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Northern Virginia Democrats say halt I-66 tolls. VDOT says tolls are not as high as you think they are.

So far, the McAuliffe administration’s response to outrageous tolls on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway has been: put another body in the car, chose not to pay the fee, and move on.

Those one-way tolls that reached $40 on the nine-mile stretch of highway from Dunn Loring to Washington, D.C. now rank as some of the highest in the nation.

“That response is part of the problem. People are adjusting their morning schedules to get to work early to get back home to their kids, or, in some cases, a second job, this sort of approach to say ‘they have their options,’ we’ll you just expanded 180 minutes a day available to these folks who are hard-working, and trying to get back home to their families. That’s just not fair,” said Virginia State Senator Jeremy McPike (D-Prince William County, Manassas, Manassas Park)

The Democrats penned a letter to Virginia State Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane and read a portion of it aloud outside the Northern Virginia headquarters of the state’s department of transportation Thursday afternoon.

Democrats say they were told the roundtrip tolls on the new I-66 E-ZPass Express Lanes inside the Beltway wouldn’t exceed $17 roundtrip, not $40.

A press release on Thursday seemed to indicate the Democrats were suffering sticker shock and that, on average, the price is lower than $17. 

From VDOT: 

“After nearly four full days of Express Lanes on I-66 Inside the Beltway being underway, the Virginia Department of Transportation reports that morning and afternoon commutes on Monday, Dec. 4, were faster than the same time last December.  The average round-trip toll price during peak hours was $14.50, with the average morning toll during peak hours of $10.70 and average afternoon toll during the peak hours of $3.80.  This toll rate during peak hours is lower than the estimated average toll rate of $17.00 during peak hours discussed in 2015…”

Though they were ‘briefed extensively” in 2016 on the project, according to Delegate John Bell (D-Loudoun, Prince William), they never heard anything about the time restrictions on the lanes being expanded in the morning and afternoon. They want them returned to the way the used to be a week ago before the E-ZPass requirement — vehicles with two or more occupants (HOV-2) ride free between 6:30 and 9 a.m., and 4 to 6:30 p.m.

They were also a promised the addition of new eastbound lane between the Dulles Connector Road and Ballston before the start of tolls, they said.

The tolls took effect on Monday and required all drivers who use I-66 inside the Beltway between the 5:30 and 9 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. to have an E-ZPass. Single drivers pay a dynamic toll which changes depending on how many cars are using the lanes. Vehicles with two or more occupants ride free with an E-ZPass Flex.

Today, 16 Democratic legislators in McAuliffe’s party called for a halt to the tolling until a better deal can be worked out.

“You have to have new capacity before tolls being charged,” said McPike. “You want to see what you’re paying for.”

And, almost as if someone inside the VDOT offices was listening to him, the state agency announced — today — the awarding of a new contract to build that new lane.

From a VDOT press release:

On Thursday, Dec. 7, VDOT awarded an $85.7 million contract to Lane Construction Corporation of Chantilly to add an additional through lane along four miles of eastbound Interstate 66 between the Dulles Connector Road (Route 267) and Fairfax Drive (Route 237) in Fairfax and Arlington Counties.

The project includes ramp modifications at Exits 69 and 71, rehabilitation and/or repairs to bridges, construction of noise barriers eastbound and westbound and widening bridges and constructing a new grade-separated crossing of the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail at Lee Highway.

Additionally, an auxiliary lane will be added to the existing I-66 eastbound exit ramp and a slip ramp will be constructed from the I-66 eastbound exit ramp to the Route 7 southbound entrance flyover ramp, providing more direct access to the West Falls Church Metro Station Parking Garage.

The additional eastbound lane will be open to traffic in fall 2020 and the overall project is expected to be complete in fall 2021.

The Democrats also want the hybrid vehicle exemption restored so that drivers with clean, special fuel license plates can continue to use the lanes for free, as motorcycles do.  They also called for the construction of new commuter parking spaces along I-66 outside the Beltway, and new commuter bus service — all of which is planned as part of the separate I-66 outside the Beltway project started last month) before tolls are collected inside the Beltway.

But VDOT maintains it has already invested $10 million since July 2016 to fund as many “meaningful” multimodal transit projects to help commuters get out of the lanes and onto a bus. The move was designed to take cars off the highway to clear the way for those who wanted to pay to use the Lexus lanes.

