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Politics

Popular ‘Attack the Fat Challenge’ starts Monday at Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center

freedom-aquatic-fitness-center-1freedom-aquatic-fitness-center-2freedom-aquatic-fitness-center-3freedom-aquatic-fitness-center-4freedom-aquatic-fitness-center-5
Do you know about the Attack the Fat Challenge? It’s one of the most popular, effective, and fun weight-loss programs at the Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center
 
It’s open to anyone, at any fitness level.
 
Robin Frey is a fitness program coordinator, certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and the director of Freedom Attack the Fat Challenge at Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center in Manassas. We spoke with her to get the 
 
Frey

Frey

What is the Attack The Fat Challenge?

 
“It’s more of a full spectrum weight loss program and it runs for eight weeks…it’s based on focusing on weight loss but the overall effort that we do is that we want to promote and create lifestyle changes, not just during the eight weeks. For most people it’s just the starting point. A lot of people do it repeatedly because it works for them…and depending on the amount of weight they wish to lose, it may not happen in eight weeks.”   
 
What do participants do while in Attack The Fat Challenge? 
 
“Well actually the whole concept is they do train…and it’s based on percentage of weight loss…we make it a challenge so that it has some competitive edge to it but the overall focus is just to create a balance of accountability…to continue with fitness efforts for health, not necessarily for fitness. In other words, this is based on health and wellness, getting people appropriate nutrition and just trying to create a consistent effort with lifestyle change, it’s long term.”
 
 How much does the program cost?
 
“It [the program] breaks down to 20 dollars a session and the total cost is $480 but you’re getting 24 sessions, 24 full one-hour sessions…then in addition to that they get the support through nutrition tips and guidance…and body composition testing as well.” Frey also mentioned that there is an additional cost to non-members of the Freedom Center. 
 
 Attack-the-Fat-2015-flyer-791x1024How long does the challenge last? 
 
“Participants train three days a week with a trainer so it’s three one-hour sessions so they’re basically getting 24 training sessions as a group within that eight weeks, three times a week. In addition to that support that we offer is through our smart lab for evidence based testing for body composition or those types of things and also we do weekly weigh-ins”.
 
Is the Attack The Fat Challenge a seasonal program? 
 
“It’s twice a year, typically we do it  in February, March and then again in September.”
 
Is it too late to sign up? 
 
“The Attack The Fat Challenge  starts on Monday, Feb. 2. Registration does require you to be registered prior to the program but we work with people as well.”
 
Why did Frey get involved with the Attack The Fat Challenge?
 
“Well I started it, actually it’s been six years running now. I just felt that there was a need here at the Freedom Center to create programming in small groups that could be something that could bring more of an effort of accountability to each other, that tends to help. People can do training all the time but when they have other people depending on them to be part of their team, their group, it’s very successful. The success rate is much higher as far as them making the sessions, having to be responsible for that weekly weigh-in and then they bond and create groups that continue to train after that. We just didn’t have anything happening here in that capacity in programming.”
 
How does the Attack The Fat Challenge stand apart from similar programs?
 
“We were probably the original in this area. I know other facilities have programs similar to what we do, it’s a basic concept of accountability, through training, weigh-ins, and nutrition information…it’s just been very, very successful for us here. This our sixth year I believe, might even be longer. It tends to work. We provide a variety of workouts through different types of training. We may have them in the pool, TRX suspension training, circuit training, functional core…in other words we do a little bit of everything that we offer here…within those 24 sessions they’re getting a very large variety of different modalities of training.”
 
Why do people sign up?
 
Participants will] form groups and become friends and bond in that respect and want to continue to do it again, that kind of thing….plus we’ve had people that have lost over 100 pounds…it’s been very effective overall.” 

Keep Reading…

Come see the Capitol Steps at Hylton Arts Center & help Cecily replace the asbestos-laden siding on her home

When Cecily was in her 20’s she immigrated to the U.S. from Nicaragua.

capitol stepsTaking a job at Home Depot in Springfield, Cecily met her future husband, Eddy, who had emigrated from Palau. Cecily and Eddy married in 2008 and now share their Woodbridge home with their two children, Cecily’s mother, and grandmother.

A tight-knit family, everyone pitches in to help. Cecily operates a daycare from her home while also attending school at Northern Virginia Community College.

Cecily’s mom is a certified nursing assistant with a job in Washington, D.C. Eddy continues to work at Home Depot and he and Cecily’s mom and grandmother all help care for the children, too.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County is looking forward to giving this hard working family a hand up with much-needed critical home repairs that will make their home safer, more comfortable and affordable.

Habitat for Humanity will replace the boiler that is original to the home, replace asbestos siding from three sides of the exterior and replace non-functional windows throughout the home. The deck must be rebuilt for safety. And the home will be weatherized for energy efficiency.

Habitat for Humanity thanks you for your support of the Capitol Steps event and welcomes you to join them on their work sites as a volunteer!

To learn more, visit Habitat for Humanity’s website at habitatpwc.org.

Mark your calendars for Laughs & Love benefit February 21 at 7 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Not only are we having the hilarious Capitol Steps come to the beautiful Hylton Center, but our Rotary Club has proudly partnered with Casa, Habitat for Humanity, Rainbow Center Therapeutic Riding, Calling All Souls and Transitional Housing Barn as the beneficiaries this year.

The goal?

By selling out the 1,200 seats at the Hylton, we will raise $50,000. All proceeds raised will go directly to organizations that are on the front lines helping care for, encourage, lift spirits, give hope and opportunity to our struggling neighbors. These organizations are the unsung heroes in our community whose compassion makes our community a place we can be proud of.

They cannot do it alone!

To order tickets go to Hyltoncenter.org or call 1-888-945-2468. If you or your business would like to sponsor the event, please contact Steve Chapman, steve@washmydeck.com by Feb 10.

The preceding post was sponsored by Rotary Club of Bull Run.

1.3 million pages later, Michele McQuigg seeks 2nd term as Prince William Clerk of the Circuit Court

Michele McQuigg calls herself an activist turned politician.

In addition to spending more than 20 years in public life serving the residents of Prince William County, she’s also belonged to just about any civic or community organization that had an open membership policy.

McQuigg is running for another eight-year term as Prince William County’s Clerk of the Circuit Court. It’s a lesser-known position, one that doesn’t usually attract headlines – unless your Michelle McQuigg.

Last year, McQuigg placed her name on a lawsuit against Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring who wanted to bypass a state referendum on gay marriage and allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses. One of McQuigg’s jobs as Clerk of the Circuit Court is to issue those licenses.

McQuigg doesn’t support gay marriage, but she said the overriding reason for her signing her name to that lawsuit was because she felt the state, and federal constitutions were being usurped by the Attorney General. Today, gay couples may file for marriage licenses in Virginia. Keep Reading…

Wendy Maurer running for Rock Hill Supervisor in Stafford

Wendy Maurer planned to file her paperwork on Monday to run for the office of Rock Hill District Supervisor.

A Republican small business owner and member of Stafford’s Economic Development Authority, Maurer has long been active in the Stafford community. She seeks to replace Cord Sterling, who announced he would not seek reelection in November after accepting a new job as a staffer in the U.S. Senate.

Maurer has three children in Stafford County Public Schools and she immediately identified large class sizes and overcrowding as campaign issues.

“We have significant overcrowding in our schools,” said Maurer, whose three children attend Mountain View and Colonial Forge high schools, and Rodney Thompson Middle School. “I believe the schools have been focusing more on administration and less on teacher pay.”

Rock Hill School Board representative Patricia Healy agrees that schools are overcrowded, and said a move by the School Board to eliminate more than 50 teachers was a difficult budget decision to make.

While the Board of Supervisors is the taxing authority providing a large chunk of the county budget to the school system, it’s the School Board who decides how to spend the cash. Maurer said a full review of the budget, as well as categorical funding practices by the Board of Supervisors is what’s needed place priorities on education in the county.

“Categorical funding can make it more difficult to make changes in a timely fashion,” said Healy. “If we need to move money from one category to another, we’ll need to go back to the Board and its processes before that can be done.”

Maurer said she’ll have strong opinions about what the School Board should do, but said she’ll respect boundaries.

“…I’m not going to be in there to run the school board – that is their job – but I will work closely with my school board representatives…” said Maurer.

Maurer also said improving the quality of roads in the district is another priority. Nearly all of the roads in the Rock Hill District are antiquated 2-lane thoroughfares with no shoulders, providing access to housing developments, schools, and businesses.

Maurer owns LRH Group, LLC in  Quantico, a defense contracting company supporting the Army. Her husband is also employed by the company.

Voters will head to the polls Nov. 3 to select a new Rock Hill District Supervisor.

Cord Sterling takes D.C. job for John McCain, leaving Stafford Board of Supervisors

After eight years serving on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, Cord Sterling choked up, sat back in his seat and said something that was clearly difficult to get out.

“I will not be running for reelection for the Board of Supervisors in November,” said Sterling.

The Republican represented Stafford’s rural Rock Hill District and took pride in representing the Fredericksburg region on the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond. Sterling was also active on many county committees, including Stafford’s budget committee.

Sterling accepted a new position as the deputy staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill. It’s where his career began 20 years ago, and it’s an “honor to return,” he said.

“Those of you who know the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Chairman is John McCain, and the pace that it maintains, is very grueling,” explained Sterling. “You read the newspapers and you see what’s going on in Europe, the Ukraine, see what’s going in the Middle East, you see what’s going on in Asia, you’ll get an idea of what my schedule and my life is  going to be like over the next several years.”

Sterling said he’ll take a pay cut with the new job, but said his duties will be important to the Senate.

Sterling will complete his term on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors which ends Dec. 31, 2015. It’s not clear yet who will run in his place.

“We still have 12 months of serving together and we have a lot to get done,” said newly appointed Stafford Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Snellings, of Hartwood.

Sterling said he pushed to move the county forward during his Board tenure, especially in the area of improving the county’s road infrastructure. Sterling was integral in securing funding for a new interchange at Courthouse Road and Interstate 95 in Stafford.

Candland seeks reelection for Prince William’s Gainesville seat, not Chairman

Peter Candland will seek reelection as the Gainesville District Supervisor on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. He won’t run for the At-large Chairman of the Board position as once thought held by Corey Stewart, who is seeking reelection.

Candland’s decision comes as all of the seats on the Board of Supervisors are up for reelection in 2015. Voters will go to the polls in November.

“It has been gratifying to receive the outpouring of support by so many citizens across the County encouraging me to run for Chairman of the Board. I believe it’s an affirmation of the work that I have done so far to restrain the growth in county spending, reduce taxes to provide relief for families, increase transparency on the Board, and to work to improve the quality of life for every family in Prince William County,” Candland penned in statement to press.

The Republican came charging onto the Board of Supervisors after he was elected in 2011. He’s branded himself as a tax-cutting conservative who’s looking to rope in what he says is excessive spending within the halls of Prince William County Government. He’s currently taking county officials, as well as members of his own Board to task over the December 2013 decision to spend $12 million to bury power lines on Route 1 in Woodbridge in conjunction with a project to widen the road to six lanes.

Candland crafted a resolution to rescind the funds for the project, and the Board is expected to vote on the measure Tuesday.

The Republican has also vowed to endorse other candidates in other races whom he believes would best do the job.

“While I will be running for re-election to represent the citizens of the Gainesville District, I will be working across the county to elect good candidates to serve on the Board of County Supervisors to build that coalition that is so desperately needed to protect and preserve the future of Prince William County. I will be endorsing and actively campaigning for candidates in races, even if it means against a sitting Supervisor,” stated Candland.

