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Ebert touts experience, first-time achievements in Commonwealth Attorney reelection bid

Paul Ebert is running to keep his job as Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney. It’s a job that he has held since 1968, making him the longest-serving and most experienced top prosecutors in Virginia. 

Ebert’s opponent is Micheal C. May, who currently serves on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. 

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Ebert and he sent us the responses below: 

 

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PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?

Ebert: As it pertains to the Commonwealth’s Attorney, a major issue facing the citizens of Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park is always a safe community in which to live, work and raise our families. Due to ever evolving technological advances, we must remain vigilant in protecting citizens from cyber-crimes. This takes training, expertise and experience to know how to prosecute complex computer-generated based crimes. Crimes involving the elderly present unique challenges as these victims are vulnerable and abuse may go undetected due to ailing health.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

Ebert: I will continue to provide effective and fair prosecution of criminals and defend the rights of their victims. I and my Assistants have the experience and judgement to determine the merits of a case as well as how best to present the case before a judge or jury in order to obtain a just result. As crime evolves, so must the prosecution of crime, and during my tenure, innovative “firsts” have been achieved in many areas.

Some of these include: • First cold hit DNA prosecution • First prosecution under terrorism statute • First to get a first degree murder conviction for a child who was shaken. • First to use Animal DNA in a case of felony animal abuse. • First to add a therapy dog to help child victims feel more comfortable in court. • First to prosecute a fraudulent expert witness in a murder case for perjury even though he had been qualified to testify in seven other states. • As a result of that prosecution, first to start an Expert Witness Database. Now the state has taken it over. • First to have multiple assistants receive the prestigious Von Schuch Award for outstanding prosecution and service to our county, the Commonwealth and community. Still the only office to have three assistants currently serving who have received that award.

PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Ebert: The role of the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the Assistants is to do justice. They must do what is fair and what is just depending on the specific circumstances of each individual case. In making this determination, the prosecutor must look at a number of factors.

These include the facts of the crime itself, injuries to a victim, credibility of witnesses, statements made by the accused and any witnesses, the criminal history of the accused, and the impact the conviction and sentencing will have on everyone involved, including the accused. A prosecutor must determine which circumstances mandate harsh treatment and which call for leniency in any particular case.

In order to make these determinations, it is necessary to have perspective and experience. The Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney is the highest law enforcement official in Prince William County. The Commonwealth’s Attorney position is above that of the Chief of Police.

The Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office prosecutes everything from petty crimes, including Trespass, Petit Larceny, and Reckless Driving, to the worst and most violent crimes, including Robbery, Rape, and Murder. They prosecute in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, the General District Court, and the Circuit Court in front of both judges and juries.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Ebert: I have dedicated my entire career to serving as the People’s Attorney in Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. I first started as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney where I gained the needed experience to later become the chief prosecutor.

The field of criminal prosecution has become very specialized and complex, especially in today’s time. I have transformed this office into one of the most widely respected and effective in the nation. When a state senator was charged with embezzling funds from a youth civic organization in Chesterfield County, local officials disqualified themselves and asked me to prosecute the case. The senator was convicted.

When a former circuit court judge in Norfolk was charged with pistol-whipping a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, local officials disqualified themselves and asked me to prosecute the case. The former judge was convicted.

When two domestic terrorists left a trail of bodies from coast to coast and for weeks terrorized an entire region of the U.S., U.S. Attorney John Ashcroft asked me to prosecute the case. John Allen Muhammad was convicted and sentenced to death.

There are many ‘firsts’ that have taken place under my watch. My record speaks for itself.

As the Commonwealth’s Attorney, I guide and advise the staff, and prosecute cases. I am nationally recognized for prosecuting some of the most complex and horrible crimes. This is not an on-the-job training kind of position. The People need to have someone with the expertise, knowledge, and experience who can handle the complexity of this job.  

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?

Ebert: As it pertains to the Commonwealth’s Attorney, I have always had an “open door” policy in order to communicate with our citizens. I am out in the community every day and interact with individuals and groups. Within the bounds of legal ethics and the preservation of victim and witness safety, I will continue to do so.

In addition to my work in the community, my assistants serve as faculty at NVCC and GMU and volunteer to advise other colleges about criminal justice curriculum. They teach kids dance, work with 4 H, volunteer to do Wills for Heroes, work with the homeless, volunteer at animal shelters, lecture to judges, doctors, social workers , nurses, sexual assault and domestic violence counselor and publish articles on all topics in criminal law.

Our office has a member serving with the Division of Forensic Science who recently received the most prestigious “lifetime accomplishment award”, and also serves on the Boyd Graves Conference Committee to review and publish the Rules of Evidence in Virginia, among many other law enforcement organizations.

We are active with many community groups and often talk about topics concerning safety. My office worked with the Sheriff’s office to bring Rape Aggression Defense to the community by hosting it at the courthouse. We serve on many advisory boards including Shaken Baby Prevention. Inc, National Animal Cruelty Advisory Board, Legal Advisor to Virginia Police Canine Association.

PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?

Ebert: An old saying in the law is ‘If you are not making mistakes you are not trying cases”. When you try thousands of cases, things are not always going to go your way, and you sometimes reflect on whether you should have done something differently.

Litigation is the most stressful area of criminal law. You are often required to make decisions under pressure and hindsight is always 20/20.

Like everyone, I have made mistakes, but never one I didn’t learn from and correct. This has played a large part in shaping my judgment over the years – the kind of judgment that only comes from experience and integrity, two of the attributes which I believe are critically important in this election.

My experience, unparalleled in Virginia history, began when I started my career as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney and has continued to grow every day that I have had the honor of serving the citizens of this jurisdiction as their Commonwealth’s Attorney.

That experience has allowed me to oversee one of the largest prosecutor’s offices in the state through extensive growth and change. But one thing has never changed: my commitment to keeping this community safe. But prosecuting is also about using your judgment to recognize when others have made mistakes and to know when they deserve a break.

There is no way to create a “formula” to prosecute criminal cases; it takes experience and judgment to know when and how someone deserves another shot. I do not make the same mistake twice and do not tolerate others doing so. But except where someone has intentionally hurt someone else, I have always been willing to consider giving people a second chance.

And I have instilled that principle in all of my Assistants, nearly a dozen of whom have gone on to become very fair judges on all levels of court, including the Virginia Supreme Court. It is also why my office and I are known throughout the state and nation as one of the toughest but fairest prosecutor’s offices – the type of Commonwealth’s Attorney that the citizens of Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park deserve.

