Barbara Kanninen, Nancy Van Doren and Greg Greeley are running for the Democratic endorsement for school board, hoping to replace the retiring Sally Baird. The endorsement caucus will be held on May 15 and 17. Kanninen and Van Doren announced their candidacies over the weekend.
Van Doren, a mother of four and an Arlington Public Schools volunteer, says her experience “is deep and broad and it is exactly what the school board needs at this time.”
From a campaign mailer:
For ten years, Nancy has volunteered extensively in Arlington Public Schools to ensure the educational success of all children from all backgrounds.
Nancy focuses on the student. She always asks: What does the student need to succeed? What can I do to ensure each and every child is successful? She maintains this focus and works for demonstrable improvement at the student, school, and county level.
Nancy follows through and gets the job done. When it comes to educating students, collaboration, good communication, and community engagement are keys to success. Nancy has a very collaborative style, which she uses effectively to build coalitions to get projects done.
Van Doren, whose children attend Jefferson Middle School and Washington-Lee High School, is holding a campaign kick-off event from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, at the Lyon Park Community House (414 N. Fillmore Street).
Kanninen, an economist and author who unsuccessfully ran for school board last year, says the school system should improve its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs while also investing in the arts.
The press release from Kanninen’s campaign, after the jump.
Alan Howze, Peter Fallon and Cord Thomas all announced their candidacies for the seat at the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s December meeting, and a nominee will be chosen in an instant run-off vote during unassembled caucuses on Thursday, Jan. 30 at Key Elementary School (2300 Key Blvd) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 1 at Kenmore Middle School (200 S. Carlin Springs Road) from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Four of the five planned debates are sponsored by the ACDC, and the fifth will be hosted by the Arlington Young Democrats on Jan. 15.
- Wednesday, Jan. 8, 7:00-9:00 p.m. — National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, 4301 Wilson Blvd (entrance on N. Taylor St.)
- Wednesday, Jan. 15, 7:00-9:00 p.m. — National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, 4301 Wilson Blvd (hosted by the Arlington Young Democrats)
- Saturday, Jan. 18, 2:00-4:00 p.m. – Campbell School (in the multi-purpose room), 737 S. Carlin Springs Road
- Thursday, Jan. 23, 8:00-9:00 p.m. – Glebe School (in the multi-purpose room), 1770 N. Glebe Road
- Monday, Jan. 27, 8:00-9:00 p.m. – Drew School (in the multi-purpose room), 3500 S. 23rd Street
In addition to Howze, Fallon and Thomas, independent John Vihstatd and libertarian Evan Bernick have announced that they’re running for Zimmerman’s board seat. The special election will be scheduled by the Arlington Circuit Court when Zimmerman officially steps down from his seat, which he has said he will do by the end of the month.
The headquarters for the Ready for Hillary Political Action Committee are cluttered.
One room is filled nearly to capacity with envelopes stuffed with t-shirts, bumper stickers and other merchandise. The hallways are minefields of postal and cardboard boxes, and rooms used as both office and storage space. In their space on the fifth floor of Rosslyn Plaza D on N. Kent Street, no square foot goes unused.
The clutter signifies the rapid growth at the office of one of the key political groups preparing for the 2016 presidential election. Ready for Hillary, an independent super PAC raising money to support a potential presidential run by former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has grown from two volunteers in January to 15 current employees, with a handful more starting in January.
Executive Director Adam Parkhomenko starting working for Clinton immediately upon graduating from Washington-Lee High School in 2003 after, as a 17 year old, he started a website dedicated to convincing Clinton to run for president in 2004.
Growing up in Arlington, Parkhomenko, now 28, said it was impossible not to get involved in politics “since there’s an election every year.” He was best friends with the son of former Del. Al Eisenberg (D-47) and, when he was 23 and had worked in politics for half a decade, ran for Eisenberg’s seat when he retired in 2009.
Parkhomeko came in third place in the Democratic primary to eventual winner Patrick Hope and current Arlington County Board candidate Alan Howze. He said his campaign “did things a little differently” than the typical House of Delegates campaign, opening up a campaign office and starting a direct mail campaign.
