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Votes

Familiar Faces on May Ballot

Races for the Vienna Town Council are unopposed this year.

With another town election coming up in May, the Town of Vienna will continue to see some familiar faces governing the community. Vienna mayor Jane Seeman is running unopposed, and freshmen Council members Laurie Cole and Edythe Kelleher are seeking second terms. Former Councilman Mike Polychrones is seeking to return to Council to take the seat of Councilman Al Boudreau, who will be moving to Florida later this year.

These are representatives that town citizens may vote for in the next election on May 4.

"With Al Boudreau leaving the Council after so many years of service, I thought it was a good time to get back," said Polychrones, who had left the Town Council last year to campaign to be the Republican candidate for the 35th

District for the House of Delegates. That nomination went to Vienna resident Rob McDowell, who subsequently lost to Democrat Steve Shannon.

"I enjoyed my years on Council, and I enjoyed serving the citizens in that capacity," Polychrones said.

For the two Council members seeking re-election, another term gives them the opportunity to apply what they learned from their first term, both said.

"You feel like you're just advancing on the learning curve," said Councilwoman Edythe Kelleher, who added that she has experienced only one budget cycle. "I feel like I'm just getting my feet wet."

Councilwoman Laurie Cole agreed. "I think that I've learned a lot in the first two years, and it'd be good to put that knowledge to use," she said.

DESPITE THE lack of competition, all the candidates said they would like to be on the Town Council because several issues remain that they would like to see the town resolve.

Cole said she wants to ensure the town has a voice if the Fairlee tract becomes rezoned. Because the tract is