Reston, VA

As reported yesterday, Fairfax County Police Department deployed officers to D.C. to assist law enforcement agencies in quelling the U.S. Capitol riots started by a mob of Trump supporters .

Reportedly more than 50 officers were injured, several seriously.

But no police officers from Fairfax County were among those that were injured seriously yesterday, a spokesperson for the police department tells Reston Now.

Arlington County Police Department as well sent officers to D.C. yesterday and also reported no serious injuries. ACPD also is sending officers today to help D.C. Police.

Meanwhile, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia was asked if residents in the region, particularly those in Fairfax and Arlington counties, should have concerns about similar incidents on Inauguration Day.

“That’s absolutely a fair question,” he said. “I pray that it will not take place.”

Warner said that to go into lockdown for major events and debates at the U.S. Capitol all the time going forward is not fair to those who live and work in the region. “That’s not the kind of country we are.”

He says that law enforcement needs a better plan and there needs to be responsible leadership in both parties. He thinks that will happen over the next two weeks.

“I have enormous confidence that we will get through this,” he said.

An FCPD spokesman told Reston Now its officers returned last night. So far, their assistance at the inauguration is not expected.

Photo via FCPD

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(Updated at 1:20 am) Newcomer Roland Taylor appeared to be edging out Vice Mayor Sheila Olem in the Town of Herndon’s mayoral race according to preliminary state elections results through 10 p.m. today.

But as the final precinct result from today’s votes poured in, Olem boasted a double-digit lead over Taylor with 61.5 percent of the vote. Taylor secured just 37.8 percent of the total vote. Most of the night, he maintained a two-percent lead over Olem in what appeared to be a close race.

County spokesperson Brian Worthy told Reston Now that a data entry error significantly skewed the results of the town’s race. In both races, the results flipped dramatically.

“Our previous numbers were off as a result of data entry error so you’ll see a big decrease in numbers,” Worthy said.

So far, there are extremely tight margins between eight candidates running for six seats on the Herndon Town Council. The leading candidate — Cesar del Aguila — is leading the pack with 13.6 percent of the total votes while Stevan Porter is coming in last, with 10.7 percent of the total votes.

Here’s the breakdown of how all candidates are faring so far:

  • Cesar del Aguila: 13.66 percent
  • Pradip Dhakal: 13.51 percent
  • Sean Regan: 13.16 percent
  • Naila Alam: 12.29 percent
  • Signe Friedrichs: 12.27 percent
  • Jasbinder Singh: 12.25 percent
  • Clark Hedrick: 10.92 percent
  • Stevan Porter: 10.66 percent

Most election results for Fairfax County are not expected to come in until later today, according to county spokesman Brian Worthy.

Tuesday’s results do not account for the more than 404,000 early votes and absentee ballots cast. That number may be enough to sway the outcome of close races like the Herndon Town Council contest. 

Even in years when record numbers of mail-in ballots were unaccounted for, the race was extremely tight. For example,  in the 2018 Herndon Town Council race, candidate Joe Plummer lost to Bill McKenna by just 22 votes.

The county, which has the most number of early ballots cast of all jurisdictions in the state, will process mail-in ballots that were received by 7 p.m. today but not counted tonight and ballots postmarked on or before Election Day until around noon on Friday.

That means the final results of the Herndon Town Council race may not be clear until Friday afternoon.

Fairfax County voters came out in droves over the last few weeks to cast their ballots. In early voting alone, 51 percent of registered voters cast a vote. As of 4 p.m. today, the county reported a turnout of 70.7 percent of the county’s 787,000 registered voters. 

So far, voters appear to favor Joe Biden for the presidential race. The Association Press has declared Virginia a win for Biden. 

In Fairfax County, the electorate appears to have loosened its Democratic sway. In 2016, Fairfax County voters went for Hillary Clinton by giving her 63 percent of the vote. President Donald Trump secured just under 30 percent of the total vote in the county. 

But this year, 52 percent of Fairfax County voters favored Biden with a more even split for Trump, according to results from 243 of the county’s 244 precincts. This number reflects votes cast today only.

Sen. Mark Warner (D) is projected to win reelection to a third term, beating out Republican Daniel Gade who had been polling well behind Warner into Election Day. The Association Press called the race at 7 p.m. Reps. Don Beyer (8th District) and Gerry Connolly (11th District) are ahead in their respective districts while incumbent Jennifer Wexton (D-10th District) is currently trailing Republican challenger Aliscia Andrews.

This story will be updated.

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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.

When the then underdog Mark Warner, whose only experience in political life had been to chair the Democratic Party of Virginia and manage the successful campaign of Doug Wilder for governor, had the courage in 1996 to take on Senior Senator John Warner in his re-election bid, Mark Warner’s bumper sticker read, “Mark, not John.” While the phrase may have helped voters differentiate the two candidates who are not related, it was not enough to cause voters to change their senator. Republican Senator John Warner went on to serve a total of 30 years in the United States Senate, the second-longest of any Virginian. Mark Warner went on to be elected governor of Virginia in 2001 and ran in 2008 to succeed Senator John Warner when he retired.

Too often overlooked in times of political rancor is the admiration and respect that develops among persons of different political parties even though they may differ on policy issues. Such was the case with the two senators Warner. As governor, Mark Warner regularly consulted with then-Senator John Warner to the advantage of the Virginia economy particularly as it related to the military presence in Virginia. When Democrat Mark Warner had a strong challenge to his Senate seat in 2014, retired Republican Senator John Warner endorsed him for re-election over his challenger who had been chairman of the Republican National Committee.

The two men have tremendous political experience between them and a moderate, pragmatic approach to resolving issues. It is no surprise that both have endorsed passage of Amendment #1 on the ballot this year to end political gerrymandering. Former Senator John Warner said, “the passage of Amendment 1 is essential to achieving this goal and to further strengthen our state’s political institutions. This referendum was drafted by a bipartisan group of volunteers from all walks of life and every corner of Virginia in order to give average citizens a stronger voice in the important process of redistricting.”

Senator Mark Warner told the Richmond Times Dispatch that he has already voted for the amendment. He said, “I believe in nonpartisan redistricting, and it’s an improvement over our current broken redistricting system. Voters should choose their elected leaders, not the other way around.” Virginia’s other United States Senator, Tim Kaine, who also served as Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Virginia supports Amendment #1 as does Congressman Don Beyer who was also Lieutenant Governor

While there is opposition to the amendment by those who see a loss of partisan political power if the amendment passes, there is broad support among others including Common Cause, the Brennan Center for Justice, Princeton Gerrymandering Project, Campaign Legal Center, AARP Virginia, ACLU, Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, and political scientists in Virginia’s colleges and universities. The editorial boards of the Washington Post and the Richmond Times Dispatch and all major newspapers in Virginia have endorsed it.

While there have been suggestions that a better amendment could be written, no one in the nearly four decades that I have worked on this issue has come forward with specific language that has the broad support of this one. I urge your vote for its passage. Send questions or comments to me at [email protected]

File photo

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An announcement Tuesday morning from the Trump Administration that it will be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy has elicited spirited response from Virginia’s Democratic delegation in Congress.

DACA, implemented by President Barack Obama in 2012, allows nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants living in the United States to apply for renewable two-year visas. It is available to individuals who arrived in the United States before the year 2007 who were under the age of 16 at the time of arrival and under the age of 31 at the time of implementation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement Tuesday morning on behalf of the Administration. Afterward, both of Virginia’s senators released statements of outrage on their Twitter accounts. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) says the decision is “heartless.”

The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been introduced several times in Congress in recent years. The current version was introduced in July by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). It would institute a multi-phase process for qualifying alien minors (so-called “DREAMers”) in the United States that would first grant conditional residency and, upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), in his statement, said DACA is a “promise” that has allowed children of undocumented immigrants to “realize their full potential.”

In a statement released following Sessions’ remarks, President Donald Trump said DACA has “helped spur a humanitarian crisis — the massive surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America including, in some cases, young people who would become members of violent gangs throughout our country, such as MS-13.”

The decades-long failure of Washington, D.C. to enforce federal immigration law has had both predictable and tragic consequences: lower wages and higher unemployment for American workers, substantial burdens on local schools and hospitals, the illicit entry of dangerous drugs and criminal cartels, and many billions of dollars a year in costs paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Yet few in Washington expressed any compassion for the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system. Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and jobseekers.

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Sen. Mark WarnerThe Mark Warner (D) campaign has declared victory in the Virginia race for U.S. Senate, however challenger Ed Gillespie has not yet conceded the race.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Warner had 49.11 percent of the vote over Gillespie’s 48.34 percent, according to the Virginia Board of Elections.

The Warner campaign will hold a noon press conference to discuss a possible recount, which is allowed under Virginia law if the margin is less than 1 percent.

Canvassing to check votes began early this morning at the Fairfax County Government Center. A recount could happen if the trailing candidate requests it. If the margin of votes is less than half a percent of the total vote, the candidate can appeal to the State Board of Elections to request a recount, which the government will finance. If the margin is greater than 0.5 percent but less than one percent of total vote, the candidate may also request a recount, but has to pay for himself.

The Virginia race was a surprisingly close one. It looks to end with Democratic incumbent Warner bucking the Republican tide that enabled the GOP to take control of the Senate.

Read more about the changing momentum of this race in this Washington Post story. Read more about the candidates in this previous Reston Now story.

In Fairfax County, Warner earned 175,687 votes to Gillespie’s 122,790. Warner also received more votes in all Reston precincts.

This story will be updated as vote tallies become official.

Photo: Mark Warner/Reston Now file photo.

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Mark Warner (R) in Battleground Virginia Forum Ed Gillespie (R)  in Battleground Virginia Forum U.S. Senate candidates Mark Warner (D) and Ed Gillespie (R) were asked about a wide range of topics at Friday’s Battleground Virginia Forum at the Center for Innovative Technology near Dulles.

Among the questions: the Affordable Care Act, balancing the budget, the Marketplace Fairness Act, Virginia’s economy and student loan debt.

But the answers seemed to return to two themes: Gillespie pairing Warner with President Barack Obama and Warner pointing out his record of bipartisanship.

The event — sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, along with chambers from Loudoun, Fredericksburg, and Prince William — was not a debate. The candidates appeared separately and were asked questions from a panel of chamber reps, as well as follow-ups from moderator Derek McGinty from WUSA 9 TV.

Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chair, said Warner, first elected to the Senate in 2008, is not representing Virginia’s best interests.

“He has voted 97 percent of time with Obama,” said Gillespie. “Instead of being a vote for us, he has been a blank check for president Obama. Since Warner and Obama took office, we have nearly twice as many people go on food stamps than we have had jobs created.”

Warner pointed out that every piece of legislation he has worked on in the Senate has been alongside a Republican counterpart. He said Gillespie comes from a partisan world where it is always Republican vs. Democrats.

“If there is ever a time to drop partisanship  and come together, that time is now,” said Warner. “If you want someone able to take arrows from both sides, I would respectfully ask you to rehire me. Don’t lose heart — there are more good people with goodwill in both parties. We have just got to and make it safe for them to work together again.”

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Sen. Mark WarnerU.S. Senate candidates Mark Warner (D) and Ed Gillespie (R) will talk about Virginia’s role in business and technology at a “Battleground Forum” sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce on Friday.

The forum — not a debate — will take place at the Center for Innovative Technology, 2214 Rock Hill Road, Herndon, at 11 a.m.  Visit the Chamber website for ticket information.

Incumbent Warner, first elected to the Senate in 2008, and challenger Gillespie, former Republican National Committee chair, have made similar appearances around Northern Virginia in recent weeks, including another Reston forum last week. at that event, sponsored by the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Warner defended his reputation as a centrist when Gillespie said that Warner’s voting record showed across-the-board support for President Obama.

Ed Gillespie/Credit: Ed Gillespie campaignA poll released last week by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University showed Warner leading Gillespie 53 percent to 31 percent.

Friday’s event  is presented in partnership with the Loudoun County, Prince William and Fredricksburg Regional Chambers of Commerce.

Photos: Top, Sen. Mark Warner/file photo; Bottom, Ed Gillespie/file photo

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