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Politics

‘To move Prince William forward, we need a change in leadership’

Hala Ayala has long been a familiar face for Democrats in Prince William County.

She’s the president of the Prince William County chapter of the National Organization for Women, and she’s attended standing-room-only meetings of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors to protest Chairman At-large Corey Stewart’s position on pursuing immigrants in the U.S. who entered illegally. 

This General Election on Nov. 7 marks the first time she’s been a candidate. and she has her sights set to unseat long-serving Delegate Rich Anderson of District 51, which encompasses nearly all of Prince William. 

This election season, we’re asked candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Ayala sent us this email: 

I am running for the 51st District of the Virginia House of Delegates. I am a lifelong Virginian and have lived in Prince William County for over 35 years. I’m a cybersecurity specialist by trade, formerly with the Department of Homeland Security. But I pride myself in being an advocate for working families in my community and in the Commonwealth. I have organized on such issues at the local and state level, including protecting women’s choice, speaking out on the need for affordable access to healthcare and equal pay for equal work. I was the founder and president of the Prince William County chapter of the National Organization for Women and am a member of the Governor’s Council on Women.

I want to serve my community and make sure that we are represented when decisions are made in our state government, something that I don’t see with our current representation in the House of Delegates. Every session, we see bad votes that jeopardize our ability to access healthcare and family planning services, while legislators resist practical measures like Medicaid Expansion, which would provide access to crucial health services to families across our state. (more…)

Jackson Miller: ‘…we have been able to give our teachers well-deserved pay raises…and increase school funding by over $855 per student, per year, over the past five years’

After serving as Virginia House Majority Whip since 2012, Jackson Miller is running for reelection to the 50th House Seat serving Manassas and part of Prince William County.

Miller is running against first-time candidate Lee Carter, a Democrat.

In 2015, Miller won the office by nearly 20 points.

This election season, we’re asked candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Miller sent us this email: 

In today’s political climate, it is easy to forget that most elected officials do not reside in Washington D.C. It is even easier to forget that these elected officials are often your friends and neighbors—people who have answered the call of service without the expectation of power or prestige. These men and women oversee our schools, enforce our laws, and establish budgets for our local governmental bodies. In other words, they work to ensure your state and local government is working for you.

On November 7, many of us will be up for re-election. While I can’t speak for everyone on the ballot, I know that representing the 50th district for the past ten 11 years has been one of the greatest honors of my life. With your support, we have been able to give our teachers well-deserved pay raises, construct veteran care facilities, and increase school funding by over $855 per student, per year, over the past five years. We have expanded in-state enrollment at our state universities, increased penalties for violent crimes, and passed six balanced budgets while maintaining one of the lowest tax burdens in the country. (more…)

‘We need an attorney general who will get serious about public safety’

Attorney John Adams is the Republican nominee for Virginia Attorney General 

He’s running against Democrat Mark Herring Justin Fairfax

This election season, we’re asked candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Adams sent us this email: 

The Attorney General of Virginia is a powerful position, overseeing Virginia’s law firm. The actions of the attorney general matter, impacting families all across the Commonwealth. That’s why I got into the race for attorney general in Virginia – because actions matter and our current attorney general has pursued a personal political agenda rather than defending the laws of Virginia.

I am not a politician and have never run for political office before. Instead, I have spent the majority of my professional career in public service and I have deep legal experience that I believe will benefit all Virginians. Since law school, I have clerked for a United States Supreme Court Justice (Clarence Thomas), been a Federal Prosecutor, and served as Associate Counsel to the President of the United States (George W. Bush). Most recently, I have helped run a large law firm representing many clients with complex and serious legal issues. I believe I have the legal experience to be the best possible lawyer for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Whether it is advising senior government officials, making difficult prosecutorial decisions, or representing Virginia in complex constitutional matters, I have the experience to get the job done and keep Virginians safe.