“If I had won I would have been the youngest person elected since Thomas Jefferson, I think,” he said. “I thought I had something to offer and I thought I could win.”
After the campaign, Parkhomenko left politics for a while to go to college. Now, he’s back in politics trying, once again, to convince Hillary Clinton to run for president.
“This group has her best intentions at heart,” he said. “Half of us have worked for her for years. Others worked on President Obama’s last campaign, and others have worked for other Democratic campaigns. We’re here to tell her if she’s ready, we’re ready.”
On Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, Parkhomenko served as executive aide to the campaign director. After working for Clinton for more than six years, he’s now running a political group that, for legal reasons, wouldn’t be able to have contact with her if she ran for president.
“She was kind of like a second mom to me when I worked for her,” he said. “She was always asking me about finishing school.”
Since Clinton is not currently a candidate, the laws around super PACs are murky, but Parkhomenko said Ready for Hillary hasn’t had contact with Clinton or her staff. The restrictions are worth it to give Clinton a boost, he said, and Ready for Hillary is already amassing impressive finances: Back in July, it crossed the $1 million donation threshold. So far there have been more than 30,000 donors and more come in every day.
“For me, starting this was really important because I don’t want to look back and wonder what we could have done to give her an edge,” he said. “We support and echo everything she does, but make sure not to get out in front of her.”
Clinton’s campaign headquarters for her campaign in 2008 were in Ballston, but Parkhomenko said the fact that Ready for Hillary’s office is also in Arlington is merely a coincidence; Rosslyn just happens to be “at the center of everything,” which is why the super PAC moved there in September.
Parkhomenko fields one question about Ready for Hillary more than any other: if Clinton decides not to run, where will the money go?
“We’re not creating a campaign war chest,” Parkhomenko says. The group caps donations at $25,000. “We don’t need large checks because we don’t need large ad buys. We spend what we take in, other than overhead expenses, to identify supporters around the country. That way, if she does announce, we’ll be ready to go on time.”
(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) The Arlington County Board is asking the Virginia General Assembly for the ability to charge paper and plastic bag fees at retailers as part of its 2014 legislative package.
The Board also is asking the General Assembly to approve a WMATA inspector position — which would enforce fares on the future Crystal City Transitway bus and streetcar line to make sure riders purchase tickets before boarding — and to repeal the hybrid vehicle tax.
Arlington needs state approval to enact a bag fee, which the Sun Gazette says ”seems unlikely to get much traction.” (It has thrice failed to win support in Richmond.)
The Board doesn’t specify how much a bag fee would be — in Washington, D.C., and Maryland it’s 5 cents — but says it would be exempt if the bags were used for ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, leftover restaurant food, newspapers, dry cleaning, alcoholic beverages, and prescription drugs. The funds from the fees would go into the Water Quality Improvement Fund.
The fare inspector, if approved, would be able to give violators citations or tickets and would also be responsible for monitoring the connecting Alexandria Bus Rapid Transit line. The inspector wouldn’t have any police powers, the Board proposed.
In addition to repealing the alternative fuel vehicle surcharge, the county board asks the General Assembly to leave last year’s landmark transportation funding bill unchanged.
In general terms, the county encourages the legislature to avoid shifting costs to localities, achieve financial sustainability and to navigate the transitional period from the Bob McDonnell administration to Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe.
In all, there are 43 requests in the county’s 2014 legislative package. Other requests include studying the efficacy of separate courts for minor drug offenses, improving accessibility at polling places and enacting no-excuse absentee voting.
Such talk suggests that he’s taking a futile stand to make a point. Instead, Ebbin insists that he’s in it to win it.
Ebbin has introduced legislation for the 2014 Virginia General Assembly session to try to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment, Virginia’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The legislation, Senate Joint Resolution 1, is a long-shot by any measure: it would require passage in 2014 and 2016 in order to repeal the gay marriage ban.
Ebbin’s bill will be the first time the Senate will hear a same-sex marriage proposal — the only challenge to the Marshall-Newman Amendment previously came in the House of Delegates and never made it out of committee, Ebbin said.
