It is now set who the candidates will be on the Nov. 3 ballot for a special election to fill the Falls Church City Council seat vacated by the death in late July of Council member Daniel X. Sze. Three contenders who’ve qualified for the ballot constitute collectively what is likely the youngest field in the history of the Little City, and all are decidedly home grown.
Moreover, they all have all expressed a passion for providing affordable housing and other forms of support for marginalized elements of the community.
There was a remarkably compressed window of opportunity for candidates to file and submit the 125 valid signatures of registered voters in the City due to legal timing requirements. So there were barely two weeks for candidates to step up and take the plunge before last Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
According to the City’s Registrar of Voters David Bjerke, the three candidates that have qualified are all long-term City residents and all are seeking election to public office for the first time. They are, in order of their filings being certified by Bjerke, Debbie Hiscott, executive director of the Falls Church Education Foundation (FCEF), Joshua Shokoor, a 2005 graduate of the City’s George Mason High School and member of the City’s Housing Commission, and Simone Pass Tucker, a 2016 graduate of Mason High.
Simone Pass Tucker, at age 22 a third candidate to submit petitions, bringing them to the Registrar of Voters office Friday afternoon shortly ahead of the filing deadline, was certified as qualified for the Nov. 3 ballot, after their petitions were examined by Bjerke on Monday afternoon.
This November’s election, which will be on the same ballot as the U.S. Presidential and U.S. Senate races, will fill the unexpired term of Councilman Sze that runs to December 31, 2021.
An election to fill the seat for a full four-year term will be held in November 2021.
Then, a total of four of the seven Council seats will be up for election, besides the current vacancy, held by Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly, David Snyder and Ross Litkenhous.
The News-Press has learned that discussions are currently underway by a number of local civic groups concerning a forum, or debate, to learn more about the three contenders for the special election now only 75 days away.
Hiscott, whose candidacy was announced earlier this month by F.C. Vice Mayor Connelly, gained attention with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic this spring for spearheading a local fundraising drive led by the FCEF that raised $120,000 in short order for emergency family assistance.
In a statement, she said, “I am particularly passionate about equity issues and want to ensure more affordable housing in Falls Church, particularly for teachers.”
Shokoor is a second generation American and life-long resident of the City of Falls Church.
While studying for a Masters at George Mason University, he interned at the F.C. Department of Housing and Human Services and then was hired by a national affordable housing developer.
On the City’s Housing Commission, he served as its data and communications analyst and authored the City’s Affordable Living Policy.
Pass Tucker told the News-Press the hope is to provide “a more diverse voice on the City Council, being “young, not as wealthy, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community hoping to represent other marginalized groups in the community.”
They identify as “non-binary” and rejects usual gender-based pronouns such as “he” or “she” in favor of “they.”
According to the Registrar’s Office, there was a citizen who submitted petitions but failed to qualify for lack of necessary paperwork.