Local Commentary

Editorial: Penny Gross for Mason Supervisor

Coming up in less than two weeks is a Democratic primary election day on Tuesday, June 9, and the only contested race in this neighborhood is raging in adjacent Falls Church in the Mason District of Fairfax County, where veteran Mason District Supervisor Penelope A. “Penny” Gross faces a challenge from a political newcomer, Jessica Swanson.

In this election, the News-Press is in passionately support of the re-election of Penny Gross, one of most deft political leaders we’ve had the pleasure of knowing.

Ms. Gross was first elected to this post in 1995, and is now seeking a sixth four-year term. She is also vice chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors.

Very hard working and diligent, Ms. Gross has spearheaded a major effort to revitalize and revamp the entire Seven Corners neighborhood with an ambitious plan that will bring the area onto the front lines of smart development in the region, including with transportation solutions that have been sorely needed for decades.

We are excited by these plans, as they dovetail and will augment efforts at the region’s wider development prospects from Tysons Corner to Skyline. The Seven Corners plan includes solving the bottleneck problem at the complicated intersection that earned the area the name, Seven Corners. The solution proposed is truly inspired and by all measures will actually work.

When large scale developments of this kind are advanced, there are always those who will find reason to oppose them. It’s in the DNA of the political process for this to happen, and the challenge of good governing is to find ways to mitigate the concerns, to listen and to win over most, except for the hardest core among the dissenters. That is the process that goes on with almost every effort at doing something really new.

The vast majority of citizens who will be impacted by the new Seven Corners plan will be positively effected, notwithstanding the inconveniences that always accompany this scale of development. The benefits will far outweigh the negatives for the overwhelming majority.

So in this case, what has arisen is a primary challenge to Ms. Gross from Jessica Swanson, a bright former vice president of the Ravenwood Park homeowners association who is the manager of teaching and learning strategies for the Washington, D.C. public school system. And, is Ms. Gross wins the June 9 primary, as we hope she will, it has already been announced that she will face a challenger on the general election ballot in November.
Mason District residents have been enormously fortunate to have enjoyed Ms. Gross’ leadership for the past 20 years, and the best is yet to come as she will use her considerable clout on the Fairfax Board to bring the county into a seamless concurrence with the big plans for improvement that the Mason District now has before it.

Ms. Gross is a hands-on leader with the interests of her constituents at heart.