Read Us Daily for Local News in Prince William, Virginia

41°

Menu

Politics

News
Focus on debt, need for more businesses in Manassas Park top Rishell’s list

Jeanette M. Rishell is running for Mayor of Manassas Park. She currently serves as a council member on the city’s Governing Body.
 
Rishell looks to unseat longtime incumbent Mayor Frank Jones.

We sent a questionnaire to Rishell and Jones. Rishell’s responses are below: 

Find your polling place 

PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas Park residents?

RishellCity debt service will spike by almost $2 million for the fiscal year 2018. The need for commercial business development. Adequately funding the City’s core services.
 

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

Rishell: There have been, and will continue to be, ongoing efforts to refinance the City’s debt. This will cover a portion of the debt spike in 2018 and 2019 and is an important part of the effort because the debt service will level off for several years before dropping.

I have thoroughly analyzed each budget so far and will continue to do so, because we must determine the difference between our wants and our needs.

Also, I will emphasize commercial business development. When I first came onto council, I was surprised that the City did not have an economic development brochure to promote the City’s assets across all of Northern Virginia. We have a brochure now, and we also have an Economic Development Manager whose primary responsibility is to try to bring business into the City. I will encourage all Governing Body members to work in cooperation with our new Economic Development Manager. I will work to create a more formal outreach plan consisting of more active participation in Chamber of Commerce events, visitation to local businesses to receive their input and ideas, and of course contact and visitation to new businesses who may wish to locate into Manassas Park. If this is not sufficient, we will try additional measures TBD.

It’s important that we begin to be more proactive to bring in the revenue that is needed to support our schools and other core services. Currently, the City is heavily dependent upon residential taxation, so business revenue will help make a living in our City more affordable.

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

Rishell: According to the Charter of the City, the Mayor serves as the CEO of the City, and also represents the City in a variety of venues. It is important for the Mayor to provide leadership through action, by example, and with decorum.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Rishell
In addition to my life and career experiences, I have the experience of being a councilmember for the last four years. I have performed my council duties in a comprehensive and detailed manner.

Beyond my responsibilities as a council member, I serve the City in the following capacities:

*Serve on the Upper Occoquan Service Authority (UOSA) Board of Directors since 2010

*Member Representative to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA)

*Vice Chair of the Finance Committee of the NVTA

*Member of the Planning and Programming Committee of the NVTA

*City Representative on the Route 28 Steering Committee

*Member of the Manassas Park Department of Social Services Board

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

Rishell
:
When I knocked doors and campaigned for my council seat in 2012, I heard from residents across the City that they wanted to know more about what their local government was doing. City staff has been making great use of social media to promote the City and its events.

In addition, I have made a personal effort since my election to council in 2012 to inform residents by regularly sending out a constituent mailer in order to let people know important issues and items of general interest.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Rishell: Everyone makes mistakes in all facets of their lives, and they can learn from them and move forward in a more productive manner.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Rishell: I have the judgment, the common sense, and the ability to balance the competing needs of the City. The next several years will be challenging, and I will be a hands-on and proactive Mayor.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Sebesky: ‘We must start with a strategic plan that involves everyone’

Pamela J. Sebesky is one of three Democrats vying for three open seats on the Manassas City Council. After serving two terms on the city School Board, Sebesky seeks a seat on the city’s governing body.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Sebeskyand all other candidates seeking a seat on the Manassas City Council. Her responses are below: 

Find your polling place 

PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Sebesky: Economic development, public safety, and high-performing schools.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Sebesky: All of these needs are interconnected. In order to work one of them is to work on all of them. We must start with a strategic plan that involves a broad cross-section of everyone in the community. You must have citizens that represent all areas of our city, along with representation from all levels of our business community, as well as the city staff. When you have that kind of input you will then develop the needed plan that will allow for success in all these areas.
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Sebesky: A Council Member must listen to all constituents and do thorough research when making all decisions, as the decision will affect everyone in the community. You must be able to be fiscally responsible with tax payer dollars and demand transparency in how funds will be spent. You must comprehend and put into action a comprehensive strategic plan that will address citizen needs, help sustain and expand local businesses and set a course for the entire city. A Council Member alone does not decide anything, its takes someone who can and will work collaboratively in good transparent decision making. We all have to get back to the basics – of the people, by the people and for the people.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Sebesky:
I will bring to the office a wide variety of experience from a number of areas, as I have previously already outlined. Having been elected to the Manassas City School Board twice, I have a comprehensive understanding of the needs of the schools and the children that attend them. This has provided me the opportunity to work with and volunteer with many different organizations and businesses across the whole region. I understand our economic challenges and have a record of working hard and collaboratively to improve long-term outcomes.
 
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Sebesky: Most citizens are not likely to be well informed or have the extensive knowledge needed of the workings of local government. In order to understand the complex process you must have the time to be involved at many levels. The best way to improve communication is with relationship building, in order to build trust. The city already has many ways it communicates with its citizens, but if there is not trust people will not believe what they read or take time to participate in the community or government operations. In the community I am known for taking the time to listen and for caring about the whole community. I take the needed time not just to return calls or emails, but to do the hard work to get needed change to come about through policy and procedure development.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Sebesky: Everyone makes mistakes, as no one is perfect. The hardest part of being on the school board is when you have to decide whether to expel a child from the school system. You know that will be a life-altering decision for that young person. Some parents are able to afford to put their student into a private school or home school their child, where others may be left on their own. This has made me work even harder to make sure that all children are truly being given the opportunity to be as successful as they can so they can be productive members of our community.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Sebesky: I am a person of high integrity and someone who is known to work hard to make sure that things get done with all citizens, communities, and businesses in mind. I ask questions, do my research, collaborate, and demand transparency. I do not allow my personal views to influence my decision making, as you must be able to separate your personal bias from what is best for the city.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Jenkins-Bailey wants to address needs of students who make up Manassas’ changing demographics

Kim M. Jenkins-Bailey seeks a seat on the Manassas City School Board.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Kim M. Jenkins-Bailey, and all other candidates for Manassas City School Board. Her responses are below: 

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to Harrison. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Jenkins-Bailey: Division, Calibration. 
In respect to division, there appears to be detachment from the essence of practical application to the needs of our students. There is also an unspoken separation on rendering each student the proper tools needed to succeed.

Moreover, there is currently not enough representation to address the variation of needs for our diverse demographics which is causing a slit discord amongst communities and educators. 

Calibration is a need in order to concentrate on outlined goals for success. If officials are not willing to view the actual problems and concerns of those who we serve, inevitably there will be more detachment from those who attempt to remain involved because they feel their voice is unheard. 

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

Jenkins-Bailey: Acknowledge the similarity within the diversity, and draw a concise consensus in ideologies to move forward as a unit to aid students and communities.
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Jenkins-Bailey: It is perceived as a School Board representative, the responsibilities are to serve the Manassas City School system by addressing the challenges, and obstacle with sound resolve for the improvement and productivity of institution fitness, Additional, provide a high level of integrity as a representative in each matter, duty, and task which governs the office by policy and procedure. Moreover, present facts and accuracy to the functions of the educational system of K-12 for the continuous progression. Furthermore, to present students with optimum opportunities of transition preparedness of personal and professional existence.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Jenkins-Bailey:
I bring a high level of proficiency background in sociology, education, business, government and public relations. I have over 10 years of higher education and 20 years of work experience. I have worked in team organizations, low to high-level management, and provide sustainable projects and programs. I am also proficient in inner office affairs from the smallest of detail to the largest of execution. I make sound decisions, judgment calls and perform with detail-oriented precision.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Jenkins-Bailey: Sometimes. It really depends on the concern or the priority. In order to engage more constituents, there has to be personal involvement. In goes to the area of diverse relations. If each person recognizes their personal duty and responsibility to remain informed, then communication would improve. A way to get people involved is speaking to their concerns, expressing clearly the needs, and acknowledging their support and involvement.

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

Jenkins-Bailey: An error is a happenstance which should teach and help a person to improve and possibly prevent other mistakes. I aim to learn from happenstances as I acknowledge they will occur. It is a wise and mature person who grows from their mistakes.

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

Jenkins-Bailey: I am a leader who is dedicated to helping our education system reflect wholeness, confidence, and approval. Moreover, to provide each child with an educational experience capable of producing qualified and desired residents and employees. A vote for me is a vote for you.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Presidential candidate Jill Stein to speak at University of Mary Washington

stein

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Jill Stein, the Green Party’s candidate for U.S. President, will appear Sunday at Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, states University spokeswoman Marty Morrison.

Submitted:

Green Party Presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein will be speaking at a public forum at the University of Mary Washington campus in Fredericksburg on Sunday, November 6.

The event will be held in the Chandler Ballroom at the University Center from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Event is open to the public.

Stein and Gary Johnson, of the Libertarian Party, are running against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the November 8 General Election. Stein and Johnson were excluded from the recent series of presidential debates. 

News
Parr: Manassas residents will have say on new public safety facilities, pay

Rex Par is one of three Democrats vying for three open seats on the Manassas City Council.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Parr and all other candidates seeking a seat on the Manassas City Council. Parr’s responses are below: 

Find your polling place 

PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Parr: Schools, Public Safety, and Economic Development

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Parr: We need to engage a broad cross-section of our community in creating a new vision and strategic plan for Manassas, Citizens will weigh in on funding for schools, replacing Jennie Dean Elementary School, universal pre-K and Career and Technical Education. They will give us direction on new facilities and competitive pay for Public Safety. They will give opinions on the adequacy of our Economic Development efforts and our transportation network. Once they have spoken we can begin the process of moving Manassas forward, together.
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Parr: Do the right things, the right way, for the right reasons.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Parr:
Business skills honed over years as CEO of a very successful company. Governance skills learned in service to important community institutions. Proven strategic planning skills that help move organizations forward. Good people skills and a penchant for collaboration.
 
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Parr: I think the average citizen has so much on their plate that they don’t typically make time to keep up-to-date on local government. I am committed to a new, citizen-driven strategic planning process. We will have to engage people in multiple ways at multiple times and places. Education will need to precede visioning and planning. With the help of the City’s professional staff and skilled facilitators, we can get it done.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Parr: Although I have been involved in governing, leading and managing several local institutions, I’ve not held elected public office. So my mistakes are still before me. I hope to learn from them and avoid repeating them.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Parr: Leadership Prince William awarded me their inaugural ‘Vision’ award. The Prince William County Human Rights Commission named me a ‘Humanitarian’. The Coalition for Human Services awarded me for lifetime achievement. I was Grand Marshall of the Greater Manassas Christmas Parade. The Chamber of Commerce awarded me their inaugural ‘Sen. Charles J. Colgan Visionary Award’. Senator Charles J. Colgan and many others have endorsed me.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Lovejoy focused on promoting Manassas economy

Ian Lovejoy is running to keep his seat on the Manassas City Council. He is one of three Republicans vying for seats on the Council that is up for grabs.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Lovejoy and all other candidates seeking a seat on the Manassas City Council. Lovejoy’s responses are below: 

Find your polling place 

PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Lovejoy: 1. Reconciling the opinions some in the region have about the city, with the more positive truth.
 
2. Deciding what kind of city we want to be: Fairfax/Arlington model vs. Winchester/Leesburg model
 
3. Improving quality of life for current residents: overcrowding, zoning issues, etc.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Lovejoy: Our Economy-Playing to our Strengths.
*Fully revamp the city’s Economic Development website
*Launch SBA HUBzone marketing plan to attract high paying government contractors
*Work with regional partners to establish physical/virtual business incubator
*Work with local nonprofits to produce commercials featuring city businesses to air on city controlled stations and online
*Establish Entrepreneurship Academy in partnership with Chamber of Commerce and other community partners *Launch “Manassas is Open for Business” campaign
*Fight for the Taxpayer! Oppose raising taxes on businesses and citizens
*Expand membership in our Manassas Business Council to better advise council on economic matters and act as ambassadors to the broader business community
*Host semi-annual event with regional real-estate agents to communicate positive city information
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Lovejoy: To be the citizen’s voice. To aid residents in interfacing with the government (customer service). To recognize that being elected comes with the requirement to commit to a higher ideal, to recognize one is in the unique position to, ever so modestly, change our community for the better and attempt to rally others to that cause.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Lovejoy:
Individual citizens working together make a community strong– not the government. I’ve practiced what I preached and have served the community in many non-governmental roles including as President of the Manassas City Public Schools Education Foundation, as a volunteer for Historic Manassas, Inc., as Vice President of the Point of Woods HOA and currently as Chairman of the Tri-County Walk to End Alzheimer’s, in honor of my Grandfather, Clennie Lovejoy. I was recently named one of Northern Virginia’s “40 under 40”, recognized as one of the most “influential people in their professional industries and catalysts of community impact.”
 
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Lovejoy: I think we have a very engaged citizenry, but there’s always room to improve. I’ve been at the forefront of communicating with residents and sharing information (newsletter, direct mail, social media). I’d redouble those efforts.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Lovejoy: None that I’m aware of.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
Lovejoy: There isn’t a day that goes by that I do not feel blessed to serve the residents of the City of Manassas. More than going to ribbon cuttings or sitting behind the dais, I’ve worked with residents to improve our city and will continue to lead with clear principles, and innovative ideas.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Cendejas: Show Manassas Park residents where tax money is going, work to lower rate

Hector Cendejas is running as a write-in candidate for the Manassas Park Governing Body. 
 
