On The Ballot: Board of Supervisors

The past four years have seen a historic term for the Board of Supervisors. The nine current supervisors have taken on a new county

comprehensive plan, continuing preparations for Metrorail, important battles over protecting rural western Loudoun, dropping tax rates, a ballooning budget and economy, and rapid construction of schools and government facilities with transportation projects making up more than half of the county’s capital budget for the first time.

The next four years will be big, too.

The next board will have the job of writing a new zoning ordinance to put the comprehensive plan into law, drawing new election districts, and overseeing Metrorail’s long-awaited service to Loudoun.

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors has nine members, representing eight election districts and a chairman elected by voters countywide. Supervisors serve four-year terms and all run for office in the same year. The election districts are adjusted each decade to maintain approximately equal populations; currently, there are two large western districts covering the county’s rural west and the transitional area and six smaller districts covering Leesburg and the county’s populous east.

Since 2008, supervisors have been paid a $41,200 annual salary. The vice chairman, elected by his colleagues on the board, is paid $45,320. The chairman makes $50,000. Last year, supervisors narrowly voted to increase salaries of the next board. Starting in 2020, supervisors will be paid $66,826; the vice chairman will be paid $73,363; and the chairman will be paid $81,100. Thereafter, the next board will receive 2 percent pay increases for each remaining year of their four-year terms.

On Nov. 5, each voter will cast ballots for two supervisor seats: county chairman at large and their specific district. There will be at least three new board members next year, as incumbents Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin), Ron A. Meyer Jr. (R-Broad Run), and Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn) are not seeking re-election.

Chairman At-Large


Robert J. Ohneiser (I)

Age: 67
Occupation: Retired, formerly attorney
Residence: Lucketts
facebook.com/CandidateBobOhneiser

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Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

As a recently retired attorney I have the time, interest and capability to serve in the capacity of Chair of the BOS. I am concerned the very low voting percentage in local elections is due to apathy directly related to the community not believing things can change for the better. Taxes are 33% higher than the rest of Virginia even with new Data Center funding. The BOS chooses to squander those funds on tools to enhance the return on developer campaign donations instead of efficiently managing the county for the residents. Given both my opponents have a total of over $1 million in campaign donations mostly from developers this should not be a surprise. I chose to take NO DONATIONS in running my campaign. My priorities which can be achieved by working with both parties on the Board is to focus on fairness, efficiency and community support in every decision made by the BOS. I have provided both the Loudoun Times and Loudoun Now with a list of my intended actions during the first month as Chair. I also submitted a Prime Farmland Protection Program which is self-funding. After serving 8 years on the Loudoun School Board including being Chair of the Finance Committee I understand LCPS operations thoroughly so efficiency improvements can be made from the BOS posture without impacting the quality of education. Large politically connected entities will pay their fair share. (Phyllis Randall voted to exempt Howard Hughes Institute from paying ANY property taxes even though their highly private facility has nearly $700 million in facilities in Ashburn.) Can anyone say “Pay to Play” is alive and well in Loudoun? The Greenway and many other commercial entities in Loudoun are also severely under-assessed. I would suggest Loudoun residents should be able to buy deep discounted passes to ride the Greenway which I would be all too glad to negotiate on their behalf. I intend to work with the Commissioner of Revenue to fix. Appropriate filings with the state will be done so Loudoun can add cigarette tax revenues to its funding. This will also help Leesburg as it would take away the inventive for buyers to leave Leesburg to avoid their taxes on cigarettes. Commuters are treated very unfairly as they get on a Loudoun purchased and maintained bus with a driver paid by Loudoun and they still pay the same $11 each way to DC a rider from West Virginia pays.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

Fairness, efficiency and community support should be the focal points for the budget. The current system is set up to accelerate high density residential growth which is counterproductive to the Loudoun quality of life (taxes, traffic, school crowding and land use). As a business man who has run operations, analytical departments and business development I understand how to structure decisions so they are both transparent and meet the defined problem or opportunity needed to be addressed. Knowing the latest request for incremental funding by the Superintendent amounted to $100,000 per added student it seems pretty obvious that just yelling “full funding” to pander to parents and LCPS staff needs to be replaced with more prudent analysis of what education should cost.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

Fairness, efficiency and community support should be the focal points for the budget. The current system is set up to accelerate high density residential growth which is counterproductive to the Loudoun quality of life (taxes, traffic, school crowding and land use). As a business man who has run operations, analytical departments and business development I understand how to structure decisions so they are both transparent and meet the defined problem or opportunity needed to be addressed. Knowing the latest request for incremental funding by the Superintendent amounted to $100,000 per added student it seems pretty obvious that just yelling “full funding” to pander to parents and LCPS staff needs to be replaced with more prudent analysis of what education should cost.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

The new comprehensive plan needs to be reviewed by the new BOS with a focus on making sure none of it causes harm to an already awful traffic situation, an over taxed county, a school system which just reported 40 schools being over their full capacity by school board design with $4.4 billion in backlogged new school construction requests. The number of planned high density, student generating residential APPROVALS NEEDS TO DECREASE! The developers are funding both my opponents and THEY don’t plan on stopping making big money off county connections until they finish at the West Virginia border.

Zoning is a major part of the conflicts between the western and eastern parts of Loudoun. You can’t expect the current downzoning of the west while the east is given every tool to create very expensive real estate and then expect the developers to just leave town when they finish building out the east and the transition area. How can anyone expect a farmer not to want to sell his $15,000/acre farm when there is a $2 million per acre date center across the street. Overlay districts over burden small lots, commercial entities are functioning in what is supposed to be residential etc, etc. The BOS controls zoning not the other way around and that would be my focus as it needs an overhaul.

 

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

The new comprehensive plan needs to be reviewed by the new BOS with a focus on making sure none of it causes harm to an already awful traffic situation, an over taxed county, a school system which just reported 40 schools being over their full capacity by school board design with $4.4 billion in backlogged new school construction requests. The number of planned high density, student generating residential APPROVALS NEEDS TO DECREASE! The developers are funding both my opponents and THEY don’t plan on stopping making big money off county connections until they finish at the West Virginia border.

Zoning is a major part of the conflicts between the western and eastern parts of Loudoun. You can’t expect the current downzoning of the west while the east is given every tool to create very expensive real estate and then expect the developers to just leave town when they finish building out the east and the transition area. How can anyone expect a farmer not to want to sell his $15,000/acre farm when there is a $2 million per acre date center across the street. Overlay districts over burden small lots, commercial entities are functioning in what is supposed to be residential etc, etc. The BOS controls zoning not the other way around and that would be my focus as it needs an overhaul.


Phyllis J. Randall (D)*
Age: 54
Occupation: Mental Health Therapist 
Residence: Lansdowne
phyllisrandall.com

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

I’m proud of the work accomplished during my first term as Chair of the Board of Supervisors – but our work isn’t finished.

My top priority is adequately funding Loudoun County Public Schools. The underfunding of LCPS by past boards has resulted in cuts to after school busses, Middle School Deans, ElementarySchool Nursing staff and other needed programs and positions; but we’ve made progress. I’ve successfully lead the fight to fund full-day kindergarten, provide funding to raise educators payand restore programs and positions. When re-elected, I will continue to fund our school budget at a level that will providepay increases for our educators and ensure every student has access to a quality education.

Finding multimodal traffic solutions will continue to be a priority for me. As Chair of Loudoun, I led two transportation and three transit summits with the goal of finding creative, sustainable solutions to ease traffic congestion. This current board has allocated $582 million to widen and/or build new roads to include main thoroughfares such as: Shellhorn, Battlefield Parkway, Northstar and Route 15. In addition as Vice Chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) I’ve secured more transportation dollars per capita for Loudoun than any other NoVA jurisdiction. However, simply building roads is not enough to completely reduce traffic.  We must rely on multimodal transportation options such as an effective bus system, bike and pedestrian paths, telework, ride sharing and soon, the Metro. Finally, the most effective way to ease traffic is to continue to create jobs in Loudoun County. The creation of 17,000 jobs during this board term is significant to addressing traffic congestion. 

When I was elected in 2015, Loudoun County employees were paid 86% of what their counterparts in surrounding counties were paid. I fought to raise their pay, and now they’re making 95% of what their counterparts are making. However, I won’t be satisfied until our Firefighters’, Teachers, Sheriff’s Deputies, Behavior and Mental Health Staff and all County Employees pay is 100% equal to that of their counterparts. 

What are your priorities for the next budget?

Because a strong public school system will always be a priority for me, I will continue to adequately fund our Public School System. This past year I made a motion to have a dedicated source of revenue applied to our housing trust fund. This will help us address the unmet housing need in Loudoun County and allow our first responders, public employees, educators, etc. to live in the county they serve. In addition we need to continue to fund our six year Capital Improvement Budget (CIP) and ensure that infrastructure such as schools, roads, parks, etc.  is built before or concurrent with new development. Finally I will continue to ensure our County Employees are paid the salary they deserve and they are staffed sufficiently.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

After almost twenty years and over two hundred thousand new residents, completing a new Comprehensive Plan was absolutely imperative. Completing a new plan was a campaign promise I made when running in 2015 and I’m proud to have kept that. I’m equally proud that the process was bipartisan and transparent. We established protections for Rural Loudoun and established a clear vision for development in the east. In the zoning ordinance overhaul, we need to establish clear guidance to develop our new Rural Policy Area (RPA) and use tools such as a robust Conservation Easement Program in Western Loudoun County to discourage by right development. 

Prior to the zoning ordinance overhaul, the Board will completethe Strategic Housing Plan. The Strategic Housing Plan is our opportunity to address the unmet housing need, and ensure that working families, county employees, and millennials just starting out are able to afford to live in Loudoun County. I’m committed to creating an equitable and smart Strategic Housing Plan.


John C. L. Whitbeck, Jr. (R)
Age: 43
Occupation: Lawyer, business owner
Residence: Leesburg
JohnWhitbeck.com 

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

I am running to improve our quality of life in Loudoun County. I moved here almost 20 years ago and have spent my entire adult life here raising our family and running our small business. In that time, I served our community as the at-large representative to the Loudoun Government Reform Commission, the Loudoun Community Criminal Justice Board, as an HOA president, a Substitute Judge and as an advocate for the mentally ill. 

To improve our quality of life I will support a development plan that strikes a balance between preserving our rural west and dealing with our attainable housing problem.  I believe we should approach development projects with a priority of putting infrastructure first. I support a Transfer of Development Rights program to deal with by-right development in the west and will work to make sure our housing needs are met from entry level to retirement.

Improving our quality of life means prioritizing transportation.  This means fighting for lower tolls, building roads and support policies that get cars off the road.  I am tired of our drivers being punished for driving on our roads, like the Greenway, and for the first time in 10 years we can actually do something about this in Loudoun.  The current deal we have on the Greenway expires next year and we have the opportunity to fight for lower tolls for the first time in 10 years. However, the Greenway is much more than a toll issue. It’s a traffic issue. Our drivers are forced to use Waxpool, Rt.7, Rt. 28 and other local roads to avoid the Greenway which only makes our traffic issues worse. By lowering tolls and building Greenway alternatives, we can reduce traffic on all our roads.

Finally, as the father of three girls in public schools, I will support quality and safe public schools. I was the first candidate to propose expanding our School Resource Officer program to every school in Loudoun and I will always support safe and fully-funded schools.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

I plan to push for a lower tax rate, ensure that our schools are full-funded and expand our School Resource Officer program to every school in Loudoun County.  I am also in favor of expanding the existing mental health program in our schools and ensuring that we are continuing to increase teacher pay.  The current board voted themselves a 62% pay raise.  I will oppose pay raises for politicians and will work to cut taxes and tolls. 

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

I support the Board’s establishment of the new Urban Policy Area for putting mixed used commercial and residential development around our metro stations.  However, the issue of development in this campaign has become about trust.  The incumbent Chair voted to put dense housing in what was supposed to rural Loudoun.  While we need to address our housing needs, we must keep our promise to preserve western Loudoun and keep our word when we say we are going to do so.


Algonkian Distict

Juli E. Briskman (D)
Age: 52
Occupation: Former marketing executive and grant writer
Residence: River Crest 
Briskmanforsupervisor.com

Why are you running and what are your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

I am running for Algonkian District Supervisor because I believe my district deserves a supervisor with values that match the values of those she represents.  My priorities are to fully fund the schools, support working women and develop more intelligently in the county.

To fund our schools I will work to create a bottom-up budget approach where we get an honest assessment of what our school system, teachers and students need to be successful.  For the past eight years the schools have had to manage the budget in accordance to an arbitrary tax rate to which the GOP-controlled board felt they had to adhere. This has forced our teachers and students to manage without the resources they need to be successful. I do not want to see the school system cutting bus maintenance, ELL teachers and security upgrades because the board has strapped it to an underfunded budget. Our teachers should be paid more.  Right now they suffer a $184,000 pay gap over a career compared to regional counterparts.  This should be rectified.

Supporting working women in my district — where 70% of women are part of the labor force — will start with advocating for the ratification of the ERA in Richmond. Full-day Kindergarten has helped but the Supervisors also should examine child care costs, transportation gaps and pay gaps in the county employment system.
Intelligent development doesn’t just mean negotiating the Transitional Policy Area and/or protecting Rural Loudoun. The Eastern side of the county has schools, roads and shopping centers that need investment.  These areas have the highest density and the oldest infrastructure and are starting to show signs of neglect as we build new schools, data centers and multi-use projects to the West.  Eastern residents are taking notice and want to see some investment.

What are your priorities for the next budget?  

My top priorities will be fully funding our schools and the Housing Trust Fund. I would also like to see several projects in the County Transportation Plan moved into the capital improvement budget that would directly benefit Algonkian District.  This includes bus routes, bike paths and walkways that have been in the Transportation Plan for years but not funded.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?  

The Comprehensive Plan is a good start to our vision on land use in the county.  In my district we have two shopping centers slated for redevelopment and I would like to see a change in zoning there that allows for multi-use projects.  I also want to make sure we are taking into account density already present in the Eastern side of the county, our overcrowded schools and traffic.  For the rest of the county, I think we need to work on zoning that protects rural Loudoun, but also allows for a less restricted development in other areas so we can meet our unmet housing needs in the county.


Suzanne M. Volpe (R)*
Age: 52
Occupation: Algonkian District Supervisor
Residence: Cascades
SuzanneVolpe.com

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

In 2011, I ran for the Board of Supervisors, because our area had suffered from years of neglect, and I wanted to give Algonkian a voice. The County has several critical projects the next Board of Supervisors must handle carefully for the long-term structural integrity of the County.  First and foremost is the Silverline.  Metrorail will be opening in our county next year, and as one of two remaining board members that have been involved since the beginning, I believe it is imperative that the Board have some continuity to ensure the Silverline Project is implemented as it was originally planned.  Additionally, the zoning ordinance overhaul must be completed by the new Board of Supervisors.  This is the implementation phase of the Envision Loudoun process just completed in June of this year with the adoption of the new Comprehensive Plan and Countywide Transportation Plan.  The County Zoning Ordinance has not comprehensively been reviewed for eastern Loudoun since the early 1990s.  With eight years’ service on the Board’s Transportation & Land Use Committee (six years as Chair), my knowledge and experience would be an asset to the Board during this process.

There are several large Capital Projects within my district, including the Riverside Parkway Extension Project, the GW Parkway Flyover and the Hidden Lane Landfill Waterline Project, that have been a long time coming.  I would like to see these through to completion. Needless to say, I would like to continue efforts in repaving roads, which have been neglected and working on other items overdue for maintenance. We have made progress in addressing issues, not only on County Projects, but on School Projects.  The completion of the Facilities Needs Assessment by LCPS has created the roadmap for renovation of our older schools.  Having established good working relationships with my colleagues on the board, but also our school board, county staff, LCPS staff and VDOT will enable these projects to move forward to without losing any time. 

What are your priorities for the next budget?

Loudoun County has been blessed with a vibrant economy which produces revenue for our various projects and amenities. We are especially fortunate to have a large tax base of commercial revenue, which now represents over 34% of the total revenue collected by the County. I want to ensure that commercial revenue remains a significant source of the County’s income, which will allow us to lessen the tax burden on our residents. Regarding specific priorities, my office would work for investment in renovation of our older school facilities, working with homeowner associations at methods for improving stormwater management practices and revitalization of our commercial areas.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

The new Comprehensive Plan is far from perfect; it was important that the board make changes to and approve a new version of an outdated document. Representing eastern Loudoun, it was frustrating that the original intention was to “share” the burden of new residential growth in several of the policy areas, however the final Comprehensive Plan yielded the significant majority of new residential growth is now “planned” for the Suburban/Urban Policy Areas.  This will create difficulties moving forward as my first priority has always been to protect my residents.  Many neighborhoods had felt overlooked and neglected for many years by the County.  If new residential developments are approved in eastern Loudoun, it will be critical that we have adequate infrastructure, including schools, to accommodate additional residents.  Otherwise, we would only be hurting ourselves.


Ashburn District

M. “Mick” Staton, Jr. (R)

Age: 49

Occupation: Software engineer
Residence: Ashburn Farm
Mick4Ashburn.com

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

I am running for Supervisor to protect the quality of life in the Ashburn district, and to lead Loudoun County through one of the most challenging times it has ever faced.  The imminent arrival of Metro presents a pivotal moment in Loudoun’s history that could change our county forever.  I want to help guide our county through this time so that we can learn lessons from our neighbors in the east and make sure we preserve the family friendly community that attracts people to Loudoun County.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

My priorities for the next budget are to fund our priorities while keeping the tax rate as low as possible.  Due to changes in the tax laws we are no longer able to deduct our state and local taxes from our Federal tax returns.  This means a bigger tax burden on Loudoun’s working families.  Now more than ever it is important for local governments to control their spending and make sure every penny is spent wisely.  We also need to continue to build up our commercial tax base so that we can lower the property taxes on Loudoun’s working families.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

The newly passed Comprehensive Plan focuses too much on the redevelopment of Eastern Loudoun into higher density uses.  The new plan calls for over 10,000 urban high-density apartments right in the heart of Ashburn.  This urbanization will completely change the character of Loudoun County, and continue the long slow march of the suburban ring of the metro DC area farther west into the TPA and the rural areas.  When Arlington and Fairfax urbanized their suburbs it just pushed more development farther west.  We need to learn from the experiences of our neighbors to the east and plan new development in a way that does not destroy the current quality of life that we enjoy.


Michael R. “Mike” Turner (D)
Age: Not given
Occupation: National nonprofit executive
Residence: Lansdowne Woods
MikeTurnerForAshburn.com

Why are you running and what are your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

 I entered the U.S. Air Force Academy at 17 and have been in public service my entire adult life. I retired from the Air Force in 1997, and since then have helped lead six different national nonprofit organizations. I am currently a senior nonprofit executive in an organization serving military and veteran families. I believe elected office, if sought and held for the right reasons, is one of the highest forms of public service in our democracy. More than at any time in my adult life, I feel strongly each of us has an obligation to do what we can, where we are with what we have to make government work again. Though the Ashburn District Supervisor position is part-time, I will leave my current job and serve as a full-time Supervisor, if elected.

My top three priorities as the newly elected Ashburn District Supervisor will be:

We must get the zoning right as we implement the vision of the new comprehensive plan, a plan designed to limit and control growth. The zoning ordinance is critical to that strategy. This zoning effort and the next several 5-yr. plan updates will likely determine the size and shape of Loudoun County permanently. To ensure the new ordinance reflects the desires of Loudoun County families, I plan to hold monthly town hall meetings as soon as I take office to hear constituent inputs, work with and talk to the people the new zoning will most impact, and provide my fellow board members, whom I plan to invite, my constituents’ perspectives on both district and countywide issues.

A significant portion of our middle-income workforce in Loudoun County—our teachers and our first responders, for example—can’t afford to live here. We must solve the unmet housing needs issue. I don’t believe our current mechanisms to create affordable housing choices are adequate for our immediate and future needs. The new Unmet Housing Need Strategic Plan is a good step, but that team must tackle their task with a real sense of urgency. I will attend all public input sessions and planning sessions to ensure the ordinance aligns precisely with the comprehensive plan. 

We must put a serious effort and serious funding into developing a true multi-modal transportation system. I believe connecting our county’s bike and pedestrian trails to our green spaces, our re-imagined community centers and the new Metro stations will not only reduce traffic congestion, it should also create a greater sense of community for our families. I have already met with Bike Loudoun to discuss, at length, the Emerald Ribbon Trail project to connect our county’s bike and pedestrian trails, and I’ve actually ridden many of those trails to get a firsthand sense of the scope of the project. One of my first 100-day goals is to finalize a map of the Emerald Ribbon Trail to enable us to gain a sense of the challenges we face.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

My top budget priority is to continue the progress we’ve made providing the right amount of funding for our schools. From 2011-2015, the last board underfunded our schools by $95 million resulting in the loss of middle school deans and after school buses. From 2015-2019, under Chair Phyllis Randall’s leadership, this board has funded the county school budget sufficiently to restore both of those programs, expand full-day kindergarten from 11 percent of our schools to 100 percent, all while lowering taxes. Protecting and continuing this progress is of paramount importance.

I will also make it a priority to create a truly multi-model transportation network and provide our citizens non-automobile transportation options. I believe much can be done in this regard through innovative public/private partnerships and perhaps even corporate philanthropic sponsorships to fund a robust trail system throughout the county.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

I fully support the 2019 Loudoun County Comprehensive Plan, a plan to limit growth and constrain it to specific, narrowly zoned areas around our new transportation hubs while protecting established communities like Ashburn and Lansdowne. The plan was approved by an 8-to-1 majority, including every Republican.

This plan protects the Transition Policy Area and the Rural Policy Area to the immediate west of Ashburn District thereby protecting the improvements we’ve made to Ashburn’s east/west transportation corridors. Moreover, the incorporation of tools to permanently remove Rural Policy Area land from development such as conservation easements, Purchase of Development Rights (PDRs) and Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs) will serve to strengthen the plan. 

Our new zoning ordinance should encourage exciting, new projects such as the $90 million Ashburn Community Center now planned for the land immediately adjacent to Clyde’s off Broadlands Blvd. Connected bike and pedestrian trails, screened setbacks for our mixed-use retail centers and insistence that neighborhood infrastructure like roads, schools and public safety facilities precede residential development must all be top priorities. I will actively seek out key stakeholders in our community throughout the zoning ordinance development process to ensure all community voices are heard.


Blue Ridge District

Tony R. Buffington (R)*
Age: 42
Occupation: Capitol Police
Residence: Purcellville
VoteTonyBuffington.com

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

I’m running to further current progress of reducing traffic congestion; ensuring safe and quality schools; preserving western Loudoun; ensuring more parks, trails and recreational opportunities; and supporting an even stronger economy so that we can continue to provide greater services to our residents while consistently lowering their tax rate and improving their quality of life. I will accomplish these priorities as I have this term through continued close coordination with my colleagues and the community in order to keep delivering real results for my district and Loudoun County as a whole. People want leaders who deliver on what they say, and I’ve done so. I’ve added more transportation improvement projects for my district than all other districts combined. I helped increase the school budget by 30% thus ensuring 100% full day kindergarten, increased teacher pay, and higher quality schools. I helped fund every LCPS school safety enhancement request and have called for the addition of Sheriff’s Deputy School Resource Officers in our elementary schools since 2018. I led a successful effort to maintain all previous protections and add new protections for rural Loudoun as part of the Comprehensive Plan update process, thus becoming the strongest Board member advocate for the preservation of western Loudoun. I helped approve Loudoun’s new vision for a countywide system of interconnected trails, and I’ve led several successful efforts to purchase land for use as future public parks. I help ensure full funding for the new Hal & Bernie Hanson Regional Park, and worked with Loudoun Water to ensure approval of the future public use park at Beaverdam Reservoir. I worked with the Town of Round Hill and the Round Hill HOA to help open Sleeter Lake Park to public use. I gained approval for addition of the first ever western Loudoun Recreation Center to the County’s six-year planning and funding document. I brought forward and gained approval for a new Conservation Easement Assistance program to help land owners permanently protect their properties. I helped stop the effort to build a data-center on top of Short Hill Mountain. I led the effort to find a better location outside of the Village of Aldie for construction of the new Aldie Fire Station, thus preventing unnecessary demolition of historic buildings, and maintaining the unique character of the Village. I prevented 14,000 new homes and hundreds of acres of new data-centers from being approved in the Transition Policy Area, while also managing to reduce the number of recommended new homes in the Suburban Policy Area near the communities of Brambleton, Loudoun Valley Estates and Willowsford. I supported economic policies that have resulted in over 17,000 new local jobs, almost $18 billion in new private economic investment, the highest average median income in America, one of the lowest unemployment rates in America, $5.3 billion in tourism generated revenue with year over year growth in excess of Virginia’s average, one of the strongest rural economies in the state, and our ability to lower the residential tax rate by 9 cents, while increasing county services to residents and businesses. All of this and much more has resulted in an improved quality of life for residents which I’m eager to further improve over the next four years.

What are your priorities for the next budget? 

To continue investing heavily in transportation network improvements to reduce traffic and improve your quality of life – while localities do not normally fund road improvements, Loudoun is heavily invested with over $1.2 billion in programmed road improvements in the next six years; to properly fund our school system for increased teacher pay, enhanced quality, and improved safety to include the addition of Sheriff’s Deputy School Resource Officers in our elementary schools; to properly fund our Sheriff’s Office and Fire & Rescue first responders so they can continue to keep us safe; to sufficiently fund county departments for an improved level of service to residents and businesses; to better fund our newly established Conservation Easement Assistance Program in order to accelerate land preservation efforts; to begin funding public/private partnership efforts for broadband expansion; to improve non-profit funding levels to organizations that provide essential services to residents that the County would otherwise have to provide if not for these organizations; to fund the now planned Western Loudoun Recreation Center and other public parks and trail initiatives; and to leverage our growing economy to further reduce taxes for our residents. While there are many more, these are some of my top priorities.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

The new Comprehensive Plan could never completely fulfill the desires of all parties; however, it is a reasonable visionary document that ensures transportation improvements, supports our desire for strong schools, preserves western Loudoun, prioritizes public trails, parks and recreational opportunities, recognizes the need for attainable housing, and supports our strong economy. My zoning ordinance overhaul priorities will be to ensure that the Board approves zoning ordinance law that properly protects western Loudoun’s rural, historic and scenic character; reduces or eliminates cluster zoning in the Rural Policy Area; supports the use of permanent land preservation tools; protects prime agricultural soils; strengthens our strong economy; solidifies development law that will result in construction of a sufficient stock of new housing that is actually financially attainable so that more of our workforce can afford to live here; supports proper use and development of the new Urban Policy Area around Metro; and supports continued improvement of a strong multi-modal transportation network. It is imperative that this process be done right so that Loudoun continues to remain one of the best places in America to Live, Learn, Work, Play, and Raise a family.


