For a Better Commute. For Better Connected Communities in Prince William & Stafford, Va.


Letter: Porta familar with issues facing Prince William community

Letter to the editor 

On October 16, I attended the debate held at Lake Ridge Middle School between the candidates for Occoquan District Supervisor, Earnie Porta and Ruth Anderson.

I was struck by the difference in the candidates answers to the questions presented. Mr. Porta was clearly knowledgeable of the important issues facing the district and the county, and presented clear, well thought-out, common sense answers to questions on subjects including traffic congestion and taxes.

His extensive background in community service was evident, and speaks for itself. He is clearly able to step into the supervisor role on day one.

While I admire the accomplished careers of both candidates, only one of them has the relevant community experience, knowledge and skills to serve in this important position. Earnie Porta deserves our vote on November 3.

Barbara Paciejewski lives in Woodbridge.

Wilk is teacher turned mentor, says former student

Letter to the editor

When deciding who would best represent our community and support the families that it consists of, the answer is as clear as a summer sky.  Justin Wilk is an honest, devoted leader who has dedicated immense amounts of efforts to have the opportunity to bring the positive change that this county so greatly longs for.

As a former educator in Prince William County, he has witnessed the issues first hand. He has stood in front of a classroom, one that is overpopulated compared to our competing districts, and struggled to develop teaching methods that accommodate every one of his students.

Despite this hardship, Justin has always found a way to reach out to each and every one of his students and ensure they are receiving a top-notch education. As a past student, I have participated in his classroom culture, and since then haven’t met a teacher that reached me quite like he was able to.

Following the school year, Justin went from being my teacher to a mentor. Even after the classroom door shut, Justin was always right by my side, offering nothing but support and encouragement. This type of individual is who we need to represent on the school board.

Following his teaching career, Justin pursued a job in the private sector, focusing on what he strives for most, education. Currently, he helps collaborate with school leaders to build stronger relationships with the students, parents, and staff. Spending the last 10+ years of his life working in fields revolving around educational prosperity, Justin has become a credible candidate to lead this county in the right direction.

From overpopulated class sizes and elected official transparency, to reaching out to every single student that comes through our county, he has broken down his fundamental issues, and has developed a plan on how he is going to solve them.

The Potomac [District] of Prince William County has had the same representation for many years, it is time for a new voice. There is one person who will use this voice to stand up to whoever needed, and bring the change that the students and their families rightfully deserve.

There is one person who will bring back the truth behind the phrase “world-class” education, and that is Justin Wilk.

Brandon Mills lives in Woodbridge.

Sen. Charles Colgan supports Maureen Caddigan for Prince William Board of Supervisors

Letter to the editor

I met Maureen Caddigan before she entered public life. We first collaborated when she was a member of the Prince William County School Board and worked closely since she has been a member of the Board of Supervisors representing the Potomac District. Maureen and I have worked on a variety of issues to include transportation, public safety and education.

As [a member] of the Board of Supervisors, Maureen understands the need for leadership and working as a team. She does not get involved in partisan bickering and readily reaches across party lines in order to accomplish a goal and improve the quality of life for the citizens of Prince William County.

As a resident of Prince William County for more than 45 years, Maureen is a mother whose children attended our schools, a wife who understands the challenges working families, and a devoted public servant. Maureen has proven time and again that the confidence the voters have placed in her was well founded.

During the course of my Senate career, I have called Maureen Caddigan many times for council and advice because I know she is a woman of integrity, and every decision she makes, she does so with the best interest of the citizens of Prince William County in mind. I am proud to call her my friend and I look forward to her return to the Board of Supervisors.

Charles J. Colgan served as Virginia State Senator for the 29th District from 1976 to 2015.

Surovell supports Medicaid expansion, tough on car title lenders

Letter to the editor

Virginia State Delegate Scott Surovell has done an excellent job in the House of Delegates and is running to replace Senator Toddy Puller who is retiring.

Delegate Surovell has an excellent record as an advocate of all the people. One of his key pieces of legislation bans texting and driving, a life-saving piece of key legislation.

He is also supporting enhanced regulation of predatory car title lenders. He supports expansion of Medicaid coverage for people who do not have health insurance. This key piece of legislation would help to support health care for some 400,000 Virginians, 20,000 of which live in Prince William County. Virginia loses some $1.0 billion per year in federal Medicaid dollars. This also runs down the financial condition of all hospitals, and especially those in rural areas of the State.  

On November 3, please consider voting for Scott Surovell for our State Senator.

Kevin M. Raymond lives in Woodbridge.

Letter: Covington supports disadvantaged children, understands teachers

Letter to the editor 

Prince William County Residents will be heading to the polls in November to choose their School Board Members for the next term. For anyone that truly cares about all children, the choice is clear: Betty D. Covington, School Board Member for the Potomac District.

I have had the privilege of working with Mrs. Covington as a teacher for sixteen years while she was the principal of Kilby Elementary and as an Associate Superintendent while she served on the School Board. I observed firsthand her dedication to and tireless efforts on behalf of the teachers, students, and parents of Prince William County.

Mrs. Covington has always been a supporter of teachers. She has fought for and voted for teacher salaries and benefit packages for the past 12 years.

On March 28, 2012, Mrs. Covington voted for a Board Motion which increased teacher salaries. Her opponent has mentioned this motion but unfortunately he has neglected to include that while the motion had other components, most importantly it contained an increase in teacher salaries.

She has spent most of her adult life being a relentless advocate for education, children and families. As a former teacher and principal, she truly understands the demands placed on teachers and school staff each and every day.

Mrs. Covington is passionate about the students under her care. I have seen her “light up” as she interacts with a young child in a school. At any given time, you may see her reading to students, attending a Back to School Night, or visiting a special program.

She has always been a proponent of early childhood education as illustrated by her long time support of Head Start and her votes for full day kindergarten and for additional preschool classes.

As a School Board Member, she is often involved in issues surrounding students. She never rushes to judgment when confronted with these issues. She takes the time to evaluate the situation, examines all sides of the issue and ultimately makes decisions based on what is best for children. 

Providing all students with an excellent education and a variety of learning and extra-curricular opportunities has been a priority for her as a Board Member. Her support and leadership has helped expand specialty school opportunities, increase advanced learning offerings to include the Governor’s School at Innovation Park, and expand career and technical education classes for not only students in the Potomac District but for all students in Prince William County.

Mrs. Covington has been a supporter of families and has been a strong voice for parents. She is always looking for ways to make life easier for parents and families. As an Associate Superintendent, I remember Mrs. Covington calling me and wanting to ensure that the Dumfries Elementary students received the summer breakfast and lunch program which was available for qualified schools.

Just recently, Mrs. Covington voted to keep the new “Ferlazzo Elementary School a neighborhood school, rather than, a school of choice. Mrs. Covington has contacted churches and community organizations to partner with schools to provide food, clothing, and school supplies. She has continuously supported the STAR program housed at Forest Park High School which refurbishes computers and gives them to disadvantaged families. Mrs. Covington has personally helped many families in their time of need. She is a caring experienced leader who exemplifies what it means to be a public servant.

At the end of the day, based on the examples sited and many more, Betty D. Covington is the best choice for the Potomac District School Board seat.

Diana Lambert-Aikens lives in Woodbridge.


Covington supports teachers’ raises and benefits

Letter to the editor

I am the present School Board member representing the Potomac District. I am a candidate for reelection. I have never joined a political party.

I am an Independent. The School Board is nonpartisan. I belong to the Children’s Party. I vote for what I feel is best for our children’s education.

I am responding to some information that my opponent wrote in a previous article. He stated that I was the only Board member running for reelection who voted to add 30 minutes to the teacher work day.

He neglected to say that I am the only Board member running who voted for the teachers’ raises and benefits in that same motion. I suppose only selecting what some have viewed as the negative part of an issue to report is just politics.

Bill Hosp, Prince William Federation of Teachers (PWFT) President, and my opponent’s campaign manager, stated that there was an attitude of teachers being uppity.  That is very insulting to our School Board and to me personally. I have never heard School Board members make those kind of remarks and I definitely haven’t.

I was a teacher for many years and have a lot of respect for teachers. I am still a teacher at heart. My son is a teacher in the county. I have always supported teachers and voted for salary increases and their benefits package every year.

I voted for the 30 minutes added to the teachers’ day because our school system was the only system in the area with a seven hour work day. All other school systems, including Stafford and Fairfax, have a 7.5 hour work day. Having been a principal for 27 years, I know that the majority of our teachers already work more than 30 minutes over their contract day. I felt it was something that they were already doing.

A previous article had incorrect information. It stated that candidates were given surveys and then interviewed by the teachers’ organizations.

When I questioned Bill Hosp, PWFT President, why I did not receive a survey or interview, he stated that my opponent was a member of his organization and that they would never endorse anyone over a member. It appears that membership takes priority over experience and qualifications.

My opponent resigned from his teaching position in November 2013, yet has remained a member of the teacher’s organization. I respect and appreciate our teachers. They are the ones delivering instruction and deserve the credit for our outstanding school system.

I will continue to support reducing class sizes and increasing teachers’ salaries.

Betty D. Covington serves as the Potomac District Representative on the Prince William County School Board.

Foreman says Surovell’s voting record doesn’t add up

Letter to the editor 

Providing for public safety and ensuring our brave men and women in law enforcement have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively is among the top priorities of any elected official.  In the Town of Dumfries, where I serve as Mayor, that responsibility took on added meaning a couple years ago.

As many of you know, the reputation of the Dumfries Police Department took a big hit in 2010 when there was major turnover within the Department, including the Chief and Assistant Chief, following an investigation into wrongdoing and mismanagement by the Virginia State Police and Virginia Department of Criminal Justice, as well as an internal investigation.

After being elected Mayor in 2012, I worked closely with the new Town Manager and Police Chief to restore the image of the Dumfries PD.  As a 25-year Mustang Marine, I uniquely understand the importance of providing strong leadership and clear direction so people can do their jobs effectively. 