From VDOT: 

The initial projects, which are in effect now, encompass Prince William, Loudoun, Fairfax, and Arlington counties and the City of Falls Church. Transit services include three new bus routes, increased service on two existing routes and last-mile connections to Metrorail stations, new bikeshare stations near Metro, as well as a new park-and-ride lot in Aldie that will support current and future bus service. Additional projects launched include real-time traveler information and transportation demand management services that provide incentives to use transit or carpools.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission has called for a new round of funding for transit projects that will be funded by the tolls being collected now on I-66 inside the Beltway. 

For drivers who travel from Leesburg, Ashburn, and Sterling, many of whom use the Dulles Toll Road, they already pay $18 in tolls before they ever get to I-66.

“Let’s call this plan what it is, the way that’s it’s been rolled out. It’s highway robbery,” said State Senator Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun, Fairfax) who represents the area.

If the Democrats are successful in convincing McAuliffe administration in halting the tolls, Potomac Local asked if those who have already paid into the toll system should get their cash back.

“I was afraid that question was going to be asked, and I think the short answer is to wait and take this piece by piece,” said State Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) “I don’t know how much money has been collected, I don’t know if it’s in escrow, I don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but we need to take it piece by piece and the first piece is we need to suspend the tolls until we figure out what’s going on.” 

More from VDOT: I-66 E-ZPass toll lanes user stats collected on Monday, the first day of tolls: 

Further analysis of the Monday morning rush hours indicates the following:
  • A total of 13,473 vehicles used I-66 Inside the Beltway between the hours of 5:30-9:30am;
  • Of this total 5,082 or 38 percent were carpoolers who traveled free;
  • Only 39 vehicles, or 0.29 percent, paid the posted highest toll of $34.50;
  • 34 percent of vehicles paid less than $10; and,
  • Travel times were 10-12 minutes compared with 15-30 minutes last December.
Further analysis of the Monday afternoon rush hours indicates the following:
  • A total of 16,307 vehicles used I-66 Inside the Beltway between the hours of 3:00-7:00pm;
  • Of this total 4,964 or 30 percent were carpoolers who traveled for free; and,
  • Travel times were 10-12 minutes compared with 10-20 minutes last December.

News
Massive motivation: How Democrats swept the local races

In a wave of blue, Democrats on Tuesday swept out almost every last Republican in Prince William County in the General Assembly.

Only Republican Tim Hugo (R-40, Fairfax, Prince William) appears to have been spared by just 115 votes.

It was a total reversal from one year ago when images of Democrat voters were shown on TV with tears in their eyes after Hillary Clinton lost her bid for the presidency.

“A lot of people woke up from last year’s election very upset,” said Virginia House Democratic Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville).

But this year “few people could predict to the degree of this wave, but we put everything in place early on to make it happen.”

Democrats used opposition to research to learn more about their voters, and healthcare expansion was a big motivating factor.

In years past, Democrats said Virginia taxpayers were losing out to other states like Kentucky which had expanded Medicare and accepted money for Obamacare. That message fell on deaf ears.

This year, Democrats simplified the message to “wouldn’t it be nice to insure everyone?”

It worked.

“The first big finding we learned from the beginning was motivation. Our democratic voters were as motivated or more motivated than Republicans this cycle,” said Josh Ulibarri, a pollster hired by the Virginia Democratic Caucus.

Then they looked at a simple differential: good vs. bad.

“Across the state in many places across the state, we ran on [healthcare] expansion. We ran on fracking. We ran on education. But in each of these races, we went to great pains to define the these Democrats…and to define the Republicans as exceptionally worse,” added Ulibarri.

Hayla Ayala, the woman who beat incumbent Rich Anderson (R-Prince William), was a prime example. While Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie tried to paint his opponent Ralph Northam as soft on crime, Democratic operatives who were focused on local races emphasized to voters Ayala works as a security specialist for the Department of Defense.

“It’s difficult to say Hala is weak on crime, or immigration, or on Ms-13 when we define trade cybersecurity specialist,’ added Ulibarri.

As Republicans lick their wounds, the man who nearly was the GOP nominee said Wednesday it’s time to throw out the baby with the bath water.