Tia L. Walbridge (D)
Age: 39
Occupation: Sheep farmer and small business owner
Residence: Round Hill
Tia4VA.com

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

So many of the policies that most directly impact our day-to-day lives are decided by the Loudoun Board of Supervisors — issues like fully funding our schools, reducing traffic congestion, building cohesive communities, and preserving our farmlands and green spaces. The issues that matter most to our community all stem from our county’s reactive response to a break-neck rate of growth: When we approve new housing without planning for the impact on existing neighborhoods, we end up with overcrowded schools, dangerous, congested roads, and a threatened rural economy. 

We need to elect representatives who understand that tighter, properly-enforced zoning brings developers to the table so our roads, schools, and infrastructure grow as we do.

I’m running for the Board of Supervisors because it’s time our local representatives start leading with a long-term vision for our county and collaborating to bridge partisan and rural-suburban divides. My boots-on-the-ground experience, in-depth policy knowledge, and ability to build coalitions make me the best candidate for the job.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

We must fully fund our schools every year, not just when it’s politically convenient, so that our kids continue to receive a world-class education and our teachers are paid a living wage. All of our county employees deserve competitive salaries and benefits, so that we retain the best employees and allow our county workers the ability to live in the county they’ve dedicated their careers to enriching. It is wrong to tout the high quality of our county’s public services while simultaneously cutting their budgets and underpaying and overworking the employees who provide those services, as we have for years. 

We must also put teeth behind conservation programs by allocating to them a proper budget and staff to oversee them. We need to implement a Purchase of Development Rights program and fix our Conservation Easement Assistance program by lowering the extremely high barriers to entry so that it is actually accessible to those who need it most.

That’s why I’ve proposed our county establish a Natural Resources Department that focuses on conservation and preservation, restoration, and sustainable development programs and practices. The department would reorganize a number of existing offices within General Services, Zoning, Building and Development, and Parks and Recreation to maximize government efficiency, reduce wasteful spending, and put teeth behind environmental policies and programs by housing them within a specific department and assigning staff to implement and manage them. Our county is behind when it comes to environmental sustainability — it’s time for us to take the lead in Virginia.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

The new comprehensive plan was never going to please everyone. The county is large, the stakes are high, and the competing interests are intense and many. But there are some things that aren’t controversial, some things that benefit the whole county and just make sense, no matter which way you look at them. And they weren’t included in the plan.

Two programs that are part of the gold standard of conservation, used throughout the state and the country, should have been included in this plan but were not: a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program and a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program. I am extremely disappointed in our western supervisors’ lack of initiative and knowledge when it comes to advocating for these policies, which should have been included from the outset of the Envision Loudoun process over two years ago. 

TDRs allow the county to transfer credits for development from rural areas to more developed areas, protecting our green spaces and active agriculture, which provide $1.7 billion in economic impact to our county annually and keep property taxes low for all of us, from Bluemont to Sterling. The PDR program benefits from cost-matching from the state, so not only are we failing to protect our rural lands by choosing not to make use of this program, but we are also leaving real money on the table.

The new Comprehensive Plan has laid out a general outline for future growth in our county. It is the job of the incoming Board of Supervisors to establish zoning that adheres to our vision of a balanced Loudoun County. We must tighten our zoning to encourage development around mass transit while focusing on preserving open space in both the Transition and Rural Policy Areas.


Broad Run District

James G. “Jim” Bonfils (R)
Age: Not given
Occupation: IT sales executive
Residence: Broadlands
JimBonfils.org

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

I’m running because I believe in the value of public service and what I can contribute to the betterment of Loudoun County.

My wife Terri and I have lived in Loudoun for 30 years, we’ve raised our children here, and I have more than 20 years of demonstrated leadership in local government and community–based organizations, including fiscal, management, and policy experience doing good things for Loudoun, especially our youth. I’m a former member of the Board of Supervisors, a current board member of Loudoun Water, a founding member and Loudoun Youth, Inc., and have served on the boards of many other local non-profits.  I bring a unique record of accomplishment in public service, along with the skills and passion to be an effective Supervisor.

I am fully supportive of a robust and diverse local economic and strong commercial tax base, as well as fiscal policies that keep property taxes down. My personal priorities for the next board are in the areas of transportation, schools, public safety, and parks, field and trails.

Transportation. Loudoun needs to play the central role in keeping Greenway Tolls down, not allow the General Assembly in Richmond to continue to dictate this, and I will insist on a new paradigm that includes distance-priced tolls to keep the total cost down and ensure that commuters only pay for the miles they drive. We also need to continue to build east/west alternatives to the Greenway, improve the road network in eastern Loudoun, and prepare better for the arrival of Metro and its integration with our bus system and traffic patterns.

Schools and Public Safety.  Loudoun is the safest jurisdiction in the metro area, but we can do even more. It starts in our schools, where bullying, discipline and mental health issues pose serious risks for our children and the community. The next board needs to not only fully fund our academic requirements and ensure that our teachers are fairly paid, but also initiate funding to put a full-time School Resource Officer (SRO) in every public school, to further harden our school buildings, and to fund programs that offer positive opportunities for our young people.

I am proud to be endorsed by Sheriff Mike Chapman as well as the Loudoun Education Association PAC (LEA) and the educators of Loudoun Inspire.

Parks, Fields and Trails. No one in Loudoun has been more committed to building and maintaining our parks, athletic fields, bike paths and walking trials. I have spent 20 years leading these efforts and will continue to do so as a member of the board. We should be doing more to connect our communities, encourage walking and biking, and provide well maintained parks and fields for recreation, and I will seek consensus from the next board to make this a high priority.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

My budget priorities mirror my priorities generally – transportation, schools, public safety and mental health, and providing more and better recreational amenities, parks, trails and bike paths for the benefit of our youth and adults.

The budget process, like Loudoun itself, works best when there is balance, and the next board must be committed to advancing the interests of everyone in Loudoun in a balanced way, and not pit east against west or one budget constituency against another. My experience is as a consensus builder, whether at Loudoun Water, Loudoun Youth, Inc., the Boy Scouts, or any other community service organization where I’ve served in a leadership role. That’s what I will bring to the next board and the annual budgeting process specifically.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

The process for adoption of the new Comprehensive Plan was flawed from the outset, and the results are not nearly as comprehensive as they should have been. I would’ve insisted that the board develop a clear leadership vision, plan and timetable for getting the plan done. Instead there were a lot of moving parts, a lot of well-intentioned input, and a process that allowed a stakeholder input group to be rudderless for more than two years, a Planning Commission to overturn that group’s recommendations, and a board that ultimately opted to avoid as much controversy as possible by approving a plan in the middle of an election year with as few changes as possible.

Specifically, the board should’ve used the processto start developing a real housing strategy – one that allows Loudoun to grow but does not pack all growth into congested areas of eastern Loudoun, and one that addresses housing costs that are driving more and more people out of the county and preventing us from attracting more young people to live here.

I support a complete retooling of how we balance economic growth, fiscal impact, and housing to ensure the best possible quality of life for our citizens – including the number, type and location of new housing units. The planning models we’ve been using are unsatisfactory predictors of what will happen to Loudoun over the next 20 years, where we ought to go, and what is a credible aspiration. Our models need to be better linked to vision and policy. More than anything else, the next board needs to include members who understand planning, zoning, housing and finance.  I do, thanks to my previous service on the board, as a board member of Loudoun Water, and through my leadership of non-profit agencies, whereas my opponent has none of this knowledge or experience.  Moreover, we need a more leadership-driven, efficient and productive approach to overhaul the rezoning ordinance than was the case with revising the county’s comprehensive plan – and to ensure that housing is seriously addressed.


Sylvia Russell Glass (D)
Age: 54
Occupation: Special education teacher
Residence: Ashburn Village
SylviaGlass2019.com

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

I am a fifth generation Virginian raised in Woodbridge, Virginia. I have been involved in the Loudoun County Broad Run community for nearly two decades as a teacher, community advocate, and mother, and I love living here. Yet through this involvement, I have seen first-hand the development of pressing issues in the community, including the lack of a transportation system that matches our community growth, the lack of resources in the public school system, and the lack of affordable housing in the County. I came to believe that I could help make the changes needed as a Supervisor.

My family has been deeply involved in social justice movements for many years. My father, the Rev. James P. Russell, Sr., was president of the Prince William County NAACP and ran for a Board of Supervisors seat in Prince William County in the 1960’s and 70’s. My four older siblings integrated the Prince William County Public Schools. Furthermore, I am also the grandniece of Bessie Smith, the Empress of Blues, who sang of her love of men and women in the 1920-1930s. This upbringing taught me to believe in social justice advocacy, volunteerism, and public service, all of which contributed to my decision to seek the office of Broad Run Supervisor.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

The priorities for the term are transportation infrastructure, fully funding schools, and increasing workforce housing.

Transportation infrastructure. I seek to develop policies that will provide a user- friendly, multi-modal public transportation solution that will ensure a smooth integration of our coming Silver Line Metro stations and reduce travel times across transportation modes. Thus, I would:

  • Expand, connect, and better maintain our roadways to reduce their great congestion
  • Ensure the Shellhorn extension between Loudoun County Parkway and Moran Road is completed to offer a free alternative to the Greenway Toll Road
  • Develop, expand, and connect our mass transit infrastructure, including our three bus systems so that we have a fully-functioning, unified system
  • Address the lack of mass transit accessibility so that it is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Incentivize the use of public transportation
  • Connect and expand our existing sidewalks, pathways, bike paths, and walking trails, while making them all safer, as well as create new bike lanes in roadways that can bear them.

I am a special education teacher and I have raised my four boys within our great Loudoun County Public Schools. But issues like overcrowding, equity, lack of resources and staffing, the need for mental health professionals, and more support for students with disabilities within the school system are some of the largest issues faced by schools in our area. As an educator and a parent, I know that the demands of the education system can be met more readily by fully funding our school system. I will fight for our schools by fully funding every year, and not just every 4 years in a local election, in order to increase teacher and staff salaries, provide additional resources in the classrooms and provide services to students in need.

This begins with a more cohesive relationship with the School Board. Both Boards are elected and should respect and trust each other to meet the same goal, the best education for our children. Given my background, I am well positioned to facilitate these relationships.

 As an educator in the Loudoun County School System, I’ve seen the need for workforce housing first-hand with co-workers, families, and friends. I believe that county employees, such as our first responders and teachers, should be able to live in the area they work. Retired seniors should be free to age in place without fear of having to move due to the rising cost of housing. Single-earner families should be financially capable of residing in this district. I will work with developers within small area plans to ensure that county employees, seniors, and single- income earners have ample affordable housing options within Broad Run.

I would take a multi-pronged approach to the problem by working:

  • With developers, contractors, and planning professionals to ensure that more units smaller than the County’s 3,500 sq. ft. average size, including apartments, condos, flats, townhouses, two-over-twos, mother-in-law units and multifamily accessory dwelling units are built
  • To increase the number of mixed-use developments
  • To facilitate more partnerships among the public, private, and non-profit sectors, by bringing developers and local stakeholders to the table so that we might put forth a coordinated effort
  • To increase funding for the Housing Trust Fund
  • To increase funding for Rental Assistance Program Fund
  • To raise the income eligibility requirements of the Affordable Dwelling Unit Program to reduce the current level of middle-class workers who are shut out of the Program
  • To help cover the overall bottom-line of developers of affordable units by increasing their tax-base
  • To provide financial education programs for low-to-middle income families.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

Loudoun County has incurred tremendous growth from the last decade and a half since the last review of the Comprehensive Plan. I believe the Board of Supervisors made a great effort to update the Comprehensive Plan for our county. I believe we need to move all design standards out of the comprehensive plans and into to the zoning document. This will help direct a Zoning Ordinance that reflects the vision of the Comprehensive Plan, In the Zoning Ordinance, I will want to ensure that our highest density is placed in the metro district and a diversity of housing is required. I would want to see parks, bike paths, and sidewalks encouraged in new developments so that those missing links throughout the Broad Run District and the County can be connected. Protections for our watersheds, trees, and environment are also incredibly relevant, now more than ever. While those are my priorities, there will be community meetings throughout the process, and I will want to know the residents’ thoughts on what our focus should be as the County continues through the process.


Catoctin District

Forest Hayes
Age: Over 45
Occupation: DC government
Residence: Waterford
ForestHayes.com

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

I decided to run for Supervisor because the Catoctin District is experiencing the stress of old policies, lack of innovative leadership, and energy. Our rural landscape and agrarian culture is diminishing before our eyes.  Catoctin’s small Western elementary schools, which are the center of our community, are underfunded, and consistently under threat of being closed. Western Loudoun County does not have universal broadband, which our businesses need to be competitive and our children need to ensure they thrive in world class schools.  Aggressive property tax programs that assess insignificant farm structures, as small as a shed, are draining the lifeblood of our district. There is a better way! We must move forward together because we cannot afford another four years of stagnation, at best, or regression at worst.  Our community deserves better than an uncertain future and I’ve decided to take the next step—not just to serve, but to lead.  Now more than ever, local governments must step up to provide essential services to our citizens. Loudoun County is changing rapidly, and we must ensure government changes to meet the challenge.  

I have dedicated my life to public service. Over the past two decades, I have served mayors and Members of Congress helping them to strengthen communities. Now, I hope to serve my own community.  Over the past 12 months, I have met with many of my Catoctin friends and neighbors and I am convinced that we must all work together to make Catoctin more resilient and to realize the quality of life we all deserve.  If elected, my first term will be dedicated to providing lasting solutions to three hyper local issues:  Improvements to Route 15, Reduced Density and Land Preservation, and Public School Safety & Modernization.

Fix Route 15

Catoctin is demanding safer roads, especially Route 15. If elected, my first act will be to install shoulders, up to the bridge, so that our law-enforcement and emergency medical teams can safely provide services. Next, I promise to expedite the already-approved Phase 1 Plan for Route 15 and finally break ground in 2020. Last, I will put “fresh eyes” on the Phase 2 plan and announce a citizen and stakeholder endorsed long-term solution within 100 days. 

While Route 15 safety and congestion is the most pressing issue in Catoctin, it is also important to solve for the root issue of interstate commerce between Maryland and Northern Virginia.  As a result, I will diligently investigate alternative river crossings which may prove more suitable for interstate traffic within the Baltimore-Richmond Corridor. 

Reduced Density and Land Preservation

I will demand that the county’s Conservation Easement Program be fully funded for eligible landowners, based on financial need. I will amend the 2040 Comprehensive Plan to include the Transfer of Development Rights Program (TDR) and restrict the receiving district to the newly created Metro taxing footprint. To discourage additional density in the West, I will encourage workforce housing and mixed-use development near the Metro stations.   I will call for a temporary pause on home building and the issue of building permits west of Route 15 until a new land-use/planning policy is created which truly balances growth and protects Catoctin’s rural community. For example, some of our zoning ordinances need to be changed to reduce the amount of by-right housing that can be built in Catoctin.  Catoctin is full.  We have to first protect the quality of life of existing Catoctin residents before allowing newcomers.

Public School Safety & Modernization

My children attend Loudoun County Public Schools. As a result, I have skin in the game.  I will not stand by while our kids are forced to learn in outdated buildings, crowded classrooms, unsafe trailers, and unsecured facilities.

I will resist any attempts to close the small schools in our towns and villages. Instead, I propose to monetize the roof tops of our schools and public buildings by establishing an Antenna Leasing Program and leasing the rights to the infrastructure to major telecommunications carriers.  The program would generate revenue to fund small school expansion and modernization, and any other security needs, while providing wireless broadband (WiFi) to the schools and surrounding communities, with no cost to the taxpayers. To be clear, this is a self-funded program that will generated revenue to pay for itself – taxpayers will not bear the burden –  and the program will likely have revenue left over to offset the costs of other county programs. I have done this before and generated over $5M a year in nontax revenue for another city.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

The fiscal year 2021 budget will likely represent another year of growth in Loudoun.  Almost certainly the population along with the county government’s tax rolls and size will increase.  If elected, my first budget priority would be to modestly improve upon the FY 2020 four-cent real estate tax rate cut, to $1.045 per $100 of assessed value and get equalized rate down to just below $1.00 per $100 of assessed value for the first time since FY 2008.  I would support and encourage our economic development team to identify new sources of tax revenue to off-set the cost of the tax cut.   In terms of spending, I would add my name to the list of champions who have called for a budget line item for the Emerald Ribbons which would begin connecting Loudoun County through a network of trails and sidewalks.  Next, I would lead the effort to identify and approve a dedicated revenue source to fund the Housing Production Trust Fund. However, I am also interested in exploring private and non-traditional funding sources like tax increment financing (TIF) districts which do not create an additional tax burden for our friends and neighbors.  Last, we must prioritize completing the third phase of the Compensation and Class Study which would allow Loudoun County to increase staffing levels and pay up to the level of neighboring jurisdictions across the region and in balance with the County’s overall growth. We must appropriately compensate and provide workforce housing for our county government employees, teachers, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies. 

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

2040 Comprehensive Plan – Critique 

In a statement to the Board of Supervisors, I highlighted my desire restrict greater density to Metro taxing districts that were meant for that purpose, rather than encroaching upon residents that have chosen a rural existence.   I asked, “Why are we spreading outwards, when we can be spreading upwards?”  While the approved Comprehensive Plan is a marked improvement over the original plan, it is still not an example of smart growth.  There is no balance.  The plan calls for a significant increase in the county’s population with no consideration of the corresponding services and cost that it would require.  There is no accounting for additional schools, teachers, fire trucks, firefighters, libraries, hospitals, road improvements, and so on.  We are already paying too many taxes while our teachers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers are stretched thin and are underpaid. 

If elected, I will demand that the county’s Conservation Easement Program be fully funded for eligible landowners, based on financial need. I will amend the 2040 Comprehensive Plan to include the Transfer of Development Rights Program (TDR). Specifically, I would include the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program as a tool the county could use to preserve open spaces and manage density.  The transfer or sale of development rights would offer rural landowners and Farmers additional opportunities to maximize the financial benefit of protecting undeveloped open space.  Unlike a Purchase of Development Rights program, which would be dependent upon the county-identified funding source, TDRs create a private marketplace for development rights where any developer can pay the rural landowner directly for their development rights and then take those rights to an area suitable for development.   In my vision, TDRs can allow for the severance of development rights from a “sending” property in a rural area and the transfer of such rights to a designated “receiving” property in a more urban area.  My recommendation is that the county provide for sending properties in Catoctin to transfer the rights/density to designated receiving sites located in the newly created Metro taxing footprints.  The areas around the Metro stations are already targeted for growth and are designed to be more densely populated; these areas would offer access to existing public utilities and amenities.  We can have smart growth while growing our tax base and protecting our open spaces.

To discourage additional density in the West, I will call for a temporary pause on home building and the issue of building permits west of Route 15 until a new land-use/planning policy is created which truly balances growth and protects Catoctin’s rural community. For example, some of our zoning ordinances need to be changed to reduce the amount of by-right housing that can be built in Catoctin.  Catoctin is full.  We have to first protect the quality of life of existing Catoctin residents before allowing newcomers.

Zoning

My highest priority as it relates to potential zoning amendments is addressing the fact that western Catoctin is currently zoned as AR-1 (Agricultural-Residential District) which allows a developer who elects to use a Cluster type subdivision to achieve a base density of 1 house per 5 acres of land to accommodate individuals who desire a rural or estate type living environment and to curtail suburban style development in areas which lack facilities.  However, Middleburg in the Blue Ridge District is zoned AR-2 which allows developers who choose to Cluster a base density of 1 house per 15 acres of land.  That is not fair and it has cost the county 67 Square miles of farm land.  All of western Loudoun County should be zoned the same – AR-2.  A successful adjustment to the zoning in the west would save the taxpayer money and help protect against sprawl.

I will not stand for more careless development and the loss of our farmland. I need your support to help me keep rural Loudoun as rural and as beautiful a place as it is now, for years to come.

 

Caleb A. Kershner (R)
Age: 43
Occupation: Attorney
Residence: Hamilton
CalebforCatoctin.com

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

My objective as supervisor is to improve your quality of life. World-class schools, rural preservation, broadband, safer and shorter commutes, more time with your family and more money in your pocket are obtainable objectives that I will work overtime to achieve.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

Making sure our teachers and schools receive the resources they need, that our real estate taxes are not increased and that long over-due road projects get the necessary funding will be my top budget priorities.

World class education requires great schools; Great schools require great teachers; And great teachers in Loudoun requires competitive salaries. To compete and prepare our children for the 21st century, we must bring the necessary resources to our schools. As supervisor, I will fight to make sure our school dollars are targeted toward paying teachers and to those resources that actually prepare our kids to compete in the marketplace. 

Broadband for everyone—including those in western Loudoun—is a top budget and education priority. I will support the spending to implement the Western Loudoun Telecommunications Initiative and seek to bring new pilot wireless technology like AT&T AirGig & Microsoft Airband initiatives to rural Loudoun. Excellent internet access throughout Loudoun will allow our public schools, private schools and home schools to thrive in a digital world and increase our public safety.

Small schools must be kept open. I will oppose any budget that seeks to eliminate these schools. Not only are they paid for, but students are thriving in them. I support these smaller class rooms and buildings that bring communities together for activities and learning.

Bringing Safer and Shorter commutes to Catoctin residents is an equally important budget priority.  Residents of Lovettsville, Lucketts, Hamilton and Waterford commuters navigate poorly maintained country roads and then fight congestion on Rt. 15; delays at the intersection of Rt. 287/Rt. 9; and backups on Rt. 7. Besides fighting gruesome traffic, many Western Loudoun commuters are forced to pay $20 per day in tolls. As a Board, we must stand for the citizens of Loudoun and insist these rates be reasonable.

I will work to obtain federal, state and local funding to expedite road improvements already slated or in the pipeline and vigorously oppose rate hikes and runaway toll costs. I have addressed the Board on the proposed Rt. 15 improvements; spent hours with the engineers on the proposed roundabout at Rt. 9 and Rt. 287 and given public comment to the Virginia Secretary of Transportation on the dismal $1.6 million smart scale funding granted to Loudoun County.

Transportation is central to our quality of life. Just 15 minutes each way each day equals 2.5 hours per week and 130 hours per year. Ask yourself, residents of Catoctin, what could you do with that extra time?

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

The Comprehensive Plan was rushed, far overdue, and largely staff driven with little chance for the supervisors to put their imprint on the plan. Going forward, I would review and update the Comprehensive Plan at least every 5 years as required by law. Loudoun’s last Comp plan was updated nearly 20 years ago. This most recent process was difficult and frustrating.  I propose we review one policy area every year on a rotating basis—so each policy area gets reviewed in a  5 year period. This will allow the BOS to make timely changes to the policy area under review to meet the changing needs of the county and make small adjustments rather than large sweeping changes.

The Board will revise many areas of the zoning ordinance changed by the new Comprehensive Plan. First, we must fix the unintended consequences to clustering in the rural policy area. We must find a way to make sure future usable farmland is saved and that zoning rules are geared to not only saving open space but preserving quality farmland.

Furthermore, I will stand strong on keeping data centers out of the Transition Policy area. Any zoning change cannot include a change in the comp plans clear directive to keep the TPA a buffer between Suburban and Rural policy.

I am further interested in the urban policy area that recommends high density. Current zoning density is not set up to deal with the new urban policy district. I will be very interested to see, for example, if staff recommends minimum density requirements or not. Overall, I will look to see if zoning changes meet the overall look that our citizens are looking for and that it serves this county far into the future.

 

Sam R. Kroiz (I)
Age: 36
Occupation: Farmer
Residence: Georges Mill Farm, near Lovettsville
SamForSupervisor.com

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

I’m running for Catoctin Supervisor to keep rural Loudoun rural. Everybody says that’s what they want, but both parties have been doing a poor job of making it happen. We are losing rural Loudoun with the status quo. Loudoun lost 10% of it’s farmland from 2012-17, an increase from the previous 5yr period. Instead of doing something about it, both parties came together in bipartisan fashion to make matters worse by moving the Rural/Transition Area boundary for the first time since there has been a boundary.

My first priority for keeping rural Loudoun rural is maintaining the Urban, Suburban, Transition, and Rural Area boundaries. Both parties spin their recent decision to move the Rural/Transition Area boundary with a rationale we can expect to hear again soon: it’s just a little bit, it’s next to x, y, and z, and it’s not that rural anyway. The Board of Supervisors has to say no to moving area boundaries in the future, but I don’t know why anyone would expect current members of the Board and candidates aligned with them to stand firm and stop future boundary adjustments when they just voted for, or could not stop, the one that just happened. We are losing rural Loudoun with business as usual and we need to do something different.

My second priority for keeping rural Loudoun rural is using every tool available to preserve farmland and keep farmers farming. There are a variety of programs currently being put to good use in many neighboring counties. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, we just have to find the political will to use the programs currently available to us. For many of these programs, we are leaving considerable amounts of state and federal money on the table that we could be using to protect farmers and farmland. I plan to pursue whichever programs the newly elected Board finds most palatable, starting wherever we can and building as we all realize the tremendous benefits of keeping farms in productive agriculture versus housing developments.

