Tuesday is Election Day, although thousands of people in Fairfax County, and millions across America, already have voted in those states that allow early voting. Despite the preference polls, TV ads, and modern technology, the votes still must be counted individually, district by district, state by state, providing great anxiety for those watching the returns, and the Electoral College numbers, that will determine the next President of the United States.
Hillary Clinton, a lawyer, former First Lady, senator, and Secretary of State, probably is the most qualified person ever to run for President. The fact that she is the first woman ever nominated by a major American political party is almost overshadowed by her background in both foreign and domestic policy. Love her or hate her, few can quibble that she provides a wealth of experience that is rare in any one person. Hillary Clinton also was wise enough to select Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. Tim understands the challenges of governing, especially at the local level, since he served on the Richmond City Council and as Mayor before being elected Governor and Senator. So he, too, has a broad background in the issues that many voters value. Regardless of party affiliation, voters, and the nation, will be well served by the steady hands, and heads, of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as our standard-bearers.
In the congressional races, 8th District Congressman Don Beyer deserves to be re-elected. In his first term, Don pushed for a federal subsidy for Metro, funding to repair the failing Memorial Bridge, and took the lead for important environmental issues, an area that many Members of Congress seem to forget. One who hasn’t forgotten is 11th District Congressman Gerry Connolly who, in 2004, helped create Fairfax County’s very first 20 Year Environmental Excellence Vision Plan. Gerry and Don make a great team for Northern Virginia’s interests, and a win by LuAnn Bennett in the 10th District would further ensure that those interests are protected and enhanced.
Two state constitutional amendments, three county bond referenda, and the meals tax question also are on the lengthy ballot. Some have been discussed in previous columns, but here is a brief recap: Right to Work protection already is codified in state law; a Constitutional Amendment is unnecessary. The Taxation and Finance amendment would provide an option for localities to exempt from taxation the principal residence of the surviving spouse of certain emergency services providers killed in the line of duty. The exemption would apply regardless of income, or new principal place of residence, but would cease upon remarriage.
Fairfax County voters traditionally support, by large percentages, the bond referenda offered for approval. This year, approval of the transportation bonds, the parks and park facilities bonds, and the human services and community development bonds, will provide the county with low-cost options for renovations of existing facilities, preserve open space, and finance the county’s share of Metro responsibilities. The meals tax question was discussed in last week’s column, and I hope you will support it, too. Then this election season, thankfully, will be over!
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at [email protected]