Democratic Candidates Hit the Road

Democratic Candidates Hit the Road

Campaigns for Revenue Commissioner, County Board and 49th district heat up going into next week?s primary.

With the Democratic primary less than a week away, some candidates are getting in shape?physically and politically.

Candidates are hitting the campaign trail on foot to get their message to the voters. Racing to get the Democratic endorsement for Commissioner of the Revenue, Ingrid Morroy says she has knocked on over 10,000 doors. Her competitor, Margo Horner, says she has lost 10 pounds since she started walking the streets of Arlington, introducing herself to voters.

They have good reason for putting energy into this stage of the campaign. Given the voting record in Arlington, next week?s Democratic primary could decide the November election. Currently, just one elected official in the county, school board member Dave Foster, was elected without first securing a Democratic nomination or endorsement.

COMMISSIONER OF THE Revenue race has implications for county residents and businesses. The commissioner, elected to a four-year term, is responsible for assessing a number of taxes, including personal property, business license, cigarette, bank franchise and restaurant meals. Current Commissioner Geraldine Whiting is retiring this year after holding the position for the last 24 years.

Morroy?s slogan is, ?Vote for leadership, vote for change.? Morroy holds an master?s of business administration in general management and an undergraduate degree in computer information systems. She has been endorsed by county treasurer Frank O?Leary. If elected, she plans to expand the use of technology in the office.

She currently serves as deputy treasurer and developed a 20-page program outlining her plans to ?rejuvenate? the Commissioner?s office with DMV partnerships, online tools and a ?customer-focused organizational culture.?

Whiting endorsed Horner, who has worked in the Commissioner?s office for 15 years, managing the personal property tax division for the last seven. ?I believe that my experience counts,? said Horner. Before coming to the county, Horner worked as an investment banker. She said that experience gives her an edge when it comes to dealing with Arlington?s business community.

Through phone and online service, Horner?s division now functions round the clock. If elected, she plans to expand that service to all divisions of the office.

RUNNING FOR County Board, Jim Hurysz has also taken his campaign to the road, walking through county neighborhoods and talking to voters in his attempt to take one of two County Board seats, currently held by Walter Tejada and Chair Paul Ferguson.

Hurysz, a quality consultant, is the only primary candidate challenging an incumbent. He is calling for a ?comprehensive surface transportation system,? tax cuts and changes in the county?s development patterns that will ?maintain the suburban character.?

Hurysz has also spoken out against a possible baseball stadium in Arlington. He faces an uphill battle against Ferguson and Tejada but hopes to steal away some of Ferguson?s South Arlington constituents who have criticized the board chair for his neutral stance on a possible stadium.

Ferguson says his neutrality in no way implies that he is unresponsive to citizen concern. In fact, after a walking town meeting with Aurora Highlands residents last month, Ferguson cancelled other plans to respond to resident concerns about stadium plans and other issues.

It?s just part of the job as board chair, Ferguson said, and he is counting on his experience and visibility to carry him through the primary comfortably. ?I?m more just focusing on the day-to-day board work,? said Ferguson, rather than campaigning. He?s served on the board since 1995 and was chair in 1999.

TEJADA, MEANWHILE, has been more active on the campaign trail. ?I?ve been doing as much as I possibly can to meet with groups, and talk to people,? he said, but, ?There hasn?t really been a lot of time to campaign, because board business has been the priority.?

Tejada has a background in business consulting and advocates fiscal responsibility and affordable housing.

If reelected he plans to push for creation of an office of public defenders, new public school mentoring programs and parking reforms, and promises to help increase diversity on the county?s advisory boards and commissions.

?I think citizens can make a big difference,? he said. ?I think that we all win when more people participate.?