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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: 

Find your polling place

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.

 

 

News
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: 

Find your polling place

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

Boyd

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

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Surovell

foreman

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.

News
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.

News
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

walker

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.

Stewart, Smith to debate at Manassas NOVA campus

Stewart

Stewart

Candidates for Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors will participate in a debate on October 1 at 7 p.m. and the community is invited to attend. Republican incumbent Corey A. Stewart and Democrat Richard H. “Rick” Smith III will meet for the debate on the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College in the Howsmon Lecture Hall at 6901 Sudley Road in

rick smith

Smith

Manassas.

The debate is being hosted in partnership by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and Northern Virginia Community College.

“As one of the fastest growing localities in the Commonwealth it is important for the local business community to remain engaged in the political process.  We are very excited to partner with Northern Virginia Community College to host a quality debate during this year’s highly competitive Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors race. The Chamber is eager to hear the candidates’ visions for the future of Prince William County and ideas for maintaining a favorable business climate,” said Prince William Chamber President and CEO Debbie Jones.

Provost Roger Ramsammy is looking forward to hosting the debate at the NOVA-Manassas campus. 

He stated, “We are eager to hear what ideal, long-term strategies each candidate will convey regarding education in Prince William County.  Our county boasts two Northern Virginia Community college campuses and the Chairman’s emphasis on higher education will be critical for our entire community, workforce development and beyond.”

The debate will be moderated by Krysta Nicole Jones, Founder and CEO, Virginia Leadership Institute.

News
Anderson, Porta to debate for Occoquan seat Oct. 16

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Porta

Candidates Earnie Porta and Ruth Anderson for Occoquan district supervisor will meet for a debate hosted by Potomac Local on October 16 at 7 p.m.

The candidates are looking to fill the seat currently filled by Supervisor Michael May, who is running for Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Anderson_Headshot

Anderson

You may submit questions for the Occoquan supervisor debate.

The debate will be held at Lake Ridge Middle School at 12350 Mohican Road in Lake Ridge.

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 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
Updated: No debate between Foreman, Surovell

Update 12:30 p.m.

We reported earlier today Democrat Scott Surrovell and Republican Gerald “Jerry” Foreman would meet for a debate in Occoquan later this month. We were wrong, as no debate between the two candidates vying to replace longtime Virginia State Senator Toddy Puller (D-36, Fairfax, Prince William, Stafford), is scheduled.

At first glance, it appeared Surovell had taken it upon himself to schedule a debate himself.

After seeing the announcement, Potomac Local emailed Foreman campaign manager Shannon Duffy on Tuesday and asked if Surovell’s Tweet was legitimate.  We got this emailed response the next day: 

occoquan debate screen shot

 

Later in the day, we got this email from the Foreman campaign: 

occoquan debate screen shot3

 

With that statement in hand, we reported the two would soon meet for a debate in Occoquan as noted by the Surovell campaign. 

It turns out we were wrong.

The Facebook post contains a letter in which he says a blogger Ben Tribbett employed by the Surovell campaign has made scheduling debates difficult. He outlined his thoughts on Tribbett on his website.

 

We’ll be sure to post the date, time, and location of any upcoming debate to this post when we have it.


Update 9:41 a.m. 

Potomac Local received a call from Surovell, stating that while we received a statement confirming the debate, his campaign team did not. We have reached out to Foreman for clarification and will keep you updated on the latest.

Original post 9:17 a.m.

Candidates Delegate Scott Surovell and Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman will meet for a debate on August 26 in Occoquan.

Surovell and Foreman are running for Virginia’s 36th district Senate seat that covers parts of Fairfax, Prince William, and Stafford counties.

The seat is being vacated by long time incumbent Senator Toddy Puller, who will be retiring this year.

The debate will be held at the Occoquan Town Hall on 314 Mill Street from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

According to a letter sent from Surovell to Foreman, the debate will be informal without any moderator or set rules, where the candidates can ask each other questions.

Surovell made the initial call for a series of debates for the race at the end of July.

“It’s time for Mayor Foreman to stop hiding behind negative push polls and debate me face to face. I propose we hold a series of debates in every section of the District so the voters can come hear our vision for the Route 1 Corridor,” stated Surovell in a release.

Foreman accepted the request to hold at least six debates before Election Day on November 3.

“I very much look forward to debating Delegate Surovell, and frankly, I am willing to go beyond his offer of six debates, and hold one every week in September and October if he’s willing,” stated Foreman.

*The debate is being hosted independently by the candidates.

News
May: I’ll ensure transparency in prosecutions, cases are not overturned for due process violations

Micheal C. May won special election 2007 to serve on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. 

He replaced Corey Stewart who went on to become the chairman of the board. During his time on the board, May has gained a reputation of being a moderate on the county’s governing board.

He’s argued for lower tax rates, but he’s also argued for funding government programs and services that are popular with county taxpayers.

Now May has his eyes set on the Prince William County Courthouse. He says his experience in local government and his work as an attorney has prepared him to be the region’s top prosecutor. 

