Politics

Dudenhefer focused on fixing transportation, cost of education

News

This is Mark Dudenhefer’s third run for the Virginia House of Delegates for the 2nd District that includes eastern Prince William County and the northern portion of Stafford County.

Dudenehfer won the seat in 2011 after serving for five years on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors. He lost the seat to Michael Futrell in 2013.

While Futrell is not seeking reelection to the 2nd District House Seat, Dudenhefer faces a Primary Election challenge from Republican Tim Ciampaglio on June 9.

If Dudenehfer wins the Primary Election, he’ll go on to face Democrat Rod Hall in the November General Election on Nov. 3.

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We sent Dudenhefer a candidate survey, and here’s what he told us: 

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

Dudenhefer:

1. Fixing our transportation issues and improving infrastructure.

2. Reducing the size of government to grow jobs and the economy.

3. Improving education by putting more dollars into the classroom.

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

 

Dudenhefer:   I have a proven track record of fixing our region’s transportation problems. In my years of public service, I have spearheaded numerous projects including:

  • Extending the express lanes to Garrisonville Rd.
  • New Interchange and Widening of Courthouse Rd.
  • Widening of Garrisonville Rd.
  • Widening of Route 1.
  • Straightening & Widening of Mountain View Rd.
  • Adding over 1,000 parking spaces to the 610 Commuter Lot

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

Dudenhefer:  I have a proven track record of acquiring funding and finding solutions for our transportation needs and that will continue be a top priority of mine in Richmond. The current Delegate failed to stand-up for us while millions of transportation dollars were stripped away from our region. I will be a leading advocate to get those millions back for Prince William and Stafford Counties.

Everyday it seems like a new report comes to light regarding the waste of our tax dollars. I have proposed what is called the “Lean Government Initiative.” The “Lean Government Initiative” will do more with less, and help streamline government more like the private sector.

Lean government models have been used in other states to cut down backlogs, use taxpayer money more effectively, and improve governmental processes to ensure peak performance. My initiative has been endorsed by local business leaders and will save our state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The quality and cost of education is something that is very dear to me. All of my children attended Stafford County public schools and three out of my five grandchildren currently are enrolled in Stafford County Schools. The cost of education at all levels is skyrocketing and federal mandates are not helping the situation. We need to do our best to make sure that the bureaucrats in Washington don’t dictate a one-size-fits-all approach.

Each school and county is  different and the leaders in those communities know what works best for them. We need to get big government out of the picture, reduce the cost of education, and give our teachers and kids the tools they need to succeed.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Dudenhefer: I first got into politics to serve the people and make a difference. My goal is to be a tireless advocate for families in our region by leading, listening and being responsive. I have a proven track record of improving transportation, reducing the size of government, cutting taxes, and using common sense solutions to ease our traffic problems. In Richmond, I will continue to stand up for our region and provide the best services to our families at the lowest cost to taxpayers.

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?

Dudenhefer: 

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

Dudenhefer: My biggest regret in life was the life-altering event that changed my family’s world forever, the night my daughter lost her life on a Stafford County road. Prior to that, I never thought I would run for elected office, I was happy with my life; I had a job, a beautiful home, and a great family.

The tragic loss of my daughter, Emily, led me to run for elected office to make our local roads safer for our families, especially our young drivers. Our calling to service is a burden that keeps [Kay Dudenhefer, wife of Mark Dudenhefer] and me resolute in fixing our crumbling infrastructure.

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

Dudenhefer: We need leaders in Richmond, not followers. I retired as a Colonel in the Marine Corps. Under my leadership, in the first few months as Chairman of Stafford County Supervisors, we repealed the BPOL Tax, lowered our own salaries and reduced the county budget.

I have a proven track record of making tough decisions to improve the lives of Virginians. Beyond my proven track record of previous public service, I have also been a leader in this race. I was the first to propose a Lean Government Plan; then my opponent followed with a very similar plan a few days later. Leaders lead and followers follow, and the last thing we need in Richmond is just another follower.

This campaign is about leadership. I have led Marines and I have led throughout my political life. Under my leadership, the Stafford County Board of Supervisors repealed the BPOL tax, reduced our own salary, reduced property taxes, and reduced the size of government.

We made the tough budget decisions to keep Stafford County fiscally sound. While in Richmond, I helped defeat over 2.5 billion in proposed taxes and budget increases. In this race, I was the first to propose a Lean Government Plan that was endorsed by local businesses. In Richmond, I will be accountable to the people and will always ask first, “What is best for Stafford County and Prince William County?”

Anderson: Federal burdens on private businesses slowing job growth

News

Delegate Richard L. “Rich” Anderson has served in the General Assembly since 2009. He represents the 51st House District which encompasses most of Prince William County.

He is seeking reelection this year, so Potomac Local sent a candidate survey to Anderson to see why voters should reelect him to go back to Richmond.

Voters will head to the polls to decide a winner for this race on Nov. 3, 2015.

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

Anderson: Jobs, economy, and transportation

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

Anderson: Jobs: State and local governments must partner to bring more businesses and jobs to [Prince William County]. This will broaden our business base and lessen the burden on residential property owners, while permitting people to live where they work.

As the new chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology, I have initiated a series of discussions with NoVA technology companies and associations about a legislative agenda for January 2016 that will attract businesses to Prince William County. As chair of the House-Senate Military and Veterans Caucus, I am working with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and PWC government to build a comprehensive Virginia Veterans Care Center in PWC, which will host 120+ residents and create 200 jobs in the county. As the Chief Patron of House Bill 1906 that created the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program in 2013, I teamed with Sen. Linda T. Puller (D-36) on bi-partisan efforts under which Virginia companies have so far hired 9,000+ veterans out of 11,800 jobs pledged.

Economy: The federal economy remains anemic because federal burdens on private businesses continue to chill job creation and growth. I’ve heard that from literally thousands of business owners across Virginia. This has been compounded by the federal sequestration and the withdrawal of defense industry dollars in NoVA. As a member of the Governor’s Commission on Military Installations and Defense Activities, I have worked over the last two years with my fellow commission members on a comprehensive set of initiatives that are now on the Governor’s desk for consideration. This bi-partisan effort will lessen Virginia’s dependence on federal dollars and invigorate our state economy through local initiatives.

Transportation: It’s crucial that more NoVA tax dollars be returned to our area for use in reducing traffic congestion. I supported legislation to give urban (NoVA and Hampton Roads) legislators a bigger say in how transportation dollars are spent, but legislators from other parts of the state defeated this proposal. I strongly supported a successful bill to require that congestion mitigation be the primary criteria for allocating transportation dollars. As a member of the House Transportation Committee, PRTC Board of Commissioners, and Virginia-North Carolina High Speed Rail Commission, I will continue to work hard for transportation solutions that speed the movement of commuters, goods, and services.

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

Anderson: Our Prince William neighbors have taught me over the last six years that they wish to be represented, not “governed.” My job is best described as one that requires me to spend the bulk of my day in direct constituent interaction so that I understand the needs of our neighbors, can provide comprehensive services when requested, and represent the best interests of Prince William families and businesses at home and in Richmond.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Anderson: Over the course of a 30-year military career during which I led large and complex organizations, I was able to learn a skill set that has served me well in the Virginia General Assembly. Today, I’m privileged to chair a full House committee, co-chair the House-Senate Military and Veterans Caucus, and lead a number of state boards and commissions. Over the last six years, that has provided me with insights into the needs and desires of Virginians in Prince William County and across the Commonwealth.

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?

Anderson: The largest portion of Prince William County residents are focused on raising a family, earning a living, and commuting to and from their work places. That’s why I take my legislative message and constituent services to their door steps, their front porches, and their living room couches and kitchen tables. I personally answer hundreds of constituent emails each day, attend a half-dozen community events each day; host town hall meetings, visit schools and classrooms, and publish periodic newsletters. That’s how I achieve the two-way dialogue that makes my constituents and I informed partners in the legislative process.

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

Anderson: Since my first election in 2009, I have worked hard to engage with our Prince William neighbors, listen to viewpoints that both coincide and differ from mine, and consider policy options with care and deliberation. During that time, I have tried to avoid mistakes in my public life and to take care in how I articulate ideas in the public forum. Like all humans, I am vulnerable to error and will use any future error as an opportunity for growth and accountability.

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

Anderson: Throughout my 2009 campaign for the 51st House District seat, I pledged that I would be fully engaged with our people, deeply involved in the life of Prince William County, devoted totally to delivering quality constituent services, and that I would be readily available and quickly reachable. I have worked hard to be true to that promise, and I humbly ask our 51st House District neighbors to permit me to continue to serve at home and in Richmond.

Bell not seeking reelection for school board

News

9:30 a.m. 

Lisa Bell sent Potomac Local this statement: 

“It has been my honor to serve the Neabsco District. I will be making a formal announcement during board matters tonight.”

5 a.m. 

Lisa Bell will not be seeking reelection for her Prince William County School Board seat in the Neabsco district, sources stated.

Potomac Local reached out to Bell, who did not return requests for comment.

Bell was appointed to the school board in 2010 to fill a vacancy. She was elected to the seat in November 2010, and has been serving for 5-years.

Currently there are two declared candidates for the seat – Diane Raulston and Joseph George.

Two Democrats debate for supervisor seat in Dumfries

News

Last week, two Democratic primary candidates for the Potomac district – Andrea Bailey and Dumfries Town Councilman Derrick Wood –  met for a debate.

The debate was an opportunity for voters to meet the candidate and learn their stances prior to the upcoming primary, which is on June 9.

Commercial tax base

Bailey and Wood first spoke about what needs to happen in order to expand the commercial tax base.

Bailey stated that promoting small businesses was an important piece of growing the commercial tax base.

“We live in the third most affluent environment in Virginia – and I think that’s a wonderful thing… I think that one of the things we need to really focus on is how we manage the budget, as it reflects the tax rate. There is 83% of the tax rate that comes into the county, and it’s coming from residential taxes…we really need to focus on bringing in more commercial businesses into this environment, as well as supporting and shoring up the small businesses in this community,” said Bailey.

Wood recalled a time when Fairfax was in a similar situation with a lower commercial to residential tax rate – stating that diversification is the way to go.

“When you look at the economy – to me – that’s as important as overcrowding in the schools…we need to find a way to diversify and to really growth…at one time Fairfax was in the same exact situation [as Prince William]. They had a low commercial tax base, and they began to diversify. One of the things I’ve done as a Town Councilman, consistently every year I’ve been in, I’ve been voting to reduce the BPOL (Business/Professional/Occupational Licensure) [tax] and I’ve voted to reduce property taxes,” said Wood.

Extending Metro into the county

Expanding the Metro line into Prince William County has been a widely contested issue over the years, and while both candidates stated that it would be a long term solution – both expressed their support for Metro rail.

“When I think about transportation, I think our system here currently in the county is just a commuter system…transportation needs to allow for a lot of commercial development to come in. And my plan is to look at ways to study [this]. We need to do a whole comprehensive study on what’s feasible…if we do nothing, imagine what our transportation’s going to look like 5-years from now,” Wood said.

Bailey put a focus on the PRTC (Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission) bus line, when addressing transportation.

“I support bringing the Metro from Springfield to Richmond. And I say that because I think that the opportunity is well overdue. But as you know, we have to work with those at the state level and federal level to make that happen…[Metro] would ease the burden of those of us who travel from this area to the [Washington] D.C. area. But I know that’s a long-term goal…and I think for the short term goal, we need to look at the bus systems,” said Bailey.

Overcrowding in schools

When it comes to overcrowding in schools, Bailey stated there needs to be collaboration between the board and the school board to handle the issue.

“I think that there needs to be an understanding of what the needs are in the school system, and the way that we do that is collaboration between the school board and the county board of supervisors…I think that there’s an opportunity for us to pull back a minute – look how the economic situation is within our county and to look at what the needs are,” Bailey commented.

Wood said that by bringing in more income is the way to make more room for classrooms in the county.

“Neighborhood schools is the most important issue here…I would support us looking at comprehensive ways to bring in some additional revenue – through smart growth and development. I don’t think it’s a revenue type issue – we need to get more income – we need to bring in more and balance out,” said Wood.

The homelessness issue

One of the final topics discussed in the debate was the growing number of homeless individuals in the county.

In Wood’s opinion, he feels that partnering with churches and finding the homeless population resources will alleviate the issues.

“Homelessness is often one of those silent problems in our communities, that too many times we take a blind eye to…I think it’s a partnership with the churches. And the problem is bigger than the homelessness. As you begin to talk them, and you begin to see – they need resources. Resources to jobs, some of them are convicted felons. They need their restored,” Wood said.

Bailey pointed out the large veteran’s community in the homeless population.

“There are 7 to 10 [tent cities] in our community…we need to provide programs within the county system and enhance the programs that we have – but provide more programs…we need more shelters within the county. To really look at the issue, and provide those kinds of provisions…30% of the people who live in the tent cities are veterans – the majority of them are female,” said Bailey.

On June 9, the winning candidate will begin work on their general election campaign against incumbent Supervisor Maureen Caddigan.

Foreman: Tax credits, improved Route 1 key to economic development

News

Potomac Local sent a candidate survey to Gerald “Jerry” Foreman. He’s running to become the next Virginia State Senator in the 36th District encompassing south Fairfax County, eastern Prince William County, and North Stafford.  The seat is currently held by Linda “Toddy” Puller who will retire. 

Forman faces Democrat Scott Surovell who also seeks the 36th District Seat. Surovell is currently a Virginia State Delegate who represents the 44th District which encompasses Mount Vernon and a portion of Fort Belvoir.

Voters will head to the polls to decide a winner for this race on Nov. 3, 2015.

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

Foreman: 1. Economic Development/Revitalization
2. Route-1 Transportation Corridor
3. Ethics and Transparency

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

Foreman: 

Economic Development/Revitalization: This subject transcends the 36th District. As Mayor, our town has reduced property taxes by over 50%, eliminated excessive fees on businesses, reduced Business, Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) taxes, Stormwater Management Fees, Vehicle Tag fees and ensured our business operating fees are lower than or equal to Prince William and Stafford Counties and not one service to our taxpayers has been eliminated.

This same type of rolling-up your sleeves mentality needs to be in Richmond. Economic Development and Revitalization are Town and County initiatives (as an example Virginia does not tax property at the state level; real estate and tangible personal property are taxed at the local level) but Richmond has got to be part of the solution. I will meet with County Supervisors on a quarterly basis and ask how State programs such as the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant Programs, Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit, Recycling Equipment Tax Credit, Worker Retraining Tax Credit, Green Job Creation Tax Credit, Refundable Research and Development Expenses Tax Credit, creation of Enterprise Zones and the grants that accompany them, Technology Zones, Defense Production Zones are being taken advantage of in each locality.

As your Senator I will meet with your Regional Chamber of Commerce(s) and discuss with them programs such as the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority and Community Development Block Grants and Virginia’s Small Business Development Center Network. I will meet with County School Boards as well as Colleges and schools and discuss “work force” development. As Senator, I need to do my part to ensure State funded programs are coming to our region.

Route-1 Transportation Corridor: I have been a member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) since 2012. I have worked hard to ensure regional transportation requirements have been addressed. As a Senator my first mandate is to address Route-1 from Fairfax to Stafford. We can’t continue to fix intersections a piece at a time. There must be coordination among the three Counties.

Currently Stafford County is not even brought to the table to discuss their requirements. With $351 million dollars in state transportation funds available, it is imperative elected officials from Senator to Delegates be involved in supporting our local officials – not just during an election year. I know the Fairfax & Prince William County Supervisors, the NVTA members, the Commonwealth Transportation Board and regional VDOT officials and I am confident I can work with them to continue to make progress on Route-1.

· Ethics and Transparency: Before and since running for elected office, a politician that continually inspires me is President Abraham Lincoln. In his Gettysburg Address, which is ten sentences and 170 words in length, Lincoln preached about his commitment to a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

While his speech is over 150 years old, the lessons Lincoln taught are just as relevant today. I urge all the men and women serving in elected office to heed Lincoln’s advice, no matter what political party they represent. As Mayor, I am proud to put Lincoln’s words into action and I remain steadfast to follow in his footsteps.

I am committed to ensuring the people who put their trust in me to serve as Mayor get a town government that is open and honest with them at all times in return. That’s why I introduced a policy that allows for full transparency by televising all Council Meetings, whether they are scheduled or unscheduled. Moreover, recognizing how difficult it might be for citizens to attend town meetings, while still tending to their jobs and family responsibilities, I brought predictability and certainty to the meeting schedule by holding one regular and one work session a month. Additionally, under my leadership, Dumfries now requires Members of Council and town staff to provide briefs to Council and citizens regarding town events to keep everyone informed.

As Mayor, I have continually held Council accountable for their conduct, to include the most recent discussion aimed at preventing a politician from using public time and resources to promote their political ambitions through Town Council televised meetings. An open, honest and transparent government isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue – it’s simply the right thing to do. I applaud the Governor and the State Legislature for coming together recently and passing ethics reforms on the state level.

While the reforms weren’t perfect or a total panacea, they were a step in the right direction and an example of politicians from different parties working together to accomplish a common goal. I believe in servant leadership. We must never forget that we represent our voters and business owners’ interests; our actions reflect their values. If elected to the State Senate, I pledge to be a reformer who works closely with moral government advocates and like-minded colleagues in both parties to ensure the most accountable and accessible state government possible. 

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

Foreman:  I’ve learned as a Councilman and Mayor my job description as an elected official is not just to represent my party, it is to represent my constituents.  The homeowner, the businessman, the serviceman and women, the First Responders, the teachers, etc.  I will represent my County, City and Town governments.  

I am proud to be the Mayor of Dumfries and I will take that same pride and commitment to Richmond to represent the entire 36th Senate District.  I have been elected to show fiduciary responsibility with my constituents money as well as provide for a quality of life my constituents expect to enjoy.  I will fight for my District and I will cross the aisle to work with all parties to bring about a final solution to issues that affect our region. 

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Foreman: As a Marine, a business owner, a consultant with the government, a councilman and as mayor, I have prepared all my life to lead from the front.  I have and will continue to walk and drive this District to talk with and listen to the property owners, the business owners and voters of the 36th

This is not about having all the answers; this is about preparing for the legislative session.  I have always come to meetings prepared, I guarantee I will come to Richmond prepared.  I take pride in working with citizens, business owners and fellow politicians to learn the subject at hand, do my research and be prepared to make a decision that benefits my constituents.  This is the type of leadership you deserve in Richmond.

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

Foreman: Absolutely ,“Yes.” It’s a matter of accessibility to your elected official. I’ve taken a lot of pride as Mayor being accessible to everyone in Dumfries; that same type of openness will come as a Senator as well.  I will hold Town Hall Meetings on a quarterly basis for citizens.  I guarantee you will not just see me once every four years when there is an election.  I am not that type of a politician.  I represent you, so this is about knowing your needs.

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

Foreman: Yes I have. Every meeting I attend, I critique myself afterwards to see if I could have handled a situation better. Even when everything goes right, there is room for improvement as no two situations are the same. I learned in the military that mistakes will happen, you will fall down; Leadership is standing up, brushing the dirt off and accomplishing the mission.  

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

Foreman: As Mayor I am a leader from a local government; it is this type of grassroots leadership we need in Richmond. This election is not about me, it is about YOU and who will best represent YOU in Richmond.

Surovell focused on Metro, Medicaid, teachers

News

Potomac Local sent a candidate survey to Scott Surovell. He’s running to become the next Virginia State Senator in the 36th District encompassing south Fairfax County, eastern Prince William County, and North Stafford.  The seat is currently held by Linda “Toddy” Puller who will retire. 

Surovell faces Republican Gerald “Jerry” Foreman who also seeks the 36th District Seat. Foreman is the Mayor of Dumfries.

Voters will head to the polls to decide a winner for this race on Nov. 3, 2015.

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

Surovell: First, the quality of our schools, availability of jobs, shopping, restaurants, environment and our overall quality of life is directly tied to U.S. 1 and the availability of high-quality transit in the U.S. 1 corridor. Creating economic development by leveraging growth at Fort Belvoir and Quantico through the expansion of transit and transit-oriented development should be the primary focus of federal, state and local officials in eastern Prince William, Stafford, and Fairfax Counties.

Second, Prince William, Stafford, and Fairfax Counties schools are suffering from major capacity shortages and overcrowding, lagging teacher salaries, expanding class sizes, and a growing chasm between the have’s and the have not’s in education.

Third, the explosion of predatory lending in the U.S. 1 corridor is turning Route 1 into the car title lending capital of the D.C. Metropolitan Area and causing thousands of 36th District residents to lose their cars to repo men after discovering they can’t afford 297% APR interest rates.

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

Surovell: Senator Puller and I secured $2 million for the Route 1 Multimodal Transit Alternative Analysis. It recommended a six-lane U.S. 1 from Alexandria to Woodbridge, with a 2-lane median-dedicated bus rapid transit system to Woodbridge, 14-miles of sidewalks and multi-use paths, leading to a Yellow Line extension to Hybla Valley, along with completely restructuring Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan and street grid surrounding U.S. 1 into a transit-oriented, pedestrian/cycling-friendly true multimodal community. Last month, Senator Puller and I secured $16 million for the preliminary engineering and environmental studies to construct the project. Construction must be fully funded.