“Yesterday’s election results are what happens when you nominate weak Republicans who have no message, won’t embrace the president, ridicule his supporters, and lull the base to sleep,” said Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart. “The Establishment brought down the entire ticket yesterday, and have led us to Virginia’s largest Republican defeat in a generation.”

Stewart lost his Primary Election bid in June to the party’s nominee for governor by a little over one percent. He’s now mounting a bid to unseat Sen. Tim Kaine in November 2018.

“…it’s time for John Whitbeck and the leadership of the Republican Party of Virginia to move on,” he added.

But it may not all be over for Virginia Republicans.

Elizabeth Blakemore, of Blakemore Associates in Houston, has raised millions of dollars for Republicans in Texas, and in other states — which used to be a blue state more than 20 years ago.

Running the right candidate that connects with voters, as well as a strong campaign can be enough to sway any voter.

“Things change,” said Blakemore. “Things change.”

News
Results for the local races in Manassas and Manassas Park

Here’s a closer look at the results of races in Manassas and Manassas Park, to include constitutional officers and school board members. 

In Manassas: 

Commissioner of the Revenue

Douglas Waldron keeps his seat with a four-point win over challenger Alonita Vanoy.

Treasurer

Patricia-Richie Folks keeps her seat at city treasurer with a 10-point victory over Russell Harrison.

School Board

Peter O’Hanlon wins an open school board seat. He ran unopposed. 

In Manassas Park: 

Commissioner of the Revenue

Debora Wood won the seat with a four-point lead over James Kirkland.

Treasurer

Running unopposed, Patty Trimble wins the seat.

 

 

News
The 2nd District flips again: Foy heading to Richmond after beating Makee

Jennifer Carroll Foy took the 2nd District House of Delegates seat from Mike Makee. 

This marks the second time the seat has flipped to a Democrat since it was moved from the southwest portion of the state. 

Foy will replace Republican Mark Dudenhefer who chose not to run for re-election to the seat. He went on to win back his seat on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, the one he vacated in 2011 to take the 2nd District House seat in 2011.

Foy won a landslide victory over Makee by more than 40 points.

While she had a decisive win in Prince William County, ballot count was still close in Stafford County as of this posting with Foy leading there with 18 votes.

We’ll update this post with the final numbers from both counties.

This year, Republicans were late to the game with Makee. Lauquan Austion has been the party’s nominee, but the Richmond Times-Dispatch learned that he had lied about his college record, leading to Austion’s withdrawal from the race.

Makee stepped up and agreed to run as a replacement candidate in August. He did not face Foy during a series of debates held before the election.

It wasn’t a quite race for Democrats, either, as Foy’s Primary Election challenger, Fairfax County sheriff Josh King demanded a recount after he lost his June Primary Election by 14 votes. 

Updated

Mike Makee won Stafford County with 52 percent of the vote.

News
Guzman wins decisive victory over Lingamfelter in the 31st District

The 31st House of Delegates seat goes to political newcomer Elizabeth Guzman, who beat the long-serving Scott Lingamfelter. 

The Alexandria social worker beat the decorated Army colonel who retired after 28 years in the service. 

“”Elizabeth Guzman has proudly served Prince William County in the public sector for ten years and knows the challenges that many in the 31st District face every day. Elizabeth has worked hard as an immigrant and single mother, and we know that she will bring that same tireless commitment to her duties as delegate,” Virginia Democrats penned in a press release. 

Guzman won a decisive 12-point victory over Lingamfelter. The 13th District encompasses portions of eastern Prince William County (Dale City) and a portion of Fauquier County.

Lingenfelter had a strong showing in Fauquier County with nearly 70 percent of the vote. But it was Prince William County voters who put Guzman in office, giving her more than 60 percent of the about 20,000 votes cast.

 

News
Ayala upsets Anderson in the 51st District

In an upset, political newcomer Hyla Ayala beat long-serving Delegate, Richard Anderson.

The Democrat won the 51st District that encompasses much of Prince William County by six points, beating Anderson who has served in the seat since 2009.

Ayala is a cybersecurity specialist by day and a community activist, as well as the President of the National Organization of Women Prince William County Chapter.

