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


Brewer: Dumfries needs to finish infrastructure projects, stimulate tax relief

Charles Brewer is running to keep his seat on the Dumfries Town Council.

He is one of five candidates seeking a seat on the Town Council. Voters will head to the polls May 3, 2016 to cast their votes.

Find your polling place

We sent a questionnaire to the incumbent and he responded with the following statements: (more…)

Manassas Democrats to caucus for convention delegates

The Manassas and Manassas Park Cities Democratic Committee (MMPCDC) has scheduled assembled caucuses on Monday, April 18, at 7:30 pm to elect delegates and alternates from both cities to the Virginia 10th Congressional District and State Democratic Party Conventions. Caucus participation–including eligiblity to run for election as a delegate or alternate–is open to all registered voters in the respective cities of Manassas and Manassas Park who sign a standard Democratic declaration form. (more…)

Lovejoy reelection bid focused on Manassas City’s economy

Ian Lovejoy was born to a working class family in rural Appalachia. He became one of the first members of his family to attend college, at Concord University in southern West Virginia, where he graduated summa cum laude.  

Lovejoy spent summers working as a camp counselor and youth mentor, invaluable experiences that helped shape his life forever.  Lovejoy became Concord University’s first Rhodes Scholar Nominee.  He later graduated from Virginia Tech Graduate School,, ultimately teaching at Radford University before entering the private sector.

While possessing a background in research and data analysis, Lovejoy found his true professional calling in positions of organizational leadership–in particular serving seniors.  Lovejoy was Director of Operations of WSR Solutions, a national medical equipment company.

Government ID’s for all Virginia residents

In August of 2014, I organized a Hispanic Town Hall Meeting in Hybla Valley.  I spent the first hour going over issues with constituents.

Then, I asked attendees for feedback – what was their #1 issue?  Lack of government identification.  Attendees said that they and their friends and family were weary of obtaining ID’s from Maryland or not having them at all.

At the beginning of last session, I was approached by Virginia New Majority and the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACALAO) about working together to bring this issue forward.  I introduced Senate Bill 390 that would have allowed the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue a temporary driver’s visitor’s driver’s license to anyone who (1) resided in Virginia for one year, (2) had filed a Virginia tax return or been claimed as a dependent another Virginia tax return and (3) paid a $53 fee.  These licenses would be conspicuously marked with language stating “NOT FOR FEDERAL USE” so it is clear that they are not compliant with the Real ID Act. 

Similar legislation has now been passed in over twelve states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Illinois, Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland, District of Columbia, New Mexico, and Washington.  Other states are considering it.  Why is this legislation a good idea?

Reason #1 – Reducing Accidents 
New residents do not know the rules of the road.  According to the DMV, in other states where this has been implemented, over 80% of applicants fail the driving test and need to retake the test.  Having informed driver’s is good for everyone.  Data from California showed that people without driver’s licenses were three times more likely to cause a fatal accident.  The states with the longest record of providing licenses to all residents have experienced nearly a 100% larger drop in traffic fatalities than the nationwide average.  This legislation will save lives.

Reason #2 – Reducing Hit and Runs 
States adopting these measures have seen significant reductions in hit and run accidents.  Analyses by AAA have found that 41% of hit and run drivers lack a driver’s license and that unlicensed drivers are 66.36 times more likely to be hit and run drivers.  When people do not fear prosecution they stop and collisions are dealt with appropriately through our system.  

Reason #3 – Lower Virginia Insurance Premiums
More insured drivers means risk spread among more people, fewer accidents with uninsured drivers, and lower premiums for everyone. 

Reason #4 – Increase Interaction With Law Enforcement
Residents with government ID are much more likely to interact with law enforcement whether it’s for car accidents, domestic violence or to come forward as witnesses for other crimes.  Government ID means greater civic participation. 

Reason #5 – More Tax Revenue
There are an estimated 400,000 people who would benefit from this.  If 80% of estimated eligible Virginians sign up, Virginia will collect $1.7 million in new licensing fees per year.  If each new licensed driver claims $35,000 per year in taxable Virginia income, they would pay an additional $1,755 of state income taxes per person or a total of $561 million per year of new tax revenue.  If 200,000 new auto insurance policies are purchased for $1,000 per year, it will result in $225 million per year of new auto insurance premium tax revenue. 

Reason #6 – Provide All Virginians A High Quality of Life
Licenses allow people to enjoy a healthy quality of life.  Licenses mean being able to take children to soccer games, drive to work, get a bank account, or get to the doctor.  

The Way Forward
The legislation was supported by the McAuliffe Administration and the DMV has assembled a working group including representatives from law enforcement, the immigrant community, faith groups, driving safety groups, criminal defense, courts, chambers of commerce, taxation, human trafficking, and local governments to come up with consensus legislation.  

Hopefully, next year, this legislation will pass so that everyone living in Virginia can enjoy a healthy quality of life.  If you have any feedback, please send me a note at   

Controlling litter and blight a priority for Ellis

Theresa Coates Ellis is a native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and has been lived in the City of Manassas since 1987.

Ellis is a graduate of George Mason University with a degree in Business Communication. She is the founder of Tackle Management Corp, a company that provides local businesses aid in regards to public relations services. Her strengths encompass a skill set of Management, Marketing, and Public Relations. Besides being known as a businesswoman, Ellis is a mother of seven children and is very active within the community.

Ellis currently serves as a member for the Manassas Regional Airport Commission, the MCPS Education Foundation Board, and the President-Elect for the Bull Run Rotary Club. Additionally, she is a Sponsor and Founder of the Community Connection Network (CCN) Manassas City Public School and is a George Mason University Community Speaker. (more…)

Jonathan Way supports structured tax incentives for city businesses

Jonathan L. Way seeks a new term as a Manassas City Council member.

He’s been a City Councilman for nine years and currently serves as the Vice Mayor. Not to mention, Way has been a city representative on three regional government boards and on the Virginia Railway Express and Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission bus system.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy with a Bachelors of Science  in Marine Transportation and has a Masters in Science in Industrial Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Way is also a member of the NRA, the Grace United Methodist Church, and was previously a Rotary Club officer for 5 years.

Way is on the ballot for the Republican Primary Election on May 21 at Metz Middle School in Manassas.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Way and he sent us the responses below: (more…)

Good news: Virginia has a state budget

I am typing these words of good news on the night of Friday, March 11th, on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates in Richmond. We just adjourned the 2016 legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly with approval of a bipartisan two-year Virginia state budget. The good news: The budget is balanced, cautious, sensible, and doesn’t increase taxes or fees.

As a member of the 22-member House Appropriations Committee (HAC), I have been engaged since December with crafting the budget, along with two other Prince William County legislators, Del. Scott M. Lingamfelter (R-31st) and Del. Luke M. Torian (D-52nd). I serve on three HAC subcommittee (Public Safety, Transportation, and Higher Education), so I had a hand in developing these three parts of the budget.

Here in bullet fashion are the highlights of the budget we approved Friday night:

– It was passed by large margins in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation in both houses of the General Assembly.

– It was completed early, permitting the General Assembly to adjourn one day early, saving taxpayers $25,000.

– It is balanced, fair, and cautious. Unlike the federal government, we build the budget like you build your family budget, with common sense and without gimmicks.

– It doesn’t increase taxes or fees.

– It represents a spending decrease of 5% over the last 10 years, when adjusted for population and inflation.

– It funds the core functions of state government from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018.

– It eliminates state liabilities, reduces borrowing, and makes one-time investments rather than long-term spending commitments.

– It funds investments in economic development to grow businesses and create jobs.

– It invests $73M more for K-12 public education than Gov. McAuliffe proposed, for a total of $900M.

– It includes $36M for Cost to Compete for school employees in Northern Virginia (a budget amendment that I co-patroned with several of my PWC colleagues).

– It includes $100K for the VaSTAR (Virginia Student Training and Refurbishment Program) computer rehab program administered by PWC Schools (a budget amendment for which I was Chief Patron).

– It invests $78M more for higher education than Gov. McAuliffe proposed.

– It includes $114M for operations and maintenance at colleges and universities and $48M for undergraduate financial aid to hold the line on tuition increases.

– It includes a 2% teacher pay raise, a 2% pay raise for state-supported local employees, and a 3% pay raise for state employees and state police.

– It deposits $605M in the state rainy day fund to raise the balance to $845M in two years as a hedge against the unforeseen.

– It funds the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) at 100% of the Board-certified rate (two years early). It repays VRS $189.5M owed from a funding deferral in 2010 (six years early).  

While this is a lot of information, it’s not all-inclusive, so go to the state budget website for details:

No budget is perfect in every respect. This budget is no different in that regard, but the bipartisan, bicameral way in which it was approved says that it is a sound spending plan. We have a second crack at improving it next January when we can offer amendments during the 2017 legislative session of the General Assembly. In the meantime, I sincerely thank our neighbors for the privilege of working on their behalf in crafting the state budget.

I’ll be back home with Ruth and on the job in Prince William County the week of March 14th, and I look forward to getting back to the rigors of community life. Although the General Assembly session has ended, my duty to you has not. If I may assist you or your family in any way, please don’t hesitate to call or email.

I’m easily reached at or at our legislative district office (571-264-9983). My legislative aide, Ryan Galloway, is at If your need is urgent and can’t wait until the next business day, please call my Woodbridge home at 703-730-1380. We’re here for you.

Many thanks for the privilege of serving you and your family at home and in Richmond!

Over $210 million in new funds coming to the 36th District

The last week of the 2016 General Assembly session brought a flurry of activity on some of our most difficult bills, along with approval of a state budget.  In this column, I will detail highlights in the final budget affecting our area.  Next week, I will report on other important budget items.  In the near future, I will cover some of the more important legislation that we considered and the fight over the state Supreme Court.  I will also let you know about my eight bills the Governor has signed or are awaiting his signature.  
The legislature approved a final budget, including two of my amendments.  First, I advocated for an additional $100,000 to fund the Virginia Star Program which provides refurbished computers to low-income, public school students.  Prince William County’s public schools are using this program extensively in the U.S. 1 corridor.  The final budget includes my complete request.
The new budget provides significant new funding for K-12 education over the biennium: Fairfax County, $87 million; Prince William County, $93 million; and Stafford County, $24 million.  Given that our local schools are hundreds of millions per year behind, it is now up to local governments to fund their share.
Second, my proposal to boost appropriations to fund court-appointed attorneys passed.  Virginia pays $120 per district court misdemeanor and between $445 and $1,235 for felonies, depending on whether they are “non-serious” or punishable by more than 20 years.  
Lawyers can apply for waivers from these fees, but the court runs out of money every year in the spring.  The General Assembly approved an additional $900,000 over the biennium.  In jurisdictions that do not have public defender offices, such as Prince William County, these funds are critical to meet our Constitutional obligation to provide counsel to low-income people.  This is the first increase in appropriations since the waiver system was adopted.  
We also approved $7.5 million in funding for Phase I improvements for Widewater State Park in Stafford County.  This will provide the only public water access to the Potomac River in Stafford County along with event facilities and ultimately campgrounds and cabins.  I was pleased to help  Delegate Mark Dudenhefer who has been working on this for years.
My biggest disappointment was the failure to expand Medicaid, a change that could bring the state $40.5 million in federal funds per year, 800 jobs and healthcare to about 10,000 people in the 36th District.  Sadly, politics continues to hold this up.
It is an honor to serve you in Richmond.  Please email me your feedback at  

New budget emerges from Senate

This week, the seventh of this session of the Virginia General Assembly, both the Senate and House of Delegates are considering the state’s two-year budget. After each house passes a budget, a joint conference committee resolves the differences.
The Senate budget has good news and bad news.
Good  News
Revenues have increased more than expenses for the first time in seven years, offering opportunities to address unmet needs.  The Senate Budget makes significant investments in education including an additional $80 million for Fairfax County, $32 million for Prince William County and $22 million for Stafford County over last year’s appropriations including $16 million for a program called “Cost to Compete” which is supplemental funding for high-cost areas like Northern Virginia to pay teachers and support staff.  The plan also includes a two-percent salary increase for all elementary-secondary school teachers.  
The budget increases funds for our state colleges and universities by $223 million, increases student financial aid and limits tuition increases to three percent.  The Senate budget has about $1.4 billion in construction projects, including $350 million to modernize the Port of Virginia, construct college buildings and renovate state park facilities. 
It adds over 800 “waiver” slots due to the closure of Virginia’s training centers and an additional 400 new slots for adults with developmental disabilities so they can receive needed services. 
The Senate budget begins the closures of Virginia’s Juvenile Detention facilities, adds 11 new mental health positions in probation offices and provides $2.5 million for mental health pilot projects in our jails.  It also funds one new General District Court judge position in Prince William County and one Circuit Court spot in Stafford County.
The Senate budget includes my amendment to increase funds for court-appointed criminal attorney by $1.2 million, the first increase since the program’s inception. 
It also includes funds to keep down costs at Dulles Airport and to begin planning the widening Interstate 66. 
Bad News
A major disappointment to me is the omission of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s proposed Medicaid expansion, to provide health care to more low-income and disabled people.  Rejecting Medicaid and the available federal funding represent legislative malpractice, but the votes simply are not there to pass it.
Second, the budget fails to fund three desperately needed Fairfax County judgeship positions – Circuit, General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.  Fewer judges means more delays in access to justice.
Unfortunately, the Senate budget also cuts capital improvements to Widewater State Park. This desperately needed project would create the only public access to the Potomac River in Stafford County.  
I am working hard to pass a budget that addresses our needs and to get my bills passed by the mid-March adjournment.  Please share your views and suggestions at 

Electronic textbook bill moves to House of Delegates

As we pass the mid-point of this General Assembly session, many bills are moving.

After a 30-minute debate, the Senate approved my bill prohibiting the use of electronic textbooks in public schools without a plan to provide school broadband and digital devices to every student required to use an electronic textbook.

Virginia’s constitution requires that every child receive a free textbook. On the floor, I argued that without home computers, electronic textbooks create a two-tiered education system for the haves and the have-nots. Senators Adam Ebbin and George Barker joined me in stressing that even Northern Virginia’s schools have significant low-income student populations who face disadvantages in the classroom without their own devices. The bill now moves to the House of Delegates.

Also, the Senate passed, 39 to 1 my legislation to reverse recent anti-sunshine Virginia Supreme Court rulings. Last year, the Court held that if one sentence of a government document is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the government can withhold an entire document instead of simply redacting the sentence. My legislation requires disclosure to the public of the text of the document that is not redacted.

Additionally, the Court held that government officials’ decisions to withhold documents are entitled to “great weight.” My legislation requires judges reviewing FOIA responses to look at government officials’ decisions in an unbiased manner. The House of Delegates passed identical legislation 99-0 and it will be on the Governor’s desk by the end of the week.

Around 100 people attended our town hall meetings this weekend in the Mount Vernon and Lee areas of Fairfax County. The number one concern raised was public school funding. Governor Terry McAuliffe’s proposed budget has $54 million in new funding for Prince William County and $15 million for Stafford County. The House and Senate budgets come out this weekend and will likely include additional funds.

We also heard concerns about Potomac River oil spills and coal ash pollution, skyrocketing college tuition, protecting women’s reproductive rights and strengthening mental health services. People voiced support for driver’s licenses for undocumented Virginians and anger about voting restrictions.

This week, we will debate the state budget. To share your view, please email me at

It is an honor to serve as your state senator.

Without bill, pressure builds to raise real estate taxes to fund transit

The fifth week of the General Assembly Session brought some long days and nights as we rushed to complete work on bills before our mid-session deadline called “Crossover.”

First the Senate passed legislation to plug a hole in the Northern Virginia 2.1% regional gas tax that is used to fund transit.  This legislation was the top priority for Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford Counties.  It now goes on to an uncertain future in the House of Delegates, but without the legislation, localities will be under even more pressure to raise real estate taxes if we expect to maintain the same level of transit service. 

Eleven of my bills have passed the full Senate with two more still waiting for final passage.  One bill involved improving the fairness of protective order proceedings and another ensured that Virginians can enforce subpoenae in civil and criminal cases in Virginia due to a recent Supreme Court of Virginia opinion. 

My legislation to help close the Digital Divide moved through committee this week.  Today’s children learn digitally and digital literacy is a key job skill in a modern workforce.  However, low income families often cannot afford devices or broadband connections. 

After I learned Fairfax County was using electronic textbooks and failing to provide computers for low income families to use them at home, I introduced legislation to require any school using electronic textbooks to provide a digital device to every student.  The legislation was vetted and approved by the Joint Commission on Technology and Science but was tabled in the House.  Last week, the Senate Education, Health and Welfare Committee passed the bill on a 14-1 vote. 

The proliferation of companies providing background checks for people has led to an increase in dissemination of inaccurate information.  This severely limits Virginians’ opportunities, especially in employment and housing.   My legislation to create a Virginia-based cause of action to remedy these situations and hold companies accountable for putting out inaccurate information passed the Senate.  

Several of my law firm clients and lawyers in Northern Virginia have told me that some orthopedic practices are refusing to see individuals who have suffered injuries in vehicle collisions – even if they have insurance.   My bill to require insurance companies to contractually prohibit doctors from refusing patients based on how they were injured was continued to 2017 so we can convene meetings between insurance companies, doctors, and other stakeholders to mediate a resolution. 

If you have any feedback, please send me a note at  It is an honor to serve as your state senator.

Coal ash bill fails, other bills move forward

As we move towards the midpoint of the General Assembly Session called “Crossover,” we are required to finish work on all bills in our respective chambers.  Things are picking up in Richmond.
First, I am on track to pass about a dozen bills out of the Senate and several bills were passed by the Senate.  First, my legislation to raise Virginia’s threshold between misdemeanors and felonies from $200 to $500 was incorporated into a Republican senator’s bill and passed 26-14 with wide bipartisan support including the support of the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys.  
There is interest in reforming Virginia’s tolling practices.  My legislation and Senator Adam Ebbin’s legislation to limit toll operators’ ability to sue people for tens of thousands of dollars over less than $100 of outstanding tolls was referred to Virginia’s Transportation Accountability Commission to be studied over the next few months.  My bill to study revising our tolling practices to give credit to in-state residents was also referred to the same commission.
The Digital Divide is a major problem in the 36th District.  Many children still do not have computers at home or adequate broadband.  My legislation to require school systems using electronic textbooks to provide computers to every child passed out of subcommittee unanimously.  A child’s ability to access their homework and learning tools at home should not be a function of that child’s family’s income.  
My legislation to create Virginia standards for electronic authentication of digital documents was also referred to the Joint Commission on Technology for study.  These kind of standards would allow Virginians to obtain official records electronically – birth certificates, driving records, land records, professional licenses, court records – that they could then use for legal purposes.  It would save taxpayers millions of dollars.
I also introduced legislation to create a whistleblower rewards program for tax cheaters.  President Bush created a highly effective federal program in 2006.  Virginia collects $20 for every $1 we spend on tax compliance.   My legislation was continued to 2017 so that the committee could study it over the year.  
Finally, my legislation to require modern storage of coal ash waste died in a Senate Committee on a 7-7-1 vote.  Dominion and Appalachian Power complained that the legislation would double their cost to clean up coal ash and went beyond requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency.  Although I received bipartisan support, many were still concerned that raising utility bills by one-percent to ensure we had clean water was too much to ask.  This issue is far from being resolved and I will continue to work to protect Quantico Creek and the Potomac River.   
Over 600 constituents have completed my 2016 Survey.  Please complete it online at and email me at if you have any feedback.
It is an honor to serve as your state senator.

Despite gun deal, legislation still incomplete

The third week of the General Assembly saw a major agreement emerge on firearm violence issues, and action on several of my bills.

Bills Moving Through

Three of my bills passed the full Senate this week.  My resolution ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed on a bipartisan 21-19 vote.  ERA remains five states short of ratification.  The Senate also passed my bill to give consumers a remedy when consumer finance companies fail to include language protecting consumers in their agreements, and prohibiting local governments from requiring homeowners or condo association approval before granting a permit or license.

As trains, buses, bicycles and walking become more popular, many states have enacted “vulnerable user” laws – making it easier to convict vehicle drivers of a serious traffic offense when collisions occur with vulnerable users who are seriously injured.  My legislation will be studied this summer. 

My legislation to require the State Board of Education to redesign 11th Grade English examinations for English language learners passed subcommittee.  This will result in a fairer tests for students.  This will also result in a more accurate accreditation analysis for schools with large language learner populations such as many schools in the Route 1 Corridor.

Firearm Deal

On Friday, Governor McAuliffe announced an agreement with conservative legislators about firearms.  Last month, Attorney General Mark Herring announced that he was revoking agreements to recognize out of state concealed weapon permits (CWP) in Virginia due to other state laws lacking the same protections we use in Virginia.  The National Rifle Association reached out and offered to support prohibiting firearm possession by individuals subject to protective orders and requiring State Police presence at all gun shows to conduct voluntary background checks for firearms sellers without federal firearms licenses. 

In return, the Governor agreed to sign legislation providing universal reciprocity for weapon permits between Virginia and other states.  While the agreement provides that reciprocity will not apply to Virginians whose permits have been revoked in Virginia, it is still incomplete.  If enacted, a Virginians who cannot obtain a permit in Virginia after a conviction for stalking, drunk driving, or inpatient mental health or substance abuse treatment will be able to obtain a Utah permit and legally carry a concealed gun, switchblade, machete, nun chuck, or throwing stars it in Virginia.

While I would like to see reciprocity for Virginia permit holders, our Virginians’ firearms safety rules should be up to the Virginia legislature and not delegated to the legislatures of states like Utah, Idaho or Alaska.  The agreement is not acceptable to me and I will not support the compromise without tighter firearm violence protections. 

This week will be busy – I have over a dozen bills up this week.  Please complete my constituent survey at and email me at if you have any feedback.

It is an honor to serve as your state senator.  

Lingamfelter asks Governor to delay revoking gun permits

A Republican state legislator is urging Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to delay the revocation of reciprocal agreements Virginia has with 25 states on whether to honor their concealed handgun carry permits.

Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter of Woodbridge made the request in a letter this week to McAuliffe.

“Given the fact that the State Police has told me that they have no records of any out-of-state individual with a concealed carry permit committing crimes in Virginia, I think a few months’ delay hardly represents a threat to our citizens,” Lingamfelter said.

His letter comes a month after Attorney General Mark Herring announced that beginning Feb. 1, Virginia would no longer recognize concealed handgun permits from 25 states, including North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. (more…)

Metro extension, guns issues on Surovell’s docket

Last week, the 2016 General Assembly gaveled into action and I became your State Senator for Virginia’s 36thDistrict.

New Committees
The Rules Committee assigned me to three committees. (1)  The Local Government Committee considers legislation addressing land use, zoning and local government.  (2) The Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee has jurisdiction over the safety net programs, prisons, alcoholic beverage regulation and childcare.  (3) The General Laws and Technology Committee examines bills affecting homeowners associations, gambling, professional occupation regulation, procurement and the Freedom of Information Act.  Each of these has jurisdiction over issues  critical to the quality of life in our area.

Blue Line Extension and Multimodal Transportation
Interstate 95 is one of the most congested commuter corridors in the United States. In light of the congestion and the need for more high-quality development and employment, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors endorsed the concept of studying the extension of Metro’s Blue Line from Springfield through Lorton, Woodbridge and Potomac Mills to Quantico.  I have introduced legislation to direct the Department of Rail and Public Transit to conduct a multimodal study for this and U.S. 1 south of the Occoquan so we can plan for the next 25 years. 

As our highways become more clogged and as bike lanes and pedestrian facilities are incorporated into our infrastructure, it is important to encourage drivers to respect other users.  Many states have enacted “vulnerable rider” laws to create heightened penalties for drivers who seriously injure pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users and others while distracted.  I have introduced a bill to create a Class 1 misdemeanor for injuring a vulnerable user while distracted. 

Homeowners’  Rights
Over the last two years, I have helped to push back on the growing power of homeowners’ and condominium owners’ associations (HOA’s). Some Northern Virginia localities improperly require property owners to show HOA approval before they issue a building permits.  I have introduced legislation to make clear this is prohibited. 

Helping Our Hispanic Community
In August, 2014, I hosted a Hispanic Town Hall in Hybla Valley.  The number one issue raised was difficulty in obtaining a driver’s license or government identification.  Therefore, I have introduced legislation to allow people to obtain a temporary license if they can establish that they have been living in Virginia for one year and have either filed a Virginia tax return or been claimed as a dependent on another Virginian’s tax return.  Fifteen other states, including Maryland and the District of Columbia, have passed similar legislation. 

At the request of Prince William County Public Schools, I have introduced a bill to require Virginia schools to use a recognized English language proficiency assessment exam for children with limited English proficiency, as an alternative to the 11th grade Standards of Learning English reading exam.  This is a fairer way to measure student achievement and will ensure that test scores in high schools with large ESOL populations are not affected by recently-arrived students. 

Firearm Violence Prevention
During my discussions with the State Police about concealed weapon permit (CWP) proposals, we became aware that CWP’s are automatically revoked for felony convictions, protective orders and other criminal offenses.  However, for people who have received inpatient mental health and/or inpatient drug treatment after their CWP was issued, permits are not automatically revoked.  I have introduced a bill to require automatic revocation.

Second, I have put in a bill to prohibit mentally ill people who are prohibited from possessing a firearm from also possessing ammunition.  Today, mentally ill people can have as many bullets as they want – just no guns.

Third, I have re-introduced my 2014 legislation prohibiting individuals on the Terrorist Watch List from obtaining a CWP or purchasing a firearm.  In 2014, the House of Delegates leadership would not give the bill a hearing.

Surovell to replace Puller in Virginia Senate


Democrat says Prince William County changing politically, remains bellwether of state politics  

Scott Surovell will replace the long-serving Virginia State Senator Toddy Puller.

Puller served in the Senate since 1999, and seven years in the House of Delegates before that. The Democrat will retire this year.

Surovell is the Democrat who campaigned against Republican Jerry Foreman, the Mayor of Dumfries. It was the first bid for state office for Foreman, while Surovell has already spent the past five years in as a Fairfax County representative in the Hosue of Delegates.

The 36th District is a Gerrymandered District made up of portions of southern Fairfax County, eastern Prince William County, and northern Stafford County. Surovell won the race by 21 points overall. He also won the majority of precincts in Fairfax, and Prince William counties, while Foreman won the majority in GOP-heavy Stafford.

“Prince William County is the battleground for Virginia…Prince William County is where the future of this state will be decided,” Surovell heralded in his election night victory speech. “Prince William County is changing, we’re starting to show people what Prince William County stands for.” 

Foreman issued this statement on his Facebook page:

Elections are always hard fought, win or lose you always pray those folks that win…have our support and prayers for guidance. As Mayor, I have the firm belief and commitment that I will work with elected officials that represent our area. This will continue.

Foreman won reelection as Dumfries Mayor in 2014. It’s a job he’ll keep for two more years.

Surovell campaigned heavily on the issues of title car loan companies out of business. Keeping a watchful eye on Dominion Virginia Power as they work to close coal ash ponds at the Possum Point Power Station outside Dumfries was another campaign issue.

And the ever-popular expand Metro to Woodbridge appeared once again as a campaign trail issue. Only this time the idea is catching on, and a rail extension study is supported by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

Surovell will be sworn into his new role in the Virginia Senate in January in time for the next General Assembly session January 18. Surovell credited Democrats working together, using a joint campaign office in Woodbridge, and literature listing the names of Democrats running for local office as some the keys to his victory.

Dudenhefer going back to Richmond to represent Stafford, Woodbridge

Mark Dudenhefer is going back to Richmond.

The one-time Republican Delegate for the 2nd House seat, which includes portions of Stafford County and Woodbridge in Prince William County, beat Democratic Challenger Josh King by a narrow margin of 102 votes.

Dudenhefer was elected 2nd District Delegate in 2011 but lost the seat to Democratic Delegate Micheal Futrell in 2013. Futrell opted not to run for reelection to the seat and instead mounted a failed Primary Election bid for the 29th District Senate seat in Prince William County won Tuesday night by Democrat Jeremy McPike.

Dudenhefer and his wife, Kay, released this statement:

“This campaign was about our region having a voice in Richmond on the issues that matter most – fixing transportation, improving schools, and creating jobs. With your help, we were victorious tonight and I’m honored to say I’ll be your voice in Richmond.

Kay and I are thankful for the time and effort all our volunteers and supporters put into the campaign. We will be forever grateful.

Thank you also to Josh King for running a spirited campaign.

Together, we will address and solve the challenges that exist in our communities, and I’m humbled to be Delegate-elect for the families of Virginia House district 02.”

King keeping with traditional voter turnout in the 2nd District, the Democratic candidate won the majority of precincts in Prince William while Dudenhefer won overwhelmingly in Stafford County.

Voters keep Stewart, Anderson to replace May on Prince William Board of Supervisors

stewart, prince william, supervisor


Incumbents keep jobs at county courthouse 

Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart At-large will return for his 9th year on the Board in 2016.

The Republican beat out Democrat challenger Rick Smith for the county’s top job by 14 points, with nearly 57% of the vote. Stewart gained the national spotlight in his early days on the Board of Supervisors for his stance on deporting illegal immigrants convicted of crimes.

At a debate between Stewart and Smith on Oct. 1, Stewart said he’s softened his approached, and learned its a better way to get things done in the county. Under the Republican, the county has invested more than $1 billion into improving transportation, placed more funding for police officers, and opened two new libraries in the county.

Stewart took to social media and posted a photo of he and his family, and thanked his supporters.

Stewart was first elected to the Board in 2006 to serve as the Occoquan District Supervisor and was elected Board Chairman the following year. Stewart won re-election as Chairman in 2011.


Republican Ruth Anderson was elected the new Occoquan District Supervisor, beating out former Town of Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta, a Democrat by eight points. Anderson is the wife of Delegate Rich Anderson, who ran unopposed for his re-election bid for the House of Delegates.

Ruth Anderson replaces Mike May, who decided not to seek reelection to mount a bid for Prince William Commonwealth Attorney. May was defeated by Paul Ebert, who has held the position since 1968.

May posted this to his Facebook page:

The results are all in, and sadly, we came up short by just a few percentage points. The journey we have been on for the past year has been extraordinarily rewarding. I could not have imagined the huge outpouring of support, friendship, and love that we have received from people all over Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. Amelia and I will forever be grateful to the hundreds of people who have helped us both in large ways and small during this campaign. You have all been a blessing to us.

I congratulate Mr. Ebert on a victory well won, and wish him the best in his new term in office. As I finish out these next few weeks as a member of the Board of County Supervisors and beyond, I look forward to finding new ways to serve our great community, and to seeing each of you again.

With Anderson’s election to the Board, the re-election of Republican Maureen Caddigan, of the Potomac District, and Democrats John Jenkins, of the Neabsco District and Frank Principi, of the Woodbridge District, the political make-up of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors will remain the same: Five Republicans and two Democrats.

Supervisors Marty Nohe, Coles District, Peter Candland, Gainesville, and Jeanine Lawson, Brentsville — all Republicans — ran unopposed and will keep their seats.

Caddigan’s Democratic challenger Andrea Bailey lost her bid to unseat the long-serving Republican by 535 votes. Democrats say it’s a sign of a shifting political makeup of the Potomac District, which includes Montclair, Southbridge, and Dumfries and Quantico towns.

Principi remains cemented in his heavily Democrat-leaning Woodbridge District, defeating Republican challenger Steve Chapman by 32 points.

While Pual Ebert remains Prince William’s Commonwealth Attorney, Michele McQuigg will keep her job as Clerk of the Court. The Republican beat out attorney Jacqueline Smith, a Dumfries attorney, by a narrow margin of four points.

Sheriff Glen Hill also ran unopposed and will keep his job guarding the Prince William County Courthouse.

New chairman, faces elected to Prince William School Board

Ryan Sawyers is the new Chairman of the Prince William County School Board.

The Democrat won in a three-way race between the Republican-endorsed Tim Singstock and Independent Tracy Conroy. With 37% of the vote, Sawyers beat Singstock by two percentage points, and Conroy by 10 points.

“I am thrilled with last night’s results and humbled by the support from my family and friends. Both of my opponents ran strong, passionate races and I commend them for their hard work in their campaigns. They clearly showed they care about our school system and how it impacts families.

Now the work begins. I look forward to working with our newly elected School Board and Board of County Supervisors to improve Prince William County Schools,” Sawyers posted to his Facebook page.

Singstock had the endorsement of outgoing School Board Chairman Milton C. Johns, who is stepping down from the Board. Conroy is known for her vast knowledge of the workings of the school system and had the endorsements of outgoing Neabsco District School Board representation Lisa Bell, and former School Board members Lucy Beauchamp and former Chair John-David Allen.

There will also be a big change for the Potomac District School Board seat. Newcomer Justin Wilk beat out incumbent Betty Covington, who had served on the School Board since 2003 and has spent a lifetime as an educator and principal in the Prince William County Public School System.

Republican endorsed Willie Deutsch will replace Dr. Micheal Otaigbe, who is stepping down from the Coles District seat. Deutsch won the seat over his two challengers Reggie Henderson and Bill Reeder with 41% of the vote.

With Lisa Bell stepping down from the Neabsco District School Board seat, Diane L. Raulston will take her place. Raulston won the election with 71% of the vote over challenger Joseph George.

In the race for the Occoquan seat, there was a six-point difference between winner Lillie Jessie and 2nd runner-up John Gray. The incumbent Jessie beat out two challengers to keep the seat, including Gray and Prince William County school teacher Karen Boyd.

Representatives from the Brentsville, Gainesville, and Woodbridge districts, Gil Trenum, Alyson Satterwhite, and Lorree Williams, respectively, ran opposed and will keep their seats on the Board.

Lingamfelter vows to focus on education funding, maintain state taxes

Scott Lingamfelter was first elected Virginia’s 31st House District seat in 2002. This year, the Republican is defending that seat from Democrat Sara Townsend. 

The district encompasses portions of Prince William and Fauquier Counties.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Lingamfelter and he sent us the responses below: 

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

Lingamfelter: The top three issues that face our community are: (1) jobs and the economy, (2) quality schools that provide a safe and secure environment, challenging learning, top notch teachers, and accountability to the public, and (3) the safety of our community, which includes a reliable transportation infrastructure that keeps us moving safely and reliability, as well as neighborhoods that are free of crime where our kids can live in safety.

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

Lingamfelter: Jobs and the Economy: The best way to help jobs and the economy is to elect conservatives like myself that fight higher taxes and burdensome, job-killing policies. I have consistently voted for balanced budgets; voted for the most recent budget that produced a $536 Million surplus; voted to cut $7 Billion in waste; voted to keep Virginia taxes among the lowest in the U.S. My opponent, however, supports raising the sales tax, the gas tax, regional taxes and the largest ($3.5 Billion) tax increase in Virginia history, as well as expanding a broken Medicaid system that will cost us $2 Billion. All of this will kill jobs and our economy.

Education: Being married to a career teacher has helped me be very aware of the needs we have in education. I have a record, not empty rhetoric, to show what I have actually accomplished. I worked to improve teacher pay, reform the SOLs, grow virtual schools, eliminate burdensome red tape, and voted for $31 million in school security. I will build on this record.

Reliable Transportation Infrastructure and Community Safety: I have worked hard to create a more reliable and safe transit system in Northern Virginia. Through my leadership, we have restructured our financing of road projects to push more money toward local highway and road maintenance our communities use every day— the same roads our kids use to get to school. It is easy to propose sweeping mass transit projects, but not at the expense of properly maintaining what we have now. A smarter, new and more economic approach to moving people is Bus Rapid Transit, which will cost far less than expanding the Metro system which would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Finally, in public safety, I chair the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee. I have been a crime fighter since the day I was elected. My opponent has falsely asserted that I have not supported efforts to combat child predators. I supported $13.8 Million to support the State Police Internet Crime against Children (ICAC) Task Force; $3.7 million to stop child predators; a recent boost of $1.2 Million (again) to the ICAC; $8.2 Million for Child Advocacy Centers, and many other laws to fight these vile perpetrators. I have a proven record and the politically-inspired falsehoods can’t alter that fact. I will continue to be a staunch supporter of anticrime efforts.

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

Lingamfelter: From my perspective, its best summed up in my vision for Virginia: Virginia must lead the way in protecting the Constitutional rights of all of our citizens, the vitality and prosperity of our families, the growth and success of all businesses, and the safety of our communities. I will do that by (1) pressing for bold reform in Virginia, (2) continue to insist on balanced budgets, (3) seek innovative improvements in transportation and education, (4) enhance public safety in our schools, neighborhoods, and communities, (5) press for audits of all of Virginia’s agencies and divisions to ensure efficiency and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse, and (6) work to provide businesses in manufacturing, agriculture and energy the greatest consideration and opportunity to prosper and grow in Virginia.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Lingamfelter: As someone who spent his life in public service, as a soldier for 28 years—both in war and peace–and now as a senior legislator in the General Assembly, I have a lot of experience that benefits our community. I will be the senior member of the Appropriations Committee in northern Virginia, which is very important to our region and county as we ensure that we get our fair share of the tax money we send to Richmond back for our roads, schools, and communities for public safety and alike. Experience is key in this election and I am blessed to have that experience.

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

Lingamfelter: Citizens of our community are not only well informed, they are smart, too. My opponent thinks they are not so informed, but I have spent 15 years at the doors of the people I represent. I know them personally. They know me and I can assure you that they are more informed than my opponent may understand. To be sure, they have not been fooled one minute by the false and negative campaign she has run since July of this year. People don’t want the name-calling, the falsehoods, the negative campaigning. They want a positive vision for Virginia, selfless service, and devotion to the work and they know I bring that to them.

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

Lingamfelter: The biggest mistake a legislator can make is to think that he or she is entitled to a seat in the General Assembly. This seat belongs to the people of the 31st District and one mistake I have never made is thinking that it is somehow “my seat.”No, it belongs to the people of this district and them alone. And yes, I have made mistakes in policies and bills I have voted for in Richmond. I call these the “laws of unintended consequences” where we didn’t think things through as we should have. And when I make such a mistake, I listen to people and go back and fix it. That’s called “owning up.”

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

Lingamfelter: The motto that I have followed since Day one of my service to the people of the 31st District in the general Assembly is this. Promise Made – Promise Kept. The two biggest casualties of modern politics are accountability and authenticity. I have tried to address the first in my service to this community by showing up on the doors steps of my constituents to be accountable to them. But just as important as “showing up” is being who you say you are and doing what you say you will. I am an authentic conservative who will represent this community with commonsense conservative policies and values that people look for in a leader. For that reason, I earnestly ask for your vote on November 3.

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