Reston, VA

Many election officers in the county fall in high-risk categories for COVID-19.

The Fairfax County Office of Election is seeking more election officers this year. To assist voters on Election Day, which is on Nov. 3.

The county is the largest voting jurisdictions in the state, with 243 precincts nationwide. Officers must be registered voters.

Training for new officers will begin online in September. Compensation begins at $175.

The application is available online. The deadline is Oct. 10 and mandatory online training must be completed by Oct. 14.

More information is available on the county’s website.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Call for Absentee Votes — The county is opening 14 locations for in-person absentee voting starting Oct. 14. Residents can also apply for an absentee ballot via mail. [Fairfax County Government]

Metro to Restore Service in August — “Metro is increasing service for Metrorail starting Aug. 16 and Metrobus starting Aug. 23. It’s part of the transit agency’s plan to ramp up service throughout the coronavirus pandemic and return to full service in spring 2021.” [DCist]

White Fairfax County police officer formally indicted — “Prosecutors have formally indicted a white Fairfax County police officer charged with assault after firing a stun gun at an African American man. The procedural move means Fairfax County prosecutors are dropping three assault charges against officer Tyler Timberlake in General District Court and instead opting for a grand jury indictment that will allow him to be tried by a jury in Circuit Court.” [WJLA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce has elected its 2020-2021 Board of Directors.

Dee Kakar, vice president at M&T Bank, will begin his term as board chairman. He replaces Maggie Parker, senior vice president of community relations  at Comstock, who ended her year of leadership. Tom Madden of Visual Impact Productions will take over as chair-elect. Parker will continue in to serve on the board in her new position as secretary.

“The 2020 – 2021 year will be a challenging yet defining year for businesses and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce,” Kakar said. “I am committed to the challenge of furthering the conversation on diversity, social injustice, and inclusion. We will invent new ways of promoting business and continue our history of being a leader in the Dulles Corridor.” 

A complete breakdown of this year’s Board of Directors is below:

  • Matt Clary, law offices of Matt Clary
  • Kendal Coleman, CST
  • Charles Kapur, GRCC
  • Joe Becker, Not Your Average Joe’s
  • Matt Brennan, Brennan and White
  • Iris Britt, Iris Britt Consulting
  • Steve Coniglio, Hidden Creek Country Club
  • John Deardorff, Reston Hospital Center
  • Michael Delpierre, Conversion
  • Bailey Edelson, JBG Properties
  • Jame Estep, John Marshall Bank
  • Mike Franz, SOSi
  • Leila Gordon, Reston Community Center
  • Bob. Hicks, Bean Kinney & Korman
  • Mike Jennings, BEI
  • Andy Klaff, Newmark Knight Frank
  • Alex Lane, Northwest Federal Credit Union
  • Hank Lynch, Reston Association
  • Jeff Makhlouf, Sheraton Reston
  • Colin May, KME.digital
  • Mike Misleh, Veatch Commercial
  • Shane Murphy, Reed Smith LLP
  • Andrew Painter, Walsh., Colluci, Lubuley & Walsh
  • Chris Pharo, Leidos
  • Kenyetta Price, Boston Properties
  • Anne Rosenblum, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
  • Laura Siko, Northern Virginia Community College
  • Kevin Taylor, CDB-X
  • Gordon. Thrall, ,Geurnsey Office Supplies
  • Monica Tressler, Sandy Spring. Bank
  • Tyson Warren, Hyatt Regency Reston
  • Carrie Welch, Comfort Works
  • Charlene Wheeless, Charlene Wheeless, LLC
  • Kerrie Wilson, Cornerstones

Charles Kapur, president and CEO of GRCC said the chamber has been “blessed with corporate citizens” who accepted nominations to serve as members of the board.

Each year, the chamber’s membership elected the chair-elect and new and re-appointed members of the Board of Directors. This year’s slate was unanimously approved by GRCC’s membership, Kapur said.

Photo via Myers Public Relations, LLC

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The roster of candidates for Herndon Town Council and mayor have been finalized for the Nov. 3 election.

Sheila Olem, the town’s current vice mayor, is running against Roland Taylor for mayor. Longtime mayor Lisa Merkel said she no will not seek reelection earlier this year. Merkel, the town’s first female mayor, was elected to the position in 2012.

A total of ten candidates are seeking six seats for the 2021-2022 term, including incumbents Cesar del Aguila, Pradip Dhakal, and Signe Friedrichs. The new candidates are Clark Hedrick, Syed Iftikhar, Sean Reagon, Naila Alam, Bessie Denton, Stevan Porter, and Jasbinder Singh.