“I’ve waited to introduce this bill until we’ve come to the point where I think it is a bill that Virginians are ready to pass,” he told ARLnow.com. “I have had discussions with Republicans and Democrats, including with people who supported the Marshall-Newman Amendment. There are supportive Republicans in the General Assembly.”
Ebbin will put the bill before the Senate Privileges and Elections committee, which he said will allow him and his allies to identify who the bill’s supporters are, even if it fails this year. Ebbin, however, has no plans to see the bill fail. Despite the amendment passing by a significant margin in 2006, he believes the time is right to take decisive action.
“We’re working to win,” he said. “If we don’t win one year, we’re working towards winning. It’s not tilting at windmills, it’s making things happen, whether quickly or over a multi-year effort.”
Public opinion around the country has shifted drastically in recent years over same-sex marriage. Sixteen states and Washington, D.C., have legalized gay marriage, including seven in 2013, and the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June.
Ebbin is encouraged by several Republicans both in and out of the General Assembly whose opinions “have evolved” in recent years on the subject. At least as of last week, he was confident that he has secured at least one GOP vote. When asked the reasons they’ve given him for the changes in their opinions, he said, “It’s not really complicated. People say it’s the right thing to do, or they know it’s the right thing to do.”
“It wouldn’t have been seen as a winnable fight five years ago,” he said. “The Supreme Court has spoken and people across the country, and including Virginia, are supportive of marriage equality.”
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Democratic Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey is explaining in more depth why she has decided to endorse an independent candidate to fill the Board seat to be vacated by Democrat Chris Zimmerman at the end of January.
Garvey is endorsing self-identified Republican John Vihstadt, who announced last week that he would run as an independent in the spring 2014 special election.
Garvey stated that none of the three announced Democratic candidates likely will change the way the current Board members set priorities. She decided to endorse Vihstadt instead because she believes he can provide change.
“The issue is that I don’t think there is a Democratic candidate that has or is going to announce for the endorsement that is going to alter the dynamic on the County Board right now… Vihstadt by far is so much closer to my values, my way of working,” Garvey told ARLnow.com. “He’s going to be the one to help me take the county in the direction I think it needs to go and the others will not. I am a Democrat, but in this case there is not a Democratic candidate that can do what needs to be done for Arlington. John can do that. So I’ve got to support him, why would I not? That’s what’s right for Arlington.”
She said Vishstadt “gets it” and he can help change the way current Board members operate.
“My colleagues are all good people, but they’ve been doing things a certain way for a very long time,” Garvey said. “I think we need a new perspective and a fresh way of looking at things, and John will bring that.”
One of the key reasons Garvey will not provide support to a fellow Democrat is her opposition to the Columbia Pike streetcar. Vihstadt also opposes the streetcar, writing in his announcement of candidacy last week, “Now that the County’s application for federal funding has been rejected, Arlington taxpayers may be directly on the hook to finish a five mile line that will displace small businesses and affordable housing, will not connect to the Pentagon, and which fails to materially improve Pike transit.”
Although Arlington currently maintains a triple-A bond rating, Garvey believes the streetcar eventually could prove “financially disastrous” for the county. She noted that the project still can be re-evaluated considering it will be a while before final votes are taken.
“I know they all talk about how it’s a done deal, but it’s not a done deal until we sign a contract with a company and commit hundreds of millions of dollars to pay that company to build this thing. We’re not anywhere near that yet,” she said.
“The streetcar is useless and will actually make things worse on the Pike,” she continued. “A streetcar is nothing more than a bus on tracks with wires, but it costs a whole lot more… There are ways to accomplish what you want to for a whole lot less.”
Garvey believes a significant amount of money in the county’s Transportation Capital Fund that’s set aside for the streetcar could be used for more beneficial projects such as Metro funding and street paving.
“We’d have to raise taxes to do that right now because all of this money is sitting in a fund that is, as I understand it, reserved for the streetcar,” she said. “This is, again, why I’m supporting John, because I believe he will help me to get the Board to sort of re-examine some of these things and work through the community with it.”