He hopes to fill one of three open council seats.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Cendejas and all other candidates seeking a seat on the Governing Body. Cendejas’ responses are below: 

Find your polling place 

PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas Park residents?

Cendejas: While listening to hundreds of residents in our city, I’ve noted an underlying disconnect between city hall and residents. This disconnect translates into deeper frustration with other issues.
 
I am committed to making sure our residents are fully engaged, because we as residents deal with these issues every day and know the best solutions. City finances and the budget are also recurrent issues of importance for residents. We need to make sure our education system is properly funded, prioritize bringing commerce into our city, and prevent backwards development-planning which further exacerbates transportation issues for Manassas Park.
 
Cost of living is also a challenge for many, due to high taxes and water bills. We need to prevent any tax increases and find a solution to MP’s long-standing high water costs. This will allow us to maintain long-term residents in the city and attract more businesses.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Cendejas: In order to empower and engage residents in local decision-making, we need to be creative in our approach. We need to be interactive with our community by having meetings in their neighborhoods and creating Neighborhood Advisory Teams (or Commissions) to maintain constant dialogue.
 
We also need to use our technology more effectively to engage everyone. For example, it’d be great to have a city app sometime in the future for regular updates and hear from residents more easily. We need to be transparent and accountable to residents.
 
We should explore options that may include refinancing our debt and developing a business plan. This business plan could include incentives for Manassas Park residents willing to invest in the city as business owners and working with corporations in neighboring cities to explore the potential of expansion into Manassas Park.
 
I would host a town hall focused on commerce to bring together residents and businesses to begin developing strong ties between potential consumers and vendors. We also need to prevent residential developments that would make transportation issues worse. This negatively affects workers in our city too.
 
I also want to get creative in finding funds to cover smaller projects. High taxes and water bills have been two of the most recurrent issues I’ve heard affecting cost of living for residents. We need to be transparent with residents about how we are using taxes in our city.
 
People want to see where their money is going to be sure their taxes are being used wisely and effectively. We also need to take steps to have a fair rate for the water bill. It is important to be transparent with residents about why the rate is higher than local jurisdictions and work toward a lower rate.
 
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Cendejas: As a council member, my job will be to be the voice of all residents in Manassas Park. A big part of this job will be listening and constantly working to find all options to address our issues. With all options on the table, I will work with residents to make the best decisions. I also believe the job description includes being transparent and being accountable to residents in the city.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Cendejas:
My professional and academic training have given me the tools to be an effective council member. My masters in Social Work included preparation in Community Organization and Administration.
 
This preparation included training in planning and managing budgets. My time with MPCS also taught me a lot about the importance of strong collaboration with our schools. We can work with MPCS and local stakeholders to develop nontraditional and apprentice-style programs for youth, foster community engagement in local politics and become stronger.
 
I also have a lot of experience in promoting civic engagement. As a fellow for a member of Congress, I focused on bringing the community together to help address issues that directly affected the constituents. The member of Congress held quarterly town halls and also created a group of residents from different fields who would discuss what was important in the community. I plan to implement a similar structure with residents who will provide regular input to city officials.
 
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of town government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Cendejas: I feel citizens in our city definitely know the issues affecting us; they face them every day. I also believe they know best what we should be doing about these issues. Where I think the disconnect exists is getting to the how they can make their voices heard. It’s up to city officials to seek voices and opinions beyond election time. My goal is to increase transparency and make sure residents are at the table.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 

Cendejas: This is the first role I am seeking in public life. I know there will be a learning curve and I will have to adapt quickly, but I am more than capable of making this happen. If I make a mistake, I can promise to learn from my mistake and always work to be better.

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

Cendejas: Your readers should vote for me because my goal is to make sure our residents are part of the decision-making in our city. We are at a crossroads right now. We can either maintain the lack of communication between residents and leaders that is apparent in the city, or we can move forward with transparency, inclusion and decision-making by all, for all.

My experiences as a local employee have given me the opportunity to more deeply understand the issues in our city and develop relationships with people, who I know will be greats assets to help us moving forward. Now, as a social worker, I am empowering those I serve by working with them to understand problems affecting them, and together find the best solutions. I will also bring these skills to our city as council member.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Harrison would rely on working experience to guide him as Manassas Treasurer

Manassas residents will head to the polls November 8, 2016, to vote for a new City Treasurer.
 
Current City Treasurer Robin Perkins served in the position for the past 18 years and decided not to seek reelection.
 
Russell T. Harrison is the Republican on the ballot, and Patricia Richie-Folks is his Democratic opponent. 
 
We sent a questionnaire to Harrison and Richie-Folks. Harrison’s responses are below: 

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to Harrison. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Harrison: The Top three challenges for our City Treasurer are: Maintaining a professional staff within the Treasurer’s office, protecting the City’s stellar reputation for fiscal competence, and making the office accessible to all citizens.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Harrison: As treasurer, I will ensure that the treasurer’s office continues to be staffed by the most professional, well-trained and skilled people possible. Additionally, we will be utilizing the City’s new accounting system (which should be in place by early January) to make paying your bills easier, more secure and more transparent. Doing so will save the city money while improving the already high level of service provided by the Treasurer’s Office.
 
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Harrison: The City Treasurer is a full-time senior staff person within the City government. He/she is responsible for leading the Treasurer’s Office, overseeing the collection of almost all revenue owed to the city, ensuring that collected funds are accounted for properly, and then monitoring the City’s financial assets. It is one of the most difficult jobs in the Manassas government, requiring leadership, diplomacy, a mastery of financial law, discretion and hard work.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Harrison:
In addition to the leadership role I have played in the City, I bring 20 years of experience working for nonprofits in Washington. Thirteen of those years have been spent working for the world’s largest technical society, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). I currently run IEEE’s Government Relations office, supervise six professionals and directly control a $7 million budget.
 
I am also a senior staff member within IEEE, helping to run the $450 million global corporation. As part of this work, I have had to build, maintain and lead a high-quality staff of professionals. Moreover, I have directed my department to set and accomplish our agendas, serve our members and promote the objectives of the IEEE.
 
I have developed and managed multi-million dollar budgets, been entrusted with significant financial authority, become an expert in budget policy, and demonstrated a mastery of accounting and financial management principles. I have, in short, the education, experience, and record Manassas needs from its Treasurer.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Harrison: The Treasurer’s Office, like most parts of our government, remains mostly invisible. To the few citizens give the office much thought beyond tax day. But in a Democracy, citizens should play an active role in their government and should be at least familiar with how it operates.
I intend, as Treasurer, to continue to be a vocal and visible leader in Manassas. It is important that our citizens know who I am, and feel comfortable speaking to me if there are problems. Our City has not grown so big that Citizens can’t feel comfortable speaking with their elected leaders.

By getting out of my office and engaging the community on your terms, I will give you every opportunity to get to know me, and by extension, my office. I have used this approach effectively at my current job, where I represent 200,000 technology professionals across the U.S.

Rather than just sit in my office blasting our emails, I have personally visited over 220 of our sections across the country for the purpose of ensuring that our member knows who is running their association. You just can’t establish the level of trust needed for a thriving organization without meeting face-to-face. I have enjoyed these meetings enormously, but am looking forward to my meetings as your Treasurer being much closer to home.

In addition, I currently maintain a strict open-door policy for my staff and members. Anyone who works for me, or for whom I work, is always welcome to drop by my office if they have a problem. I believe in this policy, and will continue it as your Treasurer.

 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Harrison: Good question. I think anyone who has ever tried to do anything has made mistakes and those who haven’t tried made a mistake by not trying. To list just one, when I began serving on the Planning Commission, I made the mistake of trying to figure things out on my own. Because I didn’t have as much experience as the rest of the Board, and hadn’t taken Virginia tech’s certification class yet, I was reluctant to ask for help.

I didn’t want to seem unprepared or un-knowledgeable. My reluctance to reveal what I didn’t know made it harder for me to learn, made me less effective for the first several months on the Board, and cost me opportunities to contribute to Manassas.

I think it is natural for people to want to avoid looking foolish, and so to avoid pointing out when they don’t know things. But it is also a lost opportunity.

The Treasurer’s job is very hard, and it requires extensive knowledge of financial, budget, personnel, and tax law. I’ve worked in all of those fields, but am not yet an expert in any.

In my career, I have frequently had to master complicated policy areas quickly, and am good at it. But I can’t do it on my first day. You can be assured that I will be asking for help the first few months I am your Treasurer, especially from our current Treasurer, Robin Perkins, who has already offered to help.

The Treasurer’s job is too important, and difficult, for me to do anything less.

 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Harrison: The citizens of Manassas should vote for me because I am the most experienced and best-prepared candidate. City Treasurer is not a job for the faint of heart. It is an intellectually and emotionally difficult job. It requires long hours, attention to detail, mastery of several laws, professionalism and diplomatic tact.

But is isn’t that dissimilar to being Director Government Relation at the world’s largest technical society, which I have done successfully for the past several years. I have the formal training and professional experience to lead our staff, handle our budgets, manage our money and guide our City government into the future. More importantly, I have earned a reputation throughout Manassas for honesty, my work ethic, and integrity. 

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Theresa Coates Ellis says Manassas needs to fight blight, better enforce rules and codes

Theresa Coates Ellis is running on the Republican ticket for a seat on the Manassas City Council. 
 
A longtime city resident, this his her first time seeking public office. 
 
We sent a questionnaire to Coates Ellis, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. Her responses are below: 

Find your polling place

Manassas Park residents will head to the polls on November 8, 2016, General Election to choose two people to fill two open council seats, and a new mayor.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Way, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Ellis:
Strengthening schools. Create quality jobs and opportunities while supporting local businesses and advancing public image and communication. Keeping neighborhoods safe and clean.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Ellis: Businesses and community members connecting with the schools will build relationships to improve the challenges that we face in educating our students to be career-ready and college-ready. Strong schools will motivate businesses to invest in the City of Manassas building a foundation for families, better housing, and an inviting living experience. A business-friendly community environment will also encourage the entrepreneurial spirit. Public image and communication are important to the City of Manassas and the areas beyond the city. The City of Manassas has many assets: the airport, the train, utilities, parks and fitness, Civil War history plus a vibrant old town.
 
Public image and communication are important to the City of Manassas and the areas beyond the city. The City of Manassas has many assets: the airport, the train, utilities, parks and fitness, Civil War history plus a vibrant old town. Curating content from community member’s experiences with a new selected “Public Image Committee” will advance positive awareness.
 
User-friendly communication tools to improve the access of important community information and an outreach program is necessary.
 
Police, fire and rescue will be supported for community safety. We need to provide the necessary facilities, equipment, and manpower to continue their duties effectively.
 
Community members need to respect and be proud of their City of Manassas.
 
The City and community need to do a better job combatting litter and blight by enforcing laws, rules and codes. Community members can come together to volunteer their services and communicate with the city for action.
Fiscal responsibility will provide the community with the services they desire.
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Ellis:
The Manassas City Council’s job it to serve the community and provide the services that they desire.
 
PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Ellis:
I am a mother with seven children in my blended family who attended public schools. Since 1988, I have owned a City of Manassas business and volunteered in the community. I built my company from a healthcare management business in 1988 to Tackle Management, PR and Marketing.
Because of my experiences as a mother, a community volunteer and a business owner in the City of Manassas, I can offer a new perspective to our community.

I have the education and professional skills in marketing, communication and public relations to engage citizens and bring them together to solve tough problems and move Manassas forward.

I will work with the City to form a Public Image Committee to increase positive awareness and focus on the assets in our City selecting citizens as ambassadors for the community to curate content for an online website to share information.


PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Ellis: The average citizen is very busy, but some members of the community are active in local government. Increasing communication channels with more face to face interaction and online tools will improve awareness. A scheduled City audio podcast, video podcast, or live feed and a news blog with City updates are tools that would be beneficial.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Ellis: I finished my degree at George Mason University a few years ago when I had children in college. I regret not completing my degree at an earlier time in my life.
However, it was worth it in the long run. My degree in Business Communication provided me with updated skills to market and communicate during the era of the new rules of online marketing and public relations that some business owners find challenging.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Ellis: As a mother, experienced business owner and community leader, I have the family, professional and leadership experience necessary to bring our community together for a stronger Manassas.

We have a wonderful City of Manassas with treasures such as our old town charm, top Public Safety teams (Police, Fire and Rescue), a growing Airport, Lake Manassas and more. Our challenges include our schools, traffic, and communication. It will take a united City to solve these problems. Our citizens deserve strong leadership with integrity and vision. I am a fresh perspective who works hard, listens and cares deeply about our community. I have lived and worked in the community for more than 25 years.

I am dedicated, focused and ready to serve as Manassas City Council. 

 

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Way wants to survey Manassas infrastructure for growth, expand Rt. 28

Jonathan Way seeks another term on the Manassas City Council.
 
Over the years, Way has focused on development issues in the city. He’s also made the preservation of a now defunct water tower next to a city fire house a key pet project.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Way, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 

Find your polling place

Manassas Park residents will head to the polls for the November 8, 2016, General Election to choose two people to fill two open council seats, and a new mayor.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Way, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Way:
1. Balanced economic development. 2. Transportation improvement 3. Schools must become a magnet to attract and retain population

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Way: 1. Evaluate the city infrastructure’s ability to absorb projected growth. (water, electricity, sewer) without becoming over-extended. Tailor growth prospects, of which we have many, to infrastructure capability.
 
2. Advocate in regional bodies for Route 28 expansion and bypass from Godwin Drive to Interstate 66 to help our commuters. Support pending state-sponsored enhanced commuter bus links on I-66. Focus residential development in areas conveniently served by VRE and PRTC.
 
3. Council fully funds school needs at a per capita level 10-15% higher than neighboring jurisdictions. Operations are controlled by an independently elected School Board. We need to encourage and support them in their mission
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Way:
Council members are elected to serve the entire city so members must have a balanced perspective. Members must be fiscally prudent and socially inclusive of all citizens. Members should have the ability to evaluate ideas, understand cost control, and manage the “business” of being a city.
 
PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Way:
 Thirty-seven years with one international oil company in a wide variety of managerial and professional positions in the USA and four overseas countries. I understand economics, budgeting, prioritization, and handling conflicting pressures. 15 years serving Manassas in the Planning Commission and City Council. No other candidate even approaches this level of experience.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Way: I believe the average citizen does understand the workings of government, even if he/she doesn’t always agree with the actions. The city has an extensive outreach throughout every department to acquaint citizens with issues and seek their input in the decision process so as to provide fullest practical transparency. Council is looking at expanding real time TV coverage of meetings beyond the Council and the School Board. All meetings are “open” except personnel and business negotiation.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Way: Yes. I have learned that those who do not agree with me still have valid positions and ideas which should be considered in reaching decisions. The “my way or the highway” approach should be minimized.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Way: I bring long experience, strong commitment, enthusiasm and a proven record of accomplishments whcih benefit the city and all its citizens.
 

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Youlen focused on bringing career jobs to Manassas

Manassas residents will head to the polls for the November 8, 2016 General Election to choose who should fill three open council seats, and a new mayor.

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to Youlen, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Youlen:
Revenue Generation, Infrastructure, and Debt

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
Youlen: Quality of Life- Retain public employees through top tier benefit packages with a focus on police and fire. Enforce zoning ordinances, not just in Olde Town, but throughout the entire city.
 
Local Economy- Attract businesses through local revitalization projects with a goal of attracting companies that provide career type jobs for people. Stop offering incentive packages to “fly by night” businesses that last six months and disappear just to fill vacant commercial space in Old Town. Bring in businesses that people like and want such as eateries, coffee shops, bars, live events ect.
 
*Editors note: Youlen cited the recently closed Center Street Gourmet as a business that received tax incentives to open in Downtown Manassas. The city refunded the business’ occupancy permit fees after it opened but did not provide a cash grant, said Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small.
 
Vacancy- The city continues to build at record paces without any regard for the capacity it has to deal with the trickle down effect in schools and on roads. We should be filling the massive amount of commercial and residential neighborhoods before building more of the same.
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Youlen:
City Councilman- Representative of the people of the city of Manassas. I don’t think this question is geared for some boring technical answer so I think a politician should be someone who connects with the people. Not his or her inner circle of politicos and media types, but can relate to people without regard to political party affiliation or what neighborhood they live in. Someone who has compassion for public service, and the dedication to make his or her community a better place.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Youlen:
I have a background in law enforcement, and in today’s political climate I think it can be a much-needed asset to the council. None of the other members or candidates can say this. I’m younger than the average candidate, and I think that makes a huge difference in getting younger voters involved and understanding the political process about our government.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
Youlen: No, the vast majority of people from my perspective have very little interest in local politics. A lot could not even name one council member. Social media is an obvious choice when it comes to connecting to the community especially with younger members of the community. I think attending community events such as HOA meetings and community days are advantageous to improving communication.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?
 
Youlen: Never held public office.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Youlen: Quite frankly I’m not more of the same. I’m not part of the political club. I offer a fresh perspective on numerous things, not more of the same old business as usual approach to everything. I think people are clamoring for change on both sides, and I am their avenue for that change.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Schubert says solar power can save Manassas Park $1 million

Manassas Park residents will head to the polls for the November 8, 2016, General Election to choose who should fill three open council seats, and a vote for a new mayor.
 
Richard R. Schubert Jr. bills himself as a community activist and familiar face at Governing Body meetings. He is runing as a write-in candidate to fill one of two open seats on the Governing Body.

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to Schubert, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas Park residents?

Schubert:
City debt and expenses, school and services funding, lack of cultural events.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Schubert: City debt and expenses- I would like to see a Solar Power Study done and implementation of Solar Power to the Community Center to start. Their utilities in the budget last year were $200,000 and that does not include water use. Over five years we could see savings of close to $1 million from my first look at the budget and data by trying this approach if the study shows we can bank enough power to meet the needs of the facility.

Office equipment is currently a $50,000 budget line item and I would change that for the next two years to by special request and approval only. We had many upgrades recently and should be fine without upgrades the next two years in my opinion.

Refinancing current debt is the biggest saving for the stability of Manassas Park and if this is not already done by the time I take office I will push forward to see what can be done with the existing rate we currently pay. I also want to go to all business and create a common media site FB/Twitter to get special events that any local businesses can use to get announcements out to the community.

Schools and Services- The first thing I would apply cost savings dollars toward would be Schools and Services. I would like to lower our tax rate but these priorities have to come first. We have a large Latino community and need to make sure the schools are equipped to handle English Second Language to be successful and strengthen our community.

We also need to look at competing with salaries with other cities and school districts, we lose good people because of a lack of cost of living increases.

Lack of cultural events- The first thing I would like is to have a Multicultural day in the Spring with Rock, Country, Latin, Hip/Hop, and other diverse music groups. I would also want food vendors in the City there to represent our many cultures.

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

Schubert:
City Council is a job that needs skills to analyze budgets and come up with solution to make revenue and spending as balanced as possible while giving the community the highest consideration in decision making. Being an ear to hear and a voice to speak to concerns of the people must be of the highest priority.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Schubert:
I have been an outspoken leader for the people of Manassas Park, I have lived here 18 years and want a higher standard of living than we have at this time. My skills are organization, creativity, and toughness. Currently I am a Career and Technical Education Instructor at Falls Church Academy and also the Workplace Readiness Skills Collaborative Team Lead. My last job at Inova Fairfax Hospital I was the Senior Pharmacy Technician Manager for four years where I managed and trained technicians.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Schubert: The City website is improving, The Parks and Rec.(Community Center) is doing a good job of that. Governing body needs to have a Facebook site to get out news as well as what they currently do so I would use more social media if and when possible.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?
 
