Bob McConahy of Great Falls, who retired from the U.S. State Department and now works as parish administrator for a church in Herndon, has entered the race for Dranesville District supervisor.
McConahy, whose palm card describes him as a “conservative Republican,” lives in a Great Falls neighborhood hard-hit by terrorism.
Three of his Holly Knoll neighbors perished about United Airlines Flight 69 when it crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
But it is rising tax assessments, he says that mobilized him to run.
“I’ve got a number of friends who are as concerned as I am about the way the [Fairfax County] Board of Supervisors has just lost touch with the voters,” he said. “They are people who would still like to be able to afford to live here in Fairfax County.
“I am really concerned [the board is] losing touch with the folks that are paying the bills. We can’t run our personal budgets like this.
We just spend, spend, spend,” he said.
Fairfax County’s wealth, he said, “has created a mindset in the leadership community that we can afford virtually anything.
“Only now, the situation in the county seems to be that we have to keep raising taxes to pay for this.
“We don’t seem to be able to grab the reins and get some sensibility into the budget preparation, and really examine these programs.
“I think the time has come that the Board of Supervisors just has to become fiscally responsible. I’d like to be a great influence on the board and see that we do that.”
During the recent Republican administrations, McConahy was chief election officer of Seneca Precinct, which votes at Forestville School. In Dranesville District last year, Seneca Precinct recorded the highest percentage of “no” votes in the sales tax referendum. Of 1,404 votes cast, 910, almost two thirds, were “no.”
BUT VOTERS IN Seneca Precinct overwhelmingly approved bond referendums for public safety and parks with “yes” votes of about 70 percent.
The precinct also spawned a real estate property tax rebellion led by another Seneca Precinct resident, Marcy Dykes, in the late 1980s.
McConahy is a political neophyte “with no baggage” who has never before run for political office before, said his wife, Judy. “We are not politicos,” she said. “He is 71, the same age as Ronald Reagan when he was first elected president.”
McConahy, parish administrator at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Herndon, wants to bring “a new level of vigor against runaway spending and tax increases.
McConahy and his wife, Judy, are natives of Pennsylvania with three grown daughters who graduated from Herndon High School. All three still live in the area, and the McConahys have nine grandchildren.
He faces a well-established candidate, Joan DuBois of McLean, who has worked on the office staffs of former Dranesville Supervisor Nancy Falck and Hunter Mill Supervisor Bob Dix. She works for consultant Marie Travesky.
The Fairfax County Republican Party committee will decide next month how it will select a candidate for the Nov. 4 election, said McConahy.
The Democrats will hold an assembled caucus on May 10 to select a nominee from among three candidates: attorneys John Foust and Fred Mittelman, and civic activist Merrily Pierce, who was a staff assistant to Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Chairman Kate Hanley until she entered the race this month.
After encouragement from a number of friends, he decided to run after the incumbent Dranesville supervisor, Stu Mendelsohn, announced he would not seek re-election.
The McConahys came to Northern Virginia in 1955, when he worked for the U.S. Army Security Agency.
They moved to Great Falls in 1979 and have lived in the same house, west of the Fairfax County Parkway, since then.
McConahy worked in several technical and administrative positions in the U.S. Department of State before he retired in 1987.
He is a member of the executive board and past president of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.
When his daughters were in high school at Herndon, McConahy was president of the Herndon Band Parents Association. He is a past parliamentarian of the Vienna Jaycees and a former member of the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations.