Reston, VA

Reston Association has elected two new members and re-elected one to their Board of Directors.

The board’s two open at-large seats went to Sarah Selvaraj-D’Souza, who won a second three-year term with 4,275 votes, and Timothy J. Dowling, who was elected for his first three-year term with 3,987 votes.

They both bested John Farrell by a relatively slim margin. The former RA Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee member received 3,719 votes, while 26-year-old software engineer Vincent Dory received 1,221 votes. There were 647 votes to abstain.

Voters could vote for one or two candidates on their ballots.

In the South Lakes District, Jennifer Jushchuk ran unopposed, though about 12% of the votes cast were abstentions.

The results were announced last night (April 13) at RA’s annual members’ meeting. Full results, including vote count and turnout, are publicly available.

The board candidates were announced in February. Voting opened on March 1 and closed on April 2.

RA Election Committee Chair Ed Abbott tells Reston Now that the election ran smoothly and was free of the technical glitches that cropped up last year.

“The Election Committee did not encounter any major issues in the election process,” he said by email. “The use of Zoom for the Candidate Forums and Meet and Greet Sessions went well thanks to the technical support of the RA staff and the cooperation of the candidates.”

Voter turnout also actually went up this year to about 19%, a roughly 5% increase from last year, Abbott notes.

Nonetheless, it remains low, something that the Elections Committee hopes to look into for next year.

“The Elections Committee will evaluate this year’s election process in the coming months and report to the Board of Directors,” Abbott said. “The evaluation will consider, among other things, increasing member participation, reducing costs and improving the overall election process.”

Voters could use either paper or online ballots, though nearly two-thirds of the votes came through online ballots.

The new board will select their officers at their first board meeting tonight (Wednesday). The officer positions include president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.

Reston Association’s outgoing president Julie Bitzer was first elected to the Board in 2015 and was president for the last year.

Image via Reston Association/YouTube

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Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) has endorsed Irene Shin to represent the 86th District in Virginia’s House of Delegates, Shin’s campaign announced yesterday (Monday).

Executive director of the nonprofit Virginia Civic Engagement Table, Shin announced on Feb. 9 that she would campaign for the 86th District seat currently occupied by Del. Ibraheem Samirah, who is seeking his first full term after winning a special election in February 2019.

The 86th District include the Town of Herndon as well as portions of Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

“When I look for leadership in elected office, I look for approachable, community-focused leaders who listen to people first and work to deliver solutions in state government,” Howell said in a statement. “Irene Shin is the epitome of this kind of leadership. Irene will bring effective, pragmatic leadership back to the 86th District, and will represent the Democratic values that we all support.”

According to her campaign website, Shin is the daughter of Korean immigrants and a resident of downtown Herndon. Her political experience primarily comes from work as a community organizer for campaigns, nonprofits, and startups.

In addition to working for VCET, which supports and trains progressive nonprofits and activists, Shin currently serves on the board of the Competitive Commonwealth Fund, which helps recruit and raise funds for Democratic candidates in Virginia.

When she announced her candidacy in February, Shin said that she was inspired to run for office after watching Vice President Kamala Harris get sworn in on Jan. 20 as the first female vice president in U.S. history. According to her LinkedIn profile, she worked on Harris’s Senate campaign in 2015 as a finance director.

“My top priorities as a candidate for the House of Delegates are ending the pandemic and rebuilding Virginia back to be a better, fairer society, finally bringing access to Universal Pre-K for all families, and refocusing the office of delegate on community-based collaborative leadership,” Shin said in a statement to Reston Now.

Shin says she is proud to get Howell’s support, along with endorsements from current Herndon Mayor Sheila Olem and former mayors Lisa Merkel and Mike O’Reilly.

Samirah’s endorsements so far include Herndon Vice Mayor Cesar del Aguila and Councilmembers Naila Alam, Pradip Dhakal, and Jasbinder Singh. He is also backed by Hunter Mill District School Board Representative Melanie Meren.

On his campaign website, Samirah says that he sees “improving public health as the central issue that touches all others,” but he also highlights housing affordability, gun safety, and criminal justice, among other topics.

Shin and Samirah will face off in the Democratic primary on June 8. The ballot will also feature a battle for the 36th House District between incumbent Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston) and challenger Mary Barthelson, along with statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

Early voting for the primary will begin on April 23 at the Fairfax County Government Center. The first mail ballots will also be sent out that day.

Fairfax County will not have a Republican primary this June. The state party opted instead to select its nominees through a convention with remote voting.

Photo courtesy Irene Shin

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Morning Notes

Marijuana Possession Will Soon Be Legal in Virginia — “The Virginia General Assembly agreed Wednesday to make it legal for adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana on July 1, nearly three years sooner than had been approved by the legislature in February.” [The Washington Post]

County Residents Share Thoughts on Police Chief Search — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk hosted a public input session on Tuesday (April 6) as part of the county’s ongoing search for a permanent successor to retired Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. McKay said the board will hold interviews for the position over the next week. [WTOP]

Reston Delegate Holds Post-Session Town Hall — After the Virginia General Assembly adjourned yesterday, Del. Ken Plum and State Sen. Janet Howell are holding a virtual town hall meeting at 7 p.m. today to discuss the 2021 session. Anyone interested in attending can register in advance for the Zoom link and submit questions to [email protected] [Ken Plum]

Metro General Manager Calls Silver Line Phase 2 “A Priority” — Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld declined to commit to a “hard start date” for when the Silver Line’s second phase will open, but he told the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance yesterday “want to get that out as quick as we can” because of the potential impact on ridership and the region’s economic development. [WTOP]

Democratic Candidates for Governor Spar in First Televised Debate — Five candidates vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination to become Virignia’s next governor discussed the pandemic, gun violence, and criminal justice reform during an hour-long event hosted by Virginia State University in Petersburg. [Virginia Mercury]

Reston Company Lands Billions in Defense Contracts — “On the heels of an $830 million U.S. Army contract won in February, Reston-based Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) has landed two more Army contracts worth a combined $4.4 billion, it announced today.” [Virginia Business]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Matt Lang, a veteran and security consultant who lives in Reston, is the first Republican candidate to challenge Del. Ken Plum (D-36) for his seat in the state House in a decade.

Lang, 45, will face the Democratic primary election winner in the general election. The Democratic primary is a faceoff of Mary Barthelson, 27, against incumbent Del. Ken Plum. Plum has been in this office since 1982 and also held the seat from 1978-80. The last Republican challenger for HD 36 was Hugh Cannon in 2011.

“I think a lot of people believe that Northern Virginia is one of those places where it’s going to be a Democratic or blue area the rest of eternity,” Lang said. “I don’t feel that’s 100 percent true. I feel there’s a lot of people out here with conservative values and Republican-minded thinking that just aren’t being listened to. I believe that’s a shame. I want to reach out to them, but I also want to reach out to everybody as well.”

Lang has lived in Reston for the last four years and has resided in Fairfax County since 1998 after being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps. The husband and father of three retired from the Navy Reserve at the beginning of this year after 22 total years of military service.

His military service and experience with law enforcement drives one of the primary issues he vows to take on if elected.

Lang acknowledges the “evolving field and practice” of law enforcement and the reality it will always change. However, he believes there are alternatives to calls to reallocate funds or defund police.

“I would like to see a more professionalization of the police. More training. More opportunities for them. Better recruitment,” Lang said. “We need to make the field something people want to work in and are compensated for doing such. Just like any other job, if you want quality, you pay.”

Among the issues Lang is bringing to the forefront is providing greater support to military veterans. Specifically, he cites his personal experience of getting out of active duty at 22 and being confronted with a lack of resources available to individuals like him.

“Not every veteran who goes into the military comes out with a marketable skill upon discharge. Some do, some don’t,” Lang said.

“I’d like to find some better programs, develop some policies and programs to get these guys transitioning out of the military better marketable skills, apprenticeship programs, recruitment into different businesses, especially within the state.”

A third issue Lang hopes to address is providing greater educational opportunities and advocating for additional benefits and pay for teachers and support staff.

He feels that parents don’t have enough say in their children’s education and is proposing an alternative option of providing a school choice or voucher system.

“I’d like to be able see us have a little more say in how our kids are educated,” Lang said. “I’d like to see a little more school-choice, voucher system put into play. Almost every other state in the country does such. Virginia is one the last ones lagging behind, and I think it’s time for us to catch up.”

He hopes to “find common ground” and opportunities to reach across the aisle to find solutions.

