The race for the Fairfax County Chairman seat has three challengers taking on incumbent Democrat Sharon Bulova for the chance to lead the 10-member Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The election is Nov. 8.
Republican candidate Michael “Spike” Williams and independent candidates A. Will Radle, Jr. and Chris DeCarlo have thrown their hats into the ring.
Bulova assumed the office in February 2009, after defeating Republican Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity in a special election. The seat was vacated when Gerry Connolly took his place in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Bulova told the News-Press this week that she believes that the greatest concern of Fairfax County residents is continued “responsible fiscal stewardship,” the kind of budget-consciousness that she says Fairfax County has been praised for practicing.
“Fairfax County has been able to achieve, by having a solid, responsible budget, keeping our taxes at an affordable level, and doing so in a way that protects the quality of life we value,” Bulova said.
Williams, whose views were gleaned from his website, as he declined to return calls from the News-Press for an interview, feels the rate of the growth of the budget is disproportionate to the county’s increase in population.
“We must prioritize the efficient use of our tax dollars which will lead to reducing the cost to county residents,” Williams writes on his website. He feels that money in the Fairfax County Public Schools budget is not being appropriately directed, and suggests an independent audit.
Also pressing amongst candidate and resident concerns is transportation and roadway congestion. Bulova, a member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and a founder of the VRE commuter rail system, has set her sights on bringing the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project to fruition.
“Rail to Dulles is my number one transit priority,” Bulova said. “That’s making sure rail is extended from Falls Church not just to Wiehle Avenue, but all the way to Dulles Airport – Phase II of the project – built in a way that successfully gets us there, but is affordable to taxpayers and to the motorists who drive on the toll roads.”
Williams claims the budget for Phase II of the project is “inflated,” and fears that requiring project bidders to meet union standards could add an additional 15 to 30 percent to the projected $3.5 billion cost of the project.
Bulova has been serving on Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors for just short of 25 years, having taken her first post in 1988 by managing the Braddock District until moving up to the chairman seat. She first became interested in local politics while involved with the Kings Park West Civic Association, and left a career in technology sales to take a staff aide position for Audrey Moore, then a county board member. When Moore took the chairman post, Bulova ran for her supervisor position and won.
Bulova has lived in Fairfax County since 1966. She was recently named one of Washington’s 100 Most Powerful Women by the Washingtonian magazine.
Williams is a Fairfax County native who currently lives in Oak Hill. He is a project manager for Orange Business Services, a business telecommunications company. He also works as a realtor, having founded Williams Realty Group. He volunteers for such local organizations as GRACE Art, and is a member of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, where he was the Hunter Mill District chair and helped coordinated Gov. Bob McDonnell’s campaign in the area during his successful bid for office in 2009.
Radle, an independent candidate who received the endorsement of the Independent Greens of Virginia, is an insurance agent who, in an interview with the News-Press, cited his 20 years of experience on the local, regional and state level in public service as qualifications in his run for office, serving on boards and groups addressing a broad range of topics from land use to human services. He is a longtime resident of Fairfax County and has lived there, save for a handful of years, since his birth.
At a March 29 Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on the county’s budget, Radle presented a plan to the board members which he said could lower real estate taxes “while county revenues would remain relatively flat.” He said in his address that his plan would also address traffic concerns and boost funding for public servants like teachers, as well as bring more control to the local level and “increase support from Richmond.”
DeCarlo, president of DeCarlo Enterprises, which trades as Fairfax Propane, is a George C. Marshall High School graduate, resident of Fairfax County for more than 50 years, and native of Vienna who has been building his company in the Northern Virginia area since it began as a gas station in the City of Fairfax in 1979. DeCarlo is no stranger to political campaigns, having run for such offices as 37th District house delegate, Fairfax County Providence District School Board member and, most recently, 11th Congressional District representative.
The self-proclaimed “Not for Sale” candidate is campaigning for what he calls “True Democracy,” and specifically cites his wish for lower taxes and government transparency. DeCarlo told the News-Press that he has recorded a rap video that will be released on YouTube later this week detailing his stance on campaign issues.