Vihstadt , a former Planning Commissioner, announced his decision Thursday morning with a press release declaring his opposition to the Columbia Pike Streetcar and the planned Long Bridge Aquatics Center as two of his chief campaign positions.
A Republican, Vihstadt is hoping to secure endorsements from both the Arlington County Republican Committee and Green Party. He has behind him a bipartisan array of supporters, including prominent Arlington Democrats in County Board member Libby Garvey, Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and former Arlington County Democratic Committee Chair (and ARLnow.com opinion columnist) Peter Rousselot.
“It is rare for a candidate to have the breadth and depth of experience John brings to the table,” Garvey said of Vihstadt. “I welcome John’s willingness to re-examine County priorities at a time we are having trouble finding money to maintain essential services.”
Other notable supporters of Vihstadt include former Arlington School Board chair David Foster, former Arlington County Civic Federation president Jim Pebley and local fiscal watchdog Wayne Kubicki.
Vihstadt also opposes the rollout of more SuperStop bus stops – the first of which cost $1 million – and wants to accelerate the “phase-out of county taxpayer subsidies for the Rosslyn Artisphere.” He wants to use the savings from halting these projects to address Arlington Public Schools’ budget and facilities issues.
“Something is seriously wrong when schools across Arlington are over capacity and fighting for funding,” he said, “while county leaders continue to plow millions into high profile projects beyond the scope of core community needs like education and public safety.”
Vihstadt is the first non-Democrat to announce his candidacy for the seat that will be vacated by board member Chris Zimmerman at the end of January. Alan Howze, Peter Fallon and Cord Thomas are vying for the Democratic nomination.
Vihstadt has served on the Housing Commission, the Commission on Aging and on the board of Community Residences. A father of two, Vihstadt lives in the Tara-Leeway Heights neighborhood with his wife, Mary, and works as a partner at D.C. law firm Krooth & Altman.Vihstadt says he commutes to work via Metro, ART and carpool.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D) has offered a statement regarding Tuesday night’s bi-partisan budget compromise that averted another government shutdown.
Kaine largely praised the $85 billion agreement that funds government agencies through 2015. He did, however, express disappointment in certain cuts, such as cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees and for federal employee benefits.
Here is Kaine’s full statement:
“Ever since I took office last January, I made it a mission to do everything I could to replace the across-the-board sequester cuts that have so severely hurt Virginia and return to normal budgetary order. I even delivered my maiden floor speech last February on the urgent need to find compromise and avert sequestration. Tonight, I’m pleased that after passing a Senate budget for the first time in four years and going to conference with the House, a deal has been reached.
I’m disappointed that reductions in the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for military retirees and cuts to federal employee benefits were included. But the deal goes a long way toward alleviating the most harmful effects of sequestration next year – cuts that have disproportionately impacted federal employees and the defense community – and restoring basic economic certainty to businesses and families across the Commonwealth. It also ensures we won’t suffer another damaging government shutdown next month that would have resulted in more negative consequences for federal employees.
The two-year, bipartisan agreement will relieve $63 billion of sequester cuts for 2014 and 2015. It will also avert additional defense cuts – including $20 billion in cuts that were set to take effect in January 2014 – and replace non-defense cuts over the next two years. We’ve also given appropriators the certainty they need to write full appropriations bills – a significant step toward ending the dangerous pattern of stopgap, governing-by-crisis measures that have plagued the budgeting process in recent years.
While I’m still examining the details of the deal, I am pleased a spirit of compromise and cooperation prevailed.”
Update at 5:10 p.m. — Rep. Jim Moran (D) has also issued a statement on the budget agreement, saying it’s flawed but he will ultimately support it. The full statement, after the jump.
EnviroCab co-founder Cord Thomas announced he was running for the vacant seat on the Arlington County Board at last night’s Arlington County Democratic Committee, declaring a platform of job growth and fiscal responsibility.
Thomas is a newcomer to Arlington politics, having not held a public position before, but after he and his uncle, Hans Hess, sold EnviroCab six months ago, he decided he wanted to do more for the community.