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you? 

Ebert: I am a proven leader. Working together with the excellent police departments we have, families have been kept safe. Criminals have been prosecuted. I am blessed that many have come out to support me during this campaign, including the Prince William Police Association, and Virginia Benevolent Police Association, many community leaders and elected officials, as well as many other Commonwealth’s Attorneys. With great humility and appreciation, I believe it’s because I have earned their respect and they know that I can get the job done. I am not a politician, I am a career prosecutor. That is what is needed in this office.

News
Shaw vows to ‘work across the aisle’ to fight I-66 tolls

Don Shaw is running to unseat the long-serving Robert G. “Bob” Marshall in Virginia’s 13th House of Delegates District. 

Shaw first came onto the local political scene last year when he announced he was running for Brentsville District Supervisor, to fill a seat vacated by Wally S. Covington who became a judge at the Prince William County Courthouse. Republican Jeanine Lawson went on to win the race.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Shaw and he sent us the responses below: 

PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?

Shaw: 1) Transportation – We have some of the worst traffic in Northern Virginia. Commute times increase every year, and our elected officials have done nothing to reduce them. 2) Education – We have the largest class sizes in the Commonwealth and our children’s education suffers because of it. 3) Property Rights – Dominion Virginia Power has proposed overhead power lines in a residential area not designated for transmission lines.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

 

Shaw: 1) I will work to ensure full implementation of the 2013 bipartisan transportation bill. I will work across the aisle to fight against any effort to impose tolls on I-66. Working families shouldn’t have to pay an additional $85 a week just to get to work. I will advocate for real solutions to the traffic problems on Route 28, I-66, and US-29 including alternate modes of transportation such as bus rapid transit, extending VRE to Gainesville/Haymarket, and studying the feasibility of extending metro to our area.

PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

 

Shaw:  Voters trust that the people they elect will do two things: 1) show up to work, and 2) advocate for their interests. The first requirement is fairly simple; when there is a vote or a committee meeting, we expect our elected officials to be there. If they don’t show up, it’s impossible for them to advocate for their constituents’ interests.

The second requirement is a bit more complex. Advocacy includes creating a business-friendly environment that brings high-paying jobs to the district; reducing the burden of commuting and increasing the funds available for a quality education. A delegate has a responsibility to foster a welcoming, inclusive climate for all constituents.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

 

Shaw: I have dedicated my adult life to service to others. I spent a career in the military training and mentoring Soldiers and Airmen; serving my country for 20 years in the enlisted ranks, retiring as a Senior Master Sergeant. I learned about loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage and internalized those values at an early age.

I served as a senior manager in the Department of Defense for almost a decade where I worked to reduce costs and supported the relocation of a combat support agency to Fort Belvoir on time and on budget with no loss of mission capability. My division was recognized as the best of more than 85 DoD organizations in 2012.

I am the Chief Enterprise Architect at a veteran-owned small business, where we advise and support government organizations working to do more with less. We help connect strategy with implementation while identifying gaps and reducing unnecessary duplication.

So in addition to my educational background where I studied government administration and policy, I’ve been in government. I’ve seen what works and plan to put that experience and knowledge to use in Richmond.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?

Shaw:  Yes, the average citizen has a good fundamental understanding of government. However, if you were to ask the average citizen in the 13th House District who his or her Delegate is, the majority would not know. I place a high priority on communication and will hold regular town halls at times convenient to the constituency as well as establish a rigorous communication plan that includes electronic and print media and constituent outreach programs.

PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?

 

Shaw: We are all human and all make mistakes. What’s important is to learn from those mistakes and to use those moments as opportunities to become a better person.

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you? 

 

Shaw: I have a proven track record of leadership in the military, the federal government, and in the private sector. Leaders show up. My opponent missed 723 votes in the past 4 years and skipped 52% of his committee meetings in the 2015 session. He doesn’t chair any committees and has even estranged members of his own party. That’s not leadership. Leaders work across the aisle. Politics is the art of the possible, not intransigence. Leaders are chosen to make the hard decisions, not the politically expedient ones.

 

News
I-66 tolls, Haymarket power line at center of Bob Marshall reelection campaign

Robert G. “Bob” Marshall is running to keep his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. 

The Republican has held the seat since 1992, and has a reputation for being one of the most outspoken members of the Virginia General Assembly.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Marshall and he sent us the responses below: 

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PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?

 

Marshall: 1. Exorbitant Tolls proposed for I-66.

2. 110 foot high electric power towers proposed for residential areas never slated to have electric lines on their property.

3. Addressing traffic on Route 28 through Manassas Park and Yorkshire, from Manassas to Fairfax County line.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

 

Marshall:  1. I will introduce a budget amendment to prevent Governor McAuliffe from imposing $17/day ($4,000 a year) hot lane tolls inside beltway

2. I will join a lawsuit to prevent construction of an overhead only power line and remove tax incentives for data centers which seek to locate outside of industrial areas that already have required infrastructure.

3. Continue to appeal to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, to the Prince William County Supervisors, and the General Assembly money committees to allocate funds to improve Route 28 by reversing the middle lane during rush hours to provide an extra lane for traffic.

PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Marshall: My job entails going to bat for constituents, representing them before state agencies as I have done for the past 24 years, soliciting their input for legislative proposals, etc. I keep in mind the people I represent in every vote I cast in the General Assembly, asking myself, “How will this affect my constituents?” I see my role as advocating for tax payers, not cozying up to special interests.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Marshall: My expertise consists of 24 years of experience serving as 13th District Delegate in the Virginia General Assembly. My background researching major public policy and legal issues has given me the ability to quickly understand legislation.

My past experience as a teacher helped me with public speaking skills, listening, answering questions, and relaying information to citizens. I have a record for promoting transparency and accountability in government.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?

Marshall: I send out newsletters and other letters to inform the people who live in the 13th District of important issues. For example, I have been trying to let the people know about the proposed hot lane tolls on I-66.

I have actively worked against the proposed electric power towers in western Prince William. I publicize my cell phone (703-853-4213) so that citizens can reach me readily. I walk door-to-door as much as possible to meet voters and answer questions they may have.

 

PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?

 

Marshall: Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes help you learn valuable life lessons.

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you? 

 

Marshall: I say what I mean, I do what I say, and even people who may disagree with some of my positions know they can trust me. 