If elected, Lang said the first thing he will do is reach out across the aisle to try and come to a general consensus to pull people together.

“First thing I’m going to do is bring a little of the civility back,” Lang said. “I’ve seen too many delegates get down to Richmond and the first thing they do is come right out of the gate like a raging bull, changing things overnight. Just like a pendulum, you swing it too far to the left or right, it’s going to swing back the other way, it’s going to knock a lot of things out of the way.”

Photo courtesy Matt Lang

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Jeffery McKay, the Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, was elected to serve as the 2021 President of the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) yesterday. 

The statewide group advocates with the state’s legislature for the interests of the Commonwealth’s 95 counties, according to a press release from McKay. 

“I’m honored to serve as the next President of the Virginia Association of Counties. Throughout my many years with VACo, I have always considered us to be a large family,” said McKay in a speech delivered to members.

Chairman McKay had led efforts with VACo over the last several years to drastically increase state education funding, transportation funding and ensure the perspective of counties is heard statewide, according to the press release.

“I treasure the many relationships I have built with my colleagues throughout Virginia. VACo is a great way to bring us all together to advance our communities,” said McKay. 

This upcoming year, Chairman McKay wants to lead VACo with the same level of equity as that of Fairfax County. 

“As a kid riding my bike with friends, I didn’t realize what this meant, but I saw firsthand that where you come from was an important factor for your future success and livelihood. When I got older, I understood that this was wrong,” McKay said. 

“This was a driving force behind my decision to begin a career in local government and an inspiration behind the One Fairfax equity policy that I introduced in 2017. This policy has become central to all decision making in Fairfax County by requiring us to look at all policies.”

McKay started his tenure yesterday.

Photo via Jeff McKay/Facebook

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Fairfax County NAACP President Sean Perryman announced on Tuesday his bid for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.

Perryman has been a practicing attorney for 10 years, working on policies relating to emerging technologies. He has been an active member of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee Steering Committee since 2018. He also served as counsel on the House Oversight Committee while working on the staff of late Congressman Elijah Cummings.

“I would be someone who every day would try to make sure I’m incorporating the voices of those that feel marginalized or unheard,” Perryman said. “That would be my primary goal of doing this.”

He joins a group of candidates vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination for lieutenant governor that includes Del. Elizabeth R. Guzmán (Prince William), Del. Hala Ayala (Prince William), former Democratic Party chairman Paul Goldman and Arlington County businessman Xavier Warren.

Republican candidates include former delegate Timothy D. Hugo (Fairfax), Del. Glenn R. Davis Jr. (Virginia Beach), Fairfax County business consultant Puneet Ahluwalia and Lance Allen, a national security company executive from Fauquier County.

Each candidate is vying for the role that will be vacated by Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), who is running for governor.

Perryman is focusing his campaign on the values learned and utilized through his advocacy work and public service, as well as his work as the first Director of Social Impact and Diversity and Inclusion Policy at the Internet Association.

“I would say the ‘Es:’ education, equity, economics and environment,” Perryman said. “That’s really the issues I view as the most urgent problems we’re facing and what we’re going to focus on as a campaign to get us out of this mess in the years to come.”

Perryman added that his decision to run for lieutenant governor comes amidst the “inequities that we already had” that were brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic.

His campaign will focus on several key points that include COVID-19 containment and relief, rejuvenating efforts to boost the workforce, legalizing cannabis and investing in infrastructure projects.

As a part of Perryman’s “Es” focus, he aims for a specific investment in broadband infrastructure to provide internet across the state. He sees this as an education issue as well as an economic one.

“If you don’t have internet access, that means you can’t get telehealth, that means you can’t get on the school if it’s virtual, and that means you can’t work remotely,” he said.

“There are some Band-Aid measures that can help us in the interim until we can get that up, but that’s going to be critical for us in the years to come. That’s also a way to get people back to work.”

If elected, he aims to champion legalizing cannabis to create a regulated market that can be used to generate tax revenue to fund projects such as universal pre-K and create jobs. He also recognizes that a discussion of legalizing cannabis comes with a need to talk about releasing people who have been arrested on cannabis-related charges.

Perryman acknowledged that the lieutenant governor role “isn’t inherently powerful,” but said that he is aiming to take his goals and work with the governor, whether in commissions or committees, and establish a set of priorities, policies and values that he believes Virginia needs to adopt.

“I want to be out there speaking on these issues, elevating these issues,” Perryman said. “But also, pushing back on people who stop the progress from happening, whether they’re my colleagues in the state Senate, whether they’re Democrat or Republican, we need to have people that are being honest brokers with the public and saying, ‘These are the barriers to progress, these are who we need to defeat, and we need to elect new people.'”

To accomplish his goals, Perryman said he will utilize the knowledge and experience he has gained during his community advocacy. He points to his role as a chief advocate behind renaming Robert E. Lee High School to John Lewis High School, and changes he helped push for communication between schools and police, which helped lead to a reduction of arrests in school.

He also vows a vigilant push amongst policymakers to fight for these issues.

“I think the issues are far too important. I’m not looking at this as a stepping stone for anything else. I’m looking at this as the role I want to clearly articulate a set of values and fight for those values in Richmond.”

If elected, Perryman, 34, will be the youngest candidate elected to the position in 50 years. He is no stranger to this situation, as he was the youngest elected president of the Fairfax County NAACP in the chapter’s 102-year history.

He also sees his experience working with the Steering Committee and Counsel for the Oversight Committee as advantages to speak on issues of race and criminal justice. Perryman views his age, coupled with his experience, as an opportunity to directly relate to the issues that he sees being left to the younger generations, specifically environmental and student loan debt issues.

“I’m coming from a place where as a community advocate, I’m able to know what’s impacting people on the ground,” Perryman said.

“I think that, more so than anything, is why they should vote for me. I’m coming from both having the policy experience as well as dealing with folks one-on-one and being able to elevate their issues and speak to them.”

Perryman also pushes his experience working with members of the community as a key point that he could use as lieutenant governor. He points to the work he has been able to accomplish as the president of the Fairfax County NAACP, including providing forgivable loans to about 30 small minority-owned businesses during the pandemic with the help of the Virginia 30 Day Fund.

A graduate of Vanderbilt law school, Perryman was the first person in his family to attend college – which he paid for himself. He touts his ability and desire to reach different locales and incorporate community members from across the state in forming opinions on policy.

“I believe you need to have someone in these positions that lived these experiences, they weren’t handed things, they understand what it’s like to be a working class person trying to make it and navigate through a system without help,” Perryman said.

“I understand more so than I think most people do. I want people to know that I’ve lived that experienced, and not just someone who’s talking about it.”

Photo courtesy Sean Perryman

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Job seekers have the chance to apply for a new seasonal gig. The Fairfax County Office of Elections recently announced it’s hiring more than 200 workers for the November election.

The positions came about because the elections office is expecting a significant rise in absentee voting this year, Brian Worthy, a Fairfax County spokesperson, told Reston Now.

Applicants can apply to be considered for three various positions, according to the job listings.

About 200 people are needed to process mailed absentee ballots, starting around Sept. 28 and likely working until a few days after the election. Meanwhile, about 40 people will get hired to assist inperson absentee voters at satellite locations from Oct. 14-Oct. 31. A limited number of people are needed for the administration tasks like data input, which the job description did not include a timeframe for.

“Skills we are looking for are people who have attention to detail and basic computer skills,” Worthy said, adding that applicants must also be registered voters in Virginia. Other requirements and a detailed description of each position can be found online.

“For all positions, you are hired as a seasonal employee, paid hourly, and must go through a background check including fingerprinting. The work is seasonal with no benefits and is dependent on the election schedule,” the listing said, adding that most employees will be paid around $14 an hour. The opportunities are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We are still in the hiring process so we don’t have a count of how many positions have been filled yet,” Worthy said.

Anyone interested in applying can fill out an online Survey Monkey form. Applicants shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t hear back right away, Worthy said.

“The hiring process does take some time, so people might not hear back immediately,” according to Worthy, who added that he encourages people to apply early so they will have plenty of time to complete the onboarding process.

According to Fairfax County’s website, there are also openings for local election officers. The county said that it’s received roughly 10 times the normal number of applications for the election officer roles.

Photo via Tiffany Tertipes/Unsplash

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Fairfax County NAACP President Sean Perryman wasn’t planning to explore the possibility of running for public office earlier this year.

Pressing issues from the ongoing pandemic and Black Lives Matter Movement after police killed George Floyd inspired Perryman to explore jumping into Virginia’s lieutenant governor race.

“It was really born out of the crisis we are seeing,” Perryman said. “This was not something that was in the cards for me when I first started this year.”

Already familiar with how to elect local Democrats from his work for Virginia’s Democratic Party, Perryman said that the lieutenant governor position would give him the most leverage to advocate change.

In addition to his role as Fairfax County NAACP’s president, Perryman works for the Internet Association. Previously, he served as counsel for the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He practiced civil litigation in Texas and D.C. after attending Vanderbilt University.

Current Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a Democrat, is eyeing a run for governor in 2021. The election for Fairfax’s seat will be held next November.

So far, Del. Hala Ayala (D-51st) and Paul Goldman, the former chair of Virginia’s Democratic Party, and have announced they will vie for Fairfax’s seat. In addition to Perryman, Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-31st) and Norfolk Councilmember Andria McClellan are considering running for the position.

Currently, Perryman said he is working with his team to figure out how they can best “serve Virginians” and that they haven’t set a date to officially announce his candidacy. Perryman shared with Reston Now what some of his top issues are.

Perryman said that extending the eviction moratorium is one of his main priorities, noting that he’s already been advocating for the extension in Virginia with the NAACP since the pandemic started. 

“The federal government did not provide enough assistance to get people through this crisis and now I think, rather cruelly, allowing people to be evicted when all they did was adhere to what the government told them to do,” Perryman told Reston Now.

Though the Virginia Supreme Court extended the eviction moratorium through early September, Perryman said this isn’t enough time for people to recover from the pandemic’s economic fallout.

“It really depends on how long it takes the federal government to get financial assistance to those people in need,” he said.

Allocation of the CARES Act funding, which allows states to extend unemployment benefits to independent contractors, is yet another area that needs work, according to Perryman. “Here in Virginia, what we can do better is the unemployment insurance that is available.”

People had to wait weeks for Virginia to sort out the delays with unemployment payments. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in January before skyrocketing in the spring due to the pandemic.

Perryman said that unemployment benefits should be more widely accessible for all kinds of workers as long as they can prove their income was interrupted by the pandemic.

Perryman attributed Virginia’s unemployment office being short-staffed — “It wasn’t up to par for what was coming” — as a reason for the delays and suggested that there is an opportunity to revamp the department and hire new people.

Right now, Perryman is focused on grassroots fundraising. He managed to raise over $80,000, all of which came from individuals — not corporations or political action committees — in the first 10 days of the campaign, Perryman tweeted.

“I’m relying on small-dollar donations from the community,” he said.

His next steps include meeting with community activists and elected officials. No matter what happens in the next few months, Perryman said it’s crucial that voters pay attention to state elections.

While voter fatigue is possible with the tensions around the upcoming elections this fall, Perryman said people need to think about the changes they want to see both locally and nationally.

“People understand we are in unprecedented times,” Perryman said. “None of us thought we’d be sanitizing our groceries, wearing masks and talking only via Zoom. We can’t give up or get tired. We have to essentially rebuild the society we are living in.”

Photo courtesy Sean Perryman

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(Updated 11:10 a.m.) Be careful if you get a mailer from the Center for Voter Information, Fairfax County election officials say.

Fairfax County and City of Fairfax residents have received the mailers from the Center for Voter Information, which have incorrect return addresses.

“This mailing is causing great confusion and concern among voters who have been contacting our office,” said Fairfax County General Registrar Gary Scott. “While the mailing may appear to be from an official government agency, the Fairfax County Office of Elections did not send it.”

The Center for Voter Information, a voter registration group, says its working on returning the incorrect mailers to the right addresses. Roughly half-a-million mailers included incorrect information.

“Mistakes in our programming are very rare, but we take them seriously, and our methods overall are extraordinarily effective,” the center wrote in a statement yesterday.

“We know voters are on high alert as the November election approaches, and we regret adding to any confusion,” the center added.

Jonathan Shapiro, the president of Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Company, apologized in a statement, saying that the printing vendor is responsible for the “major error.”

“This mistake occurred because we incorrectly aligned a spreadsheet that matched the voter with their local election office,” Shapiro said. CVI did not review the spreadsheet and the printing vendor has taken steps to make sure mistakes are caught in the future, Shapiro added.

“This is not the level of work that SED and our partner, Quad Graphics, pride ourselves on. We have printed and mailed over 100 million vote-by-mail applications and voter registration applications without error and we are committed to the highest standards of quality control and excellence,” Shapiro said.  “In this mailing we fell far short of that goal. We apologize to CVI, to the staff at the affected local boards of election, and to the voters.”

County officials are warning voters about the “inaccurate and potentially misleading mailing” that asks people to return them to the City of Fairfax.

More from the county:

This group is mass mailing pre-filled, absentee ballot applications to county voters without their request — and the mailer includes return envelopes to send the application to the City of Fairfax, not Fairfax County.

The mailing is also confusing voters who have previously submitted absentee ballot applications themselves, Scott added. These voters are worried that their applications were not received, leading them to think they need to apply again.

Fairfax County is working with the City of Fairfax to ensure any applications received from the center’s inaccurate mailing will be processed by the county.

“The Virginia Department of Elections has no affiliation with this group nor coordinates with any third-party groups on campaign efforts,” according to the Virginia Department of Elections. The department noted that any applications that get sent to the wrong locality’s office will be sent to the correct office.

This is not the first time that mailers from the Center for Voter Information, which describes itself as a non-partisan organization that helps people vote, have confused Virginians.

The News Leader, a newspaper in Staunton, explained last year how organizations can obtain mailing addresses after the Center for Voter Information confused residents with a mailer about voter registration.

County election officials said that election information from the county will include a county seal on the envelope, along with the “Official Election Mail Authorized by the U. S. Postal Service” logo.

Fairfax County voters who want to return the Center for Voter Information applications should mail it to the Fairfax County Office of Elections (12000 Government Center Parkway Suite 323, Fairfax, VA 22035), Brian Worthy, a county spokesperson, said.

People who want to absentee vote by mail can apply online, which will allow them to track the status of their application, or vote in-person at 15 locations. Registered voters can expect their ballots to arrive after Sept. 18.

Photo by Element5 Digital/Unsplash, photo via mailer via Fairfax County

Catherine Douglas Moran and Fatimah Waseem worked on this story

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Yesterday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved creating 14 voter satellite offices.

The voter satellite offices will serve absentee in-person voters.

“The advent of no-excuse absentee voting [in Virginia] for the November 2020 Presidential Election is expected to significantly increase the number of voters choosing to cast absentee ballots in person,” according to county staff.

County staff noted that the expected voter turnout for the upcoming presidential election is why they suggest an increased number of voter satellite offices, adding that the county had nine locations for the 2016 presidential election.

The Reston-area voter satellite offices will include:

  • Great Falls Library (9830 Georgetown Pike)
  • Herndon Fortnightly Library (768 Center Street)
  • North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive)

The voter satellite offices will be ready for the General Election on Nov. 3 and will be open from Oct. 14-31, according to county documents.

The locations would be open from 1-7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays.

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Stay-at-Home Chalk Art Challenge Underway — Public Art Reston is encouraging residents to make chalk drawings on safe, paved spaces. This week’s theme is fantasy. [Public Art Reston]

Local Company Tops ‘Fantastic 50’ List — The Herndon-based B3 Group was named the fastest-growing company in the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 “Fantastic 50” list. The company saw revenue growth of 3,231 percent from 2015 through 2018. [Virginia Chamber]

Leidos Acquires L3Harris Businesses — Reston-based defense contractor Leidos Holdings Inc. announced Tuesday it has officially completed the acquisition of Massachusetts- and England-based L3Harris’ Security Detection and Automation businesses for approximately $1 billion in cash. [Virginia Business Monthly]

Urgent Need for Election Volunteers — The Virginia Department of Elections is currently looking for election volunteers for the June 23 primaries. The election form is available online. [Fairfax County Government]

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(Updated 2/28/2020) Students at Fairfax County’s public schools will get to stay home on March 3 for Super Tuesday.

Large crowds are expected to turn out for the primary election in Virginia. Brian Worthy, a spokesperson for the county, said that 167 polling places will be in the schools for voters casting their ballots for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The county’s school board voted last spring to make Super Tuesday a student holiday for the 2019-2020 school year.

While students will have the day off, staff will still need to report to the schools, Lucy Caldwell, an FCPS spokesperson, said.

Eligible voters can find their polling location on the Virginia Department of Elections website or the My Neighborhood App.