I want to keep rural Loudoun rural because that’s what the overwhelming majority of Loudoun citizen’s want, and because I can’t operate my farm surrounded by suburbia, but I also don’t want to increase housing density anywhere in the County. The number of houses in Loudoun is growing at 2-3 times the regional average and we are suffering the consequences like high taxes, traffic, and overcrowded schools. Everybody realizes this except for our elected leaders and the developers who often bankroll their campaigns. In survey after survey, and recently in the Comp Plan Review public input, the overwhelming majority of citizens complain about the pain of our insane growth rate and ask their leaders to control housing growth. Instead, both parties came together to increase housing density. It is time for Loudoun’s citizens to say enough is enough and demand that our leaders stop making our problems worse by allowing ever more houses.

As an Independent Supervisor without any developer donors, as well as a multi-generational Loudoun farmer whose livelihood and family’s way-of-life depend on rural Loudoun staying rural, I will be uniquely able to unite citizens and other Supervisors across parties to keep rural Loudoun rural and stop increasing housing density anywhere in Loudoun. The fact is that each house in Loudoun receives $1.60 in services for every $1 it pays in taxes. That’s why our taxes are so high, yet we still don’t have enough money for schools, roads, and other services. The political mix on the Board next term is up in the air right now, but I’ll be able to get traction with whoever gets elected by arguing for the incredible cost avoidance of reducing our growth rate.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

Loudoun is growing too fast. New houses cost far more in services than they pay in taxes. Our budget choices are tough now, but will get much worse if we allow suburban development to spread to the Transition and Rural Areas. I will work to get our housing growth rate closer to the regional average, which in the long term will improve our budget situation and allow for lower taxes, traffic relief, more school funding, etc. In the short term, I will serve and responsibly balance my constituents’ priorities on the budget. I won’t raise taxes to fully fund whatever budget the school superintendent asks for, but I also won’t lower taxes on the backs of schoolchildren or commuters suffering through nightmare traffic and high tolls. This won’t be easy, but it will get easier as we make progress toward improving our long term budgetary situation by reducing our housing growth rate.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

Citizens across Loudoun overwhelmingly supported maintaining Suburban, Transition, and Rural Area boundaries and controlling our housing growth rate and were ignored throughout the Comp Plan Review process, most painfully at the end by the Board of Supervisors, who are our elected representatives and are supposed to serve our interests. This betrayal of the public interest is the reason I decided to run for Catoctin Supervisor. Hopefully voters in the Catoctin District and throughout Loudoun are as fed up as I am about getting consistently ignored by our elected leaders from both parties.

There are powerful development interests at work in Loudoun, and while it’s always true that things could have gone worse, those interests won the Comp Plan Review. The Zoning Ordinance Overhaul is even more convoluted and prone to abuse by special interests than the Comp Plan Review. That’s unfortunate because the Zoning Ordinance actually has all the rules and is where the rubber meets the road in terms of turning the Comp Plan into reality. I will work to limit the housing density increases in the new Comp Plan, but will need help convincing the other Supervisors to work with me. Nobody wants increased housing density in their neighborhood anywhere in Loudoun and folks need to be sure to let their Supervisors know what they want and that they are still paying attention. The Zoning Ordinance Overhaul, and generally protecting Loudoun citizens’ quality of life against special interests, will no doubt be a tough fight, but with the right leadership and an active and engaged citizenry we can fight for the future that we want and win.


Dulles District

Matthew F. Letourneau (R)*
Age: 39
Occupation: Managing Director of Communications, US Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute
Residence: Little River Commons, Chantilly
MattForSupervisor.com

Why are you running and what are your priorities for your term?  How do you concretely plan to accomplish this?

I have served 2 terms on the Board of Supervisors and have played a key role in moving Loudoun County forward on transportation, economic development, and internal operations. 

First, for the Dulles District, I have worked hard to ensure that we are no longer the forgotten part of the County.  Over the past 8 years I have delivered over $736 million in infrastructure improvements directly serving Dulles District residents. In addition, we have several major projects underway that will be difference makers, including widening Loudoun County Parkway, building Arcola and Northstar Boulevards, improving Braddock Road, and building a Route 50 northern collector road.  I’m running for reelection because I have the skill and experience to make sure that these projects get built. 

In particular, the Route 50 northern collector road has gone from a concept to part of the Countywide Transportation Plan.  This road will connect Tall Cedars Parkway to the Air Space Parkway interchange on Route 28, running parallel to route 50 on Dulles Airport property.  This will provide tremendous relief to Loudoun commuters, who today suffer at the Route 28/50 interchange and with traffic signals on Route 50 in Fairfax County.  Over the past 10 months, I have made considerable progress toward an agreement with the Airports Authority to use this land for the road. There’s still a lot of work to be done to put all the pieces together, but if reelected it will be one of my top priorities.

For the County as a whole, I believe that the top priority is spurring development along our Metro stations.  As Chairman of the Board’s Finance, Government Operations and Economic Development Committee, I have already worked closely with our Department of Economic Development to attract quality development in this area, but more must be done.  Our Committee is undertaking an analysis with the Economic Development Advisory Commission and with County staff to better understand other projects in the region, and the financial instruments like Tax Increment Financing that were used to help get them built.  In the next term, I will seek to advance these conversations to specific projects and developments.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

The Finance Committee has already begun working on the FY2021 budget.  The County is continuing to see revenue growth as a result of private sector investment, and the percentage of tax revenue coming from residential sources will continue to decrease in FY2021.  Over the past year, I have worked closely with staff to more accurately project budget revenue increases in light of higher than expected revenue from data centers. The Board of Supervisors has invested heavily in critical areas, adding over 200 positions in FY2020, with a particular focus on transportation, family services and parks and recreation.  For FY2021, we must fully fund the new classification and compensation system in the County.  Loudoun County government has been seeing high turnover rates and is having difficulty filling positions in part because our pay was not competitive with much of the region.  The Board of Supervisors has undertaken a major new process over the past 3 years to update our positions and our salaries to reflect our current needs and the market.  We have been carefully budgeting over the be able to afford these investments, and I want to make sure that continues.  Of course, we must also continue to fund Loudoun County Public Schools, public safety, and other priorities at the levels needed to maintain quality services and personnel.

On the capital budget side, the biggest challenge will be the continued rise in construction costs, land acquisition and other issues associated with capital projects.  This means that many projects already underway will require supplemental funding.  I work closely with staff during the budget process as Finance Chairman to try to keep projects on track and even accelerate the when we can. 

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

With so many competing interests and 9 different Supervisors, the Comprehensive Plan had to be a compromise, and it was.  It is easy to criticize individual decisions that were made along the way, but the Board’s 8-1 vote in favor of the plan reflects the fact that overall, it is a good product that reflects Loudoun’s realities and sets forth a vision for the future that maintains our rural character in the west while allowing for modern development in transit corridors.  In particular, the Board was selective with the areas of the County where growth can occur, and the plan is very much reflective of the Board’s desire to see less of the by-right sprawl we have seen in places like the Route 50 corridor in favor of more planned development near Metro stations. 

The zoning ordinance update is the next step to ensure that actual ordinances reflect the Board’s vision.  My priority is simply to ensure that the intent of the Comprehensive Plan is carried through with zoning.  The zoning ordinance should not be seen as an opportunity for the Board to re-litigate certain Comprehensive Plan issues—there’s a separate comprehensive plan amendment process for that. The Board will need to have discipline in this process to keep moving the update forward in a timely manner.  The current situation—with a new comprehensive plan but an old zoning ordinance—creates confusion and muddled guidance on land use. 

Sree R. Nagireddi (D)
Age: 49
Occupation: Small business owner
Residence: Loudoun Valley Estates II
SreeforDulles.com

Why are you running and what are your priorities for your term?  How do you concretely plan to accomplish this?

In the ten years that I have lived in Dulles, I have been a small business owner, a local real estate investor, a community activist, and most importantly, a father of two LCPS students. I have had the privilege of watching our district flourish with new industries and a booming housing market, but I have also witnessed the myriad issues that come along with such progress. As we move forward into the next term, the number one priority for Dulles—and even the Board of Supervisors as a whole—needs to be addressing this rapid growth. It presents before us a fantastic opportunity for economic and social development as well as the chance to serve as a model of success for the ongoing expansion of the Washington metro area. That is why our next steps are so important, and that is why I am running for Dulles District Supervisor.

My background is in civil and environmental engineering, so I know the importance of careful planning with regard to land use policy. Our current practice of building first and figuring out the community accommodation later is not sustainable; our roads and public works systems are years behind growth trends, and Dulles residents are paying the price. We need to set concrete guidelines that prioritize community development, not just big buildings, to be met before new projects move forward. Integrated commissions need to be transparent and inclusive to all relevant stakeholders, so that the public can play a more active role in their inception and hold the ultimate-decision makers accountable. 