Election Day is on Nov. 3. Polling locations for town council elections overlap with locations for the national election.

Stay tuned for op-eds from each of the candidates in the coming weeks.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden easily notched the Virginia Presidential Primary yesterday (Tuesday), winning 53 percent of the vote.

Sen. Bernie Sanders had just under a quarter of the vote, while Elizabeth Warren had 10.8 percent and Michael Bloomberg took 9.7 percent.

In the Hunter Mill District, Biden won by 48.4 percent. Sanders won second place with 18.9 percent and Sen. Elizabeth Warren took 12.1 percent. The Hunter Mill District’s voting pattern aligns with the county overall.

Here’s how the candidates fared in the Hunter Mill District:

  • Joe Biden: 16,964 (48.4 percent)
  • Bernie Sanders: 6,626 (18.9 percent)
  • Elizabeth Warren: 4,241 (12.1 percent)
  • Tulsi Gabbard: 247 votes
  • Amy Klobuchar: 75 votes
  • Pete Buttigieg: 74 votes
  • Cory Booker: 28 votes
  • Michael Bennet: 18 votes
  • Marianne Williamson: 15 votes
  • Julian Castro: 8 votes
  • Deval Patrick: 6 votes

All but three of the state’s 133 counties were led by Biden, including Fairfax County where Biden won with more than 50,000 votes than Sanders.

The Hunter Mill District boasted the highest turnout in Fairfax County. More than 39 percent of voters cast a ballot, a few percentage points above the county-wide average of 34 percent. The Sully District had the lowest voter turnout (30 percent) in the county.

In the 2016 primary, voter turnout was 22.2 percent. Virginia was one of 14 states taking part in Super Tuesday.

Photo via Joe Biden/Facebook

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A bill that no longer requires voters to provide an excuse to cast an absentee ballot cleared the Senate this week.

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) allows registered voters to cast an absentee ballot in any election where the voter is qualified to cast a ballot.

Howell’s bill was part of a package of bills that tweak the voting process in Virginia.

Other proposals, which got a green light from the Senate earlier this week, include designating Election Day as a state holiday and extending the deadline for the receipt of military and overseas absentee ballots.

Proposals in the House and Senate to remove photo ID requirements were killed in committee.

The proposals would have allowed voters to show registration statements, bank documents or other government-issued paperwork with the name and address of the voter.

Howell’s bill passed in the Senate by a 31-9 vote.

Photo by Catherine Moran

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Super Tuesday” is in March — but Fairfax County is reminding voters about absentee voting and seeking election officers now.

Absentee voting for the 2020 presidential primary starts later this week on Friday, Jan. 17.

The deadline to register to vote in the March 3 primary is Feb. 10. People can check their voter eligibility on the Virginia State Board of Elections website.

Last week, the county announced that it needs 2,100 election officers for the primary.

The Office of Elections especially is looking for bilingual officers who speak Korean or Vietnamese for the Falls Church area, along with Annadel and Centreville, according to the county.

Election officers help set up voting equipment, check photo IDs and tabulate poll results. Compensation starts at $175 or people can choose to volunteer their time.

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(Updated 12/19/19) Earlier this week, the members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors were sworn in.

The 10-member board will see four new faces in the New Year, including Dalia Palchik, the new representative for Tysons.

Here is information on who will be in the seats at the board’s first meeting next year.

Chairman: Jeffrey McKay

McKay was first elected to the board in 2007, serving as the Lee District Supervisor until the end of this year, according to his county bio. Prior to joining the board, he was the chief of staff to former Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman from 1996 through 2007.

McKay beat three challengers to clinch the Democratic nomination for the county board’s chair in the June primary before defeating Republican Joseph Galdo in the November election.

Hunter Mill District: Walter Alcorn

Alcorn will fill the seat of Cathy Hudgins, who served on the board for five terms and announced her retirement at the start of this year. He beat five Democrat challengers in the primary.

Alcorn is a former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner and served on the Fairfax County Park Authority Board. He has also worked as a policy aide in the Providence District supervisor’s office and was the president of the Herndon High School PTSA. His top priorities include managing growth and infrastructure and updating Reston’s comprehensive plan.

Lee District: Rodney Lusk

McKay’s run for the chair left the Lee District seat open. Lusk beat three Democratic challengers in the June primary.

Lusk has been a Fairfax County employee for the past 29 years — including working for then-Supervisor Gerry Connelly as a land use zoning aide and most recently as the national marketing director for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, according to his campaign website.

Providence District: Dalia Palchik

Palchik grew up in the area after immigrating with her family to the United States at an early age from Argentina. She was elected to the Fairfax County School Board in 2015 and served as the Providence District Representative.

Just days after current Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth announced in December that she wouldn’t seek election, Palchik jumped into the race and defeated four Democratic challengers in the June primary. In November, she beat Republican Eric Anthony Jones.

Sully District: Kathy Smith

First elected to the board in 2016, Smith was re-elected as Sully District Supervisor in November, beating Republican Srilekha Palle.

Previously, Smith served as the Sully District Representative to the Fairfax County School Board for 14 years, including as the chairman three times, according to her county bio. She was also a teacher for seven years and taught in her home state of New Jersey.

Mount Vernon District: Daniel Storck

Storck was first elected as Mount Vernon District Supervisor in 2015 and reelected this fall.

He has developed and owned healthcare, benefits and insurance consulting firms and was previously a school board member from 2004-2015, according to his county bio. Notable resume item: he also was an Abraham Lincoln impersonator.

Braddock District: James Walkinshaw

Walkinshaw, a former chief of staff to Rep. Gerry Connolly, announced his run for the seat to replace Republican John Cook, who retired. He beat Republican Jason Remer and independent candidate Carey Chet Campbell in November.

Walkinshaw previously volunteered as a mentor to at-risk boys through Fairfax County’s Befriend-A-Child program and joined Fairfax County’s Council to End Domestic Violence, according to his campaign website.

He serves on the Board of the Ravensworth Farm Civic Association and is a volunteer with the Friends of Lake Accotink Park, the bio says.

Dranesville District: John Foust

First elected to the board in 2007, Foust was reelected to represent McLean, Great Falls and Herndon residents on the county board. He defeated Republican Ed Martin in the November election.

Originally from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Foust has been living in Northern Virginia since 1981 and in McLean since 1987, according to his county bio. Foust worked in steel mills and practiced construction law in Northern Virginia.

Mason District: Penelope Gross

In the November election, Gross was able to keep her seat, defeating Republican Gary Aiken. She was first elected to the board in 1995, according to her county bio.

Previously, she worked as a staffer in various congressional offices, served on the Board of the Lincolnia Park Civic Association and was on the Executive Board of the Mason District Council of Civic Associations, her bio says.

Springfield District: Pat Herrity

Herrity hung onto his seat, beating Democrat Linda Sperling. He was first elected to the board in 2007, according to his campaign website. Herrity’s father was a former chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

With Cook retiring, Herrity will be the only Republican on the board in 2020.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to have their first meeting in 2020 on Jan. 14.

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Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

The November 5 elections in Virginia produced results of historic proportions. The House of Delegates that has had a Republican majority since 2000 was flipped to a blue Democratic majority of 55 Democrats to 45 Republicans. As recently as the election for 2014-2016, Democrats in the House had dropped to 32 members. The turn-around came decisively in amazing political time; there will be a recount in only one seat the Democrats won. The Senate that had a Republican majority before the election flipped to blue with 21 of the 40 Senate seats now being held by Democrats.

The General Assembly when it convenes in January will have a Democratic majority in both houses. In addition, as a result of elections held in 2017 Democrats occupy all statewide offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. The historic level of Democratic wins is not only about party, it is about representation. There will be more women in the General Assembly than ever before in Virginia’s history. In the House of Delegates there will be 30 women in the 100-member legislative body. In the Senate there will be 11 women in the 40-member body bringing the total number of women to 41 in the General Assembly. While the number is small relative to the proportion of women in the total population, the number of women in the legislature is a huge increase when compared to past years when it could be counted on the fingers of one’s hands. The number of women running this year in both parties was at a historic level of 85.

There were other historic changes in the oldest continuous legislative body in the western world celebrating its 400th anniversary this year. A Muslim woman will join the Senate as the first ever elected to that body. The number of African Americans in the General Assembly will increase to the highest number since Reconstruction. The first ever Indian American man was elected to the House of Delegates.

The new members of the legislature have already indicated their willingness to make history. The Democratic caucus of the House met this past weekend and chose as its Speaker-designee, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, the first woman to ever serve as Speaker of the House of Delegates in the 400 years of its history. She will be elected formally by the entire House when the General Assembly convenes in January. Adding to this historic moment, she will assume the leadership position, considered the most powerful in Virginia government next to the governor, with the least seniority of anyone ever taking the position in the modern day. She will be the first Jewish Speaker serving along with the Senate majority leader who is also Jewish. While I had hoped to become Speaker myself, I fully support Eileen who is amazingly smart and talented and will do everything I can to ensure her success.

The electorate broke through many hurdles in its votes this election year. Some results called historic today will become commonplace in the future as the General Assembly reflects more the demographics of the state as a whole. I have always felt honored to serve, and with the historic results of this election year I feel even more honored. Thank you, voters!

File photo

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Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

The outcomes of the election on November 5 are not known as I write this column. I will no doubt have much to say about the results in future writings as this election is going to be pivotal for the Commonwealth’s history regardless of who turns out to be the winners. What I was able to observe in the weeks and days leading up to election day was the highest level of people willing to help throughout the state in knocking on doors, making phone calls, writing postcards, and otherwise willing to chip in for their favorite candidates. If the level of activity leading up to election day is any indication, the turnout of voters should have been record-breaking. “When we vote, we win” became the mantra of campaigns hoping to hold onto power or to transfer it to a more progressive legislature. As I traveled around the state, I became aware that while I had focused on state legislative contests there were many local elections that were critical to the future of local boards of supervisors and school boards.

What is known before the first vote was cast is that these elections were the most expensive ever seen in off-year elections in Virginia. When the total expenses of both candidates in many legislative elections are added together, it will not be unusual that the total exceeds a million dollars. For some highly contentious races the totals exceed three million dollars. I have never seen the generosity of individuals to contribute to elections in other parts of the state as great as it was this year. There is a growing recognition that while it is important who your elected official is, there is an equal importance to who holds the majority in the legislative body. You not only work to get your representatives elected, you also need to help the campaigns of those with whom he or she will have to work. Political contributions from out-of-state individuals and organizations poured into the state in record amounts.

Also interesting in this election cycle is the amazing transformation that occurred in some incumbent legislators. It took Virginia more than four years to approve Medicaid expansion in the state. Yet, if you listened to television commercials downstate you would not be able to find anyone who opposed the expansion. To the contrary, there were claims on the part of some incumbents who had voted against the expansion who in the campaign claimed credit for passing it. It is amazing what a refreshment with voters can do to some legislators’ point of view and memories

To analyze state and local election returns I recommend that you go to the website of the State Board of Elections at elections.virginia.gov to see actual voting results. For more information on who the candidates were and how much they spent I suggest a visit to the Virginia Public Access Project, vpap.org. In future columns I will provide my take on what the election results mean for the future of the Commonwealth.

A special shout out of recognition and thank you goes to all who worked so hard this election cycle. You are what makes the system work. Thank you!

 

File photo

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Wednesday Morning Notes

State Democrats Take Control of State Legislatures — “Virginia Democrats continued their winning streak under President Trump on Tuesday and took full control of the statehouse for the first time in more than two decades. Suburban voters turned out in big numbers to back Democratic candidates, continuing a trend of once GOP-friendly suburbs turning blue. This is the third election in a row in which Democrats made significant gains since Trump was elected.” [Associated Press]

Reston Town Center Ice Rink to Open on Friday — The public ice skating rink will open on Friday (Nov 8). Access is $10 for adults, $9 for youth under 11, and skate rentals are $6. [Reston Town Center]

Edison Academy to Host Apprenticeships and Skilled Workforce Fair — “High school students and recent graduates interested in the construction-related trades, service industries, manufacturing, and information technology are invited to attend the Apprenticeships and Skilled Workforce Career Fair on Thursday, November 7, at Edison Academy. The fair is designed to encourage interest among high school students and recent graduates in the in-demand skilled career fields that are attainable through two-year degree programs, certifications, apprenticeships or on-the-job training.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Melanie Meren, a former U.S. Department of Education employee, easily won the Hunter Mill District seat on the Fairfax County School Board.

With a little over 69 percent of the vote, Meren overtook her opponent, Laura Ramirez Drain, as of 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 6). According to unofficial election returns, 27 of the 28 precincts reported results. 

Meren has described herself as a “Fairfax County parent leader” who wants to promote strong education. Drain’s campaign focused on the family life education curriculum, school boundaries and the FCPS budget.

Earlier in January, Hunter Mill District representative Pat Hynes said she would not seek re-election.

Voters also ceremoniously ushered in former Planning Commissioner Walter Alcorn, the Democratic candidate for the Hunter Mill District Supervisor seat, Tuesday night. Alcorn, who won the Democratic primary, faced no candidate from any other party.