“I don’t have a lot of experience in Arlington politics, but I have a lot of experience in growing Arlington,” Thomas told ARLnow.com. “I know what it’s like to spend money that’s your own. Everyone likes to spend other people’s money, but when it’s their own, they look at it more seriously.”
Thomas, a Nauck resident, is also a co-owner of Ballston-based Elevation Burger, which has grown to more than 40 locations worldwide.
Thomas was a surprise inclusion in the group of Democratic candidates vying for the seat made available by Board Member Chris Zimmerman’s impending resignation. Joining Thomas in the race will be Highland Park-Overlee Knolls Civic Association President Alan Howze and former Planning Commissioner Peter Fallon.
Howze’s and Fallon’s candidacies were widely known among local Democrats, to the point where many officials endorsed one or the other at the Democratic committee meeting.
“I was disappointed after I made my speech that so many elected officials had already made an endorsement,” Thomas said. “It seemed rather closed off, almost. I didn’t realize this was happening.”
Thomas, 31, said he plans to represent county constituents he feels are not represented at all on the County Board: small businesses and the county’s largest demographic, 25-34 year olds.
“I have an understanding of what it’s like to buy a home in Arlington these days,” Thomas said; he bought a home in Nauck six months ago. “A lot of small business owners support me in doing this. They really want a voice, and I think that’s important.”
Thomas doesn’t have a stated position on the Columbia Pike streetcar or the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center, but said that fiscal responsibility must be a priority in deciding on all issues. Thomas said he swims at the Wakefield High School pool, but questioned the size of the investment the county was making with the aquatics center.
“With the streetcar, I’m really waiting for the county to have real numbers,” he said. “I want to see companies come and give us real projections. Until that comes out, I don’t think it would be responsible to make a decision on it. When the information comes out, if it supports economic development like we all think it will, then fantastic. But we need to be responsible here.”
Thomas is concerned with many of the ways the current County Board has allocated its dollars, emphasizing his business experience to show that he could correct the Board’s policies and be, as he put it, “good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
“In business, every dollar counts,” he said. “However you spend it, you need to make sure you get the bang for your buck out of it. I don’t believe that’s really looked at in the board. In fact, I know that’s not really looked at. I don’t think anybody wants to cut any programs, and neither do I, but we have to learn how to increase our revenue through growth. In order to spend money you have to bring money in.”
Photo courtesy Cord Thomas
On Friday evening, Arlington election officials finished sorting through the 161 provisional ballots cast on Election Day, according to Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg. Of those, 80 were accepted — 59 for Herring and 21 for Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain.
(Provisional ballots are cast when a voter cannot produce proper identification or when records indicate that they’ve already voted. The local electoral board then must approve or reject each vote, after further research and after giving those without ID a chance to present it in person by the Friday after election day.)
The 38 vote differential might not seem like much, but it helped to contribute to Herring’s lead, which stood at 163 votes as of last night. The total Attorney General vote tally in Arlington stands at 49,919 for Herring and 16,694 for Obenshain, according to Lindberg.
The Virginia State Board of Elections is expected to certify the election results on Nov. 25. At that time, the losing candidate will be able to petition the courts for a recount — a near certainty. A similar process played out during the 2005 Attorney General race between now-Governor Bob McDonnell (R) and state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D).
Lindberg said she expects a recount to only take a day in Arlington, since the county uses electronic voting machines, as opposed to optical ballots which would each need to be re-run through scanners.
After a year where seats on the County Board and School Board and four House of Delegates districts were up for election and no Republicans ran, 2014 will not be a repeat, pledged Arlington County Republican Committee Chairman Charles Hokanson.
“We fully expect to be running local candidates in 2014 and beyond,” Hokanson told ARLnow.com. “This year, we prioritized our work on supporting the statewide Republican ticket in what correctly proved to be very tight elections, in the process building up our strongest voter identification and get-out-the-vote efforts in many years.”
Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli received 22 percent of the votes for governor in Arlington, but Hokanson said the Arlington GOP “built up our largest active party membership in over a decade in 2013.”
“Arlington Republican voters know that we are a political minority in this County and understand that, to win races, our local party seeks to put forth credible, experienced candidates who will run strong campaigns, prove successful fundraisers, build issue-based coalitions that resonate with voters, and have the time to give it their all,” Hokanson said.
Hokanson said no one has yet declared for the 2014 races, which will include County Board, the School Board and Rep. Jim Moran’s House of Representatives seat, among others, but he said the GOP will put out a call for candidates this winter.
Audrey Clement, running for the County Board for the fourth straight election, lost to incumbent Democrat Jay Fisette, 66 to 31 percent. She was actually encouraged by the results, but said the 30 percent range appears to be a Green Party candidate’s best possible result.
“In our best races we seem to be hitting up against a glass ceiling of 30 percent,” she said at the Green Party’s election gathering at Westover Beer Garden. “It seems we can’t break that ceiling. I think we will when the county breaks the budget.”
Clement said she was more disappointed with the result of the redevelopment and housing authority vote than she was with her own defeat in the election, because she believes the current housing situation could lead to more homelessness. The referendum was struck down with 69 percent of the voters choosing “no.”
“A lot of people in this expensive apartments are living from paycheck to paycheck, and eventually they’re going to be displaced,” she said. “When that happens, that’s when they will change their vote.”
Clement said she felt if voters understood the issue better, then they would have voted “yes.” The sample ballot she distributed at the polls explaining the issue, however, was long and difficult to read.”
“Next time around, we have to do a better job with our literature,” she said.
Asked whether she would run again, Clement said “it remains to be seen.” She lost her job as an independent contractor in July, and although she has since secured another position, she said it’s only temporary. Since her races are largely self-funded — she spent $3,855 on her campaign this year, according to the Virginia Public Access Project – the status of her next campaign is up in the air.
Despite the defeat, Clement and her Green Party compatriots were not discouraged. Party Chairman Steve Davis said “30 percent is really good for the Green Party in an election.”
“My campaign was a success,” Clement said. “It’s not quite winning, but it’s not bad to get a respectable vote. I feel worse about the housing authority because people are going to be suffering as a result of their lack of interest in the issue.”
Democratic incumbents have cruised to reelection in all local races. Meanwhile, Democratic voters in Arlington and Northern Virginia have helped push two statewide candidates to victory.
Democrat Terry McAuliffe has been elected the next governor of Virginia, defeating Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Libertarian Robert Sarvis. Democrat Ralph Northam, meanwhile, has defeated Republican E.W. Jackson in the race for lieutenant governor.
Voting in Virginia ended at 7:00 p.m., on an election day when the gubernatorial race was garnering the lion’s share of headlines and voter interest. In Arlington, without a Republican candidate in any local race, third party candidates like Audrey Clement, Green Party candidate for Arlington County Board, were left to provide the opposition to the Democrats on the ballot.
With all votes counted, here are the final numbers:
- County Board – Jay Fisette (D): 66%; Audrey Clement (G): 31%
- House of Delegates, 45th District – Rob Krupicka (D): 74%; Jeffrey Engle (I): 25%
- House of Delegates, 47th District – Patrick Hope (D): 77%; Laura Delhomme (L): 22%
- House of Delegates, 49th District — Alfonso Lopez (D): 78%; Terrence Modglin (IG): 21%
The races for Arlington School Board and the 48th House of Delegates District, featuring incumbents James Lander and Del. Bob Brink, were uncontested.
On the referendum question of whether Arlington should establish a redevelopment and housing authority, the “no” position — endorsed by both the local Republican and Democratic parties — is well ahead.
- Housing Authority Referendum – Yes: 31%; No: 69%
“It’s a great night in Arlington,” said Arlington County Democratic Committee Chairman Mike Lieberman. “Our goal in Arlington is to do our part to turn out every Democrat in a Democratic area, to try to run up the score to make sure we can offset some of the more conservative areas in the state. Based on the numbers we saw here today, we did that.”
“I think Arlingtonians reacted really well to McAuliffe’s centrist message, his good government message, his jobs message, and I think quite frankly Cuccinelli and his ticket didn’t offer much for Arlington,” Lieberman continued. “The strength of Democrats is a validation of the community we have here.”
