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Votes

Conventional Decision

GOP candidates seek their party's nomination.

Nineteen candidates will be vying for the Republican Party's endorsement at the Loudoun County Republican Convention this Saturday.

"This is not an official election," said Dianna Price, secretary of the Electoral Board. "It's something the Republican Committee is sponsoring. It's not a state-sanctioned election."

Delegates for the Loudoun County Republican Committee will select Republican candidates in the contested races with more than one Republican running for a Constitutional Officer or Board of Supervisors seat. The delegates will vote for the Commissioner of Revenue, the Sheriff, the Board of Supervisors chairman and six of eight Board of Supervisor seats.

The state requires the Republican and Democratic parties to hold a primary if more than one candidate files for an office through the party. The Republican Party opted for a convention on May 31 and a primary for the 27th District Senate seat.

The party chair is required to contact the state board by June 16 to provide a candidates list. Candidates not nominated by a party are required to file by June 10 and submit a declaration of candidacy and a petition of qualified voters with 125 qualified voter signatures. All candidates are required to file a statement of economic interest and a certificate of candidate qualification. Once candidates file and have their names on the ballot, they can begin their campaign.

The Republican Convention will be held at Heritage High School with registration starting at 8 a.m. and the convention at 10 a.m.

"Each candidate has time to speak, and the [delegates] will vote by district," said Karen Pearson, chairman of the tellers committee for the convention and chairman of the Electoral Board.

There are more than 1,900 delegates registered to participate in the convention. The candidates are as follows:

COMMISSIONER OF THE REVENUE:

* Barbara Black, Sterling, experience as a Capitol Hill lobbyist and personnel manager specialist, Loudoun resident for seven years.

"There are things I can bring in that could improve what is being done. ... The real property assessments used to come under the Commissioner of Revenue's office. I would like to work with the new Board of Supervisors to see about putting that back under the Commissioner of Revenue's office. ... Looking on the side of customer service, ... I would like to be a taxpayers' advocate, working for them and providing them with the most efficient and fairest service and assessments that we can."

* Robert "Bob" Wertz Jr., Ashburn, manager of the discovery compliance and relief division of the Commissioner of Revenue Office, employee since 1992, Loudoun resident for more than 35 years.

"I'm highly qualified and know how to get the job done right. ... I have the knowledge and skills that only can be gained from 11 years of progressively responsible experience in all facets of the Commissioner of the Revenue's office operations. You don't go to school to learn how to be a commissioner. ... You have to learn [the duties] on the job and that's what I have done."

SHERIFF:

* Phillip Daughenbaugh, Hamilton, previous Miami, Fla. police officer and certified in the state of Florida for 14 years, Loudoun resident for eight years.

"The Loudoun County taxpayers have been very generous with that office ... and in return they get deception. The services don't increase. There is more fractionalization in the office. I feel I have the management skills and law enforcement experience to fix the thing and return the agency to one that serves Loudoun citizens."

* Stephen Simpson, Roundhill, sitting sheriff for the past eight years, Loudoun resident for 15 years.

"With all of the issues facing this rapidly growing county from increased traffic problems to homeland security to increased gang problems, this is not the time to change sheriffs just to be changing," he said. "I have a proven track record, and I feel I could continue to run the Sheriff's Office in a professional and responsible manner that the county has become accustomed to. ... I hope to see this gang task force up and running so gangs are no longer a problem in Loudoun County. I would like to work with the new Board of Supervisors towards increasing the staffing levels of the Sheriff's Office to get them to where they should be."

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:

CHAIRMAN, AT LARGE

* Lawrence "Larry" Beerman, Ashburn, co-founder of a wireless telecommunication equipment company, began working as a mortgage consultant this year, served on the Board of Supervisors during the 1996-2000 term for the Dulles district, Loudoun resident for more than 13 years.

"I believe I have the experience, especially in financial matters, that is going to be sorely needed in 2004. The county has been misguided in the past three years. ... I'm trying to use my experiences and my time on the board to help guide the county fiscally. We have experienced tremendous growth in the size of county government. That has put pressure on the homeowner. I have ideas on how to approach that."

* Robert "Bob" Gordon, south of Roundhill, attorney for 24 years in private practice, Loudoun resident for 14 years.

"In a nutshell, we need to spend a lot of time on the budget. We need to restore Loudoun's commercial tax base. We need to do a better job to get more money back from Richmond. We need to take a hard look at the growth issue, limiting residential development, making developers pay their fair share and promoting commercial development."

DULLES SUPERVISOR:

* John Millhiser, Aldie or Dulles South resident, consulting engineer for his own engineering company, Loudoun resident for 25 years. "I want to try to straighten up the management in this county. I want to get the spending back under control that represents the priorities and needs of the residents and not the special agendas. We need a supervisor who will spend the time to understand the issues and work hard to represent the voters."

* Stephen "Steve" Snow, South Riding, retired military, wireless technology consultant, Loudoun resident for more than four years. "I'm running for office because I am not happy with the direction the board has taken. ... It clearly isn't people friendly. I want to run with people as the first priority for the county. It should be the first priority. Once we take care of the people's needs, and if and when we have money left over, we need to aggressively attack the other issues. If you solve community people problems, you will have solved 90 percent of our issues."

POTOMAC SUPERVISOR:

* John Andrews, Countryside resident, general construction contractor for his own business, Loudoun resident for 17 years. "My three priorities are public safety, education and taxes," he said, adding that he wants to help solve problems in transportation and gang activity, continue to ensure the quality of the county's schools and control government spending. "Being on a school board, there was frustration in the ability to deal with issues for the Potomac district. ... A supervisor is able to have a direct impact on solving these problems."

* Bruce Tulloch, Potomac Falls resident, area general manager for a Maryland outsourcing company for universities, hospitals and large businesses, Loudoun resident for 10 years. "My top priorities are public safety, government accountability, taxes and the budget, and education and transportation," he said, adding that he is frustrated "with a budget that spends our hard-earned tax money on short-term reactionary solutions. We must continue to manage our growth between business and residential to keep our taxes from increasing. ... We should stop the conversion of non-residential land to residential, because conversions compound the problem resulting in the current fiscal dilemma we face today. We must have responsible, balanced, well-managed growth initiatives that do not put the burden on the taxpayers."

BLUE RIDGE SUPERVISOR:

* Merry Schumacher, Hamilton resident, third-grade teacher at a private Leesburg school, Loudoun resident for more than six years. "There needs to be a change. We have a county board that does not seem to understand the meaning of the word no. ... I want to fight the tax-and-spend attitude in our county, and it will take a committed conservative. ... There is no logical reason for our taxes to be jumping every time new population figures come out. ... Every family lives on a budget and there is no reason our county can't do the same."

* R. Ben Weber, Hamilton area resident, small business owner of a public relations company, Loudoun resident for five years. "I do see a lot of issues, and I've been commenting on these for a number of years. ... We need to run this county like a corporation. We need to look at profits and losses and at areas of duplication. Some programs may have to be cut. We have to look at these options. We can't make everybody happy and make the majority suffer. I don't think the current board that is in place is capable of making the tough decisions."

CATOCTIN SUPERVISOR:

* Geary Higgins, Waterford area, vice president of labor relations for a trade association, Loudoun resident for 18 years. "I think I can bring the experience I had from the school budget to the board. ... I would like to get a handle on what I consider to be the unnecessary spending that has been going on. I would be able to bring that School Board knowledge in and be supportive of cost-effective schools, and there's additional issues that have been neglected, [such as] public safety and transportation."

* Atilla Tassi did not respond by deadline.

LEESBURG SUPERVISOR:

* James "Jim" Clem, Leesburg resident, co-owner of a funeral home, 15 years of political service, including being town mayor and a council member for the Leesburg Town Council, Loudoun resident for more than 25 years.

"Leesburg has been treated like a stepchild to the county. ... We're a major contributor to the tax base for Loudoun," he said, adding that he wants to ensure Leesburg receives its fair share in federal, state and local funds. "I'll be there to represent Leesburg and its needs. I'll ensure I protect Leesburg and [help] manage growth throughout the whole county and address the issues."

* Jack Ryan Jr., Leesburg resident, director of risk management and benefits for Nasdaq Stock Market, Loudoun resident for two years. "I'm running for the office because I was very concerned about how the county board was managing county assets. I felt my qualities and experience would benefit the county," he said about his 15 years experience in executive financial management, former position as director of Congressional budget tracking for a taxpayers union and his master's in public administration. "We're going to curtail spending, limit taxes and try to roll them back, and bring business back to Loudoun."

* Lyle Werner, Leesburg resident, executive director of the Loudoun Community Free Clinic and of the Catoctin Foundation, Loudoun resident for eight years. "I believe I am the best positioned candidate to serve the citizens of Leesburg in their unique role as residents of a county living in an incorporated town. There is dual taxation as a result. Some of that is not fair for duplicated services," she said, adding that she wants to bring "common sense" to the role of supervisor, achieve good relations between the town and county, and bring her business expertise to the budget process. "My belief in an increased, diversified and sustainable business base is necessary for the well-being of the county. ... The homeowners cannot continue to bear the burden of the cost of infrastructure on their backs."

SUGARLAND RUN SUPERVISOR:

* David "Mick" Staton Jr., Sterling resident, consultant with local government to represent interests in Washington, D.C., Loudoun County resident for more than three years. "We need to get our spending rate under control and our tax rate. We need to increase our commercial revenue ā€” that is the revenue that is supposed to relieve the burden on homeowners. I'm running to control spending, lower our taxes, make our community business friendly again and work to protect the quality of life of all of our communities and of the entire Loudoun County."

* Bonnie Wolfe, Sterling resident, works in international marketing, Loudoun County resident for 10 years. "[I want] to restore economic stability and fiscal conservatism to county government. Over the last several years, I have watched the homeowner continue to bear the burden of skyrocketing residential taxes. At the same time, I have witnessed the erosion of our commercial tax base and tremendous increases in county government spending. As supervisor, I will fight on behalf of the taxpayer to bring government spending under control and to diversify our tax base. This will shift the tax burden from the homeowner to the commercial sector and bring jobs to the county."