Here is what you can expect from me as attorney general. When Virginian’s pass laws, I will defend those laws even when I disagree with them. It’s our law, and Virginians should expect their attorney general to defend their choices. My opponent repeatedly refuses to defend the laws we pass (and at times has even turned on our state laws) and instead pursued his own personal political agenda. He has filed briefs in the United States Supreme Court undermining Virginia’s right to work law because he is beholden to big labor unions. He refused to defend other laws that were challenged like our voter ID law, because he personally disagrees with it. And he gave staff in his office backdoor pay raises using money from a Medicaid fraud settlement while other states used the money for public education and health care. (more…)

‘I want to make Virginia a more inclusive place’

A first-time candidate, Elizabeth Guzman is the Democratic nominee for the House of Delegates 31st District, located in southern Prince William County and eastern Fauquier County.

She’s running against longtime incumbent Scott Lingamfelter, a Republican.

This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Guzman sent us this email below: 

I am a social worker and 15-year public servant living in Prince William County. I am a mother of four wonderful children, and a concerned citizen who feels Richmond is not listening to families like mine here in my district. That is why I decided to run for the House of Delegates. I want to bring their voices to the table in our General Assembly and fight for their issues.

I am an immigrant from Peru, who came to this country looking for my oldest daughter, Pamela, who is 25 today. I worked three jobs to afford a one bedroom apartment. With help from friends and co-workers, I took steps to get the education and skills I needed to provide for my family. I worked through college and graduate school, earning two master degrees; one in public administration, and one in social work. I currently work for the City of Alexandria, where I serve as Division Chief for Administrative Services for the Center of Adult Services. I oversee a budget of 7 million dollars and lead a workforce of 300 employees. I am responsible for the administrative operations of programs that help people in need with mental and intellectual disabilities, substance abuse disorders, and senior citizens.

I am married to my wonderful husband, Carlos, and the mother of three other wonderful children: Ivanna, Hannah, and Carlos. As a mom, I work hard to be a constant presence in my childrens life. I am a Committee member for my son’s Cub Scouts troop, and a Cookie Mom for Girl Scouts. I am involved in the PTA for Penn Elementary. I am also an active member of my church, Harvest Life Changers, as well as Sacred Heart Catholic Church. (more…)

‘Our Board of Equalization appeals have been reduced. Our staff has been upgraded and trained. We are in the middle of two major software conversions.’

After serving on the city’s school board, council, and as mayor, Douglas Waldron seeks to serve a second term as the Manassas Commissioner of the Revenue. 

This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Waldron sent us this email below: 

My parents, Bill and Dorothy, moved to Manassas in 1962. At that time, there were cows across the street and no stoplights in the town. They raised five children and, after my college years, I was the only sibling to return and stay in Manassas. My wife, Sherry, and I raised three sons. We are very grateful for the education they received as they each attended City public schools K through 12 and are successful adults.

Committed to Manassas, I began public service. In the 1990’s, I served on the School Board and was twice elected to the City Council. I was Mayor of Manassas from 2004 to 2008. Then, in 2013, I received 7,088 votes and was elected to serve as your Commissioner of the Revenue. I now seek re-election and ask for your vote and support.

The modern Commissioner of the Revenue position was created in 1869 when the Virginia Constitution was rewritten following the Civil War. The job is one of five authorized by the Constitution. The others are Clerk of the Court, Commonwealths Attorney, Sheriff and Treasurer. The office is not strictly partisan and many of my colleagues in Virginia run, in fact, as Independent candidates. (more…)

‘Our City Council is trying to dig us out of debt and move Manassas Park forward’

James Kirkland is seeking political office for the first time, for the office of Manassas Park Commissioner of Revenue.

But he’s no stranger to local politics as Kirkland’s wife, Rachel, is the Chairman of the city school board. 

This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Kirkland sent us this email below: 

If elected Commissioner of Revenue, I hope to provide Manassas Park elected officials with reliable and timely data so that our leaders can make data-driven decisions. I will provide accurate assessments and billing, greater transparency, and excellent customer service for our residents.