Candland lives in Gainesville with his wife and four children. He is the executive vice president at Quality Business Engineering in Haymarket. The firm occupies the former PACE West school.

Foreman seeks Virginia Senate seat

Gerald “Jerry” Foreman will run seek the Virginia Senate seat in the 36th District encompassing parts of south Fairfax County, eastern Prince William County, and norther Stafford County.

He will run against longtime Democratic Virginia State Sen. Toddy Puller. Foreman is fresh off a win for a second term as Dumfries Mayor. His mayoral win in May marked the start of his first full term as town mayor after replacing the late Mayor Fred Yohey. 

Here’s what Foreman had to say in a campaign press release:

“We need politicians who will roll up their sleeves and work collaboratively to find creative solutions to problems facing the state,” said Mayor Foreman.  “Being an effective elected official is about knowing when to stand your ground and when to find common ground. We must never forget that we represent our districts and the people who call them home.” 

“Elected officials representing Northern Virginia must maximize resources, deliver effective services and ensure that their priorities are aligned,” continued Mayor Foreman.  “I pledge to be a powerful advocate for the common interests of Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford Counties. We need officials in Richmond who will pass legislation based on merit not on partisan politics. Regardless of party affiliation, the men and women representing this region must discuss and support each other’s goals for the betterment of their shared constituents.  That kind of coordination doesn’t happen on accident; it requires strong leadership.” 

Foreman said he looked forward to outlining his plans to address the issues facing Northern Virginia in the coming weeks and months, and urged voters to visit his campaign website gmforemansenate36va.com often to learn more about his views and ideas.  Likewise, he plans an aggressive social media presence that provides voters a platform to share their ideas with him.

“I am a pretty simple and straightforward person.  I will do my best to avoid one-way political speeches and instead seek two-way conversations where there is a free exchange of ideas and solutions” said Mayor Foreman, “Anyone who has followed my time in Dumfries knows that I don’t pretend to be perfect, but they will also tell you that I always tell the complete truth and you will know where I stand.  As a Marine, I was taught that doing the right thing isn’t always easy, and that solving difficult problems requires leading from the front and taking responsibility.” 

Mayor Foreman is a United States Marine Corps veteran with twenty-five years of service.  Foreman is currently an Aviation Consultant with the Department of Homeland Security.  He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and his Master’s Degree in Aviation Science from Everglades University in Florida.  Foreman was first elected to Dumfries Town Council in 2010 and elected and re-elected Mayor in 2012 and 2014, respectively.  He and his wife Carmella have one daughter and a son-in-law.

Voters will head to the polls Nov. 3, 2015.

Lawson wins Brentsville seat, headed to Prince William Board of Supervisors

Campaign supporters surround Brentsville Supervisor-elect Jeanine Lawson at a campaign victory party in Gainesville. [Submitted]

Campaign supporters surround Brentsville Supervisor-elect Jeanine Lawson at a campaign victory party in Gainesville. [Submitted]

Lawson successfully linked over development with overcrowding in county schools  

Jeanine Lawson won her bid to be the next supervisor in Prince William County’s hotly contested Brentsville District.

Lawson will replace former supervisor turned county judge Wally S. Covington after a grueling 9-month campaign in the district.

Lawson ran a campaign promising to limit growth in Prince William County’s most rural district. She successfully linked overdevelopment to the continual overcrowding issues facing the county’s public schools.

She ran against Republican turned independent Scott Jacobs and Democrat Eric Young. Election results were posted to the Prince William County website.

Lawson will head to the Board of Supervisors when they meet next at their first meeting of the New Year on Jan. 6.

She won’t be comfortable in her seat for long. Lawson was elected to complete the remainder of Covington’s term which expires in November. She’ll have to go once again into campaign mode in 2015 if she wants to keep the seat.

For voters in the district Tuesday, it came down to streetlight issues.

Muhammad Khan, of Gainesville, has watched more and more houses popup in the area and has seen a greater influx of Muslims like himself move into the Brentsville District. Now, he said it’s time to build a place for them to worship.

“The Muslims need to see a mosque built in this area,” said Khan, who cast his vote for Scott Jacobs. “The Muslim population is growing. Not as much as it is in Fairfax County, but it is growing in Prince William.”

A neighborhood meeting addressed the building a mosque in Nokesville in August. Residents were concerned the mosque would bring additional traffic to the rural crescent portion of the county.

The thought of more development in the Brentsville District also weighted heavily on some voters’ minds. The controversial Stone Haven development project would put more homes on land located between Linton Hall and Wellington roads if approved next month by the Board of Supervisors.

“It seems the county does a good job building new schools, but as soon as they do the schools fill to capacity with students,” said Dan Grinnell, of Gainesville, a Lawson voter. “We need a better mix of residential and business development, and these local elections can make a big difference.”

Samantha Fulda also voted for Lawson. She likes the a campaign promise Lawson made to limit growth in the area.

“I’ve got one in school now and one about enter. My son’s lunch periods end late and many of the students are in trailers for classrooms,” said Fulda.

Scott Jacobs developed a reputation as the “developers” candidate. Outside his old stomping grounds at Brentsville District High School, he was also known as the land rights candidate.

Kevin, who did not give his last name, said many who live on land in the district that is or was once used for farming have difficulties selling their properties at market value due to historic preservation efforts by the county.

“We need complete property rights, and we should have the right to sell our property and move somewhere else if that is what we want to do,” said Kevin.

It’s Election Day in the Brentsville District

brentsvillecandidatedebateToday is the Special Election for candidates running for Brentsville District Supervisor.

Jeanine Lawson, Scott Jacobs, and Eric Young are all on the ballot today as voters decide who will replace former Brentsville District Supervisor Wally Covington.

Polls for today’s special election opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. For more information on where to vote in the Brentsville Magisterial District, click here.

All three candidates participated in a debate on Dec. 9 where they answered questions about local taxes, transportation, schools, and development. You can read more about what they had to say in the links below. The debate was sponsored by Bristow Beat and Potomac Local and hosted by Linton Hall School.

Stories written by Potomac Local about the debates: 

Brentsville candidates differ on development, want larger businesses in Prince William

Brentsville candidates differ on Bi-County Parkway, oppose Metro expansion

 

Tim Singstock running for Prince William school board chairman

Tim Singstock, a lifelong Prince William County resident and former officer in the Army, is running to be the next Prince William County Public School Board Chairman.

His announcement comes the same week current School Board Chairman Milton C. Johns decided not to seek reelection.

Singstock lives in Montclair with his family and currently works as a self-employed tax accountant. He attended the county’s public schools while growing up.

“I grew up right here in Prince William County, and I went to Prince William County public schools. I went to Virginia Tech on an Army ROTC scholarship and then served as an officer in the United States Army for five years,” Singstock said.

In addition to his work in the military and tax accounting, Singstock also worked as a defense contractor and project manager assisting the Marine Corps.

For Singstock, the position was one he has been considering for a long time.

“School board chairman specifically is something that I’ve been interested in for quite a while and I was contemplating, down the road – maybe in 2019 – perhaps running for the position. So, I was delighted to learn that the opportunity would come sooner in 2015,” he said.

“I feel that my generation has an obligation to ensure that today, these kids are prepared to run America in the twenty-first century,” he said of his motivation to run for the seat, continuing, “I want to serve the community I grew up in.”

He has already received endorsement for his candidacy from Johns, who will complete his term next year.

Potomac Supervisor Maureen Caddigan will also endorse Singstock.

For Singstock, there are two major concerns that need to be addressed by the school board – school safety and classroom size.

“The [first] issue I’m concerned about, is that I want to make sure that we continue to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our kids. And so the work that I do as a parent and volunteer on the Safe School Advisory Council has kind of given me a passion for school safety,” Singstock said.

One important issue he seeks to address during his campaign is growing classroom sizes, which have been talked about as a major issue in the Prince William County Public School system for several years.

“Another issue that I hear, as I talk to teachers and I talk to parents, [is] that everyone is concerned about crowding, and we have schools above 100 percent capacity. Part of that needs to be addressed by the Board of County Supervisors because the development decisions that they make have an impact on classroom size. But on the School Board side, I think it’s a budget issue,” he said.

For him, these issues can both be addressed with good management and living within the allotted county and state education budgets.

“I would like to try and take the resources that the tax payers of Prince William County and Virginia give us, live within the parameters of those resources, and then focus those resources to the greatest extent on the classroom. And I think that’s how we as a school board can begin to address the issue of crowded classrooms,” Singstock said.

The official launch for Singstock’s campaign will kick off in January. Voters will head to the polls on Nov. 3, 2015.

Jacobs served with GOP chairman long before being tossed out

Scott Jacobs [Photo: Mary Davidson]

Scott Jacobs [Photo: Mary Davidson]

Scott Jacobs is no longer a member of the Prince William County Republican Committee.

The group dropped him from their member list on Tuesday prior to debate featuring Jacobs and two other candidates hoping to fill the position of Brentsville District Supervisor.

Jeanine Lawson is the official Republican candidate in the race, unanimously chosen to run for the seat at a mass meeting of Republicans earlier this fall. Jacobs failed to meet proper filing deadlines imposed by the committee and was not able to seek the nomination of the party.

Prince William Republican Committee Chairman Bill Card on Thursday described Jacobs as a man who wasn’t active in the county Republican committee prior to his campaign, and as someone who was seeking to take advantage of Republican branding.

Here’s a portion of the story that appeared on Bristow Beat:

…Chairman Bill Card defended the committee’s decision when speaking with Bristow Beat Thursday. He said the decision was appropriate because Jacobs, “violated our trust, and he violated the letter and the spirit of the agreement in which he joined us.”

Card said that although Jacobs lived in Brentsville almost his entire life, he only joined the Prince William Republican Committee this year.

“I didn’t even know Scott Jacobs until January. He came to us seeking our brand. He came to us because he wanted an R by his name,” Card said.

In addition to not meeting the application deadline, Card said the committee was concerned with some of Jacob’s other behaviors such as posting campaign signs before the election board sanctioned such forms of political campaigning.

And, while Jacobs said he embodies Republican ideals, Card disagrees.

“We believe in following our word, and keeping our word, and being honest and upfront with everyone,” Card said.

Documents on file with Prince William County Government state both Card and Jacobs served on the 2012 committee that formulated the county’s strategic plan to guide the community over the next five years in areas like economic development, public safety, and transportation. Those committee meetings took place more than a year before January 2014, the time Card told a reporter he had first met Jacobs.

When asked about his participation in the strategic plan meetings, Card emailed the following statement to Potomac Local:

I went to the initial meeting and one other meeting of that committee.  They determined to hold the meetings on Monday evenings.  Our Monthly Prince William County Republican Committee meetings are generally held on the fourth Monday of each Month and my Executive Committee Meetings (of the Prince William County Republican Committee) are held on Monday evenings as well. 

After missing so many of the initial meetings when I did return for one I found that I was hopelessly behind, and I didn’t return.   

If I did meet Jacobs, he didn’t make an impression as I don’t recall.

Jacobs said he sat beside Card at the very first strategic planning committee meeting, and he corroborated the claim that Card missed some meetings.

“We did meet one another there, and he was there for more than one meeting,” said Jacobs.

The Republicans issued a statement to the press Tuesday about Jacobs’s removal from the GOP committee. While he continues to run as an independent, Jacobs said he remains a deeply rooted conservative.

The committee took issue when an audio recording surfaced of a campaign worker making a phone call to a voter in who lives in the district and described Jacobs as a Republican. It was the impetus for his removal from the group.