Anderson is a retired Air Force General who focused on veterans issues. He played an integral role in securing funding for a new veterans medical center to be located at Vint Hill and got legislation passed to curb texting and driving.

From a press release: 

“I am so honored for the privilege to represent House District 51. I am humbled by the faith that my future constituents have placed in my candidacy and our message. I built my campaign on the promise of fair and equal representation of our community, in all of its wonderful diversity. I intend to make sure Richmond hears our local voices, especially as we fight to improve our schools, work toward long-term solutions to reduce traffic congestion and ensure affordable health care to those in need.

“In such endeavors, I look forward to expanding our coalition in making Prince William County an even better place to live, work and raise a family. As his constituent, I thank Delegate Anderson for his years of military and civilian service.

“After tonight, our work begins.”

News
Carter beats Miller in Manassas race

Democrat Lee Carter won his election bid over the longtime incumbent Jackson Miller.

The political newcomer beat Miller by at least nine points and will take the 50th House of Delegates District seat in Manassas, and a portion of Prince William County.

Miller did not face Carter in a series of debates held leading up to the election.

In a press statement, Virginia Democrats called Carter an activist.

“Lee Carter has been a strong progressive in his fight to support working families in Northern Virginia. As a Marine Corps veteran and an activist, Lee has built his career on helping others.We are proud to work with Lee as he fights for his constituents in the General Assembly.”

News
‘My goal is to sponsor legislation that builds on the successes of the last several years, with a laser focus on job creation, economic development, transportation, education, and military veterans’

Delegate Rich Anderson has represented the 51st House District (Prince William County) in the Virginia General Assembly since 2010. He is a retired 30-year Air Force colonel who now co-chairs the joint House-Senate Military and Veterans Caucus, the central clearinghouse for bills that affect veterans.

Two years ago, Andeson ran unopposed. In 2013, Anderson won re-election by seven points with 53% of the vote.

This year marks the first time Anderson’s Democratic opponent, Hala Ayala, is not only a female but the local chapter presdient of the National Organization of Women.

This election season, we’re asked candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Anderson sent us this email: 

Over the course of our combined 51 years of military service, my wife Ruth and I wore the Air Force uniform and worked in partnership during our two lifetimes of service. After retiring from military service, we chose to continue our partnership, but this time in public service—she as the Occoquan District Supervisor on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and me as the 51st House District Delegate to the Virginia General Assembly.

Service is the lifetime thread that ties Ruth and I to one other—and to the community, we love to serve. With that commitment to our fellow citizens, I am again a candidate for reelection in Virginia’s 51st House District.

As a native and life-long Virginian, I graduated from Virginia Tech and have been a resident of Prince William County for almost two decades. First elected in 2009, I have served in the General Assembly for eight years (four terms) and have accumulated the required seniority that permits me to pass consequential legislation on behalf of our community and Commonwealth. This year, I had one of the highest success rates in the House in passing legislation that focused on job creation, economic development, transportation, education, public safety, and military veterans. (more…)

News
‘In my brief time in office, I have earned the support and respect of my fellow Treasurers’

Patricia Richie-Folks is looking to keep her seat as the Manassas City Treasurer. 

She’s been there less than a year, after winning the seat in a special election last November following the requirement of longtime city treasurer Robin Perkins. 

Richie-Folks won by three points last year. And this year, she faces the same opponent — Republican Rusell Harrison. 

This election season, we’re asked candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

From Patricia Richie-Folks 

I was truly honored when the citizens of the great City of Manassas elected me to the Office of Treasurer in 2016. In running my campaign, I pledged to serve with honesty and integrity. My established goals were to provide outstanding customer service and to execute all aspects of management and operations with efficiency and transparency. I can state with complete confidence that I have fulfilled these commitments.

As Treasurer for the City of Manassas, an elected Constitutional Officer of the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is my charge to operate my office in accordance with Commonwealth statutes and codes and City of Manassas ordinances.

When I assumed office, I brought with me a wealth of diverse skills and knowledge – including leadership, managerial, accounting, budgeting, and finance. For example, ownership of a small construction company provided me with intimate experience in the management of workers, finances – including projections for short- and long-term operating costs and profits – and clients. In my position as General Manager of the Laundry Division of the Sodexo Corporation, I managed a multi-million dollar budget and a staff of 30 people. As a legislative assistant with the Florida State Legislature, I have a strong grasp interpreting legislation, statutes, and codes. Although these positions do not reflect my career in its entirety, they do reflect an array of experience, coupled with my A.A. in Business Administration, clearly equipped me to successfully meet the professional challenges inherent in the job of Treasurer. Evidently, a majority of the voters were confident enough in my experience and the goals set forth in my campaign to elect me. (more…)

News
‘To move Prince William forward, we need a change in leadership’

Hala Ayala has long been a familiar face for Democrats in Prince William County.

She’s the president of the Prince William County chapter of the National Organization for Women, and she’s attended standing-room-only meetings of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors to protest Chairman At-large Corey Stewart’s position on pursuing immigrants in the U.S. who entered illegally. 

This General Election on Nov. 7 marks the first time she’s been a candidate. and she has her sights set to unseat long-serving Delegate Rich Anderson of District 51, which encompasses nearly all of Prince William. 

This election season, we’re asked candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Ayala sent us this email: 

I am running for the 51st District of the Virginia House of Delegates. I am a lifelong Virginian and have lived in Prince William County for over 35 years. I’m a cybersecurity specialist by trade, formerly with the Department of Homeland Security. But I pride myself in being an advocate for working families in my community and in the Commonwealth. I have organized on such issues at the local and state level, including protecting women’s choice, speaking out on the need for affordable access to healthcare and equal pay for equal work. I was the founder and president of the Prince William County chapter of the National Organization for Women and am a member of the Governor’s Council on Women.

I want to serve my community and make sure that we are represented when decisions are made in our state government, something that I don’t see with our current representation in the House of Delegates. Every session, we see bad votes that jeopardize our ability to access healthcare and family planning services, while legislators resist practical measures like Medicaid Expansion, which would provide access to crucial health services to families across our state. (more…)

News
Jackson Miller: ‘…we have been able to give our teachers well-deserved pay raises…and increase school funding by over $855 per student, per year, over the past five years’

After serving as Virginia House Majority Whip since 2012, Jackson Miller is running for reelection to the 50th House Seat serving Manassas and part of Prince William County.

Miller is running against first-time candidate Lee Carter, a Democrat.

In 2015, Miller won the office by nearly 20 points.

This election season, we’re asked candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Miller sent us this email: 

In today’s political climate, it is easy to forget that most elected officials do not reside in Washington D.C. It is even easier to forget that these elected officials are often your friends and neighbors—people who have answered the call of service without the expectation of power or prestige. These men and women oversee our schools, enforce our laws, and establish budgets for our local governmental bodies. In other words, they work to ensure your state and local government is working for you.

On November 7, many of us will be up for re-election. While I can’t speak for everyone on the ballot, I know that representing the 50th district for the past ten 11 years has been one of the greatest honors of my life. With your support, we have been able to give our teachers well-deserved pay raises, construct veteran care facilities, and increase school funding by over $855 per student, per year, over the past five years. We have expanded in-state enrollment at our state universities, increased penalties for violent crimes, and passed six balanced budgets while maintaining one of the lowest tax burdens in the country. (more…)

News
‘We need an attorney general who will get serious about public safety’

Attorney John Adams is the Republican nominee for Virginia Attorney General 

He’s running against Democrat Mark Herring Justin Fairfax

This election season, we’re asked candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Adams sent us this email: 

The Attorney General of Virginia is a powerful position, overseeing Virginia’s law firm. The actions of the attorney general matter, impacting families all across the Commonwealth. That’s why I got into the race for attorney general in Virginia – because actions matter and our current attorney general has pursued a personal political agenda rather than defending the laws of Virginia.

I am not a politician and have never run for political office before. Instead, I have spent the majority of my professional career in public service and I have deep legal experience that I believe will benefit all Virginians. Since law school, I have clerked for a United States Supreme Court Justice (Clarence Thomas), been a Federal Prosecutor, and served as Associate Counsel to the President of the United States (George W. Bush). Most recently, I have helped run a large law firm representing many clients with complex and serious legal issues. I believe I have the legal experience to be the best possible lawyer for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Whether it is advising senior government officials, making difficult prosecutorial decisions, or representing Virginia in complex constitutional matters, I have the experience to get the job done and keep Virginians safe.