He’s running against Paul Ebert, a man who has held the job since 1968. He’s also one of Virginia’s most decorated prosecutors.

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

Find your polling place

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

May: We have to address the challenges of our growing and dynamic community. As the next Commonwealth’s Attorney, I will: keep our neighborhoods safe, modernize the office, and actively engage our diverse population to enhance public safety and crime prevention.

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

May: As your next Commonwealth’s Attorney, I will ensure we have the best and brightest lawyers serving as our prosecutors, and I will work with them to bring those who commit crimes in our community to justice.

We will modernize the office by employing new technologies to keep citizens informed. We will also ensure appropriate transparency during criminal prosecutions so that cases are not overturned for violations of Due Process (as has occurred under the incumbent’s watch).

Finally, we will implement a proactive community outreach plan to engage with our dynamic and diverse population. We need to enhance crime prevention, rather than passively waiting for crimes to occur and addressing them after the fact.

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

May: The position of Commonwealth’s Attorney (prosecutor) is one of the most important positions in the government because the power to take one’s life or liberty is the most awesome power that government can wield.

The ultimate check on that power thus appropriately rests with the citizens through the popular vote. Accordingly, the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney establishes the policies that reflect our community’s values, and ensures that his or her staff and assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys serve the citizens in a manner consistent with those values.

The job necessarily requires oversight, management and legal skills. The elected Commonwealth’s Attorney must ultimately ensure justice for our community.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

May: As a Member of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for the past eight years, I have been intimately involved in management, oversight, and setting policy direction for the Prince William community; particularly in the area of public safety.

We have had some great success in this area and we are fortunate to have such a hardworking and dedicated police force working to keep us safe. In addition to being a Member of the Board of County Supervisors, I have also spent the past ten years as a successful trial attorney for a private law firm, Albo & Oblon, LLP. During that time, I have successfully litigated jury and bench trials in the federal courts and several state courts throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This combination of policy, management and legal experience is the ideal background for this important office.

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?

May: Unfortunately, the average citizen is not well-informed on local government issues. It is the responsibility of elected leaders in all areas of government to proactively reach out to the community to keep it informed of important issues.

This has simply not occurred with the current administration. Instead, under the leadership of the 47 year incumbent, the office has lost touch with our community and I will change this if elected.

For example, we will have frequent public safety related town hall meetings; we will use social media and other means of communication to keep citizens informed; we will partner with our schools, civic groups, and faith organizations to develop a more well-informed public; and, we will implement a proactive outreach plan targeted particularly to the many new immigrant communities who may not understand and actually fear our criminal justice system.

If people do not trust or have confidence in the system, it will not function and it is the responsibility of elected leaders to build that trust. This will take hard work and dedication beyond just a 9-5 workday, but I am up for the challenge and ready to tackle it on day one.

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

May: I am sure that I have made mistakes, in both my private life and public life. Mistakes are a part of being a human being.

All you can do is own up to them and try to learn from them. This makes you a better person and a better elected official. As I have considered the question, I cannot point to one defining mistake that has changed the very manner in which I comport myself as a public official.

However, you can be sure that every experience, whether a success or failure, has helped to shape who I am as a person and my service to our community.

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

May: I have been honored to serve our community over the past eight years on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. During this time, I have always sought to build upon the trust and confidence that our community has placed in me. Leadership is about putting our community first.

If given the opportunity to serve as the next Commonwealth’s Attorney, I will always remember that the office does not belong to me; rather, it belongs to the citizens of Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park. This election is about our future, and I am ready to lead the Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney as we modernize and bring it in the 21st Century.

News
Why we note political parties of local candidates

Some candidates rise and fall with their party affiliation. For others, it simply doesn’t matter.

For example, take candidates running for school board in Virginia. A provision in the state code mandates all candidates for school board run without the affiliation of a political party and seek offices as independent.

In the 2015 race for Prince William County School Board Chairman, candidate Ryan Sawyers is endorsed by the Prince William Democratic Committee and Tim Singstock won an endorsement by the Prince William County Republican Committee. Tracy Conroy is running as an independent.

When voters go to the polls, they won’t see a letter on the ballot denoting any party affiliation.

“Parties can endorse anyone they want to, but party endorsement is different from party declaration on a ballot,” said Diana Dutton, with the Prince William County Office of Elections.

State law requires ballots only show political affiliation for offices such as Governor, Lt. Governer, Attorney General, House of Delegates, Virginia Senate, and congressional offices.

Also on the list of no required political affiliation — candidates for boards of supervisors, and those seeking office on a town or city council with a charter that doesn’t require naming political affiliation.

At Potomac Local, we do note party affiliation for candidates even if Virginia law states candidates don’t have to.
We work hard to cover local elections in Prince William and Stafford counties, and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. It is our job to tell our readers that parties endorse candidates.