We need to use the same collaborative, evidence-driven, professionally managed process to begin the discussion and develop a concrete plan to extend the Blue Line to Lorton, Woodbridge, Potomac Mills, Dumfries and Quantico to complement existing VRE service. I fully believe that with collaboration, commitment, and vision we can make the entire U.S. 1 Corridor on of the most competitive destination communities in the D.C. Metro Area.

Second, we must drive more state revenue to education to pay teachers competitive salaries, lower our class sizes, and freeze college tuition by expanding Medicaid and tapping $180 million of freed up Virginia taxpayer dollars per biennium. Virginia’s local composite index (education funding formula) needs to account for English as a second language and disabled students which are some of the largest cost education drivers.  

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

Surovell:  Collaborating with federal, local and other state officials to develop and implement a long-term vision that provides a first-class quality of life to all residents of the 36th District, especially the neediest parts of Prince William, Stafford and Fairfax Counties, and also makes the Commonwealth of Virginia the best state to live in the U.S.  

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Surovell: I have lived in Northern Virginia my entire life and served in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2009. The district that I currently represent has the largest Medicaid population in Fairfax County, seven schools accredited with warning, one of the most diverse populations in Northern Virginia, and is in need of economic development.

I know how to fight for areas that lack regional economic and political power. Plans for expanding transit and widening U.S. 1 in Fairfax County are now being implemented for the first time in my lifetime.

Also, my leadership has been validated when I was elected to the #2 leadership position in the House Democratic Caucus and worked with members on both sides of the aisle to pass nearly two dozen bills and budget amendments while serving in the minority.  

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?

Surovell: Most people do not fully appreciate the full-impact that state government has on their life and I work hard to broaden their understanding of their government and my activities.

My online newsletter, The Dixie Pig (scottsurovell.blogspot.com), has over 400 articles I’ve written in the last six years regarding issues of interest, and I also regularly write columns in my local papers including weekly columns during session. I have published my complete voting record of nearly 10,000 votes online.

I publish mid-session and end of session letters to my constituents, send out annual mail and online questionnaires before each session, and hold multiple town hall meetings per year.

My contact information is available to anyone who would like to reach me and I strive to be as accessible and available to any constituent who would like to meet or talk to me.

Finally, my staff is available to help.

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

Surovell: I made the mistake of believing that legislators would vote their constituents’ best interests regarding the federally-funded expansion of Medicaid – the expansion of healthcare for low-income working Virginians supported by consumer groups, hospitals, doctors, nurses, insurance companies, and most of Virginia’s Chambers of Commerce.

As of today, Virginia has left $2.2 billion of federal dollars on the table costing Virginia over 30,000 jobs per year – over 1,000 jobs in the 36th District alone. Expansion would free up $180 million of Virginia taxpayer dollars for needed priorities like education and public safety, while providing needed healthcare to over 400,000 working Virginians.

Dozens of legislators from some of the most economically distressed areas of Virginia and Prince William, Stafford and Fairfax Counties have refused to vote to accept these funds, denied their constituents healthcare, and turned away jobs simply to score partisan political points and further the goals of interest groups looking to disrespect our President.

In the meantime, billions of Virginians’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars have now been sent to states like California, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and even Republican-controlled states like Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Arizona, and North Dakota.

If I were to engage in analogous professional conduct as an attorney, I could be sued for malpractice.  

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

Surovell: As a life long resident of our community, I have the perspective, progressive values and a vision for our community, coupled with a proven track record of obtaining results.  

Wood, Bailey seek support of business community leading up to primary election

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The primary candidates for the Potomac district supervisor seat – Derrick Wood and Andrea Bailey – spoke to the business community at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce headquarters this morning.

Wood is currently a councilman for the town of Dumfries. The incumbent for the Potomac district seat is Supervisor Maureen Caddigan.

Bailey and Wood are both small business owners in the county. Wood runs a BBQ catering company, and Bailey runs an event planning business.

When speaking to the group, they shared their thoughts on how to improve the business climate in Prince William County.

“I own a company called Affairs Remembered…I’m a small business owner – I do event planning. And I left corporate America to do so…I’ve been in and out of Prince William County since 1976. I’ve studied Prince William County – I know [the county]…I understand that Prince William County is one of the most up and coming world-class communities in this country,” said Bailey.

Wood stated that during his time as councilman, he has voted to reduce BPOL (Business, Professional and Occupational Licensure) tax, and property taxes in Dumfries.

“I’m always thinking from the business perspective. How can the business community make more money? Because as a small business owner, I want to know how we can increase our profits…not so much to have so much regulation. Because I think regulation is the key to a dying society…but just to be able to put some guidance in place, but not make it so hard for business owners,” said Wood.

In addition to their thoughts on business, both candidates shared information about their priorities for the community, including transportation and education.

“We need to build a stronger relationship with the PRTC [Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission] organization – we need to build a stronger relationship with the VRE [Virginia Railway Express],” said Bailey.

“I feel like widening the roads is like loosening the belt on the obesity problem…all you’re going to do is put more cars on the road…I believe we’ve got to study ways on how to bring jobs down here, and bring in pedestrian walking communities and get people out of their cars and off the road,” Wood commented.

During a question and answer session, Wood and Bailey fielded questions from the audience, including a question on the viability of the county board’s revenue sharing agreement as the funding source for the county’s school system.

“I think there needs to be some reform. It’s an outdated system. We can come together to find a better solution. We can bring together administrators and teachers and figure out what’s a better, feasible solution than this revenue sharing program,” Wood stated.

“I think part of [the] solution is sitting down and understanding what the issues are, in terms of managing the budget…I think there is an opportunity for us to build relationships across the county and the school board, to make sure that we are retaining the resources within the county that we want to retain, in terms of teachers and resources in terms of our students,” Bailey said.

They will meet on Thursday night in Dumfries for a candidate debate. The vote for the primary is on June 9.

Moncure PTO president announces run for Stafford school board

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Emily Fallon

Emily Fallon

The president of the Anne E. Moncure Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, Emily Fallon, has announced that she is running for the Stafford County School Board in the Griffis-Widewater district. Dana Reinboldt currently holds that position.

“The status quo is not good enough for our kids,” said Fallon in a press release. “Our kids and the taxpayers of Stafford County deserve schools that have a plan for excellence and milestones to measure our progress.” 

Fallon has been president of the Moncure PTO for three terms and has served as a substitute teacher in the county. She’s also worked as a paraprofessional in the D.C. Public Schools, according to her campaign. Additionally, Fallon has served as a member of the Stafford County Public Schools Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee, the SCPS Elementary School Redistricting Committee and was a founding member of the Stafford Special Education Parent Teachers Association known as SEPTA. 

“We need a real strategic plan for our schools, developed with the help of parents

and teachers, where we lay out a vision for Commonwealth-leading schools by bringing new technology to the classroom, increasing access for all SCPS students to our current programs,” stated Fallon in the release.

Some of Fallon’s main goals are: 

– The development of a five-year plan that sets the educational goals for the school division and aligns those goals with future funding expectations and metrics of success. 

– The expansion of student access to existing programs, regardless of their base school.

– A partnership with employers in the area to develop new programs and internship opportunities. 

– Making greater use of technology in the classroom. 

– A comprehensive review of SCPS Special Education programs to ensure the school system is meeting the needs of those with special needs.

