Purvis Dawson has known Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland for more than 20 years. He has a deep respect for him, but is tired of the status quo. As a result, Dawson has decided to run on the Republican ticket against the Democratic incumbent.
"I called Gerry in March to ask if he intended to run again. At the time he said that he wasn't ready to announce his decision," said Dawson, who will be the first challenger to Hyland in eight years.
Dawson is currently the assistant station commander for the Fair Oaks District. This is the fifth district station he was worked in, serving as a Fairfax County Police Officer for over 22 years.
Because his job is so demanding, he agreed that he would take his accrued 400+ hours of leave and do all of his campaigning from September through November. If he wins the election, he will retire; otherwise he will return to his job.
Starting Labor Day weekend, Dawson hit the ground running, teaming up with Marsha Paul, Republican candidate for the Mount Vernon District School Board seat. Together, they have been knocking on doors, and going out into the community to introduce themselves.
Running for office is something that Dawson has been thinking about for quite awhile. With a nickname of "governor," co-workers and friends were not surprised when he announced his intention to run.
"One of my goals was that after my police career, I would go into politics," said Dawson, deciding that this would be a good time because he was due for retirement and because he wants to do something about the double-digit real estate taxes.
"THE COMMON THEME we hear from people is that the amount of taxes has to be controlled," said Dawson. He feels that an increase of 53 percent in property taxes is unacceptable. He was also concerned that the Fairfax County supervisors were going to vote to spend the entire year-end budget surplus at Monday‚s board meeting (as it turned out, they voted to spend all but $10 million). Dawson believes that they should carry over the surplus for future needs.
"The agency heads came up with ways to save money, and I applaud that," said Dawson. He would like to take that one step further, however, and hire a County Inspector General to look at agency programs. This would ensure accountability. Dawson also wants to examine and prioritize spending habits.
"We need to go back and look at the lines of business in Fairfax County and look at how efficiently we're doing business and not throw taxpayers money away."
Transportation issues are high on Dawson's list of concerns. He would like to see spot improvements on Route One and HOT (High Occupancy/Toll) lanes on I-495.
On the subject of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Dawson said, "The hospital needs to stay exactly where it is. They need to keep the forum going with Susan Herbert [hospital administrator]. Every member of my family has gone to that hospital and thinks that it would be a great loss to the community if it closed."
He does question why, if the hospital has been losing money since 1999, it took so long for board members to do something about it.
"They should have done something sooner," Dawson said.
A native of this area, Dawson attended Stratford Landing and Hollin Meadows Elementary Schools, Stephen Foster Middle School and Mount Vernon and Groveton High Schools. He attended Northern Virginia Community College and graduated from George Mason University with a bachelor's degree in administration of justice. Dawson's father was the circulation manager for the Washington Post for many years.
Because of his ties to this area, Dawson said that he has had several occasions where he met somebody who remembered him or somebody in his family. He and his wife, Sherri, live in Newbury Station with their children, 11-year-old Leigh-Ann, 8-year-old Noelle and 3-year-old Hannah.