Schubert: The mistakes I have made were opportunities that I turned down because I was not ready to take and thus missed chances to make a difference and be more successful.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Schubert: I have been on the Board of Zoning, Social Services Advisory Board, and Parks and Rec. Advisory Committee. I have also spoken at City Council meetings on many occasions to try to make a difference. I have creative ideas and listen to my friends and neighbors to know the problem and have ideas to solve those problems or concerns as they may be.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Kahlon’s platform for Manassas Park: More businesses, better schools, reduce taxes

Mehtab Singh Kahlon is running as a write-in candidate for one of two open seats on the Manassas Park Governing Body. 

The Independent is a first-time candidate.

We sent a questionnaire to Kahlon, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 

Find your polling place

PLWhat are the top three major issues facing Manassas Park residents?
 
Kahlon: More Businesses, Better Schools, Reduce Taxes
 
PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Kahlon: Bring More Businesses Into the City. More jobs. More tax revenue. Better city image. Reduce water bills. Reduce real estate taxes. Invest more money into schools. Higher teacher salaries. More school buses. Get rid of auto decals.
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Kahlon:
Serve the community and people you represent.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Kahlon:
 I been a well-respected member of the Manassas Park Community for over 16 years. I have over 10 years of experience working with government agencies including the Federal Labor Relations Authority, Department of Transportation, and Department of Treasury and has worked closely with Congress for four years.
 
After earning his MBA degree, I pursued further education in engineering and worked in the software industry for 17 years. I am also a successful small business owner, but my true pride rests in my family that I have encouraged to work hard in all that they do and to be involved in the community.
 
My wife Karamjit Kahlon has served Manassas Park as a Deputy Treasurer for over 11 years. Additionally, I have raised two children Amolak Singh Kahlon (MPHS Class of 2012-Valedictorian) and Navroop Kahlon (MPHS Class of 2014) who received the entirety of their K-12 educations through the Manassas Park City Schools System.
 
My vision for Manassas Park is to collaborate with residents in a grassroots capacity to develop solutions for our community’s most pressing issues.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Kahlon: I feel average citizen is informed about and understands the working of local government, but I am planning to increase communication and improve the quality of information shared.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Kahlon: We all make mistakes in our life learning experiences, but I can not remember one now.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Kahlon: I am a local resident for almost 16 years.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Rogers says drive from Manassas Park City Center along Route 28 must be improved

Mike Rogers during a recent candidates forum called Manassas Park one of the best places to live in the U.S. 

Originally from Philadelphia, the pastor is making his first bid in a write-in campaign for a seat on the Manassas Park Governing Body.

Find your polling place

Manassas Park residents will head to the polls for the November 8, 2016 General Election to choose two people to fill two open council seats, and a new mayor.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Rogers, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas Park residents?

Rogers:
Revenue Generation, Infrastructure, and Debt

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Rogers: 1) Attract large businesses to come to Manassas Park. 2) Review and identify all City Contract in order to identify which (if any) can be renegotiated and do so. 3) Reduce the number of suppliers and identify cost efficiencies that may be available and develop strategic relationships 4) Roadways must be developed, expanded, or manipulated to foment the persistent traffic along Manassas Drive from the City Center through Route 28. 5) Manassas City, Prince William County and Fairfax County must be convinced to take their proper part in re-engineering traffic 6) We attack the debt issue by increasing revenues not by increasing taxes.
 
Editor’s note: Rogers says he’ll increase revenue by working to lure large corporations to the city. 
From Rogers: 
 
To clarify, by increasing the revenue base using smart development (as an example encouraging large employers to open locations in Manassas Park and negotiating more with the City Center Developer to build-out the spaces that are in the City Center) we can attack the debt issue. I am opposed to increasing the amount of taxes that individuals already pay.

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

Rogers:
From my perspective, the City Council is an advocate for the people – own who has the chance to interact with people on a regular basis and one that has the duty of communicating their concerns. But, the City Council also has the duty of protecting the City, foreseeing issues, and being a stabilizing force. Lastly, I would say that the person on City Council has the duty of not going it alone , but of being a team player.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Rogers:
Accountant, contract manager, counselor, teacher

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Rogers: I feel that the average citizen is uninformed and does not understand the workings of local government. But, that is sad. I intend on being a change agent. I’ll offer time in my office to school students, mom’s, and businessmen. I’ll conduct regular sessions with other members of the Governing Body focused on gaining understanding and finding ways to communicate with the citizens of Manassas Park in the way that they communicate.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Rogers: I’m a pastor and a business leader. I make mistakes pretty regularly. But, I approach them by trying to be open and by asking for help to make things better.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Rogers: Hopefully, the readers will see that I have been a leader throughout my professional life. I believe that when they see my willingness to listen to them and to drive their issues, they’ll put their trust in me as a leader. The readers should vote for me because, regardless of whether or not I am elected as councilman, I am a leader in Manassas Park and have been one since I arrived.
 

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Machado wants to give residents options to spend money where they live

Miriam Paula Machado is running as a write-in candidate for the Manassas Park City Governing Body.

She hopes to fill one of two open council seats on the board. 

She told attendees at a recent voter forum she is running, in part, to inspire young women to aspire to higher goals.

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to Machado, and all other candidates seeking office for the Manassas Park Governing Body. His responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas Park residents?

Machado:
 The most pressing issues our city faces in our local economic development, education, and transportation.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Machado: Economic development. Refinance current debt so the percentage of our budget gets reduced and we have a much higher percentage to invest in our schools. Attract high-tech companies to come to the city and to hire high-tech professionals, in high number in the City of Manassas Park. Make this city more attractive so the residents spend their money in local restaurants, local attractions for all age groups. Support small businesses in our local community.
 
Education: I want to draw attention to issues raised by all members of our community, provide resources for families with children, and ensure education is highlighted as a priority. Education is the foundation for every opportunity. I want to see each child develop into their full potential, I want to see more after school activities, I want to see more incentives for our teachers, I want to see more school counselors in each [Manassas Park] school, I want to see our kids SOL (Standards Of Learning) scores go up. I do not want any kid to be left behind; parents, families, communities, and schools must work together to raise the academic standards in the city of Manassas Park.
 
Transportation: We need to work together with Manassas, Prince William County, Fairfax County to bring a group solution to the transportation nightmare that all we experience going to work every morning. We need improvements in Route 28, bring Metro services to this area of Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William County, bring more bus services to Manassas Park, make VRE fares more accessible.
 