“Special education is an area that is near and dear to my heart and is one of many areas that I think SCPS can and should be doing better in,” said Fallon. 

Fallon is a graduate of Strayer University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology. She reports that she’s a strong believer in lifelong learning.

Fallon resides in Aquia Harbour and has three children who are all currently attending Stafford County Public Schools. Her husband, Ben Fallon, works in Congressional Affairs for the Department of Defense.

Sterne: New technologies needed to keep up with increased caseload

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Potomac Local sent a candidate survey to Kathy Sterne. She’s running to become the next Stafford County Clerk of the Court, a seat currently held since 2001 by Barbara Decatur who will retire this year.  

Sterne faces fellow Republicans Darrell English and Jim Fry  in a June 9, 2015 Primary Election. The winner of the Primary Election will go on to face a potential Democratic challenger in the November General Election.

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

Sterne: 1. Knowledge of the position, consistency and transparency. 

2. Overwhelming Case Load. 

3. Employee Reduction in workforce and Budget Restrictions. 

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

Sterne: This office requires a Clerk that not only knows the position but can perform the duties required, our citizens deserve an efficient Clerk of Court’s office during any transition, I’m the only candidate with both the knowledge and experience to serve as the Clerk of Court.

I will continue to work closely with our Virginia Supreme Court on new technologies that make good common sense and are fiscally responsible to ensure we keep up with this trending increase in cases.

I will continue to work closely with our judges, Commonwealth Attorney, sheriff’s office and our Board of Supervisors as we continue our partnership in providing the needed services to our citizens. I will maintain a highly cross trained staff to best serve our community.

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

Sterne:  The Clerk of the Court has over 800 responsibilities as outlined in the code of Virginia, these include but are not limited to Record keeper of the courts records, issuer of marriage licenses, concealed handgun permits, Probates wills. The Clerk’s office works with and supports three Circuit Court Judges, our Commonwealth’s Attorney and Sheriff’s office in the processing of court documents.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Sterne: I have served the Clerk’s office for 21 years, the last 10 as the Chief Deputy Clerk. I have worked closely and been mentored by our two previous clerks, Thomas Moncure Jr. and Barbara Decatur to learn and become efficient at the inner workings of responsibilities of the Clerk of Court. It is this experience that I believe makes me the best candidate for this position.

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?

Sterne: There are a great many citizens that do not know what the Clerk of the Courts office is responsible for. My campaign has worked hard to not only promote me as a candidate but to include information about the office and what it does. My door is always open and I welcome the opportunity to help the citizens of Stafford County understand this important position. I have taken the time on many occasions to explain this information and assist our citizens whenever possible.

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

Sterne: I’m sure that everyone can find mistakes they have made in life, that is part of our learning process, however I have lived my life by the golden rule of “treat others as you would have them treat you.” I strive to maintain my life as a honest and hard working citizen of our community. I have raised my children in southern Stafford under those same principles and believe that everyone should be the best they can be at whatever they do in life.

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

Sterne: The citizens of Stafford County, on June 9, should take a look at the resume of all the candidates. I believe they will come to the overwhelming conclusion that I am the only candidate with the experience needed to perform as Clerk of Court, I have worked the past 21 years to position myself to learn and become the leader that the citizens of Stafford County deserve.

Democrats seeking Prince William Senate seat debate in Woodbridge

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Voters heard from all three Democrats vying to replace longtime retiring State Senator Charles Colgan.

Delegate Michael Futrell, Atif Qarni, and Jeremy McPike fielded questions Monday night at a Democratic debate for the 29th Senate District. Potomac Local was the sponsor of the debate. It was moderated by Bob Gibson, Executive Director for the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, and Stephen Farnsworth, author and professor at the University of Mary Washington, and Potomac Local Prince William Regional Editor Stephanie Tipple. 

“The balance of power of the Virginia State Senate is before us,” said Futrell, who wants to ensure Democrats retain control of Colgan’s seat.

The candidate outlined their views on education, transportation, immigration, infrastructure and economic development.

“This election is not about the progressive values we have. This is about someone who can go to Richmond and make reforms for Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park,” said McPike.

The 29th Senate District spans much of Prince William County from east to west. So would a long-debated Bi-County Parkway – a project the candidates said would relieve traffic and spur economic development.

“I am the only one on this stage that commutes an hour or more to work every day,” said McPike, who lives in Dale City and works for the City of Alexandria Government and argued for improved roads. “I’m not the only one who gets nervous when I see a sea of brake lights ahead of me when trying to drive home. Getting home early – it’s like winning the lottery because I get to spend 30 minutes more with my family.”

Futrell told the audience that his time in the House of Delegates in Richmond gave him an advantage if elected to the Senate seat. A failed bill introduced during the last law-making session would have created an infrastructure savings bank comprised of both public and private money for needed infrastructure projects. He plans to reintroduce the bill, and he called it the solution to the area’s transportation funding crisis.

Qarni, a U.S. Marine and school teacher, hammered home the need for improving schools and making better opportunities for students.

“The reason why I’m in the situation that I’m in is because of a good education,” said Qarni, who said he was grateful to have served his nation in the Marine Corps.

Qarni also called for diversifying the region’s economy in an attempt end a reliance on federal government, and military industry jobs.

McPike said another round of federal sequestration is looming and could impact the region. Adding more cyber defense jobs at Quantico is critical to the economy, he added.

Futrell touted his time working with military veterans in the area to improve health and quality of life.

“We don’t need to tell veterans that we care. We need to treat veterans as family,” said Futrell.

Voters will head to the polls June 9 to decide which Democrat will go on to face Manassas Mayor Harry “Hal” Parrish II, the Republican seeking the 29th District seat.

Qarni: I will fight attacks on public schools, reform toxic testing culture

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Potomac Local sent a candidate survey to Atif M. Qarni. He’s running to represent the 29th District in the Virginia Senate, a seat currently held by the retiring Chuck Colgan. 

Qarni faces Jeremy McPike and Micheal Futrell  in a June 9, 2015 Primary Election. The winner of the Primary Election will go on to face Republican Harry “Hal” Parrish II in the November General Election on Nov. 3, 2015.  

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

Qarni: Education – We need to refocus on public education. As a teacher, I can see the impact cuts of $1,000 per student have had over the last six years. We need to reinvest in a public education system that provides a first-class education for all, not a select few.

Transportation – We pay more into transportation funds than we get back, and that means Prince William County and Manassas are being left behind. We need investments in transportation infrastructure so that people spend more time at home with their kids, and less time battling traffic.

Jobs – With so many people leaving the district to work, we need to attract businesses to invest in the 29th. Our economy shouldn’t be dependent on businesses inside the beltway. 

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

Qarni: I will fight attacks on public schools, and reform our toxic testing culture. Right now, there are members of the General Assembly that are pushing school vouchers over public education. I would push for funding that would lower class sizes and increase resources for students. In addition, I would advocate for a reformed SOL system that would encourage an updated curriculum and lower the emphasis on a single test.

In terms of transportation, I would fight for appropriations that would increase funds for mass traansit. Right now, Northern Virginia is putting in more money than it gets back, and we need to fight for the money we deserve. VRE needs to be more reliable, our roads need increased capacity, and we need to work on lowering commute times for workers.