In addition to smart, sustainable infrastructure and land use policy, I will make our families a priority by fighting to bolster our education system. The United States Census Bureau has repeatedly named Loudoun County the wealthiest in the nation, but our school system isn’t up to par with that ranking; in fact, it’s not even in the top 500. As a county that values a high quality of life and seeks to serve as an attractive location for tomorrow’s industries, it is our responsibility to give our children the education they deserve. That’s why I will commit to putting an end to the frequent school budget cuts, to paying our teachers a more competitive wage, and to expanding access for our gifted & talented and special needs students.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

My number one priority for the Board of Supervisors budget is fully funding our schools every year. The Republican majority within the current Board has voted to cut funding from the school budget by tens of thousands of dollars every year… except for election years. They have chosen to support our children only when politically convenient, and it is time that we put an end to this malfeasance. Our growing student population needs more financial support, not less, and there are no children who are not affected by these cuts. By reversing this trend and voting to fully fulfill the monetary needs of our school system, I will use my position on the Board of Supervisors to serve as an advocate for families in Dulles and across the county.

Our teachers deserve to feel as though they can adequately provide for themselves and their families, rather than spending time worrying about how to personally fund their classroom supplies when the county fails them. Additionally, although cuts to the school system restrict access to essential services for students across the entire academic spectrum, they disproportionately hurt our gifted and talented and special needs students the most. It’s time to stand up for our children and give Loudoun County Public Schools the financial attention they deserve

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

First of all, there is no arguing against the fact that the 2019 Comprehensive Plan was long overdue. Moving forward, the Board of Supervisors needs to prioritize updating Loudoun’s infrastructure and transportation goals as they come into vision, rather than scrambling to play catch-up after 18 years of stagnancy. While the vision put forward by the Comprehensive plan is certainly far from complete, it provides a solid foundation for the next steps in county development, specifically with regard to Loudoun’s housing needs. I support Comprehensive planning that serves as a guide for identifying land to be made available for residential, recreational, commercial, industrial, and other uses in order to promote more community-centered development.

The changing economic vision of the county is in large part a direct result of advancements in transportation and an evolved work environment that make Loudoun residency accessible to many for whom it would have been previously impossible. Consequently, the Comprehensive Plan and refocused zoning ordinances should seek to address this by planning ahead for many different types of residential and commercial needs. Zoning ordinances need to be frequently revisited to account for a rapidly-changing demographic scene. To allow tired policy trends to maintain their influence would be to restrict the progress that has thus far gotten us here and, frankly, would be a rebuke of realities of the modern economy.


Leesburg District

Kristen C. Umstattd (D)*
Age: 65

Occupation: Attorney-associate

Residence: Foxridge
KristenUmstattd.com

Most of the Leesburg residents I’ve talked with over the last 4 years have shared their thoughts that both the Town and the County have been growing too fast and we need to slow down and let our infrastructure (roads, schools, parks, etc.) catch up. To paraphrase a local resident, 20 years ago, it took 20 minutes to drive from Leesburg to Fairfax County. Now it takes 20 minutes to drive from one side of Leesburg to the other. The rapid growth undergone by Leesburg and Loudoun County has not been popular with most of the residents who have shared their thoughts with me. Given these are the thoughts of the people we represent, I believe we need to listen closely to their concerns and implement those concerns in our votes.  

  1. I will continue to work with my colleagues at the local, regional, state, and federal levels to continue the funding for Leesburg’s transportation priorities, including, but not limited to:
    1. the completion of the full interchange at Battlefield Parkway and East Market Street, so that the lights at Cardinal Park Drive and Battlefield Parkway can be removed and Leesburg commuters traveling Route 7 will have a less congested and free alternative to the Greenway and Dulles Toll Road; 
    2. the widening of Route 15 North from Battlefield Parkway and the Route 15 Bypass to Montresor Road, so that we can eliminate the afternoon backup in Leesburg that negatively impacts those who live in Potomac Crossing and Exeter and those who want to get to the stores and restaurants near Target, Costco, and Home Depot in the afternoon and evening.
    3. the continuation of funding for the County bus systems that benefit Leesburg residents and other County residents.
  2. I will continue to fully support our public school students, teachers, and educators, including counselors. We’ve made progress in offering full-day kindergarten, but we still face critical overcrowding issues in many of our schools. We need to provide the schools with the funding needed to address the inadequacy of our infrastructure. We also need to encourage the school system to ensure that every child has multiple opportunities to learn critical computer skills on a continuing basis in every school. There are tens of thousands of good-paying jobs available in our region for our graduates, but we need to give them the skills to compete successfully for those jobs.
  3. Along with overburdened roads and overcrowded schools, too-rapid growth is the related topic Leesburg residents say concerns them the most. I will continue to oppose development that puts a burden on our residential taxpayers. I will support commercial development that provides the County with a net positive revenue stream, because commercial development, especially the data center industry, provides far more in taxes than it requires in services. Without a strong commercial base, we will see the one thing I, and others, would like to avoid: an increase in residential and business taxes or a decrease in services. I will continue to carefully analyze every residential rezoning, to see whether it pays for itself. 

What are your priorities for the next budget?

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

I voted against the new Comprehensive Plan for three major reasons: 

1) It increased the amount of typical suburban-style residential growth allowed in the Transition Policy Area, while doing little if anything to divert more housing, including affordable housing, to the Urban Policy Area around the metro stations; 

2) It transferred two landbays out of the low density Rural Policy Area into the higher density Transition Policy Area south of Leesburg so that those landbays could be developed to add thousands of new housing units, without the school and road capacity to accommodate them; and 

3) It upended 20 years of planning and utilities infrastructure construction undertaken by the Town of Leesburg, in reliance on the County’s earlier comprehensive plans, putting all Leesburg ratepayers, both inside the Town, and in the Catoctin District outside the Town but on Town utilities, at risk for higher utility bills. This last action by the Board was taken hastily without any analysis and needs to be revisited. 

Should we accommodate more residential growth? According to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, in a report given to the Transportation Planning Board on October 16, 2019, over the last 20 years, 25% of all residential growth in the metropolitan region, including Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, occurred in Loudoun County, which is why Loudoun grew three times faster than the region as a whole. With that in mind, looking forward, one could say Loudoun has already done more than its fair share and should slow down. Or, those who are more supportive of residential rezonings could say that Loudoun County today constitutes 8% of the region’s population and should not be expected to accommodate more than 8% of the region’s growth, at most. Overall, I believe we should encourage the transfer of future growth from the Rural, Transition, and Suburban policy areas into the Urban Policy Area. The Council of Governments recommends that 75% of all future growth in the region should be around metro stations and other high capacity transit activity centers. Our new Comprehensive Plan should be updated to reflect that and our Zoning Ordinance should be designed to implement it.


Sterling District

Damien P. Katsirubas (R)
Age: 30
Occupation: Marketing
Residence: Sterling
SterlingForDamien.com

Candidate has not yet responded to Loudoun Now’s questionnaire.

Koran T. Saines (D)*
Age: 38
Occupation: Human Resources 
Residence: Sterling Park
KoranSaines.com

Why are you running and what your priorities for your term? How do you concretely plan to accomplish those?

Prior to 2015, Sterling was neglected and the health and wellbeing of our community was sidelined for partisan politics. Now, we’re seeing unprecedented growth and community involvement, and I want to continue to deliver services to the community I love and call home. I want to make sure long overdue projects like the new safety center and community center in Sterling are completed, and to make sure that the Sterling W&OD trial bridge is built by 2022.

What are your priorities for the next budget?

I support funding our schools, and have been a strong advocate for our education system on the Board of Supervisors. I’ve fought to improve teacher pay so we can recruit and retain the best teachers, and secured $166,000 to create after-school programs for Sterling Middle School. Another focal point will be the traffic issues we face in Loudoun. We need to make sure that Loudoun County residents can travel without being stuck in traffic by reducing congestion, and we need to update our transportation system and bring it into the 21st Century. Finally, I want to make sure that any Sterling projects in the CIP are moved through the system as soon as possible.

What is your assessment of the new comprehensive plan, and what are your priorities moving into the zoning ordinance overhaul?

I’m proud of the bipartisan Comprehensive plan we implemented this year. We made sure that members of the community had the opportunity to make their voice heard in the process, and that each party could come together for a plan that made sense in Loudoun. Making sure that Western Loudoun could stay rural and that Eastern Loudoun had smart, equitable growth was a top priority of my office and will continue to be a top priority of ours going forward.  In the implementation of the plan, we will make sure that there is proper oversight in both its implementation, and that no rights are infringed and that the community at large continues to have a seat at the table.

In the implementation of the plan, we will make sure that there is proper oversight in both its implementation, and that no rights are infringed and that the community at large continues to have a seat at the table. 

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