“This is a company that our campaign called and hired to make phone calls for us,” said Jacobs. “I listened to the phone calls on couple different occasions, they say I’m a Republican, and I am. “We certainly asked [the hired company] to clearly state that I am an independent candidate.”

Voters will go to the polls to decide on who the next Brentsville District Supervisor will be during a Special Election Dec. 23.

Brentsville candidates differ on Bi-County Parkway, oppose Metro expansion

Jeanine Lawson, Eric Young, and Scott Jacobs debate issues facing Brentsville voters. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local]

brentsvillecandidatedebateVirginia Railway Express extension, commuter bus expansion popular 

Metro to western Prince William County doesn’t appear to be a popular idea.

The three candidates seeking to be the next Brentsville District Supervisor said bringing the heavy commuter rail service west from Vienna is a non-starter.

“I don’t know why we’re talking about metro; It’s not in the strategic plan so I don’t think it’s a good use of time to even talk about it,” said Eric Young, a Democrat.

His Republican opponent Jeanine Lawson agreed.

““I do not want metro to Prince William County,’ said Lawson to an applauding audience. “We have better transportation solutions than Metro.”

A better idea is to expand Virginia Railway Express service to Gainesville, as well as increase the number of commuter buses on Interstate 66, the candidates said.

“If we can put more buses on the road, that is a great solution before extending VRE to Gainesville,” said Scott Jacobs, an independent.

All three candidates spoke about improving transportation in western Prince William at Tuesday night’s Brentsville District Candidates Debate, organized by this news organization in partnership with Bristow Beat. Each seeks a seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors vacated by Wally Covington, who is now a county judge.

The Bi-County Parkway, a skeleton of a hotly-debated road project in 2013 that would link Interstate 95 in Dumfries to Dulles Airport via Manassas, was once again a part of the discussion.

“Brining high paying jobs to district, if we’re really going to make that happen, we need to provide thoroughfares that don’t exist,” said Jacobs, who called the parkway a “value proposition and said businesses outside Prince William are watching and waiting to see if the highway will be built before deciding to relocate to Prince William.

The highway as it’s proposed would use the existing roadway of Route 234 from where it begins I-95 and ends at I-66. The road would be extended through a portion of Manassas National Battlefield Park, and also would connect drivers to Dulles Airport.

Lawson called the proposed highway a “developers road” and said there “is no study to prove the Bi-County Parkway would bring economic development.”

Lawson said a better use of regional transportation dollars would be to improve the interchange at I-66 and Route 28 in Centreville.

“Study after study does show the congestion is still east-west. If you fix that Route 28 interchange on the curve, that will alleviate a lot of the north-south traffic on Route 28,” said Lawson.

There are plans to add two new express toll lanes in each direction on I-66 similar to what will open on I-95 in Fairfax, Prince William, and Stafford counties next week. The plan also includes express bus service.

Young claims traffic at Dulles Airport is diminishing, however, does say the airport is important to the region’s economic growth.

“If we want Dulles Airport to be a part of our economic growth engine we’ve got to tie in somewhere…soon,” said Young.

Voters who live in Prince William County’s Brentsivlle District will head to the polls Dec. 23 for a Speical Election to decide who will win the open seat. Click here for more information about the election, if you are eligible to vote, and where to vote.

Brentsville candidates differ on development, want larger businesses in Prince William

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Brentsville District Board of Supervisors candidates debate

The candidates differentiated themselves early on the in the debate. However, on the issue of broadening Prince William County’s light commercial tax base, it was easy to see how much all three agreed.

brentsvillecandidatedebateJeanine Lawson, Eric Young, and Scott Jacobs submitted to questioning Tuesday night at the first and only scheduled Brentsville District Candidates Debate organized by this news organization, in partnership with Bristow Beat, and hosted at Linton Hall School

Voters who live in the district will head to the polls Dec. 23 for a special election to choose a new county supervisor following former supervisor Wally Covington’s resignation from the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

Development 

Young, a Democrat and political newcomer, said he had not and will not accept any money from commercial or home developers. Many blame developers for overcrowded classrooms and clogged roadways.

“I don’t work for them,” said Young.

Jacobs, an independent, disagreed, and has accepted money from real estate developers.

“The developers are the real risk takers in the community. I don’t know why everybody frowns on that. Just because you take a contribution from someone in the development issue doesn’t mean that you’re their patsy,” said Jacobs.

The Republican Lawson said she accepted campaign donations from two developers. If elected, she said she would work to roll back developers’ influence in local government.

“The developers are not these evil people – they’re business people. They deserve a seat at the table in the dialogue of development, but they certainly don’t deserve to be the chair at the table of discussion, and that where they’ve been,” said Lawson.

Schools

Prince William County has the largest number of students per classroom in the Washington, D.C. region. Packing so many students into one room inhibits learning, said Young.

Lawson placed blame on developers for overcrowded schools.

“The overzealous development has created the crowding problem in our schools. We need more managed growth and to stop rubber-stamping all development that comes down the road,” she said.

Jacobs said paying teachers a higher salary is the most effective tool to not only decrease class sizes, but to attract and retain high-quality educators to the region.

‘Economic development is not working’

Where the candidates had their differences, all agreed the county needs to attract more large commercial businesses. The place for them, all agreed, is the Innovation Business Park in the Brentsville District.

“Economic development is important, but what we’ve been doing to attract new business in the targeted industries…it’s not working,” said Young. “We’re going after businesses that don’t want to be here because we don’t have a value proposition for them.”

Jacobs called for more involvement from the Board of Supervisors in the county’s office of economic development.

“We need to out there an incentive these large businesses… we need somebody that can get in there and get these business centers on the right side of the fence and deal make with these folks,” said Jacobs.

Prince William has been largely successful in luring retail businesses, including a new Cabelas store that is slated to open soon in Gainesville.