Democrat Steve Descano won the Commonwealth’s Attorney position in Fairfax after ousting current Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrough in the June primary.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust (D) retained his position on the county board, which he has held since 2007, as well, defeating Republican opponent Ed Martin.

Photo via Melanie Meren

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Voter turnout in Fairfax County rests at roughly 18 percent as of this afternoon.

So far, turnout in the Hunter Mill District (18.2 percent) is slightly above the county-wide average.

In previous years, turnout was nearly 70 percent in the 2018 midterms, up from 45.7 percent in the 2014 midterms.

The Springfield District has the highest turnout thus far, with turnout at 20 percent.

The district-by-district breakdown as of 1 p.m. today is below:

  • Braddock: 18.2
  • Dranesville: 18.4
  • Hunter Mill: 18.2
  • Lee: 15.6
  • Mason: 16.6
  • Mount Vernon: 17
  • Providence: 15.9
  • Springfield: 20
  • Sully:18.3

Unofficial election results are expected to trickle in after polls close at 7 p.m. today. Reston Now is following several local races, including two school board candidates for the Hunter Mill District. 

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Fairfax County voters are headed to the polls today.

In the Hunter Mill and Drainsville districts, there are several seats up for election including the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Fairfax County School Board positions and Board of Supervisors seats.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and voters can swing by anytime throughout the day.

There are several options for anyone wishing to monitor turnout and results. Fairfax County’s Twitter account will be posting updates at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.

There are around 20 various polling locations, which will be open throughout the area. Voters can find their designated polling location using the My Neighborhood Map or through the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Below is a map of all the voting locations throughout Reston and Herndon.

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Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Readers of this column no doubt have next Tuesday, November 5, marked as election day on their calendars. You are exceptional. If history holds true, fewer than half of registered voters will vote. Getting people to register is a year-round activity but getting registered voters to actually cast a vote is a crunch-time activity for the last couple of weeks before the election.

Tired of all the robo-calls? Slick postcards in the mailbox? Contentious debate on the news media? Endless social media posts? Much of that activity is directed to reminding people to vote and to gain a competitive advantage, but it oftentimes turns off folks who are cynical about the electoral process or who are confused by it all.

Historically there have been many efforts to suppress the vote by passing laws that prevent various classes of people from qualifying to register or that add to the complexities of voting that discourage people from going to the polls. Virginia’s history is filled with numerous examples of laws that reduced the franchise. Literacy tests that were unreasonable or unfairly administered, poll taxes that not only charged for voting but included a time schedule for collection that only insiders could meet, and unusually long residency requirements are but a few examples. For much of our history in Virginia, the majority party in control of state politics worked to keep people from voting!

Against that backdrop of individual cynicism and confusing election laws, what are we who understand the importance of elections to do to increase participation in voting? I believe we need to get past the old adage that it is not polite to talk about politics and religion. Leaving religion for another discussion, I believe more than ever that we need to have a more inclusive discussion that might inevitably lead to a debate about politics and government in our state and in our nation. Keep it civil is the first rule but be sure to end the discussion with a reminder to friends, family and neighbors to vote. Our government is no better than voters decide.

Between 6 am and 7 pm Tuesday, November 5, polls will be open for voting in Virginia. If you are not sure where to vote, go to fairfaxcounty.gov/elections. You can find where your polling place is but also what is on the ballot. All seats in the House of Delegates and the State Senate are up for election as are Constitution officers (for Fairfax that is the sheriff and the Commonwealth’s attorney). At the Fairfax County level, voters elect the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, the supervisor to represent their magisterial district, three at-large School Board members and a School Board member for their magisterial district, three members of the Soil and Water Conservation District Board, and a question on issuing school bonds.

There are few surprises in how I intend to vote. School children often ask me if I vote for myself, and I can assure you that I do. I will be voting for Senator Janet Howell; for Sheriff Stacey Kincaid; for Commonwealth’s attorney Steve Descano; for Board of Supervisor chairman Jeff McKay; Walter Alcorn for Hunter Mill supervisor; Melanie Meren for Hunter Mill School Board representative; for School Board at-large Karen Keys-Gamarra, Abrar Omeish, Rachna Sizemore Heizer; and for Soil and Water Conservation Board Gerald Peters, Chris Koerner, and Monica Billger; and yes on the school bond issue.

If you need to vote early, get absentee voting information at Elections. See you at the polls with your friends and neighbors on Tuesday. Now more than ever, it is important to vote and to take someone to the polls with you!

File photo

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