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On Wednesday (Feb. 26),  Reston residents can attend a candidates’ forum with candidates running in the upcoming Reston Association Board of Directors election.

The public is invited to the debate-style forum at the RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive) beginning at 6:30 p.m. All seven candidates will available for a meet and greet as well, according to the event listing.

In this election, candidates will be competing for four open seats and the RA encourages all members and residents to vote. A minimum of 10 percent voter turnout is needed to make the results official.

The election will take place from March 2 until April 3, according to the RA, which added results will be available online later in April.

Those who cannot attend the forum in person, can watch it online and are even able to submit questions through email until the end of today (Feb. 24).

Participating candidates are below:

At-Large (3-year term):

  • Kerri Bouie
  • Robert T. Petrine

At-Large (1-year term):

  • Paul Berry
  • Sarah Selvaraj-Dsouza

Hunters Woods/Dogwood (3-year):

  • Caren Anton

Apartment Owner (3-year):

  • Mike Collins
  • Jennifer Sunshine Jushchuk

Beginning later today, Reston Now will begin publishing candidate statements written by those running.

Photo via RA/Facebook

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(Updated 12/28/19) Come Jan. 1, the Fairfax County School Board will have a lot of new faces.

The 12-member board will see eight newcomers in 2020.

Half of the school board’s incumbents decided not to seek reelection, including: Ilryong MoonRyan McElveen, Jane Strauss, Pat Hynes, Sandy Evans and Dalia Palchik. The two Republican incumbents — Elizabeth Schultz and Thomas Wilson — lost their reelection bids.

At-Large Member Karen Keys-Gamarra won reelection, along with:

Here is information on the new incoming members, who took their oaths of office on Thursday (Dec. 12) at Jackson Middle School.

At-Large Members Abrar Omeish and Rachna Sizemore Heizer

Omeish and Heizer, along with incumbent Karen Keys-Gamarra, beat three opponents for the At-Large seats.

Heizer has worked as a college professor, disability justice advocate and lawyer, according to her campaign website. Omeish is the co-founder of Give, a youth-led nonprofit and led the county-wide campaign for an anti-bullying campaign, according to her campaign website.

Hunter Mill District: Melanie Meren

Meren, a former U.S. Department of Education employee, beat her opponent, Laura Ramirez Drain. Meren is a parent and small business owner who has lived in Fairfax County for more than 15 years, according to Reston Now

Dranesville District: Elaine Tholen

Tholen beat three opponents. A resident of Fairfax County for 25 years, Tholen most recently served as the director and treasurer for the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, according to her campaign website.

Mason District: Ricardy Anderson

Anderson beat opponent Tom Pafford. She has been a community volunteer, a veteran of the National Guard Army Reserve and lived in Annandale for more than 10 years, according to her campaign website.

Providence District: Karl Frisch

Frisch beat opponent Andrea Bayer in the election. Frisch has served as the executive director of consumer watchdog Allied Progress, was a small business owner and worked as a staffer for the Committee on Rules in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to his campaign website.

Springfield District: Laura Jane Cohen

Cohen beat two opponents, including Republican incumbent Elizabeth Schultz. Cohen has been a resident in the county for nearly 20 years and is a former preschool teacher, according to her campaign website.

Sully District: Stella Pekarsky

Pekarsky beat Republican incumbent Tom Wilson. She was previously an FCPS ESOL teacher, small business co-owner and trustee on the Fairfax County Board.

Come 2020, the school board seats will all be filled by Democrats.

“Corbett Sanders will remain chair of the School Board and Derenak Kaufax will remain as vice-chair,” according to FCPS. “School Board officers are elected at the first meeting in July of each year.”

The board also includes a non-voting student representative who is selected by the Student Advisory Council.

Image via FCPS/YouTube, photo via Melanie Meren website, photo via Facebook

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The Reston Association is seeking several candidates for seats on its Board of Directors for the upcoming election in March.

There are currently four open positions on the board for 2020 and include two at-large positions, an apartment owners’ seat and the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District seat.

One of the at-large positions is for a one-year term while the other is for a three-year term.

Candidates must be a Reston Association member to qualify for a position and announce their candidacy by Jan. 24. People can email RA if they have questions.

There will be a meeting on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Reston Association Headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive)  for anyone interested in candidacy.

Photo via YouTube/Reston Association

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