her to earn an income and look after the children at the same time.”
In 2009, Bob McDonnell resigned as attorney general to run for governor. During his campaign, family friends stated that Maureen McDonnell felt the pressure to hold the family together as her husband was busy with politics. Around the same time, both of Maureen McDonnell’s parents died, and her sister became very ill.
“As the wife of a gubernatorial candidate, the campaign leaned heavily on Maureen, asking her to hit the campaign trail with Bob and on her own, make public speeches at rallies, and represent her husband in his most important campaign yet,” the memorandum said.
“Maureen struggled to cope with the demands of the campaign, and at times, the pressure overwhelmed her. … But the campaign was merely the frying. The fire of the Executive Mansion was next.
“Maureen’s uneasiness with public attention, separation from Bob, and financial insecurity, long simmering over the course of Bob’s political career, boiled over when she moved into the Executive Mansion.” Keep Reading…
Kristen Kiefer was appointed as the newest member of the Manassas City School Board last Wednesday night.
Kiefer, who is the Chief of Staff at The National Council on Aging, was selected from a list of nine qualified candidates.
The Board needed to appoint a new member when incumbent Ilka Chavez decided to step down for personal reasons back in January.
According to Tim Demeria, Chairman of the Manassas City School Board, the board was primarily looking for a competent and passionate individual to fill Chavez’s seat.
“Of the nine candidates we had, we were looking for someone who was passionate about our schools, who was involved in our schools,” Demeria said, continuing, “My concern when we first discussing [appointing a new member] we were worried we weren’t going to have candidates worthy of the position, but that surely didn’t become a problem for us.”
The board interviewed each of the nine candidates, and after several hours of deliberation, there was a unanimous vote to select Kiefer, said Demeria.
A graduate of Ohio University and Georgetown University, Kiefer is known in the community for her extensive involvement in the school system. She has two children in Manassas City schools, and her husband was also a graduate of the school system.
For Kiefer, her commitment to education started at the very beginning of her life, with her mother’s influence as an educator.
“My mother was an educator and an administrator in schools her entire life…My parents taught me the value of education, and that it was a gift – but that it was also something you were accountable for, in terms of how much you put into it,” Kiefer said.
Kiefer started her involvement with the school community by reinstating the Baldwin Elementary PTO, and later working on the PTA at Mayfield Intermediate School. She also serves as a member of the ‘Gifted and Talented’ advisory group.
She became well known in the community for her tireless efforts working with the schools after organizing the first Movie Night on the Manassas Museum lawn. It is now an annual community event.
Her interest in applying for the vacant board seat came when she was encouraged to apply during her time at the Manassas City Public Schools Community and Parent Leadership Academy.
Kiefer admitted to being nervous and needing some reassurance about applying.
“I was nervous…the thing about it was that I had no idea what I was walking into. And I went through a lot of soul searching. I spoke with teachers, principals, colleagues, parents, to hear them saying, ‘You need to do this.’ I think for me, in terms of the decision process, my mother…said ‘You have got to do this’ [and it helped push me],” Kiefer stated.
Despite being new to the board, Kiefer will be involved in this year’s budgeting process for the schools – not an easy task. But Kiefer feels confident in her ability to transition to the board and assist in the budgeting process.
“My job is one where I’m thrown into something new each and every day, and I’ve got to adjust, and I’ve got to study and I’ve got to prepare – and it doesn’t matter what the topic is – you’ve got to go in there, and you’ve got to roll up your sleeves, and that’s just who I am as a person,” Kiefer stated.
The appointment will run out in November 2015. Kiefer intends to run in the upcoming special election to keep her seat after the appointment period ends.
Kiefer will be sworn into the board at the next Manassas City School Board meeting.
More to the Story: See all of the resumes submitted for the open School Board position below:
Jack Dobbyn, a small business owner, has announced his candidacy for Mount Vernon Supervisor and has received the endorsement of former Attorney General candidate Justin Fairfax.
Dobbyn is currently a member of the Board of Supervisors’ Human Services Council and is a co-chair of the Board of Supervisors’ and School Board’s joint working committee, the Successful Children and Youth Policy Team. He is also a former chair of the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee.
Fairfax, a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Easter District of Virginia was a candidate for the Attorney General seat back in 2013.
According to Fairfax, Dobbyn is a candidate that his demonstrated his commitment to the community in the Mount Vernon District.
“I have witnessed Jack’s commitment to ensuring that all in our community have their votes heard and counted, as well as his programmatic and grass-roots efforts to strengthen families and enrich the lives of children,” Fairfax said in a press release.
Both Dobbyn and Fairfax will be in attendance at the Mount Vernon Democrats’ Seventh Annual Mardi Gras fundraiser, where the first district straw poll will be held.