Our small business community is the backbone of our economy. I would fight to make it easier for small businesses to thrive in Prince William. I believe that starts with arming our citizens with the best education possible, which will make them more competitive in a modern economy. Employers will know that students in Prince William are the best prepared to help their businesses grow. 

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

Qarni: First and foremost, the State Senator should be an honorable public servant to advocate for the people of their district in Richmond. In addition, a State Senator should be a role model for all citizens. A State Senator needs to represent the best interests of their constituents, and battle political pressure to act in the best interest of the people who elected them. 

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Qarni: I have an extensive service background. I spent eight years in the Marines, and have been a public school teacher in the district for six years. In addition, I’m a member of Governor McAuliffe’s Small Business Commission. I know the issues, I live and work in the district and know the concerns of people in both the western and eastern ends of the district, and I know how to fight for the things I believe in. 

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?

Qarni: I do not. I don’t believe that we have worked hard enough to engage citizens. As State Senator, I would hold local town hall meetings regularly across the district to ensure that citizens know about what is going on in Richmond, and I would always make sure citizens have the most up to date contact information for my office in Richmond and the district.

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

Qarni: Not in my public life, but as all people, I have made decisions that didn’t work out the way I would have liked. I have worked very hard to make the most of every learning opportunity I have been given, and every mistake I have made has been followed by a renewed commitment to being honest and trustworthy in the eyes of those who depend on me.

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

Qarni: I have always had strong sense of justice and fair play. I believe our commonwealth is doing injustice to our working class families and our children by not providing the taxpayers their fair share of what they deserve for our schools and infrastructure.

People should vote for me because I know what it takes to stand up for others and be effective. When I was 10 years old, my family moved to the U.S. I was the oldest of three brothers. My grandmother told me two things before we moved the U.S.– she asked me to work hard in school and she asked me to look after my younger brothers. I have worked every day to keep the promise I made to her.

When I joined the Marines, the principle of looking out for others became so much more important. Marines have to trust each other and have each other’s back in combat. Before I was deployed to Iraq in 2003, I was put in charge as a platoon sergeant. I was responsible for making sure my platoon of 70 plus Marines was taken care of. I stood up for them when, either within the unit or outside in the civilian world, my Marines were facing hurdles.

After leaving the Marines after eight years of honorable service, I went into teaching. I teach in a school where many kids come from a similar background as mine. When my parents moved to the U.S., my father delivered pizzas and my mother worked at Carvel Ice cream store. Back in Pakistan, my dad was a banker and my mother was a schoolteacher and journalist. But their degrees were not recognized in the United States, so they both worked minimum wage jobs to put food on the table. I started to work at the age of 14 at Pizza Bolis. Because of a sound public education and the opportunities our country gave us, I was able to be successful and be in a position to run for office.

I see many of my students and neighbors in the same situation I was. It is heartbreaking to see that our commonwealth has failed to provide proper health coverage and decent wages to our citizens. I am willing to stand for what is right as a State Senator, just as I have done all my life. I am running for my two sons, my students and my neighbors.

We need a person who understands all of the people in the district, not another empty suit or government bureaucrat making out-of-touch decisions. We need someone who is part of the community.

Maurer, Bertoldi face off in Stafford primary

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Maurer

Maurer

As the June 9 Primary Election nears, the candidates for Rock Hill District Supervisor have outlined the issues.

Both Wendy Mauer and Adela Bertoldi, both Republicans, seek to replace Cord Sterling on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.  

adela bertoldi

Bertoldi

Maurer is focused on recruiting and retaining new teachers. When it comes to development, Maurer said she will argue to first have roads and “adequate infrastructure” in place before development begins.

From her website:

Stafford is growing jobs faster than any other locality in the region. Businesses provide more tax revenue to Stafford than they use in county provided services.   As a small business owner, I understand what businesses need in order to thrive in our community.

Bertoldi is running on a platform of no new tax increases.

Here’s a snippet form her press release:

“Creating jobs and having business-friendly policies will be a top priority for me,” said Bertoldi.  “My focus will be on providing opportunity for families and small businesses through lower taxes and a less burdensome government.”  

Bertoldi signed a Taxpayer Protection Pledge committing to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.

Both candidates live in the Augustine neighborhood.

The Rock Hill seat is the only one on the Board of Supervisors up for grabs this election season.

Principi: Continued smart growth is transforming Route 1 in Woodbridge

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Potomac Local sent a candidate survey to incumbent Prince William Woodbridge Distirct Supervisor Frank J. Principi. An incumbent, he’s running to keep his seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors representing the Woodbridge District.

Principi faces Republican challenger Steve Chapman in the November General Election on Nov. 3, 2015.  

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

Principi: The top three major issues facing the Woodbridge Magisterial District is the need for jobs, reduction of traffic congestion, and the preservation of our neighborhoods.

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

Principi: The vision of a “NewWoodbridge” sets out the solutions required to address each of our three major issues. The vision sets out the policy and budget decisions needed to transform the Route 1 corridor. By encouraging smart growth development, we are seeing five mixed use projects at different stages coming out of the ground, including Potomac Town Center, Neabsco Commons, Potomac Shores, Belmont Bay, and North Woodbridge.

We are discouraging new residential developments and commercial strip malls to stem the negative impacts (classroom sizes and traffic congestion). By widening of Route 1, undergrounding utilities, and demolishing blighted buildings, we are taking steps to alleviate traffic congestion and attracting new businesses (expanded tax base) and jobs.

To address the challenges in our neighborhoods, we are investing in expanded schools, parks, trails, and the new fire station. In addition, we are aggressively enforcing local neighborhood ordinances in civil and criminal court, e.g., tall grass, broken windows, boarding, and graffiti.

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

Principi: The role of the elected Supervisor is to develop a shared vision of the community and work full-time to obtain the political support and funding to make it happen. Under my leadership, we have seen over $1 billion in public and private investment occur in the Woodbridge Magisterial District.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Principi: I will bring eight years of elected office experience, 30 years of business experience, and the continued passion needed to transform the community we live in.

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?

Principi: The average citizen is well-informed of what is going on in their community. We have significantly increased the opportunity to engage our citizens on the issues that matter most through monthly meetings of the Woodbridge Civic Association, quarterly newsletters, town halls, tele-town halls, and continuous updates on our website newWoodbridge.org.

As a full-time Supervisor, I am continuously meeting with citizens to gain a better understanding of both the challenges and their proposed solutions necessary to improve everyone’s quality of life.

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

Principi: I have not made any major mistakes in public life.

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

Principi: The voters in Woodbridge should vote for me on November 3 to continue our progress in implementing NewWoodbridge. We will continue to bring new jobs, eliminate blighted buildings, reduce classroom sizes, widen Route 1, build new pedestrian sidewalks and trails, construct the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk, and open the George Mason University campus at Belmont Bay.

We will continue to plan for the opening of the Potomac Nationals Baseball Stadium, launch Fast Ferry service on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, advocate for the extension of Metrorail from Springfield to Woodbridge, and widen Route 1 (Cardinal Blvd. to Dumfries).

Black keen on stopping Bi-County Parkway, Obamacare

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Potomac Local sent a candidate survey to incumbent  Senator Richard “Dick” H. Black. He’s running to keep his seat in the Virginia State Senate, representing the 13th District that includes portions of Prince William and Loudoun counties. 