Here is what you can expect from me as attorney general. When Virginian’s pass laws, I will defend those laws even when I disagree with them. It’s our law, and Virginians should expect their attorney general to defend their choices. My opponent repeatedly refuses to defend the laws we pass (and at times has even turned on our state laws) and instead pursued his own personal political agenda. He has filed briefs in the United States Supreme Court undermining Virginia’s right to work law because he is beholden to big labor unions. He refused to defend other laws that were challenged like our voter ID law, because he personally disagrees with it. And he gave staff in his office backdoor pay raises using money from a Medicaid fraud settlement while other states used the money for public education and health care. (more…)

News
‘I want to make Virginia a more inclusive place’

A first-time candidate, Elizabeth Guzman is the Democratic nominee for the House of Delegates 31st District, located in southern Prince William County and eastern Fauquier County.

She’s running against longtime incumbent Scott Lingamfelter, a Republican.

This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Guzman sent us this email below: 

I am a social worker and 15-year public servant living in Prince William County. I am a mother of four wonderful children, and a concerned citizen who feels Richmond is not listening to families like mine here in my district. That is why I decided to run for the House of Delegates. I want to bring their voices to the table in our General Assembly and fight for their issues.

I am an immigrant from Peru, who came to this country looking for my oldest daughter, Pamela, who is 25 today. I worked three jobs to afford a one bedroom apartment. With help from friends and co-workers, I took steps to get the education and skills I needed to provide for my family. I worked through college and graduate school, earning two master degrees; one in public administration, and one in social work. I currently work for the City of Alexandria, where I serve as Division Chief for Administrative Services for the Center of Adult Services. I oversee a budget of 7 million dollars and lead a workforce of 300 employees. I am responsible for the administrative operations of programs that help people in need with mental and intellectual disabilities, substance abuse disorders, and senior citizens.

I am married to my wonderful husband, Carlos, and the mother of three other wonderful children: Ivanna, Hannah, and Carlos. As a mom, I work hard to be a constant presence in my childrens life. I am a Committee member for my son’s Cub Scouts troop, and a Cookie Mom for Girl Scouts. I am involved in the PTA for Penn Elementary. I am also an active member of my church, Harvest Life Changers, as well as Sacred Heart Catholic Church. (more…)

News
‘Our Board of Equalization appeals have been reduced. Our staff has been upgraded and trained. We are in the middle of two major software conversions.’

After serving on the city’s school board, council, and as mayor, Douglas Waldron seeks to serve a second term as the Manassas Commissioner of the Revenue. 

This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Waldron sent us this email below: 

My parents, Bill and Dorothy, moved to Manassas in 1962. At that time, there were cows across the street and no stoplights in the town. They raised five children and, after my college years, I was the only sibling to return and stay in Manassas. My wife, Sherry, and I raised three sons. We are very grateful for the education they received as they each attended City public schools K through 12 and are successful adults.

Committed to Manassas, I began public service. In the 1990’s, I served on the School Board and was twice elected to the City Council. I was Mayor of Manassas from 2004 to 2008. Then, in 2013, I received 7,088 votes and was elected to serve as your Commissioner of the Revenue. I now seek re-election and ask for your vote and support.

The modern Commissioner of the Revenue position was created in 1869 when the Virginia Constitution was rewritten following the Civil War. The job is one of five authorized by the Constitution. The others are Clerk of the Court, Commonwealths Attorney, Sheriff and Treasurer. The office is not strictly partisan and many of my colleagues in Virginia run, in fact, as Independent candidates. (more…)

News
‘Our City Council is trying to dig us out of debt and move Manassas Park forward’

James Kirkland is seeking political office for the first time, for the office of Manassas Park Commissioner of Revenue.

But he’s no stranger to local politics as Kirkland’s wife, Rachel, is the Chairman of the city school board. 

This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Kirkland sent us this email below: 

If elected Commissioner of Revenue, I hope to provide Manassas Park elected officials with reliable and timely data so that our leaders can make data-driven decisions. I will provide accurate assessments and billing, greater transparency, and excellent customer service for our residents.

Having spent the last decade administering databases for the Chancellor’s Office of D.C. Public Schools( DCPS), I really enjoy helping parents and students get the support they need from afterschool and summer programs in the district. I’m hoping to do the same supporting my neighbors here in the park. My experiences include transitioning DCPS Out of School Time Programs from the previous student information system to a new system and linking it with our online enrollment for both DCPS’s Summer Learning Program and the DCPS Afterschool Program. I also manage and administer the Out of School Time’s online payment system, collecting revenue of almost a million dollars annually.

As I was gathering signatures to be on the ballot, I heard story after story of improper billing, missing bills, lack of response to emails, and rude phone etiquette. The one story that struck closest to home was from my mother. My parents moved to the Park a couple years ago and my mother, who is very organized, took all of her paperwork to City Hall and asked for their help making sure they had the information they needed for personal property tax on her car. Months later, she receives a bill with a late charge, never having received an original bill. Knowing how organized she is, I highly doubt the correct bill was ever sent. Everyone knows Manassas Park pays some pretty steep taxes for Northern Virginia, and we certainly deserve better customer service for what we’re paying. I’m running to be part of that solution. (more…)

Surovell: Redistricting needed to break partisan gridlock

Four Big Issues No One is Discussing This Election Cycle
Virginians go to the polls in three weeks and if you followed the news cycle, you would think that the next General Assembly Session is going to be all about Confederate Statutes, street gangs, and natural gas pipelines – none of which is accurate. Here are four big issues facing Virginia that have been missing in action this cycle.

Redistricting
Hyper-partisan legislative districts are at the root the partisan gridlock we see today. While the Senate Democratic Caucus drew Virginia’s Senate districts in 2010, Virginia’s congressional and legislative districts were otherwise drawn by Republicans majorities with the cooperation of Republican governor’s in 2000 and 2010. Democratic voters have been crammed into a small number of seats and Virginia’s Congressional and House of Delegates districts are way out of proportion to Virginia’s actual voting.

Virginia’s next Governor will participate in Virginia’s next redistricting process. Ralph Northam and I have repeatedly endorsed and voted for non-partisan redistricting which would go a long way towards voters picking their leaders instead of leaders picking their voters.
(more…)

News
‘There are people who shy away from the term politician. I, however, recognize that I am a politician’

Laura Sellers is about to finish her first term as Stafford County’s Garrisonville District Supervisor.

When she was elected in 2013, she rode a wave of blue along with Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. While her margin of victory was less than one percent, turning the map blue in Stafford County is a rarity, and fellow Democrats celebrated the win.

Sellers serves the most developed, most populated portion of the county. And, she want’s to keep her seat.

She’s running against Republican Mark Dudenhefer, who held the seat from 2005 until 2011 when he was elected to serve as a member of the House of Delegates.

Voters will head to the polls on Nov. 7, 2017. Learn the location of your polling place

This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Sellers sent us this email telling our readers why they should vote for her:

When I graduated from North Stafford High School in 2003, I thought my life would take me many places but I never imagined it would bring me right back to Stafford. I grew up a military brat – born on Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City (by a Colonial in the USAF) and my dad retired in 2004 after I had left home. I was born and raised a nomad.

Growing up military gave me an appreciation for different cultures. I love to travel and love to try different food but it also gave me a longing to be from somewhere. My parents were both raised by the US Army. My father grew up traveling the world while my mother lived most of her life outside of Fort Hood, Texas after her father died just weeks after returning home from Vietnam. At the time, they called it “lung cancer” but now we know that it was agent orange. While my family never needed for anything, I always wanted one place to call home. A family house to return to on holidays. Trees that I watched grow over the years. Walls with memories of my childhood – not my childhood and that of hundreds of other families too.

While in high school, I met a man that would change my life forever. We went to college together and then as we grew into adulthood, life took him to the west coast to play professional football. As much as I loved him, I was not interested in living the life of a nomad anymore. I wanted one place to call home so I returned home to Stafford full time and continued my career in intelligence. To this day, he and I remain in contact as we raise our son and I continue working on contract for the Defense Intelligence Agency. (more…)

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‘I am running to restore the professional standards to the office that many in Manassas believe have slipped’

Russell Harrison is running to the be the next Manassas City Treasurer. This is his second time around running for the office. 