To that end, I have forcefully advocated for reforms that would “right” our police department.  My priority as Mayor has been to make sure our police force was the “right size,” was tasked with the “right mission” and had the “right equipment” to do the job and do it well.  In addition, as part of that effort, we also took the following actions:

Placed a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Dumfries Elementary School.  Having one of our police officers serve an SRO has allowed the students to form a relationship built on mutual trust and respect with law enforcement at an early age.

Launched a Police Academy for kids – run every year at no cost to participants.  The 2015 Academy was the largest graduating class with 35 children.

Set aside money in the Capital Improvement Plan for a new police station, while still lowering the town’s property tax rate.

Initiated a bike patrol to allow officers to better move within the community and along running and bike trails, while also allowing more personal interaction with residents.

Instituted a program where police officers attend Homeowner Association meetings on a regular basis to answer citizen questions directly and listen to their concerns.

Thanks to those efforts, I am proud to report that when comparing 2013 and 2014 with 2010, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that serious crimes like rape, robbery and aggravated assault are all down in Dumfries.  That’s a credit to our force and the job they do every day.  I congratulate them on their efforts and am honored to serve our town with them. 

Given the state’s economy flat-lining in recent years, rising crime has increasingly become an issue in many parts of our state, making the need for smart, tough policy out of Richmond even more important to keep our citizens as safe as possible.  Unfortunately, my opponent, a Delegate serving in the house – Mr. Scott Surovell isn’t helping matters.

Here are just a sampling of Delegate Surovell’s head-in-the-sand votes from recent years:

Surovell, a lawyer who defends drunk drivers in private practice, sponsored legislation that would help his potential clients by reducing penalties for convicted drunk drivers.  He also voted against mandatory sentences for drunk drivers who kill someone on the road.

(HB 945, 2014)

Surovell sponsored this bill, which eliminates the requirement that a driver’s license be suspended for one year for an adult first offender with a blood alcohol content under 0.15 and instead requires the offender to have an ignition interlock for one year.  That means that clients who come to Surovell with a BAC above 0.15 could avoid license suspension and instead get an ignition interlock device.)

(HB 49, 2012)

Surovell voted to conceal the identity of convicted sex offenders from being listed on the state registry for crimes against minors, preventing parents from knowing if they moved into their neighborhood and next to schools. Additionally, he voted against allowing life-sentences for child rapists.

(HB 1353, 2015; SB 201)

 Additionally, he voted against allowing life-sentences for child rapists.

(HB 973, 2012; SB 436)

Surovell opposed authorizing use of physical force against intruders. 

(HB 14, 2012)

Surovell voted against “Hannah’s Law,” which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support after the murder of college student Hannah Graham.  The law allows law enforcement officers to collect DNA samples of convicted stalkers and pedophiles to help prevent future crimes.

(HB 1928, 2015)

Delegate Jackson Miller of Manassas said Hannah Graham would still be alive if this bill had become law 10 years ago.)

And while Delegate Surovell was going soft on convicted criminals, he voted to allow the government to use electronic monitoring devices to track the location of law-abiding citizens without their consent.

(HB 807, 2013)

Whether the issue is jobs and the economy, Route 1 improvements, ethics reform or public safety, the election for State Senate in the 36th District this year comes down to whose priorities are more in line with your own on the issues that matter most to you. 

I trust you to make that judgement for yourselves based on the facts.  I have supported Fairfax, Stafford and Prince William counties since elected Mayor; my track record speaks for itself.  I ask you compare Delegate Surovell’s voting record against what he is saying during an election year campaign.

Republican Jerry Foreman is running for Virginia State Senate in the 36th District, to include Fairfax, Prince William, and Stafford counties. 

Seefeldt endorses Porta: ‘Let this eagle fly’

On November 3, I will be voting for Earnie Porta for Occoquan Supervisor.  

He has the experience in municipal finance, the proven leadership skills in government as Mayor of Occoquan and the right priorities and ideas for addressing our challenges in education, transportation, economic development and environmental protection.  

I believe Earnie will be a creative, energetic representative whose vision and listening skills will serve us and the Board of County Supervisors very well.  Please join me in letting this eagle fly.

Kathleen K. Seefeldt is a former Occoquan District Supervisor and Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman.

Cuccinelli: Mike May deserves to be our next Commonwealth’s Attorney

As the former Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia, I have worked with Commonwealth’s Attorneys throughout the state. And as a resident of Prince William County, I strongly support Mike May to be our next Commonwealth’s Attorney – our local prosecutor.

When considering the candidates for Commonwealth’s Attorney, the most important thing we should look for is a leader whose judgment we can trust. We need someone of even-handed temperament who will be firm, fair and transparent in all circumstances.

During his time as both a trial lawyer and public servant, Mike has demonstrated these qualities time and time again. He works at a respected Virginia Law Firm, where he represents clients in complex litigation, family, employment, and criminal matters. He has tried jury and bench trials and has been selected by his peers as among Virginia’s “Legal Elite” three times.