Black faces Democratic challenger Dr. Jill McCabe in the November General Election on Nov. 3, 2015.  

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

Black: 

1. Stop the 230 V Power Line from passing overhead through the district.
2. Stop the bi-county parkway.
3. Oppose the state portion of Obamacare.

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

Black:

1. I have spearheaded efforts to require the power line to be built underground, along I-66.
2. Organized a broad coalition of community members and political officials to oppose the parkway. Our efforts are very close to succeeding.
3. My budget amendment blocked Gov. McAuliffe from expanding Obamacare and adding 400,000 people to the welfare rolls. 

 

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

Black: I have represented Prince William and Loudoun for four years in the Virginia State Senate and representing over 200,000 people effectively is a full time job.  

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Black: I served in the House of Delegates for eight years and have served in the Senate for four years. I am an attorney with a degree in accounting and have deep experience in highway construction and military affairs. Served in the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government.  

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

Black: I attend at least five events a week to inform people about the actions of the legislature. I spend about 60 hours a week working on constituent issues, inform the public through social media and emails and work with students learning about Virginia’s government. 

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

Black: Occasionally, I have supported candidates who failed to live up to their promises once elected. This is why I have never voted for a tax increase and remained unwavering in my commitment to traditional family values.  

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

Black: I have represented the district well in the Senate for four years. I have opposed every tax increase. I sponsored legislation to keep Common Core out of Virginia. I earned an A rating from the Chamber of Commerce three years in a row. I have a 100% rating from the VCDL. I am pro-life. I vote for energy independence. As a member of the Privacy Caucus, I have co-sponsored legislation to protect our privacy rights from government intrusion. I’ve enacted laws to protect women from sexual assault. I sponsored legislation to prevent subsidies for illegal immigrants. I have sponsored numerous school choice bills.  

Andrea Bailey wants to help students, vets

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Potomac Local sent a candidate survey to Andrea Bailey. She’s running to represent the Potomac Magisterial District on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

Bailey faces Derrick Wood in a June 9, 2015 Primary Election. The winner of the Primary Election will go on to face Republican Incumbent Maureen Caddigan in the November General Election on Nov. 3, 2015.  

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

Bailey: Transportation, housing, and education.

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

Bailey: Transportation- Create alternate sources of transportation for workers, families and friends visiting the Prince William County. I would like to improve the roads and infrastructure for traveling inside the county and outside of the county for the community.

Housing- Provide more secure and affordable housing for the disenfranchised. I would like to eradicate the ten tent cities in Prince William County. In addition, I would like to provide economic and veteran administration education to those who purchase their homes and those who would like to rent.

Education- Provide an improved learning environment for all students to excel in the educational systems, with an emphasis placed on high risk and low-income students. Provide the necessary resources or write grants to maintain current and attract prospective teachers.

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

Bailey: I will be [elected] as a professional, nonpartisan County Executive to manage government agencies. I will be responsible for setting local tax policy, approving land use plans and appointing officials to various countywide positions; including a County Executive who prepares the annual budget, and carries out laws enacted by the Board.

I will act within the limits set forth by the Virginia General Assembly. I plan to meet every second Tuesday of every month in the Prince William County McCoart Administration Building. I understand that members of the public are invited to attend these meetings.

My aim will be to serve not only the Potomac Magisterial District, but assume my responsibility of collaborating with my fellow colleagues in making Prince William County a world class, economically secure community.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Bailey: I am a 20-year veteran of the private sector with business acumen in corporate budgetary management, operational management, business development, community relations management and human resource management.

Additionally, I have over forty-one years of community service in several different organizations at the national and local levels. I have over ten years of experience in political campaign orchestration at the national and local level. I have served on political campaigns for the President, Senator, Congressman, State Representative and School Board.

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?

Bailey: The average citizen is not informed of the workings of the local government. I plan to alleviate this through improving communications at the local level building partnerships within the community with citizens and local business owners.

I plan to bridge the gap between government and the people. In addition, I plan to use public forums, town halls, community events and the most current social media available to educate all.

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

Bailey: No, I have not made any public mistakes. However, I have noticed and understand when mistakes are made in the public, and it costs our local constituents their homes, jobs, and families. 

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

Bailey: Being a military’s spouse for twenty-three years and a pastor’s wife for 10 years and being married for 38 years, I understand the importance of moral integrity and family values.

The reason why they should vote for me is because I believe that strong families build strong communities, which creates a secure environment. I believe my platform of transportation, housing, education and economic development will improve and sustain Prince William County for generations to come.

Wood pushes for study of Route 1 traffic problems, more school funding

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Potomac Local sent a candidate survey to Derrick Wood. Currently on the Dumfries Town Council, he’s running to represent the Potomac Magisterial District on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

Wood faces Andrea Bailey in a June 9, 2015 Primary Election. The winner of the Primary Election will go on to face Republican Incumbent Maureen Caddigan in the November General Election on Nov. 3, 2015.  

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

Wood: My top three major issues are the top three voters have told me they are, and I agree with them: our overcrowded neighborhood schools, long commute times, and the lack of commercial development on Route 1.

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

Wood: This is a great question. Everyone knows the challenges we face as a community. That’s one part of the solution. You need a plan to execute on day one to solve them. Change comes with a plan of action; with communities working together.

As I’ve met people as a town councilman and during my campaign, one issue that comes up over and over again is our classrooms, which are the most crowded in the state. My three children attend Prince William County schools and my wife works in Prince William County schools, so the strength of our neighborhood schools is personally important to me.

Plus, studies show that strong schools help create a strong local economy and attract employers. Investing in our neighborhood schools and quality teachers is just smart business. I will use my experience as a Town Councilman to bring together parents, teachers, administrators and students and address this important challenge. And unlike some in our county, I won’t wait until election year to listen to concerns about our neighborhood schools.

Prince William County has some of the longest commute times in the region. As Supervisor, I’ll use my successful experience bringing together commuters, business owners, driving professionals and more to hear your ideas. And I’ll use my experience to push for a comprehensive study of potential traffic solutions, including exploring bringing Metro to Prince William County, like I pushed for Town Councilman, to get you off the road quicker and spending more time doing what you love to do.

Many have said we need to take a fresh look at our zoning laws, and I agree. As Supervisor, I’ll build on my experience by listening to residents, employers, building trades and more to review and reform our zoning laws, to allow for mixed-use developments that help create walkable communities of homes, merchants, restaurants and community centers. 

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

Wood: A County Supervisor should be the voice of the people of the Potomac District. Setting the county’s tax rate, approving the budget, collaborating to cast the community’s vision for the county’s comprehensive plan, and engaging more community involvement on boards and commissions are all ways to make sure we hear from all of the people of the Potomac District. This isn’t about electing just one person to be your next Supervisor, because we are all in this together. My experience – your voice at the table.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Wood: As a U.S. Marine Fiscal Budget Tech and a Dumfries Town Councilman, I’ve managed and help oversee budgets of all sizes. As Supervisor, I will use my experience to make sure this important component is done and done right.

As a small business owner, I know firsthand not only the benefits of having a small business but the challenges, too. I’ll use this experience to help us attract more employers to Prince William County, so they can help grow our economy. As supervisor, I will work with small business to help with those challenges and to attract more to the district.

Finally, as a father of three children and a husband, I believe that every community begins with a family.

