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Independent School Board candidate James ‘Vell’ Rives drops out

Independent School Board candidate James ‘Vell’ Rives IV (courtesy photo)

An independent candidate for the Arlington School Board is bowing out of the race.

On Monday, four months ahead of the general election in November, James “Vell” Rives announced in an email that he was suspending his campaign. His announcement hinted that he may run again for School Board in a later election cycle.

“For various reasons, I am suspending my 2023 campaign and am instead working on a future run for Arlington County School Board,” he said in the email. “Thank you for your encouragement and support this year! For now, please stay involved in our schools, and help out where you can.”

Rives was running for the second time as an independent after a failed challenge to Democratic-endorsed candidate Bethany Zecher Sutton last year.

The psychiatrist and a member of the School Health Advisory Board — a citizen committee advising Arlington Public Schools — has campaigned on student health, improving academic performance and reducing technology use.

His opponent, Miranda Turner, who has the endorsement of the Arlington County Democratic Committee after its May caucus, will be running unopposed.

This is also Turner’s second School Board bid, losing two years ago in the Democratic endorsement caucus to now-School Board member Mary Kadera.

This year, Turner bested political newcomer Angelo Cocchiaro, who had the endorsement of outgoing School Board Chair Reid Goldstein and that of the local teachers union, the Arlington Education Association.

Ahead of the Nov. 7 general election, the first day of in-person early voting will begin on Sept. 22. The last day to apply for a mail ballot is Oct. 27.

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The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!

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100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.

For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at

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