Reelected Delegate Alfonso Lopez said night’s Democratic victories were a rejection of Tea Party politics.
“Tea Party hypocrisy and Tea Party policies are not the way to govern the Commonwealth,” he said.
County Board member Jay Fisette, who will take over the chairmanship of the Board in January 2014, called his reelection “gratifying” and thanked Democratic volunteers for their get-out-the-vote efforts.
“This is a great county and I really appreciate the support you’ve given me,” he said. Fisette also thanked his husband, Bob Rosen, though he had to correct himself when he initially called Rosen his “partner.” The two were wed in the District in September.
“I’m not used to saying that word [husband],” Fisette said.
As chairman, Fisette will likely preside over the hot-button vote on whether to allow urban hen-raising in Arlington. But he said he’s particularly focused on three major challenges facing the county: economic development and the high commercial office vacancy rate; affordable housing; and burgeoning school enrollments.
“I’m looking forward to the challenges… I’m really ready to hit the ground and continue working on them,” he said.
Arlington’s polling places have been open for about four hours, and so far election day appears to be proceeding without a hitch.
As of 9:00 a.m., Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg reported being very busy but said there had been no significant issues to report. Although not a major incident, people at the Barrett Elementary School (4401 N. Henderson Road) polling place reported the school’s principal pulled campaign signs out of the ground, claiming they weren’t allowed to be there. After witnesses made a few phone calls to lawyers and the superintendent, the principal learned he was incorrect and apologized for taking down the signs.
Last week, Lindberg noted that already there had been an increase in absentee voting over the 2009 election. This morning she said is was still too early to estimate how many people might turn up to vote in person.
“It’s been pretty steady, that’s about all we know at this point,” Lindberg said. “It’s not outrageous, just pretty steady.”
Voters, however, have been reporting short lines at places like Barrett Elementary.
“I was pretty surprised at how few people were here,” said Melanie Papasian. “After the long lines last year, I expected to see more. Hopefully they come in more by the end of the day.”
“Last year, I got in line at 7:30 a.m. and left the polling place at 9:45,” said Brian Lemak. ”I know off-year elections aren’t as big but I got in and out in 10 minutes, which I was really surprised by.”
At the River House (1600 S. Joyce Street) polling place in Pentagon City, voters repeatedly expressed particular interest in voting in this gubernatorial race, compared with others in recent years.
“This is an important election,” said Dan Bailey. “The governor of Virginia can set a tone and I haven’t liked the tone we’ve had for the last few years.”
Haydn Kuprevich recently moved to Arlington and wanted to fulfill his civic duty.
“It’s something I do every time there’s an election,” said Kuprevich. “It’s important for me to understand the issues people are talking about and what their positions are.”
“I was passionate about everybody having equal rights, I was passionate about women’s rights, I was passionate about looking out for all the people and not a select group in the state, because the governor represents everybody,” said Mary Elizabeth Boyd. “I think the whole country’s going in a certain direction right now and we just have to settle it down and keep hanging in with what we believe in.”
Polls in Arlington remain open until 7:00 p.m. More information, including sample ballots, can be found online.
Election Day is tomorrow, and there are four local, contested races in addition to the housing authority referendum and the statewide campaigns.
Polls open in Arlington at 6:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. You can find a list of polling places on the county’s election website, which was revamped last week.
Below are the races you will find on the ballot:
- Governor: Ken Cuccinelli (Republican), Terry McAuliffe (Democrat), Robert Sarvis (Libertarian)
- Lieutenant Governor: E.W. Jackson (R), Ralph Northam (D)
- Attorney General: Mark Herring (D), Mark Obenshain (R)
- County Board: Jay Fisette (D), Audrey Clement (Green)
- School Board: James Lander (D)
- House of Delegates, 45th District: Rob Krupicka (D), Jeffrey Engle (Independent)
- House of Delegates, 47th District: Patrick Hope (D), Laura Delhomme (L)
- House of Delegates, 48th District: Bob Brink (D)
- House of Delegates, 49th District: Alfonso Lopez (D), Terrence Modglin (Independent Green)