News
Jessie: More rigorous courses, access to advance courses needed for all students

Lillie Jessie is running to keep her seat on the Prince William County School Board. She’s represented the Occoquan District on the School Board since 2012.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Jessie and he sent us the responses below: 

 

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PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?

Jessie: 1. College-Career readiness for all students including students in specialty programs and from low-income, diverse neighborhoods

2. Overcrowding/class size by finding the needed space to build schools; especially on the eastern end of the county where schools have as many as twelve trailers in one school

3. Treating teachers as “professional experts” by providing competitive salaries, more career level opportunities and providing teacher coaches whose primary responsibility is to support them rather than participate in the dismissal process

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

Jessie: 1. Career/College Readiness: Provide more rigorous courses and access to advance courses for all students. Reduce the achievement gap. Create a Pre-school College Career mission of “Beginning with the end in mind” (Covey).

2. Hold the Board of Supervisor’s to it’s word of providing land for building new schools on the eastern end of the county, relooking at proffers and considering school space availability in its rezoning.

3. Follow what research says about high performing schools which includes being paid as a professional which may require us to relook at that shared revenue plan, Secondly providing coaches or master teachers to assist teachers instead of using central office supervisors who are limited in number and participate in the dismissal process at times.

PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Jessie: Our number one responsibility is to ensure that all students learn at a high level. Provide oversight of the school system and its budget and personnel. Write, amend or create policy and the ensuing regulations that support the forementioned. Work with the superintendent and his staff to ensure that we provide a safe, orderly and high student learning environment.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Jessie: High performing Title I (low income schools) Supervisor (Supervisor of the year) for ten years. Principal of a Title I school for twenty years. National Professional Learning Model School Nationally recognized for closing the achievement gap. Internationally recognized High Flying School for Youth at Risk Appointed by the Governor to the Standards of Learning (SOL). Innovation Committee Nationally published education author.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?

Jessie: No I do not. In fact I am not sure they are aware of this election. I plan to continue my work with local community organizations, and invest more time with parents. I write a column for the the Old Bridge Observer. Those articles have been well-received by the community. I would like to conduct more informational meetings, especially when it comes to understanding the need to balance the use of assessments in the school.

PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?

Jessie: My biggest mistake was under estimating the ability of a young patient early in my career. I did not believe that he could learn to read and when I look back, I watered down his curriculum. Another teacher came to this then institution for children with severe and profound handicaps and taught him reading skills I did not think was possible. That was forty years ago. It changed my expectations for learning. I am not just an advocate of high expectations for all students, I have been given an opportunity to redeem myself by seeing students not expected to learn, not only learn but learn at high levels.

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you? 

Jessie: 1. I did not run for this position because of my interest in a higher office. I have and can have an positive affect on student learning.

2. I have had a plethora of experience that makes me more than qualified for the position (Educational leadership, budget, policy development, etc.)

3. Character traits I possess include being persistent, insistent and consistent when it comes to high levels of achievement and/or overcoming barriers.

4. I am a student of the research. I know that we are not competitive with other countries and that the rubric should not be how we compare to the State but how we compare to the “World.”

News
McCullough: Expanding Medicaid would provide health insurance to thousands of Virginians who need it

Kyle McCullough is running to unseat Jackson Miller in the Virginia House of Delegates 50th District. 

The District encompasses the City of Manassas, and a portion of Prince William County.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to McCullough and he sent us the responses below: 

 

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PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?

McCullough: Health care, income inequality and school funding.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

McCullough: Implement the Medicaid expansion. Raise the minimum wage. (I advocate a graduated increase, so an employer can pay a trainee the Federal minimum for a few months before the higher State minimum kicks in.) Restore school funding to at least pre-recession levels — adjusted for inflation and student-population growth.

PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

McCullough: To represent the people of the 50th district – to promote their values and best interests in the governance of the state.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

McCullough: I think that my main expertise is my life experience. As a father and middle-class resident, I have some idea what it takes to raise a family in this area. And, while this is very hard to document, I think I have above-average empathy for people who are in different situations than my own — which I think is the most important qualification for a would be Representative, Delegate or Senator.

I think a lot of that comes from my upbringing. My mother was a speech therapist who worked with children with very diverse backgrounds. My father was the County Manager of our county who worked to serve the interests of people with a huge range of backgrounds.

And I grew up in a neighborhood and school district where most people did not have the economic or social advantages that I did. I spent a year in China, where I learned the value of good government by witnessing the lack of it. Less important, but still worth mentioning, as a computer programmer with a background in engineering, I have pretty good problem-solving abilities.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?

McCullough: No, I don’t think that most people are. I have made two-way communications a priority in my campaign; anyone can easily reach me either at KyleForDelegate@gmail.com or at 703-686-4804, and I reply to all polite inquiries. And I try to keep people posted on the issues through my web page and social media. I’ll certainly continue and expand on that if elected.

PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?

McCullough: Well, I didn’t take fundraising seriously enough, early enough.

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you? 

McCullough: They should vote for me because I take their needs and concerns seriously. When I am campaigning, I tell people what I think are the biggest issues facing the General Assembly, but then I ask what are their issues, what do they believe should be our biggest concerns.

I have made the Medicaid expansion the central issue of my campaign because it is the issue that compelled me to run. Providing health insurance to thousands of Virginians who need it, adding tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic stimulus are all important; but equally important is why we are turning it down, when doing so gives no benefit whatsoever to the state.

The inescapable conclusion is that the legislators who are refusing to let Virginia have those benefits believe that doing so benefits their party. I would never do that. I would never place narrow partisan advantage ahead of the needs of my constituents.

News
Reprinting Prince William election ballots could cost thousands

It could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix misprinted election ballots in Prince William County.

Five candidates on the ballot for the November 3 General Election will not see their listed as they requested them. Many of the candidates use and requested shorter versions of their name to be listed on the ballot. They’re getting their full names instead.

Here’s what was requested and what voters might see instead:

Mike May

May

Mike May (Commonwealth Attorney candidate) will be listed as Michael May

rick smith

Smith

Richard “Rick” Smith (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman candidate) will be listed as Richard Smith

Steven “Steve” Chapman (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Woodbridge District candidate) will be listed as Steven Chapman

Earnie W. Porta, Jr. (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Occoquan District candidate) will be listed as Earnest Porta, Jr.

