Retired Air Force colonel and nonprofit executive Mike Turner will make a second run for the Ashburn District seat on the Board of Supervisors, he announced today.
Two-term incumbent Republican Ralph M. Buona has said he won’t seek re-election in 2019.
Turner, a Democrat, has just wrapped up two years serving as County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall’s (D-At Large) appointee to the 26-member steering committee that guided the first draft of the county’s new comprehensive plan. Under that work’s current schedule, when the next Board of Supervisors takes the dais, that plan will have been recently adopted.
“I was there when we made the sausage,” Turner said. “I know what the sense was.”
He said that involvement with Loudoun’s largest planning exercise since the current plan was created almost two decades ago would help guide its implementation on a new board.
“There’s enough flexibility in the plan that even if it’s adopted, it’s going to require a very thoughtful, contextual discussion among the supervisors,” Turner said. “… I think having somebody with stakeholder knowledge that was there when we built the plan will understand what that was supposed to be.”
He said that would be important in making decisions like the recent board vote to allow construction of the controversial True North data center along Sycolin Road and Goose Creek. Under the new plan, that area will be designated for light industrial uses, which would permit a data center.
“So technically, I believe, by the letter of the new Envision Loudoun plan, the data center aligns with the plan,” Turner said. “Except I know what the intent of the new plan was, and the whole underlying premise of the new plan is, when you approve a development, it has to contextually fit with its surroundings.”
Turner said True North, which Buona also opposed, “flies in the face of that whole concept.”
In his announcement, he focused heavily on transportation issues—particularly multi-model transportation, including “a significantly improved and interconnected system of pedestrian and bike trails, roadway alternative routes, and both long and short haul transit options.”
“With the Metro stops coming into Loudoun County, we’ve got to give people an opportunity to connect within and outside Loudoun County in ways that are economic and efficient other than their automobiles,” Turner said. He offered the example of connector buses along Claiborne Parkway and Ashburn Road—“anybody can get on a connector bus every 15 minutes and get on a Metro stop, rather than a car.”
And he said he was concerned about over-development in Old Ashburn and preserving the county’s green infrastructure and rural west.
Turner, who lives in Lansdowne, is a former Loudoun County Democratic Committee chairman and ran for the Ashburn District seat against Buona in 2015. In 2008, he was a candidate for U.S. Congress.
Turner is a 1973 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former Air Force pilot. He flew an air rescue helicopter before transitioning to fighter planes, and served in Operation Desert Storm and on the U.S. Central Command staff before and during the war. His final assignment was on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon from 1993 to 1997, where he became the Africa branch chief responsible for all joint staff political military affairs in sub-Saharan Africa. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Air Medal.
Since retiring from the Air Force in 1997, he has worked at six different nonprofit organizations in disaster relief, entrepreneurship among America’s youth, providing free credit counseling to families in need, and helping military and veteran families. He serves as vice president of the Military Officers Association of America, a nonpartisan and apolitical advocacy group.
Follow Turner’s campaign at facebook.com/MikeTurnerforAshburn.