“Retail growth is not going to pay the mortgage bills. It’s not going to get you off 66. We’ve got make better efforts for high-paying job growth in the Innovation Business Park,” said Lawson.

The polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23. Click here to get more information to see if you are eligible to vote in this Special Election and where your polling place is located.

Scoggins running for Occoquan seat, says county needs to better prioritize funding

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Campaign for Board of Supervisors a first for Scoggins

Donald Scoggins will toss his name into the hat seeking the Republican nomination to be the next Occoquan District Supervisor.

Scoggins will seek the seat to be vacated by current Supervisor Mike May, who announced he’s running to become the next Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney. Scoggins will face competition from fellow Republican John Gray who also wants the seat, and the results of a June 9 Primary Election could be the deciding factor which man will go on to run for the seat in November.

“I’m going to run as a Republican. I’ve been a Republican for over 50 years, and I’m not going to change now,” said Scoggins.

He’ll also face competition from Democrat and former Town of Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta whom he calls a “formidable” opponent.

“I know Earnie Porta,” said Scoggins. “I respect him as a candidate.”

A Vietnam veteran, former real estate broker, and soon to be retired federal employee, Scoggins has his eye on how Prince William County develops. The Occoquan District on the eastern side of the county is nearly fully developed, but whoever wins the seat will have a say on how the largely rural western side of the county grows.

“I want to make the rural crescent is maintained as much as possible, and I want to make sure we don’t overburden he taxpayers with over development,” said Scoggins. 

On transportation, Scoggins said the county needs to reevaluate its priorities and decide what road projects need to be funded. In the face of a looming transit funding crisis where the funding of some projects could be delayed, Scoggins some project may have to be removed from the books.

“Instead of doing everything that is planned, we have to look at what the numbers are, and we need to bring in staff and make educated decisions,” said Scoggins. “We can’t do everything, so maybe we have to lower our sights on what can get done given the current economic climate.”

Scoggins has been active in several non-profit organizations to include the Prince William Committee of 100, and has been a Prince William GOP Committee member for the past four years.

Scoggins has been married for 32 years. He has two adult sons, one who graduated from Virginia Tech and the other from University of Michigan.

John Gray campaigning for Occoquan District seat

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John Gray will seek his party’s nomination to be the next Occoquan District Supervisor.

If elected, the Republican would replace Mike May who announced he would seek the job of Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney.

Gray ran against Prince William County’s Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, At-large in 2011 as an independent and lost. Since that election, Gray has remained an active participant in local politics.

He’ll likely face competition from within his own party as Don Scoggins said he will run for the Occoquan District Seat. Democrat and former Town of Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta will also run for the seat.

Gray works as a CPA. Naturally, the top issue facing the county residents is taxes, he said. While he won’t run on a platform of lowering them, he does propose placing a cap on the amount of property taxes collected.

When property assessments come in and they’re higher than what they’ve planned on them being, [the county] collects more revenue in the form of real estate taxes,” said Gray.

Higher teacher pay 

His fix: factor in the amount of over-collected taxes from last year into the coming year’s budget. That would result in a tax decrease for residents, said Gray.

Teacher pay is another top issue Gray said his campaign would focus on. Prince William teachers don’t make enough, he said.

“We’re getting what we’re paying for,” said Gray, noting Prince William County is falling behind when it comes to living wage increases to attract and retain qualified teachers in the county’s public schools.

The Board of Supervisors is the county’s taxing authority but does not have a say on how the county’s School Board spends their funds. If elected. However, Gray said he’ll keep a close watch on the construction of the county’s 13th high school.

“I’ll make sure we don’t spend our money on things like a school pool and a black box theater that doesn’t improve the quality of our childrens education,” said Gray.

He referred to the county’s 12th high school, now under construction off Route 234 near Hoadly Road. It will have an aquatics facility and black box theater, and with a price tag of nearly $100 million, it will be one of the costliest high schools ever to be built in Virginia.

Picking a fight with Peacor

Gray would also immediately pick a fight with Prince William County Executive Melissa Peacor, if elected.

“I don’t like the direction she’s leading the county. Every time she needs something funded, [the Board of County Supervisors] find some fund to do what she wants,” said Gray.

He cited the $12 million cost to bury power lines on U.S. 1 in Woodbridge to complement a the road widening effort funded by the state. The burial costs were not factored into the current budget approved by the Board of Supervisors in April.

The funds allocated for the power lines burial came from a reserve fund dedicated for transportation projects, and the recommendation to bury the lines came not from Peacor but from the Board of Supervisors, which asked for her professional recommendation on how to proceed, said county spokesman Jason Grant.

Its important to also note Peacor works at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors, added Grant.

Don Scoggins will challenge Gray for the seat, and the challenge could lead to a Primary Election on June 9.

The General Election will be held Nov. 3, 2015.

Gray has been married for 43 years and has lived in Lake Ridge for 28 years. He is a Marine Corp veteran, and has served  as president of the Lake Ridge Property Owners Association. 

Dudenhefer running to reclaim 2nd District seat in Stafford, Woodbridge

Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, R-Stafford, Woodbridge, got high marks from the Prince William Chamber for his support of an $800 million transportation package approved this year in the Virginia General Assembly. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

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Transportation key to Dudenhefer’s campaign 

Mark Dudenhefer seeks to reclaim his seat in the House of Delegates representing Stafford and Woodbridge.

It will be Dudenehfer’s third time running for the seat, one he held for one term after being elected in 2011. He later lost to Delegate Michael Futrell in 2013.

The Republican and former Chairman of the Stafford County said transportation will be a key issue during his campaign to reclaim the seat.

“I left office two years ago, and there were a lot of transportation projects that were fully funded and moving forward,” said Dudenhefer.

Since that time, however, some projects in Northern Virginia were placed under review by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond. The Board pulled some a portion of funding away from the some projects and moved into a special trust fund until a state-level review of projects was complete, following the election of Gov. Terry McAuliffe. 