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?

Wood: Too often, when people contact their government, they never hear back. That’s not right – our job as elected officials is to be responsive to everyone, because we work for the people.

To me, this means we need more transparency in local government, not less. People shouldn’t have to ask for information that affects them, we should be providing it for them.

A well informed community is one that thrives. As Supervisor, I will use varied forms of outreach methods from town halls, social media and the like. I also would like to see a mentorship program in place for our youth who desire to learn more about government on a local scale to cultivate their skills.

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

Wood: I have made mistakes, we all have. However, I don’t look at them as mistakes, I like to call them “lessons learned.” I am always aware that what I am doing in my life is not about me, but the people I represent and our needs as a community.

When I first became a Town Councilman, I wanted to do something to promote more recycling. But instead of talking to the community first about how to do it, I just introduced a bill.

It would have been hard to enforce, and I didn’t hear from people until after that they didn’t like my approach: recycling is great, but enforcement is difficult. I learned from this experience to listen to the people. It taught me as an elected representative: First you listen, then you talk.

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

Wood: I am asking for their vote so we can work together to solve the problems that face our community. I will continue to build on my experience as a USMC veteran, Dumfries Town Councilman, small business owner, husband, and father to represent the people for stronger neighborhood schools, finding real solutions on traffic, working to help build a stronger local economy, and helping develop planned growth for the future of Prince William County.

Officials share their victories, priorities from this legislative session

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This morning the Prince William Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Legislative Wrap-Up breakfast in Woodbridge.

The breakfast was an opportunity for members of the chamber, business owners and elected officials to interact with one another and speak about issues that impact residents in Prince William and Manassas.

Each year, the chamber issues a legislative report card to each of the county’s elected officials, giving them a grade of A to F – based on their voting record in Richmond, and how well it aligns with the chamber’s business platforms.

During the program, two longtime incumbents – Senator Chuck Colgan and Senator Toddy Puller – were both commended for their service to the state. Both will be retiring this year. Keep Reading…

Next week: 29th district primary candidates to debate in Woodbridge May 18

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Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.42.04 AMThree candidates in the Democratic primary for the 29th district Senate seat will meet for a primary debate on Monday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

The three candidates – Jeremy McPike, Delegate Michael Futrell and Atif Qarni – are hoping to fill the long held seat of Senator Chuck Colgan, will debate local issues concerning governance in the district, which includes Prince William County and Manassas.

The candidates will take part in a state-run primary on June 9, which will decide who will go against Republican challenger Hal Parrish, Mayor for the City of Manassas, in November.

You may submit questions for the Democratic Senate primary debate. 

The debate will be held in the auditorium at the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building at 15941 Donald Curtis Drive in Woodbridge. 

Potomac Local is sponsoring the event, in partnership with the Prince William County Democratic 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 two minutes to respond
— An opposing candidate will have one minute for rebuttal
— A new question is asked of different candidate and process repeats

Stephanie Tipple, Prince William Regional Editor for Potomac Local, will moderate the debate. 

Bob Gibson, Executive Director for the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, and Stephen Farnsworth, author and professor at the University of Mary Washington, will be the panelists for the debate.

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 permitted outside of the Ferlazzo building and must be removed upon event conclusion.

New regulations could mean changes ahead for area women’s clinics

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Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring and other state groups have made comments about the upcoming meeting of the state Board of Health to review rules on abortion clinics in Virginia.

The Attorney General’s thoughts on new clinic regulations

This week, Herring made a statement reversing an opinion of his predecessor, Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

According to Herring, the new construction standards should apply only to new abortion and women’s health clinics being built – not retroactively on existing clinics.

“Despite what the previous attorney general claimed, nothing in the law requires or even authorizes the Board to apply these design and construction standards retroactively. Without [Cuccinelli’s] interference, the Board would have done what it has always done which is apply these standards to new facilities, not preexisting ones. This opinion corrects the previous administration’s incorrect advice and helps restore the integrity of the regulatory process, which should be used to ensure the health and safety of Virginians, not as cover to pursue ideological agendas,” said Herring in a statement.

Herring has no oversight over the Board of Health, but his opinion could have some sway on members of the board, who will be meeting on June 4.

The change in abortion clinic regulations were passed under former Governor Bob McDonnell.

The regulations, as written, would mandate that the 18 abortion clinics located in Virginia overhaul their buildings – widening hallways, adding parking spaces and other renovations that could be very expensive for the clinics.

Changes already seen in the City of Manassas

In April, the Manassas City Council voted to require that abortion clinics, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities, must get special approval from the council to open within city limits.

While the council stated it was largely a zoning issue, women’s clinics in the area, such as the Amethyst Health Center for Women in Manassas, were concerned about the special permissions and the impact that the state regulations could have on their clinic.

“We never believed that these medically unnecessary architectural regulations should be applied to existing clinics like Amethyst in Manassas. As Attorney General Herring noted today, laws are not applied retroactively unless the legislature explicitly says to do so, which the General Assembly did not do for these regulations,” said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.

Saporta stated that she hoped the Board of Health will consider Herring’s statement, when going forward to make decisions on the regulations in June.

“Anti-choice politicians repeatedly ignored scientific evidence and testimony from medical experts, health care providers, and even the Virginia Health Commissioner, who later resigned over the passage of these unwarranted regulations. We urge the Commissioner and the Board of Health to follow Herring’s opinion and use evidence to guide future regulatory decisions about existing and new women’s health care providers in Virginia,” Saporta commented.

Manassas announces details on primary election for June 9

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manassas vote

On June 9, a Democratic primary election will be held for Virginia’s 29th Senate district in the City of Manassas.

The incumbent, Senator Chuck Colgan, will not be seeking reelection.

There are three candidates running in the primary for the Democratic nomination – Atif Qarni, Jeremy McPike and Delegate Michael Futrell.

According to a city release, the polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

In order to vote in person, or file an absentee ballot, voters must bring a valid Virginia driver’s license, a DMV issued photo ID card, a valid United States passport, a valid employee photo ID card, a government-issued photo ID card, or a valid Virginia college or university student photo ID card, said a city release.

The city stated that if a voter does not have any form of photo ID, they should go to the Voter Registration office to obtain a free photo ID card.

Absentee voting began on April 24. The last day to register to vote in the primary is May 18.

June 2 is the deadline to request a mailed absentee ballot, and June 6 is the last day to vote absentee in-person.

 

Tiwari steps down; Bell steps in for delegate race

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Jack Tiwari, a candidate for Virginia’s 87th district in the House of Delegates, has decided to end his campaign.

Incumbent Delegate David Ramadan, who recently announced that he would not be seeking reelection, currently holds the seat.

According to a release from the House Democratic Caucus, Tiwari has stepped down due to his family, and his commitment to working on relief efforts in Nepal following the earthquake last week.

“I realized that my heart and that of many of my supporters was back in my home country of Nepal. It would be very hard for me to run a campaign while many of my friends and family are focused on rebuilding Nepal,” said Jack Tiwari in a release.

Tiwari currently serves as president of the America-Nepal Society.

Now that Tiwari is out of the running, John Bell, a retired Air Force veteran, has announced his candidacy.

Bell has previously run against Ramadan on 2013, and ran against Delegate Bob Marshall in 2009.

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