Having spent the last decade administering databases for the Chancellor’s Office of D.C. Public Schools( DCPS), I really enjoy helping parents and students get the support they need from afterschool and summer programs in the district. I’m hoping to do the same supporting my neighbors here in the park. My experiences include transitioning DCPS Out of School Time Programs from the previous student information system to a new system and linking it with our online enrollment for both DCPS’s Summer Learning Program and the DCPS Afterschool Program. I also manage and administer the Out of School Time’s online payment system, collecting revenue of almost a million dollars annually.

As I was gathering signatures to be on the ballot, I heard story after story of improper billing, missing bills, lack of response to emails, and rude phone etiquette. The one story that struck closest to home was from my mother. My parents moved to the Park a couple years ago and my mother, who is very organized, took all of her paperwork to City Hall and asked for their help making sure they had the information they needed for personal property tax on her car. Months later, she receives a bill with a late charge, never having received an original bill. Knowing how organized she is, I highly doubt the correct bill was ever sent. Everyone knows Manassas Park pays some pretty steep taxes for Northern Virginia, and we certainly deserve better customer service for what we’re paying. I’m running to be part of that solution. (more…)

Surovell: Redistricting needed to break partisan gridlock

Four Big Issues No One is Discussing This Election Cycle
Virginians go to the polls in three weeks and if you followed the news cycle, you would think that the next General Assembly Session is going to be all about Confederate Statutes, street gangs, and natural gas pipelines – none of which is accurate. Here are four big issues facing Virginia that have been missing in action this cycle.

Redistricting
Hyper-partisan legislative districts are at the root the partisan gridlock we see today. While the Senate Democratic Caucus drew Virginia’s Senate districts in 2010, Virginia’s congressional and legislative districts were otherwise drawn by Republicans majorities with the cooperation of Republican governor’s in 2000 and 2010. Democratic voters have been crammed into a small number of seats and Virginia’s Congressional and House of Delegates districts are way out of proportion to Virginia’s actual voting.

Virginia’s next Governor will participate in Virginia’s next redistricting process. Ralph Northam and I have repeatedly endorsed and voted for non-partisan redistricting which would go a long way towards voters picking their leaders instead of leaders picking their voters.
(more…)

‘There are people who shy away from the term politician. I, however, recognize that I am a politician’

Laura Sellers is about to finish her first term as Stafford County’s Garrisonville District Supervisor.

When she was elected in 2013, she rode a wave of blue along with Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. While her margin of victory was less than one percent, turning the map blue in Stafford County is a rarity, and fellow Democrats celebrated the win.

Sellers serves the most developed, most populated portion of the county. And, she want’s to keep her seat.

She’s running against Republican Mark Dudenhefer, who held the seat from 2005 until 2011 when he was elected to serve as a member of the House of Delegates.

Voters will head to the polls on Nov. 7, 2017. Learn the location of your polling place

This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Sellers sent us this email telling our readers why they should vote for her:

When I graduated from North Stafford High School in 2003, I thought my life would take me many places but I never imagined it would bring me right back to Stafford. I grew up a military brat – born on Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City (by a Colonial in the USAF) and my dad retired in 2004 after I had left home. I was born and raised a nomad.

Growing up military gave me an appreciation for different cultures. I love to travel and love to try different food but it also gave me a longing to be from somewhere. My parents were both raised by the US Army. My father grew up traveling the world while my mother lived most of her life outside of Fort Hood, Texas after her father died just weeks after returning home from Vietnam. At the time, they called it “lung cancer” but now we know that it was agent orange. While my family never needed for anything, I always wanted one place to call home. A family house to return to on holidays. Trees that I watched grow over the years. Walls with memories of my childhood – not my childhood and that of hundreds of other families too.

While in high school, I met a man that would change my life forever. We went to college together and then as we grew into adulthood, life took him to the west coast to play professional football. As much as I loved him, I was not interested in living the life of a nomad anymore. I wanted one place to call home so I returned home to Stafford full time and continued my career in intelligence. To this day, he and I remain in contact as we raise our son and I continue working on contract for the Defense Intelligence Agency. (more…)

‘I am running to restore the professional standards to the office that many in Manassas believe have slipped’

Russell Harrison is running to the be the next Manassas City Treasurer. This is his second time around running for the office. 

This is his second time around running for the office. Harrison lost by three points to current officeholder Patricia Richie-Folks during a special election held last November. 

This election season, we’re asking candidates who wish to reach our readers a “why you should vote for me” email by Oct. 27, 2017. 

Harrison sent us this email below: 

I am a nonprofit executive and former Manassas Volunteer of the Year, and I would like to be the next Manassas City Treasurer.   I am running to restore the professional standards to the office that many in Manassas believe have slipped.

The City Treasurer is a full-time professional position.  We need someone who understands how to run an office, understands laws and regulations, and who understands complicated finance and budgeting. We need someone who can lead.

I do and I can.  I am the only candidate with the background to do the job right.

I am currently a senior executive with the IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  There I manage a professional staff that I built over the past several years.  My career with nonprofits has spanned over 20 years and includes earning my CAE (Certified Association Executive), the highest level of professional certification in the nonprofit world.     (more…)

Zach Galifianakis film ‘Democracy for Sale’ will be shown at Woodbridge NOVA campus

The film “Democracy for Sale” will be shown at two screenings in Woodbridge.

The film stars comic Zach Galifianakis, a North Carolina native who travels to the state to examine political districts and redistricting. The screenings will take place at the Lakeside Theater at the Woodbridge Campus of the Northern Virginia Community College at 4 and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017.

The League of Women Voters in Prince William County first told us about the film showing in Woodbridge, which is one of the multiple screenings for the film across the state. The series of screenings is being made possible, in part, by The Virginia Civic Engagement Table is affiliated with State Voices.

Here’s more in a press release: (more…)

Makee is the GOP replacement candidate in Virginia House District 2

STAFFORD — He doesn’t have big political aspirations, but he stepped up to be the GOP’s man in a pinch.

Michael Makee (pronounced Mackie) retired as Naval Commander after 20 years and is the Republican replacement candidate in Virginia’s House District 2. The 47-year-old Naval Academy graduate stepped in after Laquan Austion dropped out of the race on Friday.

Makee moved to Stafford with his wife two years ago and is the father of six children ages 12 to 24. Mary Kathleen “Katy” Makee has been his wife for 25 years. He serves on the Stafford County Utilities Commission and is the treasurer of the Stafford County Republican Committee.

This is his first run for political office.

“I don’t have big political aspirations,” Makee told Potomac Local. “I understand the military side of how the government works, and now I will learn how the state and local side of the government,” said Makee. (more…)

Updated: Dove to hold fast in 11th District race

Exclusive

A source tells Potomac Local a replacement for Laquan Austion could be Jeffery Dove, who is now running for congress.

Austion today dropped out of Virginia’s Hosue District 2 race in Prince William and Stafford counties. Dove is running against Democrat Gerry Connolly (D-11 Fairfax, Prince William) who has held the job since 2009.

Dove is running against Democrat Gerry Connolly (D-11 Fairfax, Prince William) who has held the job since 2009. He has yet to comment for this story.

Last year, Dove took to Twitter and showed interest in the House District 2 seat, which serves residents in Prince William and Stafford counties.

From Dove’s Twitter page:

If Dove becomes the candidate, he would face Democrat Jennifer Carroll Foy in the House District 2 race. Foy is a public defender and professor at Northern Virginia Community College. 

She issued a statement Friday afternoon after Austion dropped out of the race. 

“I would like to thank Laquan Austion for stepping up to run. I will continue to work to earn the votes of all of my neighbors in the Second District. I will fight to expand Medicaid to 400,000 more Virginians, protect funding for Planned Parenthood and women’s health care, end the school-to-prison pipeline, and find solutions to our broken transportation system. I have devoted my entire life to public service — fighting for the voiceless as a public defender and foster mother — and hope to serve all of the Second District as Delegate.”

The HD2 race has been an eventful one this year. Republican Mark Dudenhefer in January made a surprise announcement stating he would not seek reelection for the seat.

In June, Democrat Josh King requested a recount following a close Primary race with fellow Foy, who won the recount by 12 votes.

Updated: 

Jeff Dove will stay the course in the 11th Congressional District race. 

He sent Potomac Local this statement: 

“While I am honored that the many Republicans have put my name into the mix for this seat,  I am currently laser focused on making life better for the people of the 11th Congressional District.”

 

 

Laquan Austion drops out of House District 2 race

STAFFORD — Republicans in Stafford and Prince William counties are looking for a new candidate for House District 2.

Laquan Austion dropped out.

“Laquan Austion is withdrawing his candidacy for the Second House District effective today. We appreciate his willingness to run for office and serve. We have already started the process of recruiting a strong candidate that will give voters a clear choice in November.”

Austion came under fire this week when the Richmond Times-Dispatch learned the candidate provided false information to voters on his LinkedIn page, and to Potomac Local about his education. Austion claimed to have a Masters Degree from The George Washington University that he didn’t possess.

The report also stated Austion purchased an Audi automobile but never made a payment, A court case in this matter, as well as another debt were dismissed because Austion was not able to be located, according to the Times-Dispatch story. (more…)

Woodbridge voter office future uncertain, again

WOODBRIDGE — A voter office in Woodbridge could once again be headed for the chopping block.

The Prince William County Electoral Board is prepared to be hit once more with rent fees from the Virginia DMV.

In March, the state asked for 14 years of back rent in the amount of $31,200 for a voter registration office inside the Woodbridge DMV Customer Service Center on Caton Hill Road. The office is also used as an absentee in-person voting center in the weeks leading up to November General Elections.

“We’ve been there rent-free for years,” said Prince William Electoral Board Secretary Keith Scarborough.

After the March notice, there were fears the only voter registration office on the eastern side of Prince William County would close. The closure was averted when DMV officials backed off, and county officials were told they had at least one more year to operate in the building.

“I think the call for rent was a ‘get out’ message,” said Electoral Board Chairman Robin Williams.

If it was, the election officials have few places has few places to go. The Board on Wednesday wrangled not only with finding what to do about the Woodbridge DMV site but also to find a new site to serve the western end of Prince William County in the growing Haymarket and Gainesville areas. (more…)

Republican in Prince William, Stafford House race falsely touts Masters Degree, apologizes

STAFFORD — Laquan Austion replied to a Potomac Local candidate survey and listed a degree he doesn’t have.

The Republican seeking to replace Delegate Mark Dudenhefer in Virginia House District 2 in Prince William and Stafford counties told readers he obtained a Masters Degree from The George Washington University.

On Tuesday, his campaign manager Kurt Lofquist told Potomac Local via email that Austion doesn’t have the degree but is pursuing one. Austion obtained a Bachelors from Drew University in New Jersey.

The admission follows a Richmond Times-Dispatch story that first broke the news, and reported Austion is not currently enrolled in classes at GWU. (more…)

Kaine continues healthcare tour in Manassas

MANASSSAS — Tim Kaine came to the Independence Empowerment Center in Manassas on July 28 to discuss healthcare, and the to discuss the health care needs of individuals with disabilities. 

The day after Republicans failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, Kaine issued this statement to Potomac Local in an email:

Through last night we were considering a drastic rewrite of the Affordable Care Act, some versions of which were going to dramatically cut Medicaid, which could greatly harm over 100,000 disabled Virginians. So I wanted to come here – because even though we, thank goodness, averted a catastrophe last night on the vote—we still have to find a way to work together to find improvements. While I’ve traveled the Commonwealth talking to Virginians, I have heard a lot about the importance of the Medicaid program at different phases of life whether it is for children or seniors or working age disabled adults. Now that we are through those repeal efforts and have stopped dramatic cuts to Medicaid, we need to sit down and work together to come up with solutions. I have a bill in that I think would reduce premiums. I have other colleagues that have bills in that are about cost control or access. We need to just get those bills on the table, debate, listen to one another and especially hear from the public. And if we do, we can pick the solutions that would make folks’ lives better, not a repeal that would hurt people.

U.S. 1 widening yields many benefits for the community

On August 3, 2017, the Federal Highway Administration is hosting a ribbon cutting to commemorate the widening of U.S. 1 through Fort Belvoir. The project’s completion is an important milestone for our community and has broad ramifications.

When I first ran for office in 2009, I stated that improving U.S. 1 was my number one priority. U.S. 1 is the spine of Mount Vernon, Lorton, Woodbridge, Dumfries/Triangle and Eastern Stafford’s central nervous system and a critical driver of not just transportation, but also access to employment, recreation, retail businesses and restaurants. U.S. 1’s fate can mean revitalizing area schools and housing and can enhance our overall quality of life from Stafford County to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

When the 2005 Base Re-alignment and Closure (BRAC) transfers to Fort Belvoir were announced, many people justifiably had concerns about the impact of adding 15,000 new jobs and a billion dollar hospital to a densely-populated and congested area. Widening U.S.1 through Fort Belvoir happened because of a decade of work by former Fairfax County Supervisor Gerry Hyland and, my old boss, Congressman Jim Moran, who has said that this was the last earmark Congress ever approved. In some circles, earmarks are disparaged,but we would not have this improvement or an expanded Woodrow Wilson Bridge without earmarks. (more…)

Roem gets ‘Trump bump’ after transgender military ban

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Virginia House of Delegates candidate Danica Roem can thank the president for an increase in campaign donations.

Roem is Virginia’s first transgender candidate and is running against Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince Wiliam, Manassas Park). 

From an email from Danica Roem: 

I’m excited to announce we raised $112,974.21 from 820 donations in July. That’s more money than even House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R) raised during the last reporting period, June 2-30 ($112,311).

In fact, the number of donations we received exceeded the total number of donations received by the top 18 Republican fundraisers from June combined.

Just on Monday, July 31, we received 135 donations totaling about $6,692, entirely from donations between $1-$250. That’s 108 more donations than Del. Bob Marshall (R-13) received from June 2-30 combined and about $2,000 more than he raised that entire month.

We’ve outpaced Del. Marshall in fundraising from the four communities that make up the 13th District – Manassas, Manassas Park, Gainesville, and Haymarket – from the greater Prince William County area, from the state and across the country.

(more…)

Updated: Kaine cancels visit to Haymarket

From Senator Tim Kaine:

Tomorrow, July 28, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committees, will travel to Haymarket and Manassas to discuss the health care needs of servicemembers, veterans, and individuals with disabilities in Virginia. In Haymarket, Kaine will visit Serve Our Willing Warriors, a non-profit organization that serves as a retreat for wounded servicemembers to reconnect with their families during the healing process, to meet with the Willing Warriors founders, staff, and volunteers and discuss the needs facing veterans who have suffered from injuries in service.

In the afternoon, Kaine will tour the Independence Empowerment Center, a community-based, non-profit organization operated by and for people with disabilities, in Manassas. Kaine will participate in a roundtable discussion with the executive director and members of the Center to hear their concerns about Senate Republican plans to slash Medicaid. In Virginia, Medicaid provides health care to more than one million Virginians – including 186,000 people with disabilities. On Tuesday, Republicans voted to open debate on their health care bill that would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their insurance.
(more…)

Surovell: Voluntary background check system is a failure

In 2016, the General Assembly enacted a legislation requiring the Virginia State Police to staff gun shows and be available to conduct voluntary background checks upon request by private, non-federally licensed gun sellers as part of a broader compromise on concealed weapon permits. The law has been a total failure.

The legislation required the state to spend $300,000 to hire three new Virginia State Police employees to be present at all gun shows. What have we got for our $300,000?

In January, The Daily Press reported that as of January 1, 2017, one person was denied a purchase at 41 gun shows after thirty-nine checks. (more…)

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