As a Member of the Board of Supervisors, Mike has earned our trust. He has fought to protect taxpayers. He worked with his colleagues to improve transparency; to protect our quality of life; and to ensure a safe community. Mike has not been afraid to stand up to the special interests and take the tough votes, and I know he will stand up to protect our families as our next Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Mike’s opponent has done some good things for our community during his 47 year tenure, but it’s clearly time for a change. When considering who we can trust as our next Commonwealth’s Attorney, it is fair to consider the public record of both candidates.

Although an experienced prosecutor, separate federal courts recently ruled that Mr. Ebert intentionally withheld exculpatory evidence (evidence supporting innocence) and choreographed witness testimony in the death penalty case of Justin Wolfe. In ruling on this case, Federal District Court Judge Jackson described Mr. Ebert’s conduct as “abhorrent to the judicial process” and overturned the conviction.

The Federal Appeals Court upheld the lower court ruling, finding that Mr. Ebert’s suppression of evidence was “entirely intentional” and called his explanations “flabbergasting.” These are factual findings by independent courts. Mr. Ebert has stated that he disagrees with the rulings, and that he is confident that the defendant in that case will be convicted on retrial once again. That may well be true. But even if another prosecutor convicts Justin Wolfe, that means that Mr. Ebert’s behavior would have gotten a murderer off the hook absent Wolfe’s retrial by another prosecutor – doing the job that Mr. Ebert should have done right in the first place.

Imagine the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars that will have to be invested in re-doing something that could have been done properly the first time – not to mention the constitutional violations the courts found, which are perhaps more troubling. Mr. Ebert and his political circle also have a long and disturbing history of bringing or threatening criminal charges to damage political candidates with whom he disagrees or who dare to challenge Mr. Ebert’s friends and allies.

When it comes to deciding whether to prosecute someone in our community, politics should play no part, and while Paul Ebert has failed that test, I am confident that Mike May will decide every case on its own merits – ignoring politics, as he should. Mr. Ebert’s cases are part of the public record and you should review them yourself as you consider your choice.

After you review the backgrounds of both candidates, I hope you will join me in supporting Mike May for Commonwealth’s Attorney. Mike May will protect our neighborhoods and keep our families safe; he will modernize the office and make it more transparent; and, he will actively engage our community to enhance public safety and crime prevention. Mike May is a leader we can trust. It’s time for a fresh perspective, so please join me in voting for Mike May on November 3.

Ken Cuccinelli served as Attorney General of Virginia 2010-2014 and is a Prince William County resident. 

Voter supports May after family child sex abuse case

Letter to the editor 

I am writing to express our support for Mike May for Commonwealth Attorney.

I believe it is time for Prince William to change leadership and move forward. In the past two years we have had the unfortunate need to deal with Paul Ebert’s office. The experience was extremely upsetting to the children (victims) and my entire family for the lack of support for them and us during this horrible time.

In order for victims to receive victims assistance there have to be charges pressed on the abuser. We have fought for going on two years with no answers as to why this abuse is not considered enough for prosecution and requested information as to why the one case that was charged was not processed correctly and the abuser walked out a free woman due to a technicality.

The entire case felt like a comedy of errors including the warrants for the abuser’s arrest being posted to the victim’s front door. We fought for six months to get charges pressed and it took another two for the arrest warrants to get to the proper location.

All the while the children are being harassed in multiple Medias because they felt no need to issue a protective order for a minor child who was sexually assaulted. I still have no words for the disrespect and just plain horrible treatment of this child at the hands of Ebert’s office.

We continue to request answers, request an phone call from Ebert himself as to why the other child is not worthy of facing their abuser, why these children had to get unplugged from everything in order for us to protect them, and most of all how do I explain to these kids that police are on their side when they feel betrayed by the system that was supposed to protect them.

The abuser still lives in this area and worked in a private daycare. We inquired to the county and since they were not convicted and the other charges have not been filed we are not able to stop this issue. Yet another failure to the children of Woodbridge.

It is time for a change, time to elect someone who has a fresh pair of eyes and is willing to listen to our concerns and protect our children. Our children are our future and this kind of law enforcement is leaving our children vulnerable to abusers and allowing the abusers to walk the street. Our family will be voting for change. I hope you all do too.

Aubrey McNiff lives in Woodbridge.

Quantico mayor urges voters to choose Mike May for Commonwealth Attorney

Letter to the editor 

I barely know Mike May. I have only met him briefly three or four times. I couldn’t tell you if he is married or if he has any kids. I don’t golf with him. Never been to his house. Never watched a football game with him.

In fact, I don’t know much about his record as a public servant. But I am encouraging everyone I know to vote for him to be the next Commonwealth’s Attorney for Prince William County because of what I know about Paul Ebert.

Over the past few years I have had two specific encounters with Paul Ebert that I think are very telling. The first was in 2010 when a former mayor and town council of the Town of Quantico hosted an unbudgeted tax payer funded music festival with a price tag of $108,000 and only collected $4,000.

The event lost over $103,000 dollars. Contracts over $10,000 have to go through a bidding process. The contract for this event was a “sole source” arrangement with a friend of a town resident.

After the event I contacted Paul Ebert and asked him to look into the event on the grounds that state and local contracting laws were not followed. I also asked him to look into whether there were any grounds for holding the mayor and town council responsible for their negligence in wasting tax payer money.

His answer? He implied that I was a jilted candidate seeking some sort of political revenge because I had lost the previous mayoral election in May 2010. No “I will look into it.” No calls to the town treasurer for more details. Nothing.

The second encounter was after I became the Mayor of the Town of Quantico in 2012. One of the many things we had to fix was our police department.

After I initiated an external audit the Virginia State Police were contacted and completed an investigation. When the audit and the ensuing VSP investigation were completed it was determined that several police service weapons were missing as well as at least $1,200 in cash and an unspecified quantity of drugs were missing from the department’s evidence lockers.

The Virginia State Police stated it would be Paul Ebert’s decision on whether to seek charges against the responsible parties but he had decided not to do anything about it. Again nothing from Paul.

After numerous emails and phone calls I actually made an appointment and met with Paul Ebert in his office in Manassas. I can tell you it was one of the most discouraging meetings I have ever had with a public official. I pressed him for an explanation on why he was not enforcing the laws he was elected to enforce. Nothing. He just sat back in his comfortable chair and smiled.

Paul Ebert has gotten too comfortable and needs to go. Which brings me back to Mike May. When asked, Mike has expressed to me that he would have handled these situations differently, and I believe him.

I will be voting for Mike May to represent me and my family as the next Commonwealth’s Attorney of Prince William County and you should too.

This post is submitted by Quantico Mayor Kevin P. Brown.

Betty Covington will focus on smaller class sizes

Letter to the editor 

Potomac District School Board Member Betty Covington is a proven leader with considerable experience.

Betty has served as a teacher, principal and School Board Member.   With this background and an institutional memory for the evolution of our school system, Betty serves the County well in this, our most important responsibility as parents.  

Betty’s goals are to bring down class sizes, provide a strong basic skills program that will include phonics based reading, support for pre-k and all-day kindergarten, and advocate for technical and vocational education.  

Betty will also stand for character education, citizenship and patriotism in the curriculum.  

Please consider voting for Betty Covington on November 3. 

Submitted by Kevin M. Raymond, of Woodbridge 

Bailey will help Prince William County homeless population

Letter to the Editor

I have had the pleasure of observing, first hand, how hard Andrea Bailey is working to study the important issues facing Prince William County as she seeks a seat on the Board of Supervisors.

She understands that changes are needed in the way the county board operates to get things done for our students, our senior citizens and our homeless population, among others.

She knows we need more local jobs and businesses to ease the lives of our residents who spend long hours commuting to jobs outside the county.

Mrs. Bailey is a successful executive and community leader who is eager to serve the residents of her district. I urge voters in the Potomac District to cast their votes for Andrea Bailey on November 3rd. 

Widening I-66 inside the Beltway will take place – if necessary

Letter to the editor

Virginians deserve a healthy public discussion about how best to improve our transportation system. But that discussion must also be grounded in fact, not political rhetoric.  Unfortunately, the leadership of the House Republican Caucus is engaged in a campaign of misleading and flatly incorrect information on the McAuliffe administration’s proposal to improve I-66 inside the Beltway. So in the interest of good public policy, here are the facts.

Fact 1: Despite unfounded claims to the contrary, dynamic tolling on I-66 will reduce congestion.

In 2013 the McDonnell Administration released a study on reducing traffic congestion in the I-66 corridor. It was the third such study in 15 years.

The study stated that dynamic tolling and multi-modal improvements could move 40,000 more people a day through the I-66 corridor, which is equivalent to 10 additional interstate lanes in the morning and another 10 in the evening.  The proposal would increase travel speeds from today’s low of 5 miles per hour to a more reliable pace of 45 miles per hour or faster.

The tangible congestion alleviation benefits this proposal will generate have led the Fairfax and Loudoun County Chambers of Commerce to express support for the proposed improvements.  We are working collaboratively with Fairfax, Arlington and Falls Church on the proposed project. Just recently the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments’ Transportation Planning Board approved adding this project to the region’s Constrained Long Range Plan.

Fact 2: The McAuliffe’s administration’s proposed changes will only add more choices for I-66 commuters without impacting current HOV commuters.

If you currently carpool through the corridor, you will ride free as you always have. If you are a solo driver who used to have to exit I-66 and take secondary roads to and from work, you will now have the option to pay a toll and remain on I-66 all the way into the city. Despite the disinformation political opponents are disseminating, tolling would only be in effect during peak hours, and this proposal offers more drivers the option of a fast and reliable trip without impacting current HOV commuters. 

Fact 3: Travel times on parallel routes will either improve or stay the same. 

Studies show dynamic tolling will manage traffic more efficiently on I-66 inside the Beltway and parallel roads. In fact, this proposal will reduce traffic on parallel routes heading to DC in the morning, by offering more solo drivers the choice of paying a toll and staying on I-66.

VDOT has conducted a detailed analysis that shows no impacts on parallel routes, meaning that drivers who take Route 50 can expect roughly the same travel times in 2017 as they can today.

Fact 4:  Toll revenues will be used to help move even more people through the corridor.

Studies reveal that dynamic tolling itself is a mechanism for managing congestion and reducing travel times – and every cent from that tolling on I-66 will be used to even further reduce congestion in that corridor. This is a self-financing project and will not take funding away from other transportation improvements.

Again, contrary to what House Republicans have conjured, it would be against the law to use those revenues for bike paths in the woods or road improvements in other parts of Northern Virginia or the state.

Since the state will own and operate the facility and collect tolls, excess revenues will not go to the profit of large corporations.  All monies will directly benefit the corridor to enhance motorist through-put.

Fact 5: Widening I-66 inside the Beltway will take place – if necessary.

It is the Secretary of Transportation’s job to ensure that transportation funds are spent wisely. In the case of I-66, that means implementing the most cost-effective solutions first, before we consider spending over $100 million to perform even a limited widening of I-66.

The Governor’s proposals for I-66 will better manage traffic flow at a fraction of the cost of widening the road. We owe it to taxpayers to exhaust low-cost solutions, but, if after 5 years, vehicles are not traveling at free flow on I-66 during rush hour, then toll revenues will be used to widen the road.

Fact 6: Doing nothing is not an option.

Opponents of the Governor’s proposal for I-66 have a host of complaints. What they have yet to put forward are facts to back those claims, or real ideas for moving Virginians through the I-66 corridor more quickly. I am confident that this plan meets the transportation and political realities of this corridor – and that allowing campaign gamesmanship to block progress is not an option.

Aubrey Layne is the Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Caddigan fights for parking, wider roads, additional lanes, environment


I just had to reach out to you about County Supervisor Maureen Caddigan. 

As a resident of Prince William County for over 10 years, I’ve watched her operate in a very positive and consistent manner.  Always professional and personable; she may not have the answer you want to hear, but she’ll always be honest and share the “greater good” picture with you. 

My first encounter with Supervisor Caddigan was when I was a Marine.  We worked together to bring needed road upgrades to the southeastern portion of the county due to the significant growth aboard the Quantico Marine Corps Base.  That growth was due to the new Criminal Investigative building.  It was a result of 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) directive and would result in 3,000 new jobs to our area.  She fought for parking, wider roads, additional lanes, and the environment.

Just last Monday I saw Supervisor Caddigan’s work again.  This time it was for the groundbreaking and naming ceremony for the Ali Krieger Sports complex at the Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Potomac Shores. 

It was apparent that this was a project that Ms. Caddigan had planned and provided key leadership for the negotiations with land owners, developers, school officials (both private and public) and the Prince William Soccer Club (PWSI).  These field are needed for our children and sports activities.  Simply put, this complex will be the best in the area and will help increase the value of local resident’s homes. 

We are blessed to have many great public servants in Prince William County, but none of them better than Maureen Caddigan.  

Jim Longi is a resident of the Ashland community in Prince William County. Maureen Caddigan is running against Andrea Bailey to keep her seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. 

Prince William Police Association supports Ebert

The Police Association of Prince William County, Inc., is pleased to announce that we endorse Paul Ebert in the upcoming 2015 elections.

This endorsement is for his commitment to the citizens of Prince William County and his support for the police officers of Prince William County. 

We look forward to continuing our work together in the future.

Editors note: Incumbent Paul Ebert is running for Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney against Michael May.

Mike May would change hiring process in Prince William Commonwealth Attorney’s office


This November 3, we will have an election for the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney is the lead elected prosecutor of felony crimes in Virginia. Working with 22 assistants, the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney helps ensure justice for our community.

The current incumbent is Paul Ebert who has held the position since 1968. The 77-year-old was first elected to the position at the age of 29. Yet a lot has changed since 1968.

For example, the average cost of a house was about $14,000 and the average income was $7,800 in 1968. The price of gasoline was 34 cents per gallon and the hourly wage was $1.50.

The year 1968 was also an historic year for America. It was the year that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, it was the year that Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, and it was the year that the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law.

And almost half a century later, the issue of race and justice is still at the forefront of many American cities and communities, particularly in recent months. Our local community has definitely changed tremendously since 1968. Prince William County has drastically changed from a sleepy farm community to the 2nd largest county in Virginia and one of the most economically and ethnically diverse large counties in America.

In fact, our county is a majority-minority community, meaning there are more ethnic minorities that make up the majority of the population than do Caucasians. African-Americans make up 21 % of the county and 13% of the City of Manassas. Hispanics make up 22% of the county and 31% of Manassas. Asian-Americans make up 8% of the county and 5% of Manassas. This diversity makes our community unique and special.

We represent the full fabric of our nation, as we fuse our cultures under the American banner of freedom, peace and opportunity. At the same time, there are challenges that we face.

For example, in many communities of color, there is pronounced distrust of law enforcement. As a result, our entire criminal justice system must confront such challenges proactively, rather than passively sitting by before reaching out to affected communities.

As an African-American female, I was very interested to hear from the respective candidates for Commonwealth’s Attorney as to their views on these issues at the recent debate sponsored by the local NAACP. The contrast between the candidates could not have been more dramatic. When asked about the distrust between communities of color and law enforcement and what could be done about it, Mr. Ebert essentially stated that this was not an issue and if there were any problems, to call him.

Unfortunately, this kind of complacency demonstrates just how out-of-touch Mr. Ebert has become after 47 years. It is no longer enough to sit passively and wait for issues to arise; it is time for our criminal justice system to actively engage with our community. We need a proactive leader to address the challenges of today’s Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

This complacency is also reflected in Mr. Ebert’s hiring practices. For example, despite our diverse population, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney has not changed to reflect the diversity of the community it serves. Of the 22 Assistant Prosecutors under Paul Ebert, only one of them is an ethnic minority.

And Ebert has no plan or strategy to diversify the office. In fact, Mr. Ebert does not even publicly advertise available positions—so even if a qualified attorney of color wanted to apply for a job, he or she would not know where to look. In contrast to the complacency of 47 years of incumbency, Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May has a proactive plan to address the issues that confront today’s community.

His agenda includes opening the hiring process so that all qualified attorneys can compete for the opportunity to serve our community. Mike May’s top criteria will be competence; not political loyalty. By opening up the hiring process and actually advertising open positions, we will get a more diverse applicant pool and that will inevitably make the office more reflective of today’s community. .

It’s time for a fresh perspective in the Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney. Mr. Ebert has enjoyed a very long 47 year history in this position, but it’s time for change. It’s time to bring the Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney into the 21st Century. On November 3, join me in supporting Mike May for Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Rick Smith says sitting Prince William Board of Supervisors Chair too close with developers


Since moving to Dale City in 1978, residential growth in our community has been a constant.

When I arrived, our population was less than 140,000 residents. Today, we’re over 440,000 people and counting.

Some believe that we’ve grown too quickly, while others disagree. But the pertinent question isn’t simply how many people reside within our County – it is whether or not growth has been managed appropriately with respect to the infrastructure needed to support our growing population.

Among the responsibilities belonging to the Board of County Supervisors, managing growth is perhaps the most important. Managed appropriately, residential growth can be beneficial. Left uncontrolled and it can have disastrous consequences on our quality of life.

During a recent debate, my opponent for Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors Corey Stewart and I were both asked if we believed that accepting campaign contributions from developers created a conflict of interest and if either of us had accepted such contributions. I shared that I had received one small contribution from a close friend who is a retired police officer and now a real estate agent.

I also shared that I do believe that it creates a conflict of interest. Stewart initially dodged the question, but he eventually shared that he “unashamedly” accepted contributions from developers.

When he first ran for Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors in 2006 against Sharon Pandak, Corey Stewart pledged to control residential growth. He predicted that uncontrolled growth would lead to overcrowding in our schools, congestion on our roads and insufficient public safety infrastructure to support our growing population.

He ran on a platform that asked voters to vote for him and “make a developer mad.” He even called on his opponent to return a campaign contribution from the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, saying that it created a conflict of interest. And, dare I say it, Corey was right.

Since then, Stewart has accepted over $1 million in campaign from real estate developers for his campaigns for Chairman and an unsuccessful bid for Lt. Governor. He even received, and kept, contributions from the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association in 2011 and 2014, the same organization whose donation he demanded Sharon Pandak return.

And from the dais, he’s approved rezonings and new housing developments on behalf of his contributors, even in instances where county planning staff and/or the Planning Commission have recommended denial. He’s consistently proven the fact of the very conflict of interest he predicted in 2006.

And the impact on our quality of life has been just as predictable. Our county government is responsible for providing, through our investment, the infrastructure needed sustain our community at a level that provides an acceptable quality of life and makes us an attractive destination for new businesses.

But because Stewart has allowed residential development without the commensurate investment in our schools, public safety and other critical areas, our quality of life has diminished. Our schools now boast having the largest student to teacher ratios in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. We invest significant less per student than surrounding jurisdictions and pay our teachers inadequately. We have fewer sworn police officers protecting us per capita today than we did four years ago.

And despite diverting $1.3 billion in local tax dollars to transportation projects that should have been paid for by Richmond but have been required by uncontrolled residential growth, commute times for Prince William County residents are actually longer today than they were in the year 2000. And make no mistake; these deficiencies have had an adverse effect on our ability to attract businesses that offer high-paying jobs.

The average salary for jobs in Prince William County is now $46,000. In Fairfax, it’s $82,000. Worse, we’ve not only fallen behind Stafford and Fauquier Counties, but wages in our county are increasing at a slower rate. In other words, we’re losing ground.

The strains on our infrastructure, our schools, public safety and roads, were and continue to be predictable. And self-inflicted. Had Corey Stewart lived up to his promise of controlling residential growth and ensuring that it paid for itself instead of adding to the deficits we currently have, out quality of life in Prince William County would be far better.

Instead, he willing chose to put the interests of his contributors ahead of ours. Stewart believes that it’s his job to “cut deals” with developers. But the important question is who does he represent at the negotiating table.

As your Chairman, I’m committed to representing the people of Prince William County first. I’ll certainly work with developers. But I won’t support any new development and rezoning application that adds to our infrastructure deficit.

I’ll listen to planning staff and the Planning Commission, giving their input on the impact of development the importance it deserves. Most importantly, I’ll listen to you. This is our community. And each and every one of us deserves an equal say in how we move forward.

Bailey would fight for progressive values on Prince William County Board of Supervisors

This November, Prince William County has the opportunity to elect the individuals who will lead our local and state governments.

When choosing a leader, we all want to make sure we select the very best qualified person for the job which is not an easy task. It is for this reason that when we became aware of Andrea Bailey who is a Deaconess at a local church, highly educated, a small business owner with an extensive Human Resources experience, a military spouse, and advocate for family values with deep ties to Prince William County the Democratic Party requested that she run for office.

We knew upon coming into contact with her that she would use all of her knowledge and experience to immediately improve the quality of life for all the residents of Prince William County. She understood that we as citizens needed someone to champion our causes and fight for Progressive values at a time when we have been under attack, and Andrea Bailey agreed to be that champion.

Once Ms. Bailey committed to campaign to be the Potomac District Supervisor, she quickly proved herself as a formidable politician by successfully defeating her opponent in the primary by winning 70% of the vote on Election Day.

This victory earned her the respect and support of many state and federal politicians including Lt. Governor Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring, and Congressman Gerry Connolly in addition to a host of locally elected leaders including Delegate Scott Surovell and Supervisor Frank Principi.

In addition to electing this one of a kind candidate, we have an opportunity to make history in Prince William County by electing a highly qualified African American woman on our County Board of Supervisors for the very first time in more than 150 years in a majority minority county.

Once elected, Ms. Bailey would further cement her place a role model for young women and children of color all over the Commonwealth and even this nation.

Unfortunately, there are some well-seasoned Democrats in Northern Virginia who have a working relationship with Ms. Bailey’s opponent. It is because of those relationships that these individuals have elected to formally endorse the other individual in this race.

While we have nothing but respect for the service these individuals have given to our community, they do not speak for the Democratic Party. Sadly, these individuals have placed personal self-interest above progressive values and what is best for our community.

On Nov. 3, 2015 join us in making history by casting your vote for the Democratic-endorsed candidate Ms. Andrea Bailey.

Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney supports Ebert for Prince William Commonwealth Attorney


I write to publicly endorse Paul Ebert’s candidacy for Commonwealth’s Attorney of Prince William County. 

I have served as a prosecutor in Alexandria for fourteen years, the past two as the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney.

As a young prosecutor, I had the pleasure of attending several conferences at which Mr. Ebert spoke. His humility, intelligence and integrity were immediately obvious.

He shared a number of the trial tips he had learned over his lengthy and distinguished career and was happy to serve in the role of mentor to the younger prosecutors in attendance. As Commonwealth’s Attorney, I have had the opportunity to see the respect and admiration other elected prosecutors have for Mr. Ebert. Simply put, when Paul Ebert speaks, his colleagues listen.

I know firsthand that being the elected prosecutor for a jurisdiction as large as Prince William County is a difficult job. It is not a political position – it is a career and a calling where experience and judgment really matter. 

Throughout his career, Mr. Ebert has fought the good fight for the citizens of his county, holding murderers, rapists and other violent felons accountable so that the citizenry might feel safe in their homes.

The citizens of Prince William County are lucky to have as fine a public servant as Paul Ebert prosecuting on their behalf. I am honored to publicly endorse his candidacy.

Bailey would bring racial diversity to the Prince William Board of Supervisors


Andrea Bailey is running as a Democrat for the Board of County Supervisors for the Potomac District.

This District has the largest African American population in the entire county and is a majority minority district.

Andrea is a small business owner, a long-time resident of the county, and highly qualified for this position.

The racial makeup of the Board of County Supervisors is currently all white. Not a single minority is representing Prince William County – one of the most diverse counties in Virginia.

Andrea has received support from Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam and Congressman Gerry Connolly, two prominent Democrats in Virginia. But on the local level, her campaign is being undermined by establishment Democrats, including Toddy Puller (outgoing State Senator), Chuck Colgan (outgoing State Senator), Hilda Barg (former Board of County Supervisor), and Supervisor John Jenkins, who are all throwing their support behind the current Republican in this contested seat, Maureen Caddigan, simply to maintain the status quo.

The decision to endorse a Republican candidate over a well-qualified African American female candidate in your own party is absurd. It seems pretty clear that Democratic values and principles matter much less to these individuals than their personal relationship with Caddigan.

Caddigan has not done a good job representing the voters of this district. The schools in the District are under-funded and development projects are completely mismanaged. Andrea should not have to “take a back seat” to these cross-party shenanigans. Instead, she should be encouraged and uplifted, particularly by members of her own party.

More importantly, the will of the people who live in the Potomac District, which is overwhelming Democratic, should not be thwarted. I’m urging all voters in the Potomac District to support Andrea Bailey on November 3.

The Board of County Supervisors needs fresh ideas and new perspectives, which Andrea will bring. More importantly, the Board needs to look more representative of the people who live in our county. Prince William County voters must not let the desire of a few dictate the will of many.

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