WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia




Unopposed Connolly keeps seat in Virginia’s 11th District in Fairfax, Prince William

Unopposed Congressman Gerald E. “Gerry” Connolly will keep his seat serving Fairfax and Prince William counties.

The Democrat won his fifth-straight term in office Tuesday night. He first won the seat in 2008.

From Connolly:

“I thank the voters of Virginia’s 11th District for once again giving me their trust and sending me back to Congress. I love what I do and I love representing people of Northern Virginia. It’s been the greatest privilege of my life.”

Connolly served on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman, At-large prior to being elected to Congress.”

Updated: Manassas Park election results may not come until Thursday

MANASSAS PARK, Va. — We won’t know until Wednesday who will win three seats on the Manassas Park City Governing Body. 

Only one person, Donald Shumaker, turned in his paperwork in time to have his name listed on the ballot. At least seven other people were running as write-in candidates. 

This just in from the Manassas Park City Voter Registrar’s Office: 

No, we don’t have final numbers for the Governing Body. We do have mayoral numbers on the website.

The rest of the GB is being decided by write-ins as you know. That process is still ongoing in all precincts. Due to the number of write in votes, we will not be able to report the final numbers  to you until tomorrow.

Shumaker received 37% of the vote, according to State of Virginia election results.

We’ll report the final Manassas Park City Governing Body results when we get them. 

Updated 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016

From Manassas Park General Registrar’s office: 

“…the Electoral Board will meet later this morning to start combining the results.  Of course we don’t know how long that process will take. I would suggest that you contact our office perhaps later tomorrow for an updated status. We simply can not anticipate having results any more precisely than that.”

Jeanette Rishell wins Manassas Park City Mayor seat

MANASSAS PARK, Va. — Jeanette Rishell is Manassas Park City’s next mayor. 


The Democrat declared victory at an election party in Manassas Tueday night with three out of the city’s four precincts reporting. 

Rishell had 61% percent of the vote at the time she declared victory. She gave up her seat on the Manassas Park Governing Board to run for Mayor.

Both Rishell and Jones said bringing new business to the city would help reduce the locality’s $120 million debt incurred when a new police station, and a community center.

She’ll replace the long-serving Frank Jones who held the seat for the past 12 years. 

Wittman declares victory in Virginia’s 1st Congressional District

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Rob Wittman declared victory in Virginia’s 1st Congressioanl District tonight. 

The Republican took on independent Gail Parker, and policital newcomer Matt Rowe in a race to represent a Congessioanl Disrict that spans from Prince William County to Williamsburg. 

Wittman issued this statement: 

“I’m a firm believer in the power of democracy and a firm believer in this process. It’s no small thing that we get to come together like this to choose who holds public office in this country, and I’m humbled that the folks in the First District have chosen me. We’ve still got a lot of work to do to get Washington back on track and out of the business of over-regulating people’s lives and livelihoods. But–together–I believe we can be an overwhelming force for change. I’m looking forward to working with men and women across the First District for a better tomorrow.”

Wittman announced that he would watch the campaign results come in from the Stafford Regional Airport on Tuesday night.

Wittman plans to make a run for Virginia Governor in 2o17.

Decatur wins Stafford County School Board seat

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Jamie Decatur will take her seat on the Stafford County School Board, defeating challenger and one-time School Board member Dana Reinboldt.

Decatur won with the vote by just over 12 points in the Griffis-Widewater District, with 54% of the vote.

We’ve contacted Decatur about her win. We’ll post her comments to this post as soon as we hear from her.

This was a special election for the seat. Reinboldt lost the seat last fall to Emily Fallon, who was convicted this year of stealing $23,000 from Anne E. Moncure Elementary School in North Stafford.

Fallon was the PTO president at the school at the time the cash was found to have been stolen.

Decatur proposes creating a cash capital fund to reduce the need for over budgeting for the county schools, she told us.

The stay-at-home mom is a graduate of North Stafford High School.

Lines form early, stay brisk on Election Day

Lines at the polls this Election Day formed early on Tuesday.

Many across Prince William County reported long lines this morning at polling places. The pace was steady, and the mood of the voters: patient. 

In Manassas Park City where voters choose between Barbara Comstock or LuAnn Bennet for the 10th Congressional District, will vote on a Mayor, and a slate of new Governing Body candidates, a total of 1,443 votes were cast in Manassas as of 9 a.m., according to Manasass Park City Deputy Registrar Nancy Van Wyen.

In Pricne William County, elections spokesman Forrest Winston said the pace at the polls was brisk, but reported no problems.

Stafford County General Registrar Greg Riddlemoser reported simliar conditions at the polls, and said there had been no issues with voting eqiuipment. 

Submitted photos from the polls: 


Pictured on the left, Virginia State Senator Scott Surrovell (Fairfax, Stafford, Prince William) — who is not up for election this year — out with voters in Stafford County.

Pictured in the center Prince William Count Occoquan Distinct Supervisor Ruth Anderson, and Prince William County State Delegate Rich Anderson -- both not running for election this year -- with voters at the Prince William County Government Center.

Pictured in the center Prince William Count Occoquan Distinct Supervisor Ruth Anderson, and Prince William County State Delegate Rich Anderson — both not running for election this year — with voters at the Prince William County Government Center.

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Ivanka: “My father is just the messenger…this is your movement”


MANASSAS, Va. — Ivanka Trump made one of her final campaign stops for her father today in Manassas.

The 35-year-old fashion model turned entrepreneur, and now head of the Trump organization took the stage, joined by her sister, Tiffany, 22, where both talked to a crowd of Republicans about why their dad should be the next U.S. President.

“My father is just the messenger…this is your movement,” said Ivanka Trump. “He’s led a pretty good life… he’s doing this for you.”

The Trump sisters were whisked into the Red Rose Events Center on Liberia Avenue by U.S. Secret Service where they stood and took questions from a moderator for about 20 minutes at 3 p.m. Monday. About 540 supporters came to greet the Trumps, and to show their support for their father, and distrust of his opponent Hillary Clinton.

Ivanka Trump’s remarks differed from her father’s familiar campaign speeches.

“My father is very blunt in his remarks, and you know where he stands on the issues,” she said.

When asked about women’s issues, Ivanka Trump said she shies away from “women’s” issues, calling healthcare, equal pay, and education everyone’s issues.

“All issues are women’s’ issues. We don’t talk about ‘men’s’ issues,” said Trump.

When asked to how Donald Trump appeals to Millenials, the sisters responded by assuring them their father knows recent college graduates are looking for jobs and are swimming in debt.

“My father is the man to get the job done,” Ivanka Trump added.

The Trump sister’s appearance in Manassas follows Donald Trump’s late-night rally in Leesburg Sunday night that attracted thousands. Trump trailed Clinton by six points in Virginia on Monday, where Clinton is expected to win Democratic-heavy Northern Virginia, as well as the state’s populous urban regions like Richmond and Hampton Roads.

Trump may also have a difficult time swaying Latinos to vote for him after comments that he made early in the campaign about illegal immigrants. ‘

“I don’t hear any fixes for the problems when I listen to him speak,” said Antonio Vasquez, 52, of Triangle, and a Hillary Clinton supporter. “He’s going to deport 11 million people. The countries should be working together to fix immigration.”

At a rally in Reno, Nevada on Saturday, Trump said the immigration process needs to be reformed, and that it should not take as long as it does today for immigrants to enter the U.S. legally.

Vasquez in 2012 voted or President Barack Obama in 2012, and he called it a “mistake.”

“He promised that he was going to to do much more for immigrants and he did nothing,” he added.

Republicans in the final hours of the campaign are working hard to get out the vote. Calls were made from inside the Red Rose for additional GOP volunteer poll workers to come to precincts in Democrat-heavy Fairfax County to pass out fliers, as well as give rides to get voters to polling places.

Trump campaign volunteer Laurie Mullins, of Bristow, has been working to register voters.

“I’ve helped people in their 80s, people who have never voted before, register to vote,” said Mullens, who is hoping for a large Trump turnout in Virginia.

Clinton wins Beville Middle School: Students hold mock election


DALE CITY, Va. — They stood outside the gym chattering, excited, waiting — some not so patiently — to cast their vote for the next U.S. President.

“Stop! I did not call you in here yet,” shouted Tiffany Graczyk, a history and civics teacher at Beville Middle School in Dale City, who worked to keep order at the polling place while telling two anxious students to get back into a long line outside formed in a hallway outside the gym.

Graczyk on November 3 was serving as a poll worker in the school’s mock election, allowing voting students 12 and 14-years-old to place their ballots into a box and then giving each an “I voted” sticker. Many of those stickers wound up on voters’ faces.

“I won’t be able to vote for president, for real, until I’m 21-years-old, so this is my chance to be heard,” said 13-year-old AJ Royall.

The students and teachers participating in Beville Middle School’s mock election took it seriously. Once voters entered the polling place, they stood in a line until called to a table staffed by volunteers from the Prince William County Leauge of Women Voters, where each was asked for voter ID.

A card given to each student at the begging of the year with the student’s phone number, or the “lunch number” were accepted as valid forms of ID. Poll workers checked their names against a list of student voters, and then each voter was sent to a booth to fill out an individual ballot to include all four candidates for president: Clinton, Trump, Gary Johnson, of the Libertarian Party, and Jill Stein, of the Green Party.

Also on the students’ ballot: The same two constitutional amendment questions adults will see when they go to the polls on Tuesday, and the name Gerald E. “Gerry” Connolly, who is running unopposed, seeking his 5th term in Congress representing Prince William and Fairfax counties.

“I didn’t like that we had only one option for Congress,” said Sarah-Myra Nzeutcheb, 13. “I hoped to see more options.”

Beville Middle School instructors Graczyk, Jim McGovern, and Atif Qarni, who last year ran for Virginia State Senate in Prince William County, worked together since the beginning of the school year to pull off the mock election. The teachers rearranged their governmental teaching unit that explains about the election process and the Electoral College and moved it from the end of the year to the beginning so students could understand what is happening on Election Day November 8.

