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Votes

Thoesen Returns as Mayor

Hutchinson rejoins incumbents on council.

What's old is new and what's new is old as voters returned former Mayor Richard "Rick" Thoesen to his old post and elected former council member Connie Hutchinson to join the remaining incumbents, who were victorious on Tuesday, May 7.

"Six months ago the journey started — a long and rewarding journey. I'm very grateful for the many volunteers. It exemplifies my leadership style of getting people involved for a common goal," said Thoesen, who defeated Town Councilman William "Bill" Tirrell, Sr. by a 958 to 690 vote margin.

A total of 1,670 Town of Herndon voters, or 16.97 percent of the 9,843 of the town's registered voters, turned out at the polls in a day that began with some sunshine and turned rainy and overcast.

Thoesen said the low turnout indicated that "people are satisfied that Herndon is doing a good job providing service, capital projects and recreational programs."

Thoesen plans to relinquish his position with the Fairfax County Park Authority in November. "The $20 million bond for November was started by Stu [Supervisor Mendelsohn (R-Dranesville)] and me and I will work with Stu to deliver a successful bond. I will give up chairmanship of the arts committee with the mayor's permission and turn the reigns over to Ellen Kaminsky," said Thoesen who plans to remain on the Reston Hospital Center board.

"I want to give Bill credit. We had a handshake on running a clean campaign. Bill never lost his character. He conducted himself like a gentleman and I hope Bill continues to work for the town in some capacity. Bill deserves a lot of credit," said Thoesen.

"NATURALLY, I'M DISAPPOINTED," said Tirrell from his home following his defeat. "I wish Rick well. I wish the council well and I wish the town well. I'll be watching things and I'll take a look in two years and see if there's an option for me. I've lost before and I've come back," he said.

Coming back to the council after serving from 1992 to 1995 is Hutchinson, marking the first time since her departure that two women will serve on the council simultaneously.

"I haven't been nervous," said Hutchinson. "I felt I worked hard — I recognized a lot of voters today. I wanted to break 1,000 and I did," she said, having garnered 1,095 for a third place finish. I'm happy to see I didn't finish sixth."

That honor went to incumbent Dennis Husch, finishing sixth for the fifth consecutive election, giving him the opportunity to renew his joke, "what do you call the candidate who finishes sixth — councilman."

On a more serious note, Husch said, "I appreciate the opportunity to serve two more years and I'll continue to work hard. If I can't beat them with votes, I'll beat them with effort."

ON THE OTHER END of the tally sheet, finishing first, and returning to the vice mayor's post is current Mayor Carol Bruce, choosing to seek a return to the council instead of running for a full term as mayor. "Yea," said Bruce. "I'm honored and privileged to be serving the citizens of the Town for two more years. I'm very pleased with the outcome," she said.

Finishing second, in his first bid for re-election, was Michael O' Reilly. "I greatly appreciate the trust the citizens placed in me and I look forward to serving another two years on the Town Council. We have a good group," he said.

That group includes incumbent Harlon Reece, finishing fifth in the voting. "I'm honored the citizens have shown confidence in me again. I will work hard to serve them as hard as in the first term," he said.

Finishing fourth on Tuesday was incumbent John De Noyer. "I consider it an honor to serve the Town of Herndon another term and thank all those who came out an voted," he said.

AMONG THOSE who went to the polls on Tuesday was first time voter Dayna Koeninger, 18, an 11-year Herndon resident and Herndon High School senior. "I voted for Tirrell. I read the bios and liked what I read about Bill and Connie [Hutchinson]. I looked forward to voting."

Kenny Jackson, a Herndon resident for 22 years, voted for Thoesen because of his experience. "He was mayor once before and did a good job. I've only known two mayors in Herndon," said Jackson who votes every year. "I exercise that right. I've never missed an election," he said, also having voted for Bruce, Hutchinson, De Noyer, Husch, O' Reilly and Judy Downer for the council.

Both Steven and Camille Grigg, Herndon residents for four years, voted for Thoesen. "I was looking for a candidate that would balance the inevitable growth, but not thinking this was Mayberry RFD. That's why we moved here — it's got the best of both worlds," said Steven Grigg.

Splitting their votes for mayor were Mark and Beth House, four-year Herndon residents. "I voted for Tirrell because a friend of mine speaks highly of his character and character matters," said Mark House, who voted for Bruce, Downer, Hutchinson, O' Reilly, Reece and Dave Kirby for council.

"I voted for Thoesen because I know who he is and seen his work with the kids in the oratorical contest," said Beth House, who voted for De Noyer, Kirby, O' Reilly, Hutchinson and Reece for council.