Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

prenny-fcnpHappy Halloween! I hope we all are prepared for the little ghosts, goblins, princesses, and super-heroes who will be knocking on our doors tonight. They will be searching for candy, not votes, although much of the door-knocking this fall has been candidates and canvassers seeking support for Tuesday’s election.

The contrasts in candidates for the three top jobs in Virginia are stark, even scary. The choices seem to be: 1) moving Virginia forward, or 2) taking Virginia backward. Moving forward obviously is the positive approach, one that Democrat Terry McAuliffe espouses. While Terry has no elective office experience, he has the business background, and political savvy, that will benefit Virginia’s economy in the next four years. Attracting quality businesses, ensuring a well-trained workforce, and maintaining a strong economy across the Commonwealth benefits everyone who lives and works here, and I am confident, not only that Terry McAuliffe will deliver, but that his choices for cabinet positions will reflect a similar forward approach.

Virginia can’t move forward without a good team in place. State Senator Ralph Northam from Tidewater, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, brings both legislative experience and geographical balance to the Democratic ticket. Although the Lieutenant Governor has few specific duties beyond presiding over the Senate, Dr. Northam’s medical background will be helpful as the Commonwealth moves to affordable health insurance for all.

The Attorney General’s office has been used as a right-wing political tool for far too long, and Democrat Mark Herring wants to change all that. Mark also is a state senator, but I knew him first as a local elected official on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. Understanding and appreciating the role of local government is something that is needed badly in Richmond, and Mark will bring the same thoughtful approach to the AG’s office as he did locally and in the state senate.

In addition to delegate races, there are two other important items on the ballot for Fairfax County voters, a special election for Sheriff, and a school bond referendum. Longtime Sheriff Stan Barry retired in July, necessitating a special election to fill the seat on November 5. Sheriff Captain Stacey Kincaid’s 28-year career makes her the only candidate with experience in the important work of the Sheriff’s office – running the Adult Detention Center and providing courtroom security. Running on the Democratic ticket, Stacey would be the first female sheriff in Fairfax County history.

Voters also will consider a $250 million school bond referendum, which will fund a number of school construction and renovation projects. Fairfax County’s Triple A bond rating means that, should the referendum be approved, the cost of funds would have a much lower interest rate, saving taxpayers millions of dollars during the life of the bonds. Vote at your regular polling place on Tuesday, between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.


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