“We want our students to be educated about the process, we show them TV campaign coverage, like CNN vs. Fox News and we show them campaign ads on TV, and we show them campaign mailers,” said Qarni. “We want them to experience the election as if they were voting in it.”

Graczyk counted the more than 400 ballots during 7th period, and an announcement declaring the winner of the vote was made before students left school for the day.

Hillary Clinton won the day at Beville with 242 votes, while Donald Trump won 32 votes. The remainder of the votes were split between Johnson and Stein.

All schools in Prince William County will be closed on November 8, as many are used for polling places.

Potomac Local Voter Guide 2016: What’s on my ballot?

It’s been a long election season, and in it will be all over in about 48 hours.

We crafted this local voter guide for residents in Prince William and Stafford counties and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. This handy guide will tell you who is on your ballot, from presidential candidates, city council, and school board.

Also in the Guide: Links to profiles for the two candidates running in the special Manassas City Treasuer election, and links to the two constitutional amendments all Virginia voters will see when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

PotomacLocal.com’s Project: Election sent candidate surveys to all of the candidates listed this post. We have linked to the responses submitted by the candidates. 

If there is no link provided for a candidate for local offices, that candidate did not provide Project: Election questionnaire. 

For Presidential and Congressional candidates, we linked to their campaign websites. An asterisk notes incumbents. 

U.S. President 

Prince William County

1st Congressional District 

10th Congressional District

11th Congressional District

City of Manassas 

10th Congressional District

Manassas City Mayor 

City of Manassas Park 

Manassas Park City Mayor 

Governing Body 

Stafford County 

1st Congressional District 

Griffis-Widewater District School Board Representative 

Now for the two Constitutional Amendment questions that all Virginia residents will see.

Here is the first Constitutional Amendment question on the ballot: 

Should Article I of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership to the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise?

Here is the second Constitutional Amendment question on the ballot: 

Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow the General Assembly to provide an option to the localities to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel who was killed in the line of duty, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried?

See more 2016 election coverage

Ivanka Trump will be at Red Rose Events Center today in Manassas

Donald Trump is scheduled to appear tonight at 6 p.m. at a campaign rally at the Loudoun County Fairgrounds in Leesburg.

From the campaign:

Get your tickets to join Donald Trump and team in Leesburg, VA TONIGHT at 9:30 PM for a rally! Get your tickets here. Details about the event are below:

Sunday, Nov. 6th: Leesburg, VA
Loudoun Fairgrounds
17558 Dry Mill Rd.
Leesburg, VA 20175

Doors Open: 6:30 PM
Event Begins: 9:30 PM
Get your tickets here.

With election day approaching quickly, we are looking for volunteers to make phone calls and knock doors. To make calls from our office or to get a walking list, stop by any of our offices. To make calls from home, register for an account at https://talk.donaldjtrump.com.

Please limit personal items and arrive early to expedite entrance into the venue – please note, NO homemade signs, banners, professional cameras with a detachable lens, tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, back packs or large bags will be permitted into the venue.

Ivanka Trump will appear in Manassas on Monday.

The daughter of Donald Trump will take questions during a “town hall” meeting just one day before the election. The event will be held at the Red Rose Events Center located at 9705 Liberia Avenue, #101, in Manassas.

Ivanka Trump will take the stage at 2:30  2 p.m. in a campaign event to support her father, according to a spokesman for Corey Stewart, whose been representing Trump in Virginia for nearly a year.


We’re told locally elected officials will participate in the Ivanka Trump event. We don’t know the names of the local politicians that plan to attend

Tim Kaine will stump for Clinton on Monday at George Mason University

Tim Kaine will stump in Northern Virginia the day before Election Day. 

The U.S. Senator and Hillary Clinton’s Vice-Presidential running mate will come back to George Mason Univeristy in Fairfax on Monday. 

From the campaign: 

At his final rallies before Election Day, Tim Kaine will return home to campaign in Northern Virginia and Richmond, joined by Anne Holton, on MondayNovember 7Kaine will urge Virginians to make history on Tuesday by electing Hillary Clinton president and embracing an America that is stronger together, with an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. Kaine will also lay out how the divisive and dangerous views espoused by Donald Trump in his campaign make him unqualified, unfit and unworthy to lead this great nation. 

GOTV Rally at George Mason University with Tim Kaine and Anne Holton
When: 7:30 PM EST, MondayNovember 7, 2016
Doors Open: 5:30 PM EST
Where: George Mason University, North Plaza (adjacent to the Johnson Center), 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, VA, 22030

This is the second time Kaine has appeared George Mason’s Johnson Center during the 2016 campaign. He joined Clinton there in July for a rally prior to his selection as her running mate. 

Prince William voters have their say on international TV, live from Manassas


Veteran Sky News journalist Jeremy Thompson broadcast his nightly look at the U.S. Election from Jirani Coffeehouse on Thursday.

The Manassas coffeehouse served as the backdrop for a community conversation about the upcoming Presidential Election. A cross-section of Hillary Clinton supporters and Donald Trump die hards attended the event.