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Machado:
The City of Manassas Park operates under the Council-Manager form of government. Legislative powers are vested in the mayor and five city council members who are elected at-large for four-year terms. They establish City policy, Pass resolutions and ordinances (laws) Approve the City budget Set tax rates Approve land use plans Make appointments such as selecting the city manager, city clerk, city attorney and members of various boards and commissions.
 
PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Machado:
I hold a Master of Science degree in Management Information Systems. I have worked in the area of Information Systems for the past 24years. As a contractor, I proudly provided my services to the US Army, and to the Food And Drug Administration, and as a professional woman I am excited and motivated to use my skills and experience to provide a fundamental public service to my community. I would like to voice all of your concerns and work hard to bring solutions to our community.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Machado: There are programs for senior citizens and for different age groups in our new recreation center, I would like to reach out to all our citizens, we could use more efficient technologies, like apps, so the residents who travel to work towards the Washington, D.C. downtown area and surrounding areas know what is going on in real time in the City of Manassas Park. Parents know what educational programs are offered after school, what programs directed to senior citizens exist, what fun and entertainment is happening locally, so we all spend locally, at the same time supporting our local small businesses in the different trades.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Machado: I have made mistakes, but no major mistakes, mistakes that I learned from and that served to improve to have a more balanced life.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Machado: I am a Mother of three children who studied in the Manassas Park City School System: Luis is now a working professional, Michael is an undergraduate at Yale University, MPHS Class of 2015, Valedictorian, and Mark is a senior at Manassas Park High School.
 
I want to be a role model to every woman and girl. My long record of consistency allowed me to achieve a balanced life as a mother, professional worker, wife, daughter, and sister. I would like everyone to have a sense of belonging in this community, we all have to be inclusive and know our neighbors, and we need to celebrate diversity and we need to bring all the community together.
 
I would like to voice all of your concerns and work hard to bring solutions to our community. We need to have a vision, an audacity for hope, hope for a better future for our kids, hope for good schools, and a safe community to live in, hope senior citizens may maintain a life of tranquility.
 
We need to work for a more sustainable future, yet have major ambitions, and know how to balance these goals in order to focus our efforts. I would like to pursue the hope I always have to have a better opportunity for personal development, which I am still achieving I hope to help all achieve personal development And I plan to do so as I am running to be a member of your City Council.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Reinboldt focused on reducing Stafford class sizes

Dana Reinboldt is running to reclaim her seat on the Stafford County School Board.

She lost it last November to Emily Fallon who is sentenced to serve one year in prison after she stole more than $23,000 from the Anne E. Moncure Elementary School PTO, while she was the president of the organization. 

 
The Stafford County School Board appointed Melissa Ayres to fill the seat in June on a temporary basis. Ayres chose not to seek election to the seat on a permanent basis, said Stafford County General Registrar Greg Riddlemoser.

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to Reinboldt. Her responses are below: 
 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing parents and students in the Griffis-Widewater District?

Reinboldt:
1) Fiscal Management of Stafford County Public Schools, 2) Reducing Class Sizes, 3) Competitive salaries to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers and staff.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?
 
Reinboldt: 1) I want policy written that holds school division staff accountable for misrepresenting budget and spending to the School Board. 2) The School Division needs to keep closer track of enrollment data in order to hire enough teachers so that overcrowding in classrooms does not occur. 3) There needs to be better management of the School Division Budget to ensure the focus is on salaries and benefits.
PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Reinboldt:
Representing the Griffis-Widewater District entails participating in school board meetings, work sessions, events at schools and other public events. Researching, voting on and adopting education policies, programs, rules and regulations which govern Board procedures and the administration of the school division. Examining and approving the school division budget, awarding contracts, setting salary schedules and wages.
 
On recommendation of the Superintendent employ teaches and staff. Maintaining and improving school facilities, presenting needs of the school to the appropriating body, representing the school division and education programs to the general public. Hear and act upon communications from citizens and organizations. Act as a court of appeals for staff, and conduct student discipline hearings.l

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Reinboldt:
I bring experience to this position. I know what the problems are and I have clear ideas of what to do to fix them. I’ve brought many successful programs and policies to the schools that I am proud of, including security entrances to all the schools, before and after school child care, activity buses for high school students, bringing the IB program to Brooke Point High School, an Activities Code of Conduct for high school students, ParentVue and StudentVue, and increased parental participation on advisory committees including the Calendar Committee, the textbook advisory committee, and the Strategic Planning Committee.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of the School Board? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
 
Reinboldt: I do feel the average citizen is well-informed and understand the workings of local government. However, the school division has a responsibility to reach out and keep the community well informed.
 
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
 
Reinboldt: I’m very new to social media, and I think it was a mistake in my public life to not use it more as a means to communicate with my district. As a result I am learning the benefits of social media and the ease of communication that it brings.
 
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
 
Reinboldt: I have extensive experience and institutional knowledge. I have a strong record of accomplishments showing that I can get things done, and a proven record of success in enhancing education opportunities.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

News
Manassas Park will hold voter forum tonight: Write-in candidates abound

A group of candidates running for Manassas Park City Governing Board will meet and greet voters tonight. 

The candidates’ forum will begin at 7 p.m. at the Manassas Park Community Center, located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park.

Press release: 

This forum provides a rare opportunity for citizens to ask questions and meet the candidates for Mayor and City Council. List of confirmed participants include: Frank Jones, Jeanette Rishell, Hector Cendejas, Melissa Garza, Mehtab Kahlon, Miriam Machado, Michael Rogers, Richard Schubert, Donald Shuemaker, and Bill Treuting.

There are three open seats on the Governing Body this election cycle.

Jones is seeking re-election as Mayor, while Rishell decided not to run for reelection for her seat on the Manassas City Park Governing Board to seek a first term as Mayor. Both of these candidates appear on the city’s election ballot.

Donald Shuemaker is the only other candidate for governing body that met the requirements to be listed on the ballot. All others, to include Cendejas, Garza, Kahlon, Machado, Rogers, Shubert, and Treuting will be write-in candidates. 

The two top write-in vote getters will win at least two of the three open seats.

Voters will head to the polls on November 8.

News
Trump dumped Stewart: ‘I will continue to support Trump’

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, At-large was fired from the Donald Trump for President campaign after he staged a rally outside Republican National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

Stewart had been serving as Trump’s point man in Virginia since the billionaire held a campaign rally in Manassas last December. Monday’s rally organized by Stewart came as several Republicans rescinded their support for the billionaire presidential candidate.