Stafford interchange

Dudenehfer said the planned construction of a $184 million interchange at Courthouse Road and Interstate 95 in Stafford County will do wonders to move the region forward. A total of $5 million was pulled from the project and placed into the trust fund, and fewer funds means that work to build commuter parking lot slated to be built as part of the project won’t happen unless officials at the county level can find new sources of funding.

The interchange is one of 30 projects under review.  The project lies just outside the 2nd House District that encompasses a portion of northern and western Stafford County, and a portion of Woodbridge in Prince William County. Dudenhefer says transportation is a regional issue that is larger than the concerns of any one politicians’ district.

“I fought very hard to get the new HOT lanes extended from Dumfries to Garrisonville,” said Dudenehfer.

He lobbied Transurban, builder of the new EZ-Pass Express Lanes on I-95, to build two lanes – one more than was originally planned  – when extending the current HOV lanes from Dumfries to Garrisonville Road. The new lanes are scheduled to open this month.

During this time in office, Dudenehfer supported a study of extending Metro to Woodbridge. He also sided with then Gov. Bob McDonnell on a landmark transportation bill that was to raise some $880 million for new transportation funding.

While those estimates have fallen short due to, in part, declining fuel prices, Dudenhefer said someone needs to hold Richmond accountable for how much money is spent, and on what projects are funded. If elected, he’ll look into what has stalled construction of a new bridge at Route 123 and Route 1 in Wooodbridge that was supposed to provide better access to the developing Belmont Bay neighborhood.

Stafford, Prince William vote differently

While he’s made no official announcement, Futrell will seek a seat in the Virginia Senate, according to an official with the Virginia House Democrats. Futrell lives in the 29th District, the seat of retiring State Senator Charles Colgan who has served in Richmond since 1976. Two other Democrats, Atif Qarni and Jeremy McPike, have both announced they will compete for the seat.

The chairman of the Prince William County Democratic Committee said it has has new candidate to run against Dudenhefer who will officially announce in January. 

In 2013, Futrell won the election with over 1% of the total vote. He relied heavily on Democratic voters in Prince William to carry him into office.

The split between voters in Prince William and Stafford counties couldn’t have been more apparent. In Prince William, Dudenhefer scored just 34% of the vote while in his home County of Stafford he won 64% of the vote.

The Republican admits he’ll need more votes in Prince William County this time around to win.

“I failed to get out in Prince William last time,” he said. “I’m going to get out and be on the door steps and talk about the issues that are important to residents.”

“Stafford’s issues are a bit different that Prince William’s, and I don’t think the two sets of issues conflict with each other, and you can deal with them mutually,” added Dudenehfer.

Futrell Eyes Senate, Won’t Seek Woodbridge — Stafford House Seat

Prince William Democrats identify new candidate to replace Futrell

After one term in the House of Delegates, Michael Futrell will run to replace the retiring Charles Colgan, who is currently Virginia’s longest-serving Senator in Richmond.

A new Democratic candidate that been selected to replace Futrell will make his official announcement in January, said Prince William County Democratic Committee Chairman Harry Wiggins. The unnamed candidate lives in Woodbridge, has been active in the committee, and will soon retire from his job at the Pentagon in Arlington.

Republican Mark Dudenhefer, whom Futrell unseated to win the 2nd District seat, is has told fellow Republicans he will seek to retake the seat but has made no formal announcement. Dudenhefer said that Futrell called him last night and told him he would not seek reelection in the 2nd District.

“What you learn quickly when you start doing this is people try to dictate what your schedule of things is before you even have a chance to think about them. This is not about me, this is about the people and we’re trying to do the people’s work,” Futrell told Potomac Local on Tuesday night.

He did not say when he planned to make an official announcement that he would seek the Senate seat.

“I’ll send you an email when I decide to do it,” he said.

Futrell will enter an increasing crowded field among fellow Democrats who want Colgan’s old seat. Atif Qurni and Jeremy McPike have both sought office before, and will compete for the nomination of their party for the Senate seat.

Colgan, a Democrat, is the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate and served in the office since 1976.

March 17 Chosen for Special Election to Replace Forrester

Court must approve election date

A special election will be held March 17 to decide who will replace Councilwoman Kristin Forrester.

The long-serving Dumfries Town Councilwoman stepped down from the governing body last night. She will take a new Federal Government job overseas.

The council will appoint someone to fill the Council vacancy. The appointee will hold the position until a special election is held to select the permanent council person.

The March 17 date was chosen because it is 56 days prior to Virginia’s June 9 Primary Election. Candidates who wish to replace Forrester must now go into the community and obtain at least 125 signatures, that will later be verified by the Prince William County Voter Registrar, to have their name included on the ballot.

Some council members, including Forrester, wanted to allow whomever is appointed to serve until May 2016.

“It will give my replacement time to work with the council, give time to give input for to the council rather than just sitting up here for a couple weeks,” said Forrester.

But Mayor Jerry Foreman and Councilman Cliff Brewer said an election is needed sooner than later.

“By us appointing someone, we’re taking it out of the citizens’ hands. We need to put this back in the citizens hands and let them decide who they want on this council,” said Brewer.

“If we wait until May 2016, the person will fill this seat will fill it for 18 months. If we ask our citizens and say ‘hey give us you resumes, we want to know who is interested in this position’ and then turn around and select someone for 18 months, that person is serving for half a term and I think the citizens should be the ones selecting that, not the council members,” said Foreman.

The court must approve the March 17 special election day. The Town Council is expected to appoint an interim Council member in January.

McPike Makes Run for Virginia Senate

‘Ethics reform needed to restore public trust in Richmond’

Jeremy McPike fell short by just 288 votes in his bid to unseat the long-serving Scott Lingamfelter from the Virginia House of Delegates. There were a total of 22,833 votes cast in the 2013 contest.

McPike said he built a “strong coalition” of voters during that campaign who recognized him as the person who could help bring ethics reform to Richmond, as well as help move Prince William County forward in areas such as transportation and education.

Not giving up the fight, McPike will officially announce his candidacy to fill the 29th District Virginia Senate seat vacated by Charles Colgan, the Senate’s longest-serving member since 1976, and its President Pro Tempore. The district includes all of Manassas and Manassas Park and a portion of Prince William County.

“The ethics reform that we seen go before our governor don’t go far enough. Zero gifts to politicians need to be the standard to restore public trust in Richmond,” said McPike.

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and First Lady Maureen McDonnell were convicted in September on 11 of 13 counts and nine of 13 counts, respectively, of taking $177,000 in loans and gifts from then Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. On Monday, a federal judge acquitted Maureen McDonnell on one count of obstruction of justice but refused to toss out charges against the former governor. Both now face years in prison.

McPike also wants to reform how political districts are drawn and bring an end to gerrymandering. He says both political parties use big data, just as large corporations use to find their customers, to draw political districts – “cramming” a large number of Republicans into one district and Democrats into another.

“Voters should be creeped out because [political parties] know who voted for what, down to the decimal point, and then use that information to determine how they will vote again,” said McPike.

The Democrat says he wants to continue in Colgan’s footsteps. The retiring Senator is credited with bringing million of dollars in funding for local transportation projects.

“I commute one hour each way every day,” said McPike. “We need to continue to fund road improvements on Route 28, I-95, and Route 1, but do it in a way so that it does not cut into education.”

To increase revenues in state coffers, McPike said he is in favor of repealing a state tax credit used to entice filmmakers to make movies in the state.

“The data show there is no payback for the tax credit,” he said.

McPike will compete against fellow Democrat Atif Qarni for the seat. Qarni unsuccessfully ran to unseat Delegate Bob Marshall, losing by 498 of the 17,429 cast in the 2013 contest.

McPike is from Dale City where he currently lives with his wife of 14 years, Sharon, and their three girls, ages 13, 9, and 6, all who attend public school. By day, McPike works as the Director of General Services for Alexandria and manages city real estate, facilities, vehicle fleet, animal shelter, and farmers market.

He also serves at the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department Station 10 on Dale Boulevard in Dale City, where he’ll make his official campaign kick-off announcement at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Aveni, Bass, Elston Win Seats on Manassas City Council

Marc Aveni (left) celebrates his campaign win. [Submitted photo]
Bass

Bass

Three seats on the Manassas City Council were up for grabs last night.

Marc Aveni, a Republican incumbent, kept his seat with 24% of the vote.

The biggest vote getter of the night was Sheryl Bass with 30% of the vote. Bass returns to the City Council after being the first woman ever to serve on the will now sit on the City Council when she was appointed in 2008 to complete a term that ended in 2010. She also served on the city’s School Board prior to her 2008 appointment to the council.

Elston

Elston

Ken Elston was the only Democrat to pick up a seat on the City Council on Tuesday. He won 23% of the vote beating out fellow Democrat Patricia Richie-Folks by two points.

Elston is the director of George Mason University’s School of Theater and ran on a platform of greater economic development for the city.

Manassas Vice-Mayor Andrew L. “Andy” Harrover and Steven J. Randolph decided not to seek reelection to the council. Both will complete their terms that come to an end Dec. 31.

Wittman, Connolly Easily Keep District Seats; Comstock Wins the 10th

Congressman Rob Wittman, Magisterial District Committee Chair Jim Riutta, and members of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors Bob Thomas and Paul Milde III check election night results on a tablet at the Globe and Laurel restaurant. [Photos by: KJ Mushung]

Republicans maintain control of two big Virginia House Districts

 

Rob Wittman will return to Washington for his fourth consecutive term.

The congressman represents Virginia’s 1st District to include Prince William and Stafford counties, as well as counties in the eastern portion of Virginia stretching to Williamsburg.

Wittman handily defeated his opponent Norm Mosher, a Democrat, who was a first-time political candidate this season.

“The top three issues when I return to Washington are military readiness… the second is to get our economy cranking and then there’s many other opportunities to do other things, to get our budget under control and government out of the way, to make sure we’re doing things to reach across the aisle to get things done,” said Wittman.

Rob Wittman gives his acceptance speech. [Photos by: KJ Mushung]

Rob Wittman gives his acceptance speech. [Photos by: KJ Mushung]

Wittman beat Mosher handily across the state with 63% of the vote. The vote tally resulted in a 28 point spread between the two candidates.

Riding a Republican wave into office, Wittman said he looked forward to working in a GOP-controlled congress.

“By having a republican senate and a republican house you’ll have bills come through on both sides of the aisle and people willing to work together to get things done. It’s going to be telling when we look at what the president is going to do,” said Wittman. “He is going to come and meet with us and try to make things happen?”

Wittman and his supporters gathered Tuesday night at the Globe and Laurel restaurant just outside Quantico.

Voters in Virginia’s 10th District to include western Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park sent also sent a Republican back to Washington. Barbara Comstock, a Virginia State Delegate, will replace retiring Rep. Frank Wolf, who has held that office since 1980. With 57% of the vote, Comstock beat challenger Democrat John Foust, a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

A party gathers at the Globe and Laurel Restaurant for Congressman Rob Wittman. [Photos by: KJ Mushung]

A party gathers at the Globe and Laurel Restaurant for Congressman Rob Wittman. [Photos by: KJ Mushung]

The former Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Fairfax, Prince William, easily won the congressional district. He first won the seat in 2008, and the district includes most of eastern Prince William County. Connolly won the day with 57% of the vote, 17 more points than his opponent.

The much-watched race of the night was for Virginia’s Senate seat, which remains too close to call despite Warner claiming victory in the race with a slim 49% to 48% lead over Republican Ed Gillespie.

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