When questioned by Thomspon during his live “America Decides” broadcast that airs on Great Brittan’s widely-viewed 24-hour news channel Sky News, some at Jirani told the journalist that planned not to vote at all.

The audience gathered for the show which began at 8 p.m. U.S. east coast time and at midnight in the United Kingdom. The show lasted an hour., and the first portion of the show was displayed on a large TV screen inside the coffeehouse, while others streamed the second portion of the broadcast on their cell phones.

Thompson anchored the broadcast solely talking about the election, one of the most divisive in recent history, tossing to other Sky News correspondents fanned out across the U.S. who talked to U.S. residents to get their take on the presidential contest.

Thompson then fanned out across the coffeehouse while live on-the-air and asked audience members about who they planned to vote for, and why. Thompson asked questions about Clinton’s email scandal affects voters’ impressions of her, and how Trump’s consistent battering of the state of the federal government impacted federal workers’ opinion of the candidate, as many live in and around Manassas and work in Washington, D.C.

Sky News producer Kenneth Stewart contacted Potomac Local in mid-October informing us the international news network planned to visit Prince William County. His team of journalist took an interest in the locality because of its bellwether status, with a history of projecting who will win the White House based on the majority vote of the county’s electorate.

President Obama won Prince William County in 2008 and 2012 while President Bush won the vote here in 2004 and 2000. Trump visited the Prince William County Fairgrounds in December but, unlike in the past two Presidential Elections, Prince William County and much of Virginia has been ignored by the candidates as the Commonwealth was placed early into the Democratic win column.

Shifting poll numbers following the FBI’s announcement that it was reopening the Clinton email investigation has been good news for Trump. The Clinton campaign announced Thursday that running mate and Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine plans to visit the state before the election on Tuesday. Reports also state the Trump campaign will swing back through the re-ignited battleground state before Election Day.

Stewart told Potomac Local that his team was interested in broadcasting “America Decides” from a downtown area where his team could speak with people on the street before the show to gauge their opinions on the Clinton-Trump battle. We put Sky News in touch with the Detra and Ken Moorman, owners of Jirani Coffeehouse, who decided to reschedule a weekly open-mic night to host the British broadcasters.

We tagged along with Sky News Social Media Producer Alex Bath as he fanned out across Downtown Manassas with cardboard cutouts of Clinton and Trump. Of those he interviewed on camera, those who planned to vote for Hillary Clinton were asked to stand next to the cardboard Trump to say why they thought he would not make for a good president. Trump supporters were asked to do the same next to a cutout of Clinton.

Prince William GOP says Trump signs vandalized, calls on Dems to denounce actions

Minnieville Road near Telegraph Road
Corner of Dumfries Rd & Independent Hill Rd
Tudor Hall Estates near Manassas.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Republicans in Prince William County say some Donald Trump campaign signs became targets of vandals. 

The Prince William County Republican Committee press release states signs at the intersections of Minnieville and Telegraph roads in Lake Ridge, and at Route 234 and Independent Hill Drive at Independent Hill were trashed. 

A mailbox at a home in the Tudor Estates neighborhood near Manassas was tagged with black spraypaint.

Prince William County Republicans today called on Hillary Clinton supporters and the Prince William Democratic Chairman to denounce the vandalism and attacks on free speech occurring to Republican property and campaign signs across the County. In response to the unusually high rate of vandalism, the Prince William County Republican Committee has filed police reports on 8 instances of stolen or vandalized property.

Instances of vandalism, threats and even violence has been a common occurrence across America during this year’s presidential election. Donald Trump signs have been burned, ripped and vandalized throughout the nation, a streak local party leaders and elected officials say is unprecedented. A Republican office in North Carolina was firebombed in October. Gainesville resident, Judy Beaty, experienced repeated vandalism and theft at her house this year. In Loudoun County, a Republican campaign office in Sterling received a threat.




Prince William County’s bellwether status will bring Britain’s Sky News to Manassas Thursday. But is the county and state losing its ‘swing’ election status?

MANASSAS, Va. — The eyes of the region and Great Brittain will be watching what voters in Prince William County do at polling booths next week.

Sky News will broadcast from Jirani Coffeehouse in Manassas on Thursday. The 24-hour British news network is traveling the U.S., visiting bellwether counties in noted swing states.

From Sky News Producer Kenneth Stewart:

For your questions, essentially Prince William County came to my attention through a piece of university research which identified 15-20 ‘swing counties’ which the professor believed could determine the whole election, i.e. the counties which could tip swing battleground states one way or the other.

We selected a handful for our two weeks of pre-election coverage with senior news anchor Jeremy Thompson. We have already covered three days in Hillsborough County, Florida – where we went to a Hillary Clinton rally and interviewed voters there, plus public along the riverfront and in the historic Hispanic district. We are now in Cincinnati, Ohio (Hamilton County), and plan to visit Philadelphia, then Raleigh, North Carolina (Wake County) before reaching Manassas.

Our style is based on speaking to regular Americans – the man or woman on the street – whose lives are most affected by these elections, and we would certainly hope to continue that on the streets of Manassas, and at Jirani coffee house. We feel that our viewers can relate more to their counterparts in American towns, rather than simply being fed an endless loop of Clinton and Trump events.