Stewart released this statement today: 

“In December of 2015, I was asked to be Donald Trump’s Virginia Chairman because we both share a common vision for America — strong borders, strong national security, and bringing jobs back home. I’ve spent the past year campaigning for Trump across the Commonwealth of Virginia, meeting and hearing from thousands of voters.

Members of the GOP establishment, however, withdrew their endorsements or admonished Donald Trump the moment the heat turned up. They ran. I never run.

I joined with Virginia Women for Trump on Monday to demonstrate on the doorstep of the RNC in Washington because the weak-chinned RNC establishment was diverting funds from the Trump campaign. I knew that staging a protest at the RNC was going to raise eyebrows, cause tension, and bring pressure on squirmy politicians. I knew it might result in my being removed as Chairman. I chose to go forward with it because this country is too important to stand idly by as our own party throws the election to Hillary Clinton.

We have too much at stake this year. I will continue to support Trump and do everything I can to ensure his election, and I hope you will too.”

On Monday, Stewart, who is also making a run for Virginia Governor, sent out this statement to rally support for his Washington demonstration: 

Corey Stewart and the Virginia Women for Trump will be protesting out in front of the RNC Headquarters today at 2 PM.

WHERE: Republican National Committee Headquarters
ADDRESS: 310 First Street SE, Washington, D.C.
TIME: 2:00pm

 

News
County voter mailer sparks confusion in Manassas City

voting-pwc

Manassas officials tell us some voters in who live in the city are confused after they received a letter in the mail providing them incorrect information about where to vote. 

The mailer came from the Prince William County Office of Elections, which handles elections in the county, not in the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

We’ve attached a photo of that mailer, obtained from city spokeswoman Patty Prince to this post.

Prince told us the mailer sparked multiple phone calls to the city’s voter registrar’s office asking if they’re polling places had changed, and if they were to vote now at locations in Prince William County. Manassas officials told city residents that the flier did not pertain to them.

We’ve contacted the Prince William County Office of Elections, but it has yet to provide comment on this post.

Manassas officials sent out these reminders to their residents: 

A few reminders for City voters:

The last day to register to vote for the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election is Oct. 17, 2016 by 5 p.m.

The City of Manassas Voter Registration Office, located at 9025 Center St., Manassas, will be open for in-person absentee voting Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Friday, Sept. 23.

The Voter Registration Office will be open two Saturdays for In-person absentee voting: Oct. 29 and Nov. 5from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The last day to vote absentee in-person is Nov. 5, 2016 for the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election.

The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016.

City leaders also reminded residents that a photo ID is required on Election Day Nov. 8, and for those who are voting early or absentee. 


Fact Checking the Manassas City Council Forum: A negative turn for the City Council race

citycouncilchambers

Recently, Historic Manassas, Inc. hosted a City Council Forum.  A lot was said and a lot of ideas were raised.  The conversation was on point and civil– until the closing remarks. 

City Council candidate Rex Parr chose to use his closing statement to go decidedly negative, making inaccurate claims that in some cases play to our fears rather than hopes.  When such false claims are made, it tarnishes our city’s reputation and the hard work done by our city staff and employees.

There’s so much negativity in the politics at our state and federal levels, I’d hoped the local race would set an example of how elections should be.  Unfortunately, that hope has been seriously diminished.

Mr. Parr may be new to running for office, but he’s mastered being a politician.

Since these false claims are in the public domain now, I think it’s important they be examined, vetted and corrected.

I’ve chosen the top offenders to showcase below.

Rex Parr False Statement 1:
“[the council experiences] stalemate, tie votes, no action on vital issues before the council that affect our kids, our communities and future economic development”

The truth:
The council has a diverse range of positions, indicative of the diverse range of thoughts held by our city residents.  There are, on occasion, tie votes, as there are on any elected body, but none have stopped critical actions from being taken that impact our kids/schools/communities or economic development as Rex has claimed.  At most, the wide range of views has triggered compromise, which is far too lacking in most political bodies.

Rex Parr False Statement 2:
“[since the great recession] efforts to restore spending have been consistently blocked”

The truth:
The city budget is now above pre-recession levels. Funding has been restored.  Also, showing prudence and fiscal restraint has earned our city a AAA bond rating, which will save our citizens millions in borrowing costs in the future.

Rex Parr False Statement 3:
“our public services have been starved […] their missions have been jeopardized”

The truth:
Our public services are award winning and rank among the best in the nation.  From a police department in the top 1%, to an award winning utility department.  Our public services also received stellar reviews by you, the citizens, in the recent citizen satisfaction survey, beating state and national averages.

Rex Parr False Statement 4:

“[because of city council austerity] the reputation of our schools [has been] tarnished”

Fact:
The schools are managed by an independently elected School Board who has made it VERY clear that they are in charge of the schools. The city council has met its funding obligations to the schools, and the system currently spends 10%-15% more per pupil than our surrounding localities.  Let me say it again: the city council meets its funding obligations.  If our school’s reputation is “tarnished” as Mr. Parr states, it is less likely to do with city council austerity, and more likely due to the drop in test scores and achievement we’ve suffered– which would be the responsibility of the School Board.  He’s directing his ire at the wrong elected body.

I consider Rex to be a good guy, and hope he’ll pull back from this unfortunate course and run the rest of this race in a positive, accurate way.

This post is paid for by Manassas Councilman Ian Lovejoy.

News
The 2016 General Election starts today with absentee voting

From Delegate Rich Anderson (who is not running for re-election this year): 

With Election Day in only 47 days, and tomorrow (Friday, September 23) being the first day that you can vote Absentee In-Person, I’m providing you with information that will make your voting experience easier.  

If you need to register to vote, update your current voter registration, or can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, please visit this website

The deadline to register to vote, or to update your current voter registration for this year’s General Election, is October 17

 
If you are unable to make it to the polls on Election Day (Tuesday, November 8), you can vote Absentee In-Person or vote Absentee By Mail.
 
You will be able to vote Absentee In-Person in this year’s general election beginning Friday, September 23.
 
There are easy ways to vote Absentee:
  • Apply online to receive a ballot by mail by clicking here.

  • Vote Absentee In-Person by visiting the Prince William County (PWC) Office of Elections or various satellite voting locations in PWC.

  • The PWC Office of Elections is at 9250 Lee Ave., Suite 1, Manassas, VA.

  • http://www.pwcvotes.com/absentee-voting-locations

 
There are multiple reasons you can vote via Absentee ballot, which include:
  • Being away from home on business on Election Day

  • Being away from home on personal business or vacation on Election Day

  • Having an illness or disability that keeps you from the polls on Election Day

For the full list of reasons why you may be eligible to vote Absentee, a list of Absentee In-Person voting locations and hours, and much more information, please visit: 

http://elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/index.html

Page 3 of 4012345...102030...Last »