After all, a political party that lends its endorsement to a candidate must believe that person is the best person who would best represent that party’s views while serving in office. These candidates are also more likely to receive donations from like-minded voters of these respective parties.
You can get a full list of candidates — and information about their affiliation or endorsements — at projectelection.com.

News
Kandy Hilliard: Medicaid expansion is a big piece of the puzzle

Kandy Hilliard is no stranger to the political landscape in Stafford County. She served as the Aquia District representative on the Board of Supervisors from 2001 to 2005. 

The Democrat lists helping to secure $30 million in fundng to preserve the Crow’s Nest Natural Area, a sprawling wetland area on the Potomac and Accokeek creeks in Stafford County as one of her many accomplishments. 

Today, she’s going up against longtime incumbent Republican Bill Howell. He’s served the 28th district, which includes portions of Stafford and King George counties, and Fredericksburg, for 27 years. He’s also been the Speaker of the House since 2003.

Find your polling place

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

Hilliard: Reducing traffic congestion, adequate funding for schools, bringing living wage jobs to our community.

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

Hilliard: When talking about these three issues, Medicaid expansion is a big piece of the puzzle. According to the Commonwealth Institute, Medicaid Expansion would give over 195,000 Virginians health insurance, improving the health of our workforce. It also brings 30,000 good paying jobs to Virginia. With three local hospitals, one that already laid off over 60 people, I think it makes good sense to bring good paying jobs to our community.

I believe it is critically important to work with our local, state and national partners to leverage every resource available to us.  That helps us keep taxes low. Medicaid Expansion would bring $1.7 billion to the General Fund.  Based on current trends in the Virginia budget, we spend 30% of the General Fund on public education. This could mean an additional $515 million in the state budget for our public schools. It makes good economic sense, and that is why so many other states have accepted the expansion.

Additionally, HOT lanes cannot be our only solution to traffic gridlock. They are too costly and they dump out right here in Stafford. We need to invest in public transit (VRE, Metro, and bus service). Wouldn’t it be nice if VRE operated going both ways so people could use it to travel during off hours? It is also critical that we prioritize infrastructure, and ensure that we build complete streets that are safe for drivers and pedestrians.  We need to be thinking long term about transportation solutions.

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

Hilliard: I believe the person elected to this office should be a representative for the people of the 28th District. Your Delegate should be fighting for the welfare and of all residents, businesses and organizations in the district. This job requires you to listen to all sides of an issue, bring forward legislation and vote based on what is best for the community as a whole. Your Delegate needs to be accessible to the people, prudent with our tax dollars, and able to make the tough governing decisions that improve the everyday lives of the people of the 28th district.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Hilliard: I am an expert in early childhood education. I have started a small business and co-founded a non-profit in this field. I have also served on the Stafford Board of Supervisors, so I have a close up and personal understanding of the needs and challenges of local government. I grew up in this community and I raised my family here. My husband travels I95 everyday to get to work. I believe my family is very representative of the people of this district, and this gives me a strong understanding of the needs of our community. I want to go to Richmond to fight for the people of the 28th 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?

Hilliard: I believe most people know what they want from their government, however the challenges facing our community are complex and procedures can be arduous.  It is the role of an elected official to help citizens navigate the process and find the information they need. I will be accessible to constituents. I plan to keep the community informed through my website, newsletter, social media, and community events.

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

Hilliard: We are all human and we all make mistakes.  There have been times in my public life that I have regretted coming out too quickly on an issue before hearing all perspectives.  This happened when I was on the Board of Supervisors, fighting to protect Crow’s Nest from development. I had initially committed to one course of action but had to change direction when I learned that we could access different resources.  In the end, I secured $30 Million of Virginia Resources Authority Funds from then Secretary of Natural Resources, Tayloe Murphy, to purchase the land. We had a favorable outcome, but I learned the importance of hearing from all stakeholders before committing to a specific course of action.

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

Hilliard:  I am ready to go to Richmond to fight for the people of the 28th District – not special interests that have too great an influence over our legislators. I will focus on finding common ground to bring solutions to our challenges. I will be accessible to you when you have a question or concern. I will focus on improving the lives people in our community every single day, and I will do it with integrity and honesty.

News
Prince William School Board Chairman debate set for Oct. 12

Sawyers

Sawyers

Updated

Tracy Conroy will participate in the Prince William County School Board Chairman debate scheduled for Oct. 12.

Original post

Candidates Tim Singstock and Ryan Sawyers for the Prince William County School Board

Singstock

Singstock

Chairman’s race will meet for a debate hosted by Potomac Local on October 12 at 7 p.m.

The candidates are hoping to fill the seat of vacating incumbent Milt Johns, and will debate local issues concerning the schools in Prince William County.

 

Conroy

Conroy


You may submit questions for the school board debate.

The debate will be held at the Dar Alnoor Islamic Community Center at 5404 Hoadly Road in Woodbridge.

Tracy Conroy, the independent candidate for the race, was invited to participate in the debate. We have not received confirmation as to whether she will participate.

Potomac Local is hosting 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 community center building and must be removed upon event conclusion.

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