Jirani Coffeehouse is promoting the event with this flier: 


Prince William County established itself as a “swing” county in 2008, and again in 2012 when it helped to elect President Barack Obama. Four years prior, the county voted overwhelmingly Republican and sent George W. Bush back to the White House for a second term.

In 2009, the County went red again voting in Robert McDonnell for Virginia Governor. In 2013, the county flipped back to blue when a majority of residents voted Terry McAuliffe into the state governor’s mansion, snubbing one of their own — Prince William County resident and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

The presidential campaigns stopped multiple times in Prince William County in 2012. Then Republican nominee Mitt Romney campaigned in Manassas on August 11, 2012, after stops in Norfolk and Ashland.

President Barack Obama campaigned at Pfitzner Stadium on September 21, and at Jiffy Lube Live on Nov. 3, 2012.

Virginia has taken a backseat to other swing states like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania during the 2016 election cycle. While this may be good news for some residents who don’t like those annoying political robot calls or a constant barrage of political advertising, it’s not good news for business.

“Virginia has suffered this year for not being a swing state,” said University of Mary Washington Professor and Director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies Steven Farnsworth. “The campaigns are not buying ads, they’re not staying in hotels, and they’re not eating at restaurants. Neither is the media that covers the campaigns.”

Diversity among Prince William County’s population remains a core interest for those who live, work, and visit the region.

“The county is so diverse, and not just racially economically diverse, but also economically diverse,” said Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart, the county’s top elected official. “The eastern end of the county is concerned about jobs, while the western end concerned about better schools and education. It’s an encapsulation of America, itself.”

Stewart was first elected to the Board in 2007 as the Occoquan District Supervisor on a platform of slowing residential development in the county. Later elected to the Chairman’ seat, Stewart has championed new amenities like a school swimming pool, and improvements to busy Route 1 in the name of economic development, to attract new businesses, and their CEOs who buy a home here and put their children in schools.

Stewart said he’s just back from a five-stop tour of Southwest Virginia where he continued to campaign for Donald Trump. Stewart once held the title of Trump campaign Virginia Chairman until last month when the campaign removed the title after an unsanctioned protest outside GOP headquarters in Washington, D.C. Stewart never stopped supporting Trump despite the move.

It is possible that no amount of campaigning will put Virginia in the win column for Trump. Polls have the state leaning toward a win for Hillary Clinton. Her running mate, U.S. Senator, and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is expected to increase her numbers in the Old Dominion, added Fuller.

Williams says her priority is to get all Manassas schools fully accredited


Robyn Williams is seeking a seat on the Manassas City School Board.

We sent a questionnaire to Williams, and her responses are below: 

Find your polling place 

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

Williams: 1. All schools must be fully state accredited 2. Every child deserves a great education from Special Ed to our most academic achievers 3. Consistent communication.

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

Williams: Every school must be fully accredited. It is my first and foremost priority to ensure all the schools in Manassas City are fully accredited. All of the Manassas City Public Schools are fully accredited except for Metz. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done. We are too small of a district to have a school-of-choice program, but I envision grouping more of our same skilled set students together to obtain the greatest impact and excel our passing rates, not just to the minimum requirements, but to higher levels. I would like to see a working partnership with teachers. Teachers are who touch our children on a daily basis and have the most impact on our success as a district.


Every student deserves a great education. I truly believe our schools are unique serving a small community providing opportunities for each child to be the very best they can be. From special education to our highest academic achievers. Our community demands it; I demand it.  Focusing on safety and student achievement both inside and outside of the classroom, using a comprehensive approach including: rigorous academic curriculum, high expectations and positive reinforcement for both students and teachers, efficient use of resources, school-community partnerships, staff development, leveraging of technology, and increased communication is how I will ensure each student receives a quality education.  

Consistent communication. Efficient parent-teacher communication is vital. Our school system must make use of cutting edge digital communication methods, in addition to written and personal communications, to see that parents are aware and involved in their student’s academic journey. 

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

From my prospective, it is the job or our School Board to always be cognitive of what changes are coming about by paying close attention to our community as a whole, what our society needs from our student body as they transition into being productive happy citizens, and to what the future trends are in our public education system from federal and state levels, so that we can predict correctly.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

I founded Redstone Realty in January of 2013, and before Redstone Realty, co-founded Williams Realty in 2004. As president and principal broker, I have direct management and supervision of the brokerage firm and its practitioners.
My responsibilities include developing policies and procedures for the firm, education, and enforcement of the policies and procedures set forth, as well as, ensuring compliance with federal and state mandates.  In addition to supervisory duties, my role as a Realtor requires me to develop and maintain relationships through personal interaction and extraordinary customer service while paying close attention to numerous details.
Negotiating and problem solving are skill sets crucial to me as a real estate practitioner. The experience and knowledge I have gained through so many experiences have prepared me for the task of being a strong school board member caring for our students, our teachers, and our community.
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of the Manassas City School Board? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
Williams: I think it is difficult to have a real understanding of the workings of our government because it does take time and involvement, particularly at the school board level. Too many of our citizens in today’s society are simply stretched too thin when it comes to the time they have. I would personally reach out to our community through the various clubs we have, through homeowners associations, and events throughout the city, not through school events alone. The schools affect our community as much as our community affects our schools, a concept that needs to be recognized.
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
Williams: I have made many mistakes throughout my lifetime, and I am quite sure I will make much more. The mistakes I have made in the past have helped me deal with any mistakes I will make in the future. To make mistakes it to learn from them. I rather learn from a mistake I have made and take one step closer to being a better human being than make no mistakes at all.
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
Williams: I have a vision, families wanting to send their children to Manassas City Public Schools. I have two children, both attending Metz Middle School, and I know we have some challenges to overcome, but the students we have in our classrooms are capable of meeting higher expectations should we provide them. 

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

Seaberg seeks first full 4-year term on Manassas City School Board

Suzanne Westre Seaberg is running to keep her seat on the Manassas City School Board. 
Seaberg was appointed to the Board in June following the resignation of Ellen Purdy.
We sent a questionnaire to Seaberg, and her responses are below: 

Find your polling place 

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

Seaberg: Community engagement, school environment, advancing student success.

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

Seaberg: We can foster communication, engagement and leadership in the community with clear and accessible information, additional outreach measures to the families that need it most, and continually working to build more leaders that are representative of our community.

Expand the culture of caring with programming throughout the division to foster positive mental health for our students and staff and to elevate respect for self and others.

Expose all students to a variety of career opportunities. Expand CTE options for students and working partnerships with businesses through internships and externships.

Build the community’s confidence and trust by listening, responding, demonstrating fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency while working toward positive solutions.

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

Seaberg: As a school board member, I bring a unique perspective to a seven-member team. We work together to set policy, approve a budget, and evaluate the superintendent. Overall, I am an objective and collaborative decision-maker. I balance the needs of community stakeholders while remaining focused on serving the children in our Manassas City Schools family.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

 Seventeen years of business experience (primarily escrow officer) and 15 years of volunteer experience in our community and our schools.
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of the Manassas City School Board? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
Seaberg: In our information-rich society, our citizens want to be well-informed and have quick access to the information they seek. Communication can be improved with clear, complete, and accessible information online or via text. Some of this is currently available/possible and improvements are underway for mobile-friendly access. Some of our citizens may benefit from specialized parent advocacy groups, and efforts should be continued so that ALL families feel included and welcome in our schools and our city. There are many that desire to understand the processes of our local government. I am actively promoting citizen participation in the MCPS Parent and Community Leadership Academy that provides information and builds an understanding of the workings of our local government. Just another opportunity to consider how one can take a role in affecting positive change in the City of Manassas. Additionally, everyone with a student in our schools may wish to download the Manassas City Public Schools App on your mobile device (if you haven’t already) to stay informed of news, events, and your student’s grades.
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
Seaberg: “A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new” ~ Albert Einstein. I am appreciative of experiences I have had in my volunteer roles along the way that have built my philosophy to consider decisions on behalf of all children in our schools and not just for the children in my home, or the families on my street. Although I have been a school board member for only three months, I am prepared and understanding new ways to be effective. Of course, there will be “learning opportunities” along the way, but I am committed to this role and the success of our schools. I love our City and the people in it. If elected, I will be honored to serve in this way for the next four years.
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
Seaberg: I ask for your consideration in electing me to the School Board for a full four-year term based on my belief in the importance of a strong public school system, my extensive years of volunteer experience in our schools and community at large, and my advocacy of high expectations for all students.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

Albrecht aims to bring attention to English Language Learning as Manassas School Board member

Scott M. Albrecht seeks to keep his seat on the Manassas City School Board, a position he’s held since 2000.
We sent Albrecht a questionaire, and his responses are below: 

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

Albrecht: We have accomplished a lot in our City schools, yet we still have further to go, including full accreditation for all Schools.

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

Albrecht: Achieving accreditation at all schools must be a priority. Having even one school without the accreditation as we do now does not meet our communities expectation. It takes many things within the school “system” to achieve this kind of comprehensive result, and three actions I personally want to be sure that we do not lose the focus on are: retaining our small class sizes, continuing our early learning focus by expanding our State recognized PreK program for all students (so that every student starts school with equal learning opportunities), and achieving a robust CTE curriculum at Osbourn High School (that will allow all students to be employed upon graduation with career and life skills that will make them productive members of our society).

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

Albrecht: The Code of Virginia specifies the role and responsibilities of a School Board in the Commonwealth. From my perspective, first and foremost we are the link between the community and the school system. It is our job to be sure that all students receive the best education possible within the financial limitations set by federal, state and local budgets.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

In over 16 years serving you I have learned that experience matters. With the retirement of Mr. Bushnell from the Board, there is the potential if I am not re-elected that the combined years of experience of the Board on January 1 will be about 18 years.
A Board without history and context could make bad decisions.Experience matters. My 16 years of experience in all phases of school governance and funding are needed. My specific local School Board experience includes: serving as Chair and Vice Chair, serving over 12 years on the finance committee. Representing Manassas to state and federal officials as a member of the legislative committee, helping plan, start up and lead our regional Governors School, twice as Board Chair, and serving on the education support and facilities committee, spearheading much of our long range planning and community engagement.
Additionally, if re-elected I have been honored by my peers across the Commonwealth of Virginia to be the President-Elect of the Virginia School Board Association. This will bring significant pride and notoriety to Manassas, and I would hope that in this position I can help elevate our local issues such as English Language Learning and the cost of competition in Northern Virginia. Finally, in my professional career, I am a certified Program Manager and oversee a portfolio of programs with full revenue, cost and profit responsibility for approximately $50 million annually.
PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of the Manassas City School Board? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 
Albrecht: The loss of a traditional print newspaper in Manassas remains a void in community communication. Manassas is also the small news item in a major metropolitan area. Online forums and media have somewhat filled the void, and our schools have taken considerable efforts to engage parents and the community. Our Board is fully transparent in all of our budget and academic actions and actively attempts to engage the community. Despite this, I agree with the perception that members of the community could be better informed, and as a Board Member will continue to advocate for full transparency and increased use of nontraditional media with the goal of well informed and involved citizens.
PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?
Albrecht: We all make mistakes in our public, private and professional lives. These mistakes help shape us. I take every success and failure as a learning opportunity.
PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?
Albrecht: First and foremost, the citizens of Manassas should vote for me if they believe experience matters. Since my first election in 2000, I have led the Board to policy changes aimed at the success of all students. 
Among my accomplishments are: eliminating artificial barriers to entry for AP and Honors classes (they are now self-registered); leading policy changes to allow homeschooled and private schooled students to attend Metz Middle School and Osbourn High School part time; advocating for all children in the City (not just enrolled students) to have access to Footsteps2Brilliance, and ingraining discipline in our planning – we now have a multi-year maintenance plan and realistic revenue and expense projections (to include new Baldwin that will open on time in December). 
Many in our community say our schools are failing. I believe in our school system, the future of our children and the potential for our City. We have made significant progress in our schools, including OHS being named a Silver Medal school and in the top 16% of VA high schools by US News and World Reports, OHS receiving a Grammy School for Excellence in Fine Arts Education, and Weems being recognized as a National Urban School of Excellence. I want to build on these successes and reach full accreditation for all of our schools and have success for all of our students. 
I am a recognized leader in our schools in Manassas, have positive working relationships with elected leaders throughout the City our region, and State, and if re-elected will be President-Elect of the Virginia School Board Association. This will bring significant pride and notoriety to Manassas, and result in our local challenges receiving increased statewide attention.

Read more Project: Election 2016 candidate profiles.

Prince William General Registrar says vote early to avoid lines

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Elections officials in Prince William County say voter turnout on November 8 could be as much as 85% of registered voters.

That could cause long lines at polling places across the county. Today, General Registrar Michelle White issued this press release urging voters to use this weekend — the last weekend of absentee voting — to cast thier ballots. 

Press release: 

Michele White, Prince William County’s Director of Elections, is encouraging those who have the ability to vote absentee to consider doing so. Five absentee vote centers will be open tomorrow Saturday October 29 from 8:30am to 5:00pm.

Voting in person at an Absentee Vote Center is just like voting on Election Day. Voters are checked in by presenting a valid Photo ID and asked to fill out a short application. After check in voters are given their paper ballot and directed to a booth to mark their ballot. After marking their ballot, voters simply insert their ballot in the voting equipment to be scanned. Voters should look for the American Flag. The screen will say “Your vote has been recorded. Thank you for voting.”

One voter, after casting his ballot at the McCoart Absentee Vote Center commented that voting “was quick and painless!”

All absentee vote centers are open between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The last day to vote at an Absentee Vote Center is Saturday November 5, 2016, 8:30am to 5:00pm.

Absentee Vote Center Locations

Main Office of Elections:
9250 Lee Avenue, Suite 1
Manassas, VA 20110

DMV Office of Elections:
2731 Caton Hill Road
Woodbridge, VA 22192

James J. McCoart Administration Building
1 County Complex Court
Woodbridge, VA 22192

Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building
15941 Donald Curtis Drive
Woodbridge, VA 22191

Haymarket Gainesville Community Library
14870 Lightner Road
Haymarket, VA 20169

Long lines in Prince William County during the 2o12 presidential election frustrated voters and kept residents standing in line long after polls closed.

Delegate Rich Anderson to host 2017 Future Delegate Program

The office of Virginia State Delegate Richard L. Anderson (R-51) has announced that the Prince William County legislator will again host his popular and competitive annual “51st House District Future Delegate Program” at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond during the months of January and February 2017.

The program is open to public, private, and home-schooled students from grades 7 through 12. The 51st House District stretches from Occoquan Town westward through Lake Ridge, the county portions of Manassas, and into Brentsville and Nokesville.

All students are welcome to participate, regardless of party affiliation or views. The Future Delegate Program focuses solely on the legislative process and exposes students and families to legislative life in Richmond. The goal is for students to return home after a full day in Richmond with a greater appreciation for the public policy process. Anderson’s goal is to motivate students to pursue public service as their chosen profession as an adult.

Future Delegate Lyndon Johnson (center) and father-2

On November 12, from 2-3:30pm, Anderson will host an orientation for prospective student participants in the chambers at the McCoart Government Center at 1 County Complex Court, Woodbridge, VA. At that time, he and his staff will brief students and families on the program, answer questions, and accept applications for the program.

Since 2013 Anderson’s dedication to inspiring future leaders has led him to host over 200 students at the Capitol under his Future Delegate Program. The delegate stated that “seeing the excitement and interest that students have about a future in public service makes this program one I am happy to continue offering.”

The intent is that only one student will participate each day, so that they experience quality time with their elected representative and are able to focus fully on the legislative process.

Anderson further stated that “I look forward to welcoming our next group of students to Richmond in January and February. I am excited for the next generation of leadership in our Commonwealth to engage in Virginia’s legislative process first-hand. I hope that this program will inspire them to seriously consider a career in public service.”

The program is managed by Anderson’s 51st Outreach Coordinator, Mrs. Kristina Schnack Kotlus, who can be reached at kristina.delegateanderson@gmail.com.

Theresa Coates Ellis: Education and community are key

As a candidate for City Council, Theresa Coates Ellis is all about bringing a new perspective to Manassas by looking at what she calls “the bigger picture.” For Ellis, this bigger picture includes her passions: education and community involvement.

Investing in local youth

For more than 25 years, Ellis has worked with children of all ages. A single mother, then a remarried mom raising a blended family of seven children, Ellis earned her college degree attending George Mason University (GMU) full time while building her business. Later, with her youngest off to college, she became interested in working with kids in an educational setting again. Touring the school her children attended, she realized there was a perception that did not match the positive interactions she was having there. Concerned the “good word” was not getting out, she came up with a plan.

Ellis worked to get the children networking. Calling them ambassadors for the community, Ellis founded sponsored the Community Connection Network, CCN Manassas, the Manassas City Public School (MCPS) High School Media Team in May 2015. What started as a diverse group of four students serving as a public relations team for the school soon branched out to 16 students covering community events.

The team began capturing the spirit of the community through video, photos, and stories, representing Osbourn High School, service organizations, historical sites, or events happening in Manassas.

At one point, Ellis hired the club’s original president part-time to write blogs and record videos. When he had to interview at George Mason University (GMU) for a scholarship, Ellis advised him, explaining what to wear and what to do, as well as what body language to demonstrate. After the interview, he told her it went well. GMU liked the fact that he had helped start a club, that he had created something for the school and community. That student ended up getting a full, four-year scholarship.

“I’m really proud of him,” Ellis said. “All the kids who graduated did really well.”

But, Ellis, who also serves on the advisory committee for the Manassas school system’s Career and Technical Education program, said, “Some kids come out of high school and will be going into technology and vocational careers, not necessarily college. They may have the opportunity to own a business. It’s important to teach vocational skills like these, too, as well as entrepreneurial skills. To do this, the community needs to be involved. You have to have businesses and community leaders reaching out to students.”


Perception is reality

Ellis can see the potential of a community-driven public image campaign for the City of Manassas. If elected, she would like to introduce a Public Image Committee that would not just be “PR” for Manassas – it would educate those beyond Manassas about the community. While Ellis is proud of the city’s historic roots, she feels the city needs coverage beyond that aspect. Ellis says that attracting new businesses and more community investment can come from covering the city’s modern strengths as well.

Ellis said she has the plan and the experience to take on the task of promoting a positive image for Manassas. As founder and owner of Tackle Management Corp., a company providing management and public relations services to businesses and organizations in Manassas, she has earned the reputation of being experienced and solution-oriented. “When you’re in business, you have to be a problem solver,” she said.

What’s more, Ellis said she knows the business aspect of running successful organizations. Working in leadership capacities with Manassas Regional Airport Commission, as President of the Bull Run Rotary Club, the Inter-Service Club Council of Greater Manassas, the MCPS Education Foundation Marketing Committee, and Cobblestone Business Center gives her insight into the local economy, which is the backbone of the community.


Not a politician

Ellis planned her candidacy for years before throwing her hat in the ring. “I’m not a politician,” she noted, but she had “serious concerns” and thought about how to fill the need. Ellis has found she really enjoys talking with the community. “I love it. I love getting out and talking to people and hearing all the issues.”

She says the community is receiving her well on the campaign trail. Residents remark consistently about her door-to-door campaign style, adding that she is the first candidate that has come to their door. Ellis sees this as encouraging and hopes it also encourages more community involvement. “I believe the more people you have invested in the community, it’s only going to get better. People have a pride and ownership in their community.”

Ellis understands being invested in her community and believes this will make her an excellent city councilperson. “When you’re really involved in the community, you see things differently. I’m open minded. And I think that makes a difference.”

For more information on Theresa Coates Ellis, visit her website, TheresaCoatesEllis.com.

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