Dranesville District Planning Commissioner Joan DuBois, 61, a Republican who has worked for two Fairfax County supervisors, last week formalized what her colleagues have known for some time: she is running for the office of Dranesville District Supervisor.
She filed an organization of campaign for "Friends of Joan DuBois" Dec. 6 after Democrat John Foust stepped down as McLean Citizens Association president to run for the same office. That is the first step in setting up a campaign organization, she said.
DuBois, a former PTA president at Kent Gardens Elementary School, has lived in McLean since 1970.
She worked for two Republicans on the Board of Supervisors: former Dranesville District Supervisor Nancy Falck and former Hunter Mill Supervisor Bob Dix.
Presently, DuBois is an associate for Travesky & Associates in Fairfax, a consulting firm that specializes in government and community relations.
The desire to serve in public office “has always been in my blood,” DuBois said, “Ever since I started getting involved in county politics and county government and working with the public.
“You have to want to do this. You have to want to make the commitment,” she said.
DUBOIS SAID THE FAIRFAX County Attorney has verified that she won’t have to step down as Dranesville Planning Commissioner in order to run for office.
“There are few people you can talk to within [Dranesville] District that don’t have a concern about something,” DuBois said.
“They are not always ‘issues’ but concerns” about issues such as the quality of schools, affordable housing, the environment, and roads, she said.
“The challenge is to balance the concerns and to have a dialogue with the citizens and see what can be done to address their concerns. Some are simple questions and answers, and some are larger policy issues,” she said.
The set of concerns differs in Great Falls, McLean and Herndon,” she said. “They have their separate concerns, and they have the same larger concerns.
“I’ve lived here for 30 years. I have 16 years of experience working with citizens on county issues,” she said.
“I have loved every minute of it. I have the understanding; I have the ability to have a dialogue with the citizenry and county staff and to work with people on their concerns.
At the supervisors’ level, you address policy issues that deal with those concerns."
DUBOIS WAS FIRST appointed to the Planning Commission by Dranesville Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn in December 2000. Her four-year term began in January 2001.
She has presided over two controversial applications for telecommunications facilities, otherwise known as cell phone towers.
“One was a bell tower at Dranesville United Methodist Church on Route 7, and the other was a flagpole at the Eaton Property at Spring Hill and Old Dominion,” she said. Both were approved.
More recently, she voted against West*Group’s application to rezone 13 acres at Tysons Corner from commercial use to residential use to allow development of 1,356 residential units.
“Tysons is not an island by itself,” DuBois said. “What happens there impacts a wide area. It may be in Providence District, but it touches two other magisterial districts.
“When reviewing and analyzing an application like that, you have to consider the impacts on all the surrounding areas.
“It is well stated, consistently, that Tysons Corner is our downtown. It has a huge concentration of development.
It has to be considered that it doesn’t only impact a small concentric area around the development,” she said.
DuBois and her husband, Joseph, have two grown children and two grandchildren.
Joseph DuBois is director of the Office of Statistical Analysis of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor.