Surrounded by seven other Republican candidates for county offices and introduced by a U.S. senator, Madison High School graduate Jim Hyland, 42, launched his campaign for Providence District supervisor at the Hilton McLean in Tysons Corner on Monday.
Like many first-time candidates, Hyland was surrounded with friends and family as he made his first public stump speech. If he was nervous, he showed it only once: “I am honored to be your nominee for supervisor in Providence County,” he said.
U.S. Sen. John Warner also flubbed the introduction, referring to Dranesville supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn as a man who wouldn’t be stepping down from his office “unless there was a qualified man to take his place.”
The Republican candidate for Mendelsohn’s open seat is Dranesville planning commissioner Joan DuBois, the only woman among eight candidates for county offices who attended the kickoff.
But in a gathering of deep Republican party family members, if anyone noticed, no one commented on the oversight.
Hyland’s father, William Hyland, is a 50-year resident of Vienna and a longtime political associate of Warner’s, who accompanied Warner to Moscow for former President Richard M. Nixon’s first summit meeting there in 1972.
Later, the senior Hyland also worked in the National Security Council with Henry Kissinger and was deputy national security adviser to President Gerald Ford.
After a boisterous introduction, Warner took off his tie and presented it to Jim Hyland. “Democracy is not a spectator sport,” said the tie.
Hyland worked for Warner in the U.S. Senate mail room and met his wife, Lisa, in Warner’s office, where she worked as a receptionist.
Mendelsohn said Hyland is “someone we desperately need on the Board [of Supervisors] for his common sense and his knowledge of this area.”
“We’ve just got to stop these property taxes,” Hyland said. “It’s gotten out of control.”
If elected, Hyland said, he will “keep taxes low and get the services we need.” Controlling traffic congestion is his high priority, he said. “Nobody will be a greater warrior for commuters on that Board than I will,” Hyland said. “We have to get Fairfax moving again. I suggest we issue a new transportation road bond next year, and fix the small bottlenecks that are all over Fairfax County.”
He advocates synchronizing traffic lights, widening I-66 from Key Bridge to the Dulles Access Road — it can be done for $18 million, Hyland said — and placing teams of accident specialists and tow trucks on bridges and key choke points during rush hours.
“I say no to a D.C. commuter tax on all Virginians,” said Hyland.
As a native of Vienna who graduated from Kilmer Middle and Madison High schools, Hyland said, “We’re letting [education] slip, and we need some changes.”
Classes are too large, and teachers are underpaid by about $10,000 a year, Hyland said. “We are the school trailer capital of the U.S.
“I though we were Fairfax County, not Arkansas.”
He proposed that the next school bond be used “to leave all trailers behind.”
He also addressed quality of life. “We need to remember that soccer fields, back yards and trees are not bad things. That’s why people move to Fairfax County.”
“This election is going to be close,” said Hyland, accepting a $500 check from Warner for campaign appearances.
“He’s going to run a strong race. I think he’s got the issues, and most people have never heard of his opponent,” said Mendelsohn. He and Hyland are attorneys for the same firm, Piper Rudnick. Mendelsohn works from the firm’s Reston office, and Hyland is in the Washington office, where his focus is financial services.
In 1992, Hyland briefly entered the race for the 11th District congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R). Hyland dropped out, and Henry Butler won the nomination but was defeated by Leslie Byrne.
This fall, Hyland faces Providence District planning commissioner Linda Smyth (D) in the race for a seat left open when incumbent Providence supervisor Gerald E. Connolly (D) announced his campaign for Board chairman.
That position opened up when incumbent Kate Hanley (D) announced she will challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th) in 2004.
Fairfax County’s campaign finance records may be viewed online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/eb.