Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

Tuesday, June 11, is primary election day in Virginia. The ballot this time is fairly short: two Lt. Governor candidates and two Attorney General candidates are running for the Democratic nomination. The victors will face the closed convention-chosen Republican candidates in November. One House of Delegates seat in western Fairfax County (Herndon/Oak Hill) also is contested.

Arlington resident, and former Secretary of Technology in the Kaine Administration, Aneesh Chopra is facing Tidewater State Senator Ralph Northam in the race for Lt. Governor. Both candidates have been busy in Northern Virginia, making public appearances and canvassing likely voters by mail, email, telephone, and in person. The primary duty of a Lt. Governor in Virginia is to preside over the state Senate and vote to break any ties, a vital role since Virginia’s 40-member State Senate is nearly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans at this point. Mr. Chopra has a compelling personal history, and is a recognized expert on technology and business. His vision for Virginia’s successful future, maximizing technology opportunities, will enhance and continue Virginia’s reputation as a good place for business. He has infused diversity, youth, and enthusiasm into the campaign, positive traits for any candidacy.

In the Attorney General’s race, State Senator Mark Herring is facing newcomer, and former federal prosecutor, Justin Fairfax. In most states, the Attorney General’s race is a fairly benign one, but Virginia’s Tea Party favorite, current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, has made people take a much closer look at the AG’s politics and opinions. Senator Herring has a wealth of local government background with his service on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors prior to his election to the General Assembly. Understanding local government authority and restrictions is important in Virginia, which is a Dillon Rule state. Under the 1865 Dillon Rule, local governments may exercise only those authorities expressly enacted by General Assembly action, as opposed to a home rule state, such as Maryland, where local governments retain all authority except for those few expressly denied by the state legislature. I believe Mark will work with local governments in partnership with the Commonwealth, instead of against them, and I am pleased to support his candidacy.

All of the Democratic primary candidates stand in stark contrast to the right-wing ideologues nominated by the Virginia Republican Party. Regardless of Tuesday’s primary outcome, the Democratic ticket in the fall will be one that focuses on the future of Virginia and the well-being of its residents. Regular polling places will be open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. on June 11. Voters will be asked for photo identification, a requirement imposed by the Virginia General Assembly.


 Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at mason@fairfaxcounty.gov.