According to the Virginia Political Action Project (VPAP), as of this Monday, Oct. 26, the voters in the City of Falls Church led the state in the percentage who’d voted absentee or by mail ahead of next Tuesday’s Nov. 3 election day.
A whopping 58.3 percent of the City’s registered voters had cast their ballots by that date, far ahead of the second place Arlington County at 49.39 percent.
The final day to vote in this manner is Saturday, Oct. 31. Otherwise, the City’s three polling places will be open from 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3, which is the official Election Day to determine who will be president of the United States for the next four years.
Also, in the case of Falls Church, three City Council candidates are on the ballot vying in a special election to fill the last year of the unexpired term of the late City Councilman Dan Sze. In alphabetical order, the candidates are Debbie Hiscott, Simone Pass Tucker and Joshua Sharif Shokoor.
In addition, candidates vying for the U.S. Senate from Virginia and for the 8th District representative in the U.S. House are on the ballot, with incumbent Democrats Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. expected to win re-election handily. There are two constitutional amendments, one that would establish a less-partisan method for redistricting electoral boundaries each decade, a hotly contested item with many but not all prominent Democrats urging a “no” vote, and an item to exempt families of veterans from certain taxes.
(The News-Press last week endorsed Hiscott, Warner, Beyer and a “no” vote on the redistricting amendment).
All three of the candidates running for F.C. City Council have continued to run aggressive and constructive campaigns. Hiscott has lived in the City for 24 years, and Pass Tucker and Shokoor are both life-long residents, having come through the school system from beginning to end here.
In response to a request from the News-Press all three provided as of noon Wednesday a final summary campaign statement, each of which we reprint in full here:
Statement by Debbie Hiscott
I’m energized to be part of a community taking its civic duty seriously. We’ve exceeded 60 percent early voter turnout! For more than 24 years, I’ve loved working, volunteering, and raising my family in Falls Church City. We’ve grown as a destination, with strong city services/schools and a robust business community. I am proud of my extensive local involvement and collaboration with city and civic leaders to elicit positive change. I welcome the opportunity, if elected, to step in and focus on community priorities. We must address pandemic recovery, from both an economic and public health perspective. This is critical for our Little City’s future strength.
We cannot let “pandemic fatigue” cloud our resolve. Budget work will be the top issue for this one year Council term. I will use my decades of financial/budget/audit experience to work as part of the Council team. I am the candidate who will be able to get to work immediately, using knowledge of city and school budget processes. This does not mean that I will lose sight of what is important to many of us: equity issues, affordable housing, environmental standards, smart growth and safety/walkability.
I’ve worked in these areas for eight years at the Falls Church Education Foundation, and am eager to take my skills and experiences to the next level. I am grateful for recognition of my work.
My endorsements include the Falls Church News Press; Delegate Marcus Simon; Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly; Council Member Phil Duncan; Falls Church City Treasurer Jody Acosta; Falls Church City Commissioner of Revenue Tom Clinton; along with 350+ active supporters (listed at www.debbiehiscott.org). Thanks to everyone involved in the electoral process; democracy is alive and well! Please reach out with your ideas. Vote Debbie Hiscott for Falls Church City Council.
Statement of Simone Pass Tucker
I want to thank Josh and Debbie for running strong, positive campaigns, and engaging in a good discussion about what our city needs. I want to thank all the small business owners and neighbors who’ve given me their time and explained to me their concerns.
This election comes at a pivotal time for our city. We have massive development projects underway that will reshape the way we live for decades to come, and a pandemic that is crippling our local businesses.
That doesn’t call for the old ideas that are already well-represented on city council. It calls for new thinking, and a voice who will bring in new approaches.
I’ve used every opportunity to pitch specific, concrete policies that will solve local problems. Policies like a small business liaison office to help struggling local business owners obtain relief. Policies like getting tough on developers and demanding that every project enhance our quality of life and bring in sales tax revenue to offset our increasing property taxes. Policies like building standards that will fix, not just prolong, our stormwater issues.
I’m aware that, as a Jewish member of the LBGT community and an activist, I don’t resemble the traditional council member. That’s the point. I’m asking for your vote for new, concrete policies, and to place a new perspective at the table with voices that already dominate our City Council.
My campaign has been endorsed by multiple Virginia delegates, including Elizabeth Guzmán, Ibraheem Samirah, and Sam Rasoul, The Northern Virginia Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, and the Fairfax, McLean, and Williamsburg Sunrise Movement Hubs. Join our movement to create a Falls Church for everyone. Thank you for your time, and please reach out if there are specific ways I can help you.
Statement of Joshua Sharif Shokoor
We are at a pivotal moment as a nation, where the impact of one person’s vote has never been more powerful. But, while many rush to the polls to vote in this year’s Presidential election, we mustn’t overlook the influence of local government, not just on our lives but on those of our neighbors. This is especially true in a community like ours, where change can happen quickly, and the effectiveness of policy is often felt immediately.
As the only candidate who has a Master’s in Public Policy, worked in City government, served on a board or commission, and co-authored a policy document in Falls Church, I understand the potential ramifications of this position.
Now I am running for City Council, because I am the candidate best equipped to advance the progressive policies our City espouses and hopes to achieve.
I have been active at almost every level of policy in Falls Church, from advocacy, to development, and implementation. Through these roles I have helped to produce real improvements in the lives of current and future residents. When I accepted a position on the Housing Commission, the City was losing affordable housing units at an unprecedented rate. In a combined effort with other stakeholders, we created a policy that would no longer force families to choose whether to move to another community or sacrifice the little disposable income they had, just to stay in Falls Church. And as of Monday, for the first time in nearly a decade, our City dedicated funding to the Affordable Housing Fund.
Change rarely comes from the top, it rises from the bottom. If we are going to create real change in our country, it has to begin here. I am ready to represent your voice on City Council. All I need is your vote!