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City Councilman Jonathan Way solves complex problems and preserves local landmarks

Manassas City Councilman Jonathan Way could have chosen anywhere to retire and run for city council, but he chose Manassas. To him, he said, he had the opportunity to accomplish all the things he wanted to accomplish and Manassas just had that comfortable “hometown feel.”

Before moving to City Council, though, Way worked as Head of the Zoning Committee for the Planning Commission and then moved to Chair. He felt he was doing good for his community in this position. So he decided to run for Manassas City Council, which he is doing once again this year. Way says of his motivation, “I want to leave Manassas in a better place than when I came here.”

Way is passionate about figuring out the answers to complex problems. He says virtually all problems that come before the Council are complicated. Working on the town council is a balancing act. Since people who come before the council have different opinions, he said, it’s difficult to please everyone. His job, he said, is to make sure the public is satisfied with the Council’s decisions (or at least “comfortably dissatisfied”).

Way’s current pet project is the 100 + year-old water tower. He is actively working with a team of volunteers to save what has been an icon of the city. He says that even though it’s not needed for water management, the water tower is historically significant and “deserves better than to become a parking lot.”

One of the best parts of his job is balancing the criteria the City Council has to meet in reaching decisions, Way said. The biggest challenge is having a balanced budget without substantial tax increases, while still providing services the public needs. Way said, “It’s a heck of a balancing act…we do it. It’s satisfying to overcome such a challenge.”

Regarding the campaign trail, Way said he takes great satisfaction from knocking on doors and calling on people. He said the public is almost “universally polite,” which makes for a pleasant experience. “You meet a lot of interesting people and learn a lot of interesting things about the city,” Way said.

The campaigns in the city have not been vicious, according to Way. “People point out what they can do, some point out what they’ve already done, some people say they want change, but that’s about as hefty as it gets. We don’t really have much bad to say about other people.”

Way said he knows he’s a good candidate not only because he’s experienced, but because he is retired, so he also has the time to put in the necessary 1,200 hours per year. Year round, Council meets formally twice a month, except during August and December.

Plus, Way is on many committees that meet every month. Some of his monthly commitments include Regional Council of Governments Board of Directors, the regional Transportation Planning Board, VRE director, PRTC director, Associate of Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Novant Prince William Health System Board of Trustees and member of Governance and Quality committees.

“It’s tough for council members who are still working full-time to balance all these commitments,” Way said.

“In our country where polarized government has taken over the landscape,” Way said, “I’m a balanced, sensible conservative. I recognize the other side has legitimate concerns and feelings as well. I’m satisfied to have a solution to whatever the problem is…not a ‘my way or the highway’ type of approach. If you do that, you end up on the highway yourself, and that’s not the way to run the government.”

For more information on Jonathan Way’s campaign, visit

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