Chapman

Chapman

Gerald “Jerry” Foreman (36th District Virginia Senate candidate) will be listed as Gerald Foreman

Prince William County Electoral Board Secretary Keith Scarborough said each of the affected candidates submitted the proper form to indicate how they wanted their names listed on the ballot, but the mistake happened anyway.

Porta

Porta

“It wasn’t a space issue, it was our office when filling out the paperwork, messed up those forms,” said Scarborough. “…we made a mistake, obviously.”

The form included 28 spaces for candidates to fill in their names. It’s not uncommon for candidates to want their full names listed on the ballots, along with more common nicknames placed in quotation marks.

Foreman

Foreman

The upcoming General Election will be the first in Prince William County where paper ballots will once again be used at all voting precincts. New laws forced the county to get rid of electronic touchscreen machines and convert back to using machine scanners that tally votes when a paper ballot is inserted into them.

Prince William County struck a deal with Hart Invercivic, an Austin, Texas-based company that makes the voting machines. It also agreed to print all the ballots needed for the first five elections, starting with the upcoming November 3 vote, as part of the purchase agreement.

Scarborough said the ballots must be printed by that company and cannot be printed locally. The cost to reprint the ballots could range between $80 and $100,000, he added.

The Prince William County Electoral Board will meet Wednesday night to discuss their options, which include reprinting ballots, or placing signs at polling stations noting the names of the five affected candidates and displaying them as intended.

Candidates we talked to say the situation is unfortunate, but they don’t plan on asking for a reprint.

“The truth of the matter is, I don’t want to cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to reprint ballots. I wish it would have been done right but I understand these types of things happen,” said Earnie Porta.

“There’s overcrowding in classrooms, and traffic issues, so there are other things the taxpayers money would be better spent on.” said Steve Chapman.

News
King: We continue to underpay our teachers and they are forced to go elsewhere

Josh L. King is running for the Virginia House of Delegates 2nd District seat. 

The seat is currently held by Micheal Futurell who opted not to run for reelection to the seat.

King faces Republican Mark Dudenhefer, who held the seat from 2011 to 2o13.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to King and he sent us the responses below: 

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PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?

King: 1. Education- I am running because my daughter and six other autistic students spent the past school year without a teacher. This story is far too common in our public schools. Some schools in Eastern Prince William County are packing nearly 40 elementary students into a classroom. We need to start the hard work of fixing this problem today.

2. Transportation- Traffic is a perennial campaign issue, I would be lying if I said electing me or anyone else would solve the issue overnight. We need to face the reality that the HOT lanes have failed to reduce traffic and are at best a short-term solution.

Wider roads are fine but we all know that more lanes quickly means more lanes where we are stuck in traffic. We need to work toward metro in Prince William County, more VRE trains, and other mass transit options.

3. Jobs- The national capital region is one of the best regions in the country to live and work but I believe there is more that can be done to create jobs where we live. With the threat of a government shutdown averted for a few months, as a region we need to recognize that we can’t count on the federal government as an employer the way we used to.

We have a very talented work force here in Prince William and Stafford counties and I think the region would be very attractive to companies specializing in the high tech fields. We need to make sure we encourage that growth with special tax zones, credits, or other deals. We must also continue to make investments in STEM education, so these new industries have an educated workforce ready to go.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

King: Education- We need our fair share from Richmond plain and simple. The state contributes less per student than in 2009 but somehow still meets the SQL requirement. The burden of making up this very real short fall has been left to counties and in turn taxpayers. I believe there is also a teacher retention problem as evidenced by what happened to my daughter’s class.

The biggest problem is that we continue to underpay our teachers and they are forced to go elsewhere. There is currently no requirement to track and report teacher retention to the General Assembly and Governor. I think the first step to solving this problem is to understand what is happening in our schools.

Jobs and transit are two issues that I think tie together closely. Many of us commute because our jobs are not in Prince William County, myself included. Stafford County has a better job-to-resident ratio but still has a lot of commuters too. I believe that the ultimate solution to our job and transportation problem lies with extending metro.

A recently released report by Metro indicates that nearly half of the regions jobs are within a half mile of a metro station. In the short term I think we need to look at our tax code and ways that we can incentivize Virginia businesses to place offices closer to where their workers live. We should also look at ways to improve VRE and bus service so commuters have more confidence in the mass transit that is available.

I know Metro won’t get here over night but it is important to note that while the Silver Line took 30 years to plan, actual construction only took six years. If we aggressively complete the studies and planning I believe we can have a metro line in Prince William County sooner than many people think, but this will require hard work and compromise on the part of elected officials. During my time in Iraq, the only thing that mattered was getting the job done. I had to work with people of all stripes to accomplish our mission and that is the attitude I will bring to Richmond.

PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

King: I believe that a legislator’s first job is to listen and represent the best interests of their constituents. That means being available to them, understanding their lives, and working tirelessly to solve their problems. I think too often politicians forget that we have a government by, of, and for the people. I believe that working together we can do great things.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

King: I will bring a willingness to find a way to get things done for the residents of Prince William and Stafford counties. I know why education, transportation, and j

obs matter.

I live in Woodbridge with my wife and three children. My two school age kids attend River Oaks and Potomac Middle school respectively. I commute to work in Fairfax County like so many others. My wife and I love the home we have here. I love taking my kids to Stafford County on the weekends.

There are so many great things about this area and I want to ensure we are even better. I also bring an expertise in law enforcement and veterans issues. Having served as a combat soldier in Iraq I know the needs of our returning veterans. I know how to help make sure we have career and education services in place to transition our veterans. As a Deputy Sheriff I work to help make sure we maintain a safe community.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?

King: I believe that the average citizen is as informed as they can be about local government. My local PTA has a parent engagement issue because so many parents can’t make it back from work for a 7 p.m. meeting. I think the issues is that people simply don’t have the time to be as engaged as they would like to be. They are probably stuck in traffic somewhere trying to get home.

PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?

King: Fortunately, I have not been in public life long enough to make mistakes. I hope I don’t break this streak. 

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you? 

King: I have spent my life in service this country, Virginia, and our community. I believe serving our area in the House of Delegates is another extension of that service.

In the Army we never cared if someone was a Democrat of Republican. You worked together to get things done, and I will bring that same attitude to Richmond. That is a lot of potential allies in reducing class size, fixing our transportation system, and attracting jobs not just to Prince William and Stafford counties, but across the commonwealth.

 

 

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Skoloda would evaluate operation of Stafford Court Clerk office

Seketta Z. “Zee” Skoloda is running to be the next Clerk of the Circuit Court for Stafford County.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Skoloda and he sent us the responses below: 

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PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?

Skoloda: Ensure the highest quality of service. Update technology and training. Improve accessibility.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

SkolodaEstablish a transition team to evaluate the operation of the office. Seek the input of the court family including on staff personnel. Network with neighboring Clerk of Court Offices. Reach out to other Stafford administrative offices where similar improvements and upgrades have been instituted.

PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Skoloda: The Clerk of the Circuit Court is a constitutional officer elected to an eight-year term. The clerk’s duties are twofold: to administer the Circuit Court’s judicial proceedings and serve as record keeper for the county.

The Clerk’s Office is reflective of our county, our government and our democracy. It is a repository of our county’s records; marriage licenses, business names–trade and fictitious, deeds, judgments, jury summons, and other records. The office of the Clerk of Court is the face of Stafford County to those who seek this information.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Skoloda: Among the attributes I will bring to the office are honesty, integrity and a passion for customer service and accuracy in our records management. I have experience with the Virginia Court System as well as with Maryland and the Federal System.

I have risen to positions of leadership and have experience supervising, training, budgeting and administering in very related fields. My experience includes: Child Support Enforcement Case Worker in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D. C. Commonwealth of Virginia’s Division of Forensic Science Laboratory. Magistrate in Virginia’s 15th Judicial District.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?

Skoloda: I feel the average citizen believes that he or she understands the workings of local government, especially if that citizen is an active voter. Making sure that understanding is correct is best accomplished by transparency and accessibility. I will ensure that the level of customer service provided is friendly, competent and professional. I will maximize the use of technology to enhance access to needed records.

PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?

Skoloda: Everyone makes mistakes, but the mistakes are experience too. Mistakes have effected me as education and training has effected me. Learn, adapt and improve and of course, remember what your goals are.

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you? 

Skoloda: Stafford County has grown in the last eight years. It has grown tremendously in the last twenty years and it will grow even faster and different in the next few years. I will lead an office that stays attuned to the need for an accurate and complete repository of our important records and documents while meeting the current demands and planning for the future challenges.

 

 

News
Stewart, Smith disagree on BPOL tax but friendly on nearly everything else

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What was an issue that once defined Prince William County as a contentious place for immigrants to be is no more.

An audience member at a debate Thursday night with Democrat challenger Rick Smith, and Republican Prince William County Chairman At-large Corey Stewart asked the incumbent if immigration was going to be an issue.

Stewart won national media attention in 2007 when he lead an effort to have police check the ID of every suspected illegal immigrant in the county.

“We’ve got to move on,” said Stewart. “We’ve implemented a policy that targets those who commit crimes, and we’ve turned many criminals over to [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement], crime is down, but we still have a way to go.”

Instead of checking every suspected undocumented migrant, it is the policy to check the immigration status of anyone arrested and charged with a crime in Prince William.

Stewart sold himself Thursday as an older, wiser politician who has learned to be a better leader since elected to the Board in 2006.

“When I first came into office I was out there throwing bombs and a lot of things, but I’ve learned that in a community as diverse in Prince William County you learn to work together to get things done,” he added.

The debate between Smith and Stewart was amicable, as the two men seemed agreeable on issues on education, taxes, and in investing in transportation infrastructure to bring more business to the region to spur economic development. Both say they want more high-paying jobs in Prince William and fewer people leaving the county to find work.

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“We’re being passed up by Fairfax and Loudoun, and Stafford Counites for higher jobs with higher average paying salaries,” said Smith.

The Democrat said he had heard many complaints from small business owners an expensive and prolonged the permitting process with the county’s zoning office. Smith promised a local government that would be more business friendly.

He also advocated getting rid of the county’s Business and Professional Licensing tax, or BPOL tax, which is a tax collected on gross receipts after a business reaches the $300,000 gross receipts threshold. Smith said the county needed to work with Richmond lawmakers to find alternate sources of revenue to replace monies generated by the tax.

The tax generates $23 million annual for the county and abolishing it overnight would mean the average tax bill for Prince William residents could rise as much as 5%, according to Stewart.

“We’ve worked over time to increase the threshold, so BPOL doesn’t hit small businesses so hard… over the couple years will work to increase the threshold to half a million dollars,” said Stewart.

The two men also talked about education, and repeatedly recognized Northern Virginia Community College (the debate was held at the college’s Manassas campus) and George Mason Universtiy for educating young people, and for helping to attract the types of science and technology companies that want to hire young talent.

Smith was the only candidate of the night who received applause when he said more funding is needed for K-12 education.

“The education I got in the late 70s and 80s in Prince William County schools, and the education my older kids got in the late 90s, and early 2000s is much different than it is today,” said Smith. “We’re teaching kids to remember facts, but we’re not teaching them to tell us why they matter.”

Stewart touted investments in infrastructure, especially paying for the widening of Route 1 in Woodbridge and Interstate 66 between Gainesville and Haymarket.

“On transportation by far, nobody is close to being second, we have invested more than Fairfax County, and we’re the only county in the commonwealth with our own road building program,” said Stewart.

Stewart also touted some $20 million in new spending to build parks, libraries, and other government projects that he said would attract more high-quality jobs to the region.

This debate was sponsored by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and Northern Virginia Community Collage Manassas Campus. It was moderated by Krysta Nicole Jones, founder and CEO, Virginia Leadership Institute.

This was the second meeting of the two men, following a debate in September held by the Prince William County Chapter of the NAACP. A thrid and final debate will be held at Congregation Ner Shalom, accross from C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 10.

Voters head to the polls November 3.

News
Occoquan District School Board debate set for Monday, Oct. 5

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Jessie

Candidates for the Occoquan seat on the Prince William County School Board will meet for a debate hosted by Potomac Local on Monday, October 5 at 7 p.m.

The seat is currently held by Lillie Jessie, who was elected to the chair in 2011, beating out Republican Micheal Wooten. Two challengers are running against Jessie: John Gray and Karen Boyd.

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Gray

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Boyd

The debate will be held at Occoquan Elementary School located at 12915 Occoquan Road in Woodbridge.

Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser will moderate the debate. The event is held in partnership with the Prince William County Democratic Committee and the Prince William County Republican Committee.

The candidates were briefed on the format of the debate as follows:

— Candidates will be introduced to the audience
— Short bios for each candidate will be read
— A candidate will be asked a specific question
— The candidate will have three minutes to respond
— An opposing candidate will have three minutes for rebuttal
— A new question is asked of different candidate and process repeats

Potomac Local will accept reader-submitted questions that may be asked of the candidates during the debates.

The event is open to the public.

Campaign literature and signs are only permitted outside of the building and must be removed upon event conclusion.

News
Senate candidates for the 36th to debate Oct. 8

Surovell

Surovell

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Foreman

Candidates Scott Surovell and Jerry Foreman for Virginia’s 36th Senate district will meet for a debate hosted by Potomac Local on October 8 at 7 p.m.

The candidates are hoping to fill the seat of long-time retiring incumbent Senator Toddy Puller, and will debate local issues concerning Prince William, Fairfax, and Stafford counties.

The debate will be held at the Dumfries Community Center located at 17755 Main Street in Dumfries. 

Potomac Local is sponsoring the event, in partnership with the Prince William County Democratic Committee and the Prince William County Republican Committee.

The candidates were briefed on the format of the debate as follows:

— Candidates will be introduced to the audience
— Short bios for each candidate will be read
— A candidate will be asked a specific question
— The candidate will have three minutes to respond
— An opposing candidate will have three minutes for rebuttal
— A new question is asked of different candidate and process repeats

Potomac Local will accept reader-submitted questions that may be asked of the candidates during the debates.

The event is open to the public.

Campaign literature and signs are only permitted outside of the building and must be removed upon event conclusion.

News
Chapman will seek exception to use smaller sites to build schools, more gas tax funding for region

The Woodbridge District in Prince William County is one that is undergoing massive redevelopment.

Once one of the first major areas in the county to grow, new developments, and redevelopment along the Route 1 corridor are bringing in not only new residents, but new businesses like the Apple Store that are locating to the region for the first time. 

Steve Chapman won a June Republican Primary Election, and was selected by his party to face incumbent Democrat Frank Principi.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Chapman and he sent us the responses below:

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PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?

Chapman: Traffic, overcrowding in schools/failing test scores, customer/constituent services

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

Chapman: Traffic- 1. Better timing of lights

2. Stronger voice to get Woodbridge our fair share of the new gas tax

3. Improved communication- Regular progress updates- town hall, email and web

4. Champion- Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances-better roads, schools and ball fields before approval of new housing developments Over Crowding- Woodbridge is two elementary schools behind. Currently, the school board requires 20-acre site for an elementary school to be built.

Woodbridge does not have the sites this size available but there is several 15 acre sites. I would ask the school board to make exceptions in order to use the smaller site. Currently Belmont, Potomac View and Featherstone are on similar smaller size sites.

Further, I would work with local community groups and churches to solicit volunteers and mentors to help children with their school work to raise test scores. Little things mean a lot.

As I’ve knocked on over 4,000 doors neighborhood by neighborhood I have heard concerns and frustrations about the little things that negatively affect Woodbridge’s quality of life and diminish our property values. Taking care of the little things like finish walking and bike paths that have been promised and not completed, more policing in hot spots, add speed bumps and stop signs where there is excessive speeding. enforce spot blight laws, increase funding for neighborhood services will establish trust, pride and make our community stronger, safer and more prosperous.

PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Chapman: I see it as an opportunity to build and shape a community to positively impact the lives of my neighbors. I see the Supervisor job as chief cheerleader for everything good; chief communicator for news, updates, and events; chief helper, vision caster, and advocate for hard-working people.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Chapman: My passion and heart is for improving the lives and perception of Woodbridge. As a small business owner for 21 years I know service, I know listening to customers, I know working together and collaborating to get things done.

As a communications major in college I know the importance of regular, active communication with all stakeholder. Woodbridge is blessed to have many cultures but it lacks a sense of community. Ive helped create community with my Rotary Club and with my annual community easter egg hunt, we want to bring Woodbridge together.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?

Chapman: I will have regular open office hours, monthly newsletters, quarterly town hall meetings, attend HOA meetings, website with a work in progress status update so citizens can see where we are in the progress on specific projects. This will bring accountability and also show our achievements. My intention is to engage the community more so they will be more involved in our progress.

PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?

Chapman: I have not been elected so I don’t have public life, that said, I admire public officials that know they are not the smartest guy/girl in the room, work with others to get the best ideas, and are hard, focused workers to get things done.

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?

Chapman: I agree people are tired of politics and tired of politicians. Their is no place for partisanship when it comes to local office. Partisans divide, they choose winners and losers, haves and have nots.

We look at small, petty bickering and the lack of progress in D.C. and Richmond. People want leaders, they want someone who cares. I have fresh ideas and lots of energy to improve my hometown. My view of leadership as I am the chief servant.

I am the type of leader who has always challenged status quo, a tireless worker who has brought people together, listened to them, built consensus and utilized their God given gifts to unleash their potential. If people want the opportunity to create a community, get involved and make a difference then they would want to vote for me.

 

Prince William Chamber PAC releases endorsements in 2015 race

PAC Logo

Updated Oct. 9, 2015

Prince William County Board of Supervisors, At-large — Corey Stewart 

“In his most recent term, Chairman Stewart has demonstrated tremendous leadership and made great strides in establishing Prince William as an emerging business location,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC.  “In the face of a challenging economic environment, Chairman Stewart and the Board of County Supervisors have helped to position the County to be on the forefront of economic development in strategic growth sectors.  The Chamber PAC is pleased to endorse his candidacy for reelection so that he may continue to build on these successes, maintain a positive, business-focused public discourse and work to further improve the local business climate.” 

Virginia Senate 29th District — Hal Parrish 

“Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park have been privileged to be represented for so many years by Senator Colgan,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC.  “Mayor Parrish is best suited to carry on in his tradition and further his lasting legacy of fighting for Prince William and promoting a strong economy while maintaining the highest level of statesmanship.  While the PAC was impressed with both candidates, only one possessed a proven track record of working with and on behalf of the business community to grow our local economy and strengthen our community.” 

Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process and an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each candidate as they related to that of the region’s business community. 

 

Original post

The Prince William Chamber Political Action Committee, the political arm of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, announced its endorsements of candidates for the Virginia General Assembly and Board of County Supervisors.

Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process and an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each individual as they related to that of the region’s business community.

Potomac District – Maureen Caddigan

28th Senate District – Richard Stuart

Coles District – Martin Nohe 39th Senate District – George Barker

Neabsco District – John Jenkins

2nd House District – Mark Dudenhefer

Occoquan District – Earnie Porta

31st House District – Scott Lingamfelter

Woodbridge District – Frank Principi

40th House District – Tim Hugo

50th House District – Jackson Miller

51st House District – Rich Anderson

52nd House District – Luke Torian

87th House District – John Bell

“Prince William County is blessed to have so many strong candidates, willing to dedicate their time and service to elected office,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC. “The candidates endorsed by the Chamber PAC demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the region’s economic challenges and put forward substantive plans and proposals for improving our local business climate.”

The Prince William Chamber PAC was established in 2014 by members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. The PAC promotes and facilitates the accumulation of voluntary contributions from members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and others. Contributions are used primarily in support of issues and candidates for local and state offices who have taken positions consistent with the Chamber’s public policy positions regarding the private enterprise system.

News
Stewart, Smith faceoff Thursday at NOVA Manassas

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Stewart

The candidates for Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors will face each other in a debate Thursday night.

Republican incumbent Corey Stewart and Democrat challenger Rick Smith are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). This is the first one-on-one meeting of the two candidates since the

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Smith

two debated at an NAACP forum held at Gar-Field Senior High School earlier this month.

The debate is sponsored by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and the Manassas Campus of NOVA.

Prince William Chamber Director of Government Relations Brendon Shaw outlined the debate topics in an email to Potomac Local:

We plan to cover:

Economic Development

–Expanding the commercial tax base
–Transportation
–Balancing the needs of the business community and residents
–Land use
–Education

[NOVA] will have two students participate to ask questions. Keith Scarborough from the [Prince William County] Electoral Board will discuss changes to the county’s voting system following the debate.

The debate will begin at 7 p.m. in Howsman Hall and is open to the public.

A third a final debate between the two candidates will take place at 7 p.m. on October 7 10 at Congregation Ner Shalom across from C.D. Hylton High School.

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Strong economic forecast hampered by bad Prince William traffic

Prince William leaders said the future of the region is ripe for economic growth, and that is also one that will continue to be hampered by traffic congestion.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart, Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish III, and Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones took the stage at the annual “State of Prince William” luncheon in Manassas. The event is organized by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

Prince William Today publisher Bruce Potter asked questions of the three men covering the topics of economic development, education, and improving transportation infrastructure.

Parrish said Manassas cut back on economic development efforts during the 2008 recession. In recent years, the city hired Economic Development Director Patrick Small, who developed a new logo and branding for the city: “Historic Heart, Modern Beat.”

“We, like other localities did during the recession, cut some services that had to be cut.” said Parrish, who added 21,000 people commute to the city each day, while the number of those who leave the city for work has fallen to about 14,000.

It remains a tough go for commuters on Route 28 between Manassas Park and Interstate 66. Jones said thousands of commuters sit in jammed traffic on the road that bridges Prince William and Fairfax counties.

A state plan to widen I-66 won’t help unless bridges that cross the Bull Run River are widened, said Jones.

“66 can be widened large enough to put a 747, I don’t care, as long we sit behind the Bull Run bridges, we’re not going to be able to get any better in improving quality of life and giving hours of life back to people,” said Jones.

Stewart painted a picture of economic prosperity for Prince William County, which has seen its population rise to nearly 450,000 residents. Funding for the county school division — the 38th largest in the U.S. — has grown by $81 million over the past four years, said Stewart.

Many of the students who graduate from Prince William County Public Schools return home to find work and start businesses, said Stewart.

“The product of our school system has beocome the number one driver of ecomic development…We’re on the edge of a gilded age in Prince William County, and I’m not kidding, this is one hell of a community. If you didn’t hear abotu Prince William County 20 years ago, you’re going to hear about us in the next 20 years,” said Stewart.

Stewart points to new biotech and technology businesses opening at Innovation Park.

Stewart, a Republican, has served as on the Board of Supervisors since 2006 and is seeking reelection, running against Democrat Rick Smith.

Parrish, a Republican, has served as Manassas Mayor since 2008 and is seeking to replace Virginia State Senator Charles Colgan, who is retiring this year. Democrats are hoping to hold the seat and support Jeremy McPike for the position.

Voters will head to the polls November 3.

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Senator Charles Colgan honored at Hylton Performing Arts Center

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Men donned back ties and women put on formal dresses on Friday to honor Virginia’s longest-serving state senator.

Charles Colgan, D-29, will retire this year. A celebration and tribute were held for him at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts in Manassas.

The celebration was also used to mark the 89-year-old’s birthday.

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Colgan has been credited for “helping build Manassas,” securing funding for transportation and higher education for the city and surrounding areas in Prince William County.

Colgan has served since 1976, and he will leave the state Senate as its President Pro-Tempore.

A contentious election race has sprung up between Democrat Jeremy McPike and Republican Hal Parrish. Both men seek to replace the long-serving Senator.

The race has been closely watched throughout the state as the outcome could help shift majority power away from Senate Democrats and give it to the Republicans.

News
Shaw, Marshall debate in Manassas Park canceled

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Marshall

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Shaw

Updated Monday, Oct. 12, 2015

A debate scheduled for Oct. 13 at the Manassas Park Community Center is canceled.

Potomac Local invited Democrat Don Shaw and incumbent Republican Bob Marshall to debate the issues. Shaw accepted the request but Marshall did not.

Marshall provided this statement to Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser:

I had previously indicated to you that I had accepted a debate with the Committee of One Hundred, a long-respected, bi-partisan group in Prince William County that had organized debates for many years with not one criticism on partiality.

Mr. Shaw did not accept the Committee of One Hundred invitation to debate, and, therefore, that debate was canceled. I will not be participating in other debates. Thank you.

Democrats this year have boycotted any and all debates proposed by the Prince William Committee of 100. 

Original post

Candidates Don Shaw and Delegate Bob Marshall for Virginia’s 13th House district are invited to meet for a debate hosted by Potomac Local on October 13 at 7 p.m.

Delegate Bob Marshall is the long-time incumbent of the 13th district House seat.

You may submit questions for the 13th district House debate.

The debate will be held at the Manassas Park Community Center on 99 Adams Street, Manassas Park, Virginia 20111.

Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser will be moderating the debate.

The candidates were briefed on the format of the debate as follows:
— Candidates will be introduced to the audience
— Short bios for each candidate will be read
— A candidate will be asked a specific question
— The candidate will have three minutes to respond
— An opposing candidate will have three minutes for rebuttal
— A new question is asked of different candidate and process repeats

Potomac Local will accept reader-submitted questions that may be asked of the candidates during the debates.

The event is open to the public.

Campaign literature and signs are only permitted outside of the building and must be removed upon event conclusion.

News
Parrish, McPike debate canceled

Update — Sept. 17, 2015

The scheduled debate between Democrat Jeremy McPike and Republican Hal Parrish on Oct. 6, 2015 has been canceled. 

Due to requests for date and venue changes, the campaigns were unable to agree to a date and location for the debate.

I thank the Prince William County Republican Committee and the Prince William County Democratic Committee, Prince William County Public Schools, Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas, and the Bull Run Unitarian Universalists for working with Potomac Local in attempting to secure a debate location.

Best of luck to both campaigns. Election Day is November 3. You can read our election coverage at ProjectElection.com. 

Uriah Kiser – Publisher

Original Post

Jeremy McPike

McPike

Candidates Jeremy McPike and Mayor Hal Parrish for Virginia’s 29th Senate district will meet for a debate hosted by Potomac Local on October 6 at 7 p.m.

The candidates are looking to fill the seat currently held by long-time incumbent Senator Chuck Colgan, who will be retiring this year.

 

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Parrish

You may submit questions for the 29th district Senate debate.

 

The debate will be held at the multi-purpose room at Home Instead Senior Care on 9817 Godwin Drive, Manassas, Virginia 20110.

Potomac Local is sponsoring the event, in partnership with the Prince William County Democratic Committee and the Prince William County Republican Committee.

Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser, Prince William Regional Editor Stephanie Tipple, and University of Mary Washington Professor Stephen Farnsworth will be moderating the debate.

The candidates were briefed on the format of the debate as follows:
— Candidates will be introduced to the audience
— Short bios for each candidate will be read
— A candidate will be asked a specific question
— The candidate will have three minutes to respond
— An opposing candidate will have three minutes for rebuttal
— A new question is asked of different candidate and process repeats

Potomac Local will accept reader-submitted questions that may be asked of the candidates during the debates.

The event is open to the public.

Campaign literature and signs are only permitted outside of the building and must be removed upon event conclusion.

News
McAuliffe talks education, jobs with Stafford parents, administrators

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Governor Terry McAuliffe met with parents, teachers and administrators at an ‘education roundtable’ at Brooke Point High School in Stafford last week.

Meeting in the newly completed library facility at the high school, the roundtable, which was run by Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton, gave time for parents to speak to McAuliffe about education.

A lot of the usual topics were discussed – reducing class size, investing more money into education, supporting teachers and adding programs.

“We have to reduce class sizes, and we have to provide our teachers with support – whether it be professional development, administrators that are there to observe and to mentor…in my own elementary school, they wouldn’t be able to make color copies without being scrutinized,” said one parent.

“When teacher’s come into a school, there’s not funding for [teacher development] and that goes into everything…if you can keep your teachers engaged, and excited, and give them time to understand the teaching method, how to more effectively manage their classroom time,” said another parent.

During the roundtable, McAuliffe spoke about the success of the free and reduced breakfast and lunch program in Virginia.

“I want to thank my wife – our ‘First Lady’ – who’s whole effort has been to make sure that every child that goes to school has access to a breakfast and lunch, because we have so many children in the Commonwealth – about 300,000 when I became governor…you can’t learn if you’re hungry,” said McAuliffe.

A final point McAuliffe made during the gathering was that there were jobs available in Virginia, but not enough skilled workers to take them.

According to McAuliffe, he regularly meets with CEOs of large companies, who tell him that there aren’t enough workers with the right skill set to take available jobs at their companies.

McAuliffe stated that students need to be educated and get the skills they need, in order to keep major companies in the Commonwealth.

News
Walker stumps for president in Prince William

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Scott Walker on the road to the White House made a stop in Prince William County on Saturday.

The Republican Wisconsin Governor rallied the county’s GOP faithful while touting himself as a reformer different from most Republicans in office.

“We need someone who can put reform back into government, for the “R” next to our names,” said Walker.

Walker called the Obama presidency an “abysmal failure” due the president’s lack of executive leadership in government or business prior to being elected, and promised to continue the effort to repeal Obamacare, and the Iran nuclear inspections treaty on his first day in office.

Walker also advocated for a larger military, noting the nation should adopt a Ronald Regan-era policy of a large military to achieve “peace through strength.”

Shortly after he was elected governor of Wisconsin, Walker introduced legislation to limit the collective bargaining abilities of unions. Mass protests formed, and a recall election was held where Walker became the first U.S. state governor to defeat an opponent in a recall.

The Republican came to Prince William County after a rally at the University of Virginia. Walker tasked Virginia State Senator Mark Obenshain to lead the effort to collect enough signatures to get him onto he ballot for the Primary Elections next year.

The has longed served as a bellwether for the state, and has been visited by a presidential candidate of both major parties of the past two presidential elections.

Walker is the frist presidential candidate of the 2016 race to visit Prince William County.

“Prince William County has changed a lot. Just 10 short years ago we were just a rural stop in Virginia that supplied beef and dairy to Washington, D.C.,” Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland told a GOP crowd before Walker spoke. “Politicians from Washington, D.C., even politicians from Richmond did not pay us that much attention. That has changed. Whether you have migrated from Fairfax County or all the way from El Salvador or India, Prince William County has become a place for prosperity.”

The Walker rally was held at “the hut” on Prince William Parkway, the small house that serves as the GOP headquarters for the region. Several candidates that are vying for local offices, to include the 36th District Virginia Senate seat for Fairfax, Prince William, and Stafford, and two Prince William County School Board seats spoke.

“Everyone north of us next year is going to vote blue. Almost everyone south of us next year is going to vote red. Prince William County is a pivotal county in 2016,” said Tim Singstock, who is running to replace Milton Johns, who is stepping down as the Chairman of the Prince William County School Board.

Dumfries Mayor Gerald “Jerry” Foreman seeks the 36th District Seat and is running against Delegate Scott Surovell. Foreman said Surovell has outspent the Foreman campaign three to one, and that polls show he is 2 points behind his Democratic rival.

“I’m right where I need to be,” said Foreman. “Two percent… he’s looking over his shoulder, he’s right in front of me.”

Prince William County Young Republicans Chairman Terrance Boulden organized the rally. Boulden was celebrated for helping to bring a national candidate to stump in the region.

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