Questionnaire: Doug Reimel, Board of Supervisors, Sterling District

Questionnaire: Doug Reimel, Board of Supervisors, Sterling District

Office sought: Sterling District Supervisor

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Previous offices held: First run for elected office, I’ve been HOA President, church Board Directors & LCDC Chair

Occupation: Senior Systems Analyst in support of financial and management IT systems improvements  for the Missile Defense Agency

Current employment: Milestone Group in Arlington, VA

Previous employment: 2000-2002

Litton PRC 1996-2000

SAIC 1995-1996

Education: B.A. Hiram College, Dual majors in Biology & Art History, 1990

Master’s from Duke University’s School of Environmental Management, 1993

Community ties: President & Member, Woodstone of Loudoun HOA Board of Directors

Member & Volunteer, Sterling Foundation, Sterling Boulevard Clean-ups

Volunteer, Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers

Past Chair & Member, Loudoun County Democratic Committee

Past Board of Directors  & Member, Unitarian Universalists of Sterling

Member, Mainstream Loudoun

Member, Comite La Voz

Member, American Farmland Trust

Member, Loudoun NAACP

Member, Arbor Day Foundation

Member, Community Associations Institute

ENDORSEMENTS: Loudoun Education Association, Northern Virginia Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, Clean Water Action, Platform for Active Civil Empowerment (PACE), Voters to Stop Sprawl (VSS)  and The Loudoun Times Mirror

1. What is your top public-service accomplishment?

As President of my HOA I helped to successfully install a new $200,000 lighting system for our community without raising HOA dues that was a vast improvement to the safety and visibility in our formerly dark community, and also contributed to bringing a new baby pool and attractive landscaping improvements to the community.

2. What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them?

The top five problems facing Sterling residents  are  over-crowding in some homes, parking problems,  "cut-through" speeding in our neighborhoods, traffic congestion,  and revitalizing Sterling's core shopping area and public facilities.  I am committed to being a responsive, caring Supervisor who will resolve residents’ problems.  I will fight for equitable schools, community centers and library, better sidewalks and lighting.  As Supervisor, I will review neighborhood ordinances addressing the excessive occupancy and other neighborhood quality of life issues and ensure fair, consistent enforcement, and listen to people.

Describe one challenge (or more) in your district that is different than other parts of the county.

Neighborhood quality-of-life problems are the unique challenges we face in the Sterling community, including commercial area revitalization issues that are not being addressed. We are an aging community in Sterling Park, and we need some key reinvestments. We also need consistent and fair enforcement of updated zoning ordinances by the county to stem the increasing problems with crowding, parking and trash in our neighborhoods. Leadership is needed to start an inclusive and constructive dialogue to raise awareness. Also, the Sterling District needs someone who will fight for our community and for residents' concerns on the board.

3. What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?

My election to the Loudoun Board will bring a caring and responsive voice for Sterling.  I have the qualities of honesty, patience, listening, respect, and civility that will guide my interaction with colleagues and constituents.  I am qualified by my extensive volunteer experience in the Sterling community, and my strong understanding of the problems facing the Sterling District.  I am fully committed to helping to improve the quality of life in Sterling.  I will represent the people.

4. How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponent(s)?

Unlike my opponent, as Supervisor, I will fight for Sterling Park and spend 100% of my public effort working for our community, not any other agenda. I'll be responsive.   I will not spend my public efforts on issues that are not a priority to the majority of residents in Sterling Park.

5. What specific solutions will you propose for the transportation dilemma? Please address funding, prioritization, air quality, bus service and other non-rail public transportation solutions, expansion of rail service, and any other possible approach.

I propose that the WMATA and VDOT authorities take the BRT mass transit solution seriously in their upcoming proposed studies for the Dulles corridor.  Traffic congestion is the most serious regional quality of life issue we face in Loudoun and Northern Virginia. The BRT systems could provide more far-reaching transportation solutions for more people for far less money, but they must be seriously and fairly considered.  Also, we must widen Route 7 to Tysons Corner from Fairfax County Parkway, and prioritize building interchanges on Route 28 and Route 7.  In Sterling Park, we need to seek safety measures like turning lanes and bike or pedestrian improvements, and limit speed on all residential streets to 25 mph.

6. The majority on the current Board of Supervisors have followed a "Smart Growth" policy. How has it been successful? How has it failed? What remains to be done?

Yes it has been successful, but we have not yet seen its impact on limiting new sprawling growth in Loudoun because of thousands of homes that were approved under previous Boards that remain unbuilt.  It has failed only in the sense that it has concentrated too much on restrictions and ordinances for undeveloped areas, and not enough attention to the needs of existing communities like Sterling Park.  We must enact carefully considered suburban area plans that allow significant opportunity for residents' input and ideas.

7. What are your top environmental priorities? Please address air quality, water quality, open space, etc.

My top environmental priority would have to be saving some open space and particularly forested land in the eastern end of the County.  We need to ensure that we have a healthy balance between environmental priorities and other considerations, including economic ones.  Our water resources are also very important as Loudoun's drinking water comes from the Goose Creek reservoir and the Potomac River downstream from many of our own tributaries.

8. Are residents safe enough? How do public safety officials balance new demands of "homeland security" with other safety and quality of life issues?

Residents in Loudoun are generally safe, but there are some concerning issues with gangs and adequate Sheriff's patrols in troubled communities.  We need a more community-engaged and oriented style of police work where people in the community know their local deputies.  We need more pro-active police work and less reactive police work.  Homeland security efforts require unprecedented levels of communication between federal, state, and local authorities to be successful. Efforts for Homeland Security should not overly infringe on the civil liberties or privacy of American citizens.

9.  Do you have any concerns about civil liberties and public access to information in the wake of the Patriot Act and other responses to Sept. 11?

Yes, I believe that authorities had enough tools to find and monitor suspected terrorist activities without the Patriot Act, and that we run the risk of inappropriate violation of citizens' privacy under the Patriot Act, or just as bad, we run the risk of overzealous officials using their unaccountable powers for political reasons.  I fully support law enforcement and efforts to keep us safe from terrorism, but I do not believe that sacrificing our civil liberties to do so is constructive, and in fact, that it makes us too much like the cultures who harbor and encourage terrorism.

10. Working poor families in Northern Virginia face a daunting cost of living, with little in the way of affordable housing, health care, child care and transportation. Are low-wage workers important to the local economy? What do you propose to address the needs of these families?

I  believe that affordable housing  is an important regional issue that will only be solved through strongly coordinated regional action.  Health care reform is needed at the federal and state levels.  I support the concept of "living wage" laws that provide incentives and tax breaks to businesses that pay living wages.  Low-wage workers fill the needs of many businesses and ultimately contribute to their successes as well.

11. Should counties have the taxing authority of cities?

No.  In Virginia these are separate municipal entities and they should not be relegated to any hierarchical status.

12. What proposals do you have for mitigating the effects of soaring property values and related taxes?

Make the State of Virginia start paying what it promised it would after cutting the car tax.  Restrain spending increases.  Slow Loudoun's growth--it's too fast.

13. What campaign finance reform do you support? How should the county avoid conflict of interest, or even the appearance of conflict, given the Board's role in approving development and zoning changes and contributions by development interests?

I would support limiting all contributions in campaigns to individuals and PACs with a $1000 limit.  Avoid conflicts of interest from development decisions by electing Supervisors who are citizen representatives first and foremost, and who have no relationship or personal profit motives from approving development proposals.

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