The Mount Vernon Magisterial District includes Lorton.
Delegate Scott Surovell announced that he would be running for Linda “Toddy” Puller’s State Senate seat in the 36th district.
Puller has served in the State Senate since 1992 and announced her decision to retire from her seat this year.
Surovell grew up in Northern Virginia, graduating from James Madison University and the University of Virginia’s law school.
He has served as the delegate in the 44th district since 2010.
Puller and Surovell have worked together in the past, attempting to improve the Route 1 corridor in their respective districts.
“One of the main things I’ve done with Toddy [Puller] is focused on the improvement, redevelopment, widening and reinvesting in Route 1…Senator Puller and I secured $2 million dollars for what is called the ‘Route 1 Multimodel Alternatives Analysis’ study,” said Surovell.
The study was used to understand ways to improve the land use and road configuration for Route 1, and has led to plans to extend the Metro’s Yellow line and bus service in the corridor.
Surovell commented his motivation to move to State Senate is his desire to do more for his constituents.
“The State Senate is a smaller body, and it’s easier to achieve things for your constituents when you’re one of forty, instead of one of a hundred,” said Surovell.
During the campaign, Surovell intends to address education funding, an expansion of Medicaid coverage and ensuring that all school-age children have access to a computer.
“I strongly believe that every child ought to be given a computer…The digital divide is a real problem – and not just in rural areas, where they have a problem getting the wire to their house – it’s a problem in Northern Virginia, where a lot of people can’t afford high-quality broadband,” Surovell stated.
According to Surovell, he feels the work he’s been doing is consistent with what Puller has accomplished in her political legacy.
“Toddy [Puller] has been fighting to get Route 1 fixed for thirty years…and the improvements that are happening on Route 1 today are in large part because of the study that she pioneered back in 1994. I think it’s important to continue that work, to make sure that Route 1 gets the same attention other roads in Northern Virginia [receive],” said Surovell, continuing, “I don’t think there’s anybody that is a stronger advocate for veterans in the legislature.”
Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman has already announced his candidacy as the Republican candidate for the Senate seat.
In the next four years, Maureen Caddigan says she will finish what she started in Triangle.
The $65 million effort to widen Route 1 in Triangle to six lanes was completed in 2012, and it took with it many of the roadside businesses that once lined the busy thoroughfare – fast food joints, used car dealerships, and a Greyhound Bus station. Bringing new economic development to the area to coincide with the National Museum of the Marine Corps will be her full-time focus.
After the businesses were gone, it brought disapproval from some of her toughest critics.
“Things are happening in this neighborhood, but not everything happens overnight,” said Caddigan. “We thought that when we widened the road everyone was going to want to be here, and things would develop more quickly, and then we had the economic downturn.”
The Republican is currently running unopposed to keep her seat on the Prince William Count Board of Supervisors.
Caddigan sits at the Potomac District Supervisor and serves Montclair, Triangle, and the towns of Dumfries and Quantico. She’s campaigning on three top priorities: transportation, education, and public safety.
Caddigan was a catalyst for the addition of a $15 million public library in Montclair. She has also fought for the construction of Fuller Heights Park on Old Triangle Road outside Quantico. She’s also been the catalyst for bringing new ball fields for children in the Triangle area. A ribbon cutting for the new fields will take place in April, she said.
Caddigan has also worked to enlarge a commuter parking lot at Routes 1 and 234 in Dumfries, and she credits herself, in part, to helping to bring John Paul the Great Catholic High School to Prince William County.
Some of the items she’s still working on is the development of a town center adjacent to where Route 1 was widened, along Old Triangle Road. Caddigan had once envisioned an Occoquan-like setting to be built along the road linking Graham Park and Fuller Heights roads. She pushed developers to get on board with the project, but the effort stalled when county officials learned they would have to purchase multiple private properties to make the vision of the town center a reality.
“We took out voter-approved bond monies to widen Route 1 and that isn’t something we were able to do again,” said Caddigan.
Caddigan has served on the Board of Supervisors, formerly as the Dumfries District Supervisor before the district’s name was changed to Potomac, since 1991. Prior to that, she served on the Prince William County School Board for seven years. She left that role after her daughter got a job at a gym teacher at Hylton High School in Woodbridge, to avoid any conflicts of interest.
The two Democrats who both have their eye on the seat will face off in a Primary Election later this year – one-term Dumfries Councilman Derrick Wood and newcomer Andrea Bailey. The winner of the primary will face Caddigan in the fall.
Jason Pelt, a partner with the Law Firm of Goodall, Pelt & Carper, P.C., is seeking to run for the Stafford Commonwealth Attorney seat for the second time.
Pelt first ran back in 2011 against Eric Olsen, who currently holds the position, after Daniel Chichester, the preceding Commonwealth Attorney, decided to retire.
Olsen intends to run for his second term, and will face Pelt in the Republican primary on June 9.
Pelt pointed to two cases in Olsen’s record as Commonwealth Attorney that he feels show Olsen is not representing the citizens in the community well.
“… I continue to see injustice at the hands of our elected officials. Cases like Edgar Coker, a young black man that was wrongfully convicted of a sex offense at the hands of Eric Olsen. Thankfully, it took the work of the Innocent Project of the University of Virginia to finally clear his name. Or the case of Reginald Latson, a young black man with Autism. In this case the current Commonwealth’s Attorney decided mental illness should be handled with a long jail sentences. Governor Terry McAuliffe, with the encouragement of House Speaker William Howell, recently pardoned the young man so that he can seek professional mental health treatment instead of a jail, overturning Eric Olsen’s position,” said Pelt.
In addition to his concern about the way some of Olsen’s handled some of his cases, Pelt pointed out the acts of unethical conduct within Olsen’s staff.
“Under the current leadership of the Stafford Commonwealth’s Attorney, a member of the staff was reprimanded for unethical conduct while prosecuting cases. Stafford County deserves better from its elected leaders,” Pelt commented.
As Commonwealth Attorney, the elected individual is expected to prosecute crimes in Stafford County. The office has a staff of 25 and a budget of almost $2.5 million dollars.
During his campaign for the Republican nomination, Pelt plans to show how we would work with the Stafford Sheriff’s Department and community residents to make sure that the laws are fairly upheld, and freedoms protected.
“Stafford County needs a prosecuting attorney that enforces our laws, but also protects the freedoms that we hold sacred. I want to work effectively with our Sheriff’s Department to combat crime and keeps our communities safe, but not at the expense of your liberty. The two ideas can live together, but only under new leadership. The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney needs to ensure that the wrongfully accused are not the wrongfully convicted,” said Pelt.
Pelt lives with his wife and four children in Stafford County.
Austin Haynes, a commercial developer, has announced that he will be running against Michelle McQuigg, the incumbent, for the Clerk of the Court seat.
Haynes and McQuigg will be up against one another for the Republican primary for Clerk, which is on June 9.
According to Haynes, the Clerk position needs to be less about politics and more about solid management.
“The Clerk of the Court’s Office should not be about public policy…It is the administrative function for the Circuit Court. The job is to be the administrator of everything you do with your land records, gun records, marriage licenses – all of the official documents of the court,” said Haynes, continuing, “It is a management position. It needs professional management.”
Haynes said that his opponent had done an ‘OK’ job as the Clerk, but he doesn’t feel that it’s good enough.
“I think that our current Clerk has done an ‘OK’ job. But I would tell you this – you are electing the third highest paying position you can vote for in Prince William County – is ‘OK’ good enough,” asked Haynes.
During his campaign for Clerk, Haynes intends to address the need for better customer service, technological updates to office processes and more security.
“One of the first things I would do is have a full technology audit – both of hardware and software,” said Haynes.
To demonstrate his technological acumen, when Haynes hosted his first campaign event, only using social media to spread the word.
Haynes previously served on the Soil and Water Board for Prince William County for six years, prior to leaving to take a job in Richmond. Haynes also ran for City Council several years ago and lost by a slim margin.
Additionally, Haynes was the President of the Boy’s and Girls Club in the area for two years, doing extensive charity work to fundraise for the community.
Haynes has lived in the area for 27 years with his wife. They have two children.
Delegate Luke Torian’s bill to create a “Work and Save” group passed on the floor at the General Assembly today.
The delegate from House District 52 drafted the legislation as a way to boost the amount of citizens saving for retirement.
The bill – HB 1998 – will authorize the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) to create the group that will promote retirement saving.
“I would like to thank the Virginia Retirement System for their willingness to convene this Work and Save work group. This bill will allow us to begin to bring stakeholders together so that we can create a better retirement for all Virginians,” said Torian in a press release.
According to a press release, there are 1.3 million Virginians that do not have a retirement savings plan, and almost one-third of elderly Virginias, 65 and older, have Social Security as their only source of income.
One of the initiatives of the “Work and Save Group” would be finding new retirement options. These options will be geared to helping small businesses to fund retirement savings.
The bill will now be sent to Senate for a second floor vote.
Steve Chapman, a small business owner, announced his campaign for the Woodbridge District Supervisor seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
In the community, Chapman has worked as an ESL teacher, and has served as Chairman of the Prince William County Family Alliance, Vice Chairman of the Prince William County Schools Career and Technical Education Committee, and the Vice Chairman of the Prince William Tax Payers Alliance.
Currently, Chapman serves as the President-elect for the Bull Run Rotary Club, as well as Treasurer of Discover Prince William and Manassas.
According to Chapman, he has four major platforms he looks to address during his campaign: public safety, education, revitalizing Route 1 and expanding transportation.
“I moved to here nearly 25 years ago, time has not been kind to our town: abandoned buildings are rampant, crime is up, our commute is longer, were spending more time in gridlock and less with our families, our children’s esteem has declined as schools test scores are lower, and dropout rate is higher. Our people are working harder for less, and our quality of life has diminished,” said Chapman in a press release.
Chapman will be running against Lee Price, another declared candidate for the Republican nomination. The Republican Party has decided that the nomination process will take place on April 25, and will be a “firehouse primary”, according to a member of Chapman’s staff.
Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish has announced his campaign for State Senate in Virginia’s 29th District.
Democratic Senator Chuck Colgan, who has served as Senator in the District since 1976, currently holds the seat.
Parrish, a lifetime resident of Manassas and owner of his family business, Manassas Ice and Fuel Co., has been the Mayor of Manassas since 2008.
Several elected officials that have come out to endorse his candidacy, including Representative Barbara Comstock and Prince William County Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart.
“Working with Hal over the years, I know that he will serve the people of the 29th District with the same passion he’s served the Manassas community,” said Prince William County Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart in a press release.
In his campaign, Parrish is looking to address issues including easing taxes on small businesses, job creation and investments in transportation and infrastructure.
“If we are going to make Prince William County competitive, we need to ease the tax burdens on our citizens and small business owners. We need to create new jobs and should be providing incentives for emerging industries to do business in Prince William. And we need to build a foundation for future success by investing in our transportation systems, schools, and infrastructure,” said Parrish in a press release.
Parrish will be running for the seat against Atif Qarni, Michael Futrell and Jeremy McPike, three other candidates for the Senate race.
Mike May officially kicked off his run for the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
May, an attorney at Albo & Oblon, L.L.P. and currently Prince William’s Occoquan District Supervisor, looks to unseat the long-serving Paul Ebert, who’s been in office since the late 1960s.
May gave an exclusive interview with Potomac Local late last year on his intentions to become the county’s top prosecutor.
Greeted by friends and supporters on Saturday, May outlined his vision for the office.
“It’s time to modernize the office, and I look forward to laying out our vision for improving accountability, oversight and transparency,” May stated in a press release. “We will face many challenges in this effort, but with the community’s support I know that we can make a positive difference for our citizens.”
A lifelong Northern Virginian, May grew up in Springfield, Virginia and has resided in Lake Ridge since 2001. He lives with his wife Amelia, and their three children, Leo, Natalia and Marina.
May has been an attorney at Albo & Oblon, LLP for the past nine years.
Wilk to run for Potomac School Board seat, recommends School Board forgo salaries to provide more school support
The incumbent, Betty Covington, has not declared her candidacy to run for re-election, but Wilk feels that there needs to be a change on the School Board.
“The current incumbent [Covington] has been involved with Prince William County Schools for over 50 years, and that is a true testament to her dedication to this school district. But as I’m going door-to-door and talking with voters – people want change. They want to see new faces on the Board,” said Wilk.
A graduate of the University of Virginia in education administration, Wilk worked for six years in Prince William County Public Schools. His wife is also a public school teacher at Forest Park High School.
For Wilk, there needs to be more transparency and accountability in the decisions made by the School Board.
“The School Board has not been fully transparent with the community…in order to restore that trust deficit, we need people that are on the Board that are going to work in a collaborative process and prove that money is being spent in the best interest of the students in Prince William County. This means making sure that the money is going back into the classrooms,” said Wilk.
According to Wilk, for the School Board to become more fiscally sound, they need to make choices, including consolidation of departments and employee decisions and take a look at the budget to see where changes could be made.
One way that Wilk proposed to address spending and the needs of the school system was for members to forgo their School Board salaries for a year – using that money to hire more guidance counselors in high schools in the County.
“In order to increase educational spending, the school board must lead by example, and prove to the citizens or Prince William County that our focus is reducing class sizes and hiring more school-based positions,” Wilk said.
In his campaign, Wilk intends to speak about expanding offerings for special needs programs, establishing vocational and college readiness programs and competitively paying teachers and school staff.
“Why aren’t we providing the support, and why aren’t providing the competitive salaries to keep teachers in Prince William County schools,” asked Wilk. Teacher pay is currently a topic being discussed as an issue in Prince William County.
If elected, Wilk would like to establish a vocational program for students in the County that may not want to attend college.
“It’s wrong that we want to portray vocational skills as something that is not desirable. We should have a full vocational program in Prince William County,” Wilk commented.
Wilk lives in the Potomac District with his wife and son. They are expecting another child in July.