This is his second time around running for the office. Harrison lost by three points to current officeholder Patricia Richie-Folks during a special election held last November. 

This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Harrison sent us this email below: 

I am a nonprofit executive and former Manassas Volunteer of the Year, and I would like to be the next Manassas City Treasurer.   I am running to restore the professional standards to the office that many in Manassas believe have slipped.

The City Treasurer is a full-time professional position.  We need someone who understands how to run an office, understands laws and regulations, and who understands complicated finance and budgeting. We need someone who can lead.

I do and I can.  I am the only candidate with the background to do the job right.

I am currently a senior executive with the IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  There I manage a professional staff that I built over the past several years.  My career with nonprofits has spanned over 20 years and includes earning my CAE (Certified Association Executive), the highest level of professional certification in the nonprofit world.     (more…)

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Zach Galifianakis film ‘Democracy for Sale’ will be shown at Woodbridge NOVA campus

The film “Democracy for Sale” will be shown at two screenings in Woodbridge.

The film stars comic Zach Galifianakis, a North Carolina native who travels to the state to examine political districts and redistricting. The screenings will take place at the Lakeside Theater at the Woodbridge Campus of the Northern Virginia Community College at 4 and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017.

The League of Women Voters in Prince William County first told us about the film showing in Woodbridge, which is one of the multiple screenings for the film across the state. The series of screenings is being made possible, in part, by The Virginia Civic Engagement Table is affiliated with State Voices.

Here’s more in a press release: (more…)

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Makee is the GOP replacement candidate in Virginia House District 2

STAFFORD — He doesn’t have big political aspirations, but he stepped up to be the GOP’s man in a pinch.

Michael Makee (pronounced Mackie) retired as Naval Commander after 20 years and is the Republican replacement candidate in Virginia’s House District 2. The 47-year-old Naval Academy graduate stepped in after Laquan Austion dropped out of the race on Friday.

Makee moved to Stafford with his wife two years ago and is the father of six children ages 12 to 24. Mary Kathleen “Katy” Makee has been his wife for 25 years. He serves on the Stafford County Utilities Commission and is the treasurer of the Stafford County Republican Committee.

This is his first run for political office.

“I don’t have big political aspirations,” Makee told Potomac Local. “I understand the military side of how the government works, and now I will learn how the state and local side of the government,” said Makee. (more…)

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Updated: Dove to hold fast in 11th District race

Exclusive

A source tells Potomac Local a replacement for Laquan Austion could be Jeffery Dove, who is now running for congress.

Austion today dropped out of Virginia’s Hosue District 2 race in Prince William and Stafford counties. Dove is running against Democrat Gerry Connolly (D-11 Fairfax, Prince William) who has held the job since 2009.

Dove is running against Democrat Gerry Connolly (D-11 Fairfax, Prince William) who has held the job since 2009. He has yet to comment for this story.

Last year, Dove took to Twitter and showed interest in the House District 2 seat, which serves residents in Prince William and Stafford counties.

From Dove’s Twitter page:

If Dove becomes the candidate, he would face Democrat Jennifer Carroll Foy in the House District 2 race. Foy is a public defender and professor at Northern Virginia Community College. 

She issued a statement Friday afternoon after Austion dropped out of the race. 

“I would like to thank Laquan Austion for stepping up to run. I will continue to work to earn the votes of all of my neighbors in the Second District. I will fight to expand Medicaid to 400,000 more Virginians, protect funding for Planned Parenthood and women’s health care, end the school-to-prison pipeline, and find solutions to our broken transportation system. I have devoted my entire life to public service — fighting for the voiceless as a public defender and foster mother — and hope to serve all of the Second District as Delegate.”

The HD2 race has been an eventful one this year. Republican Mark Dudenhefer in January made a surprise announcement stating he would not seek reelection for the seat.

In June, Democrat Josh King requested a recount following a close Primary race with fellow Foy, who won the recount by 12 votes.

Updated: 

Jeff Dove will stay the course in the 11th Congressional District race. 

He sent Potomac Local this statement: 

“While I am honored that the many Republicans have put my name into the mix for this seat,  I am currently laser focused on making life better for the people of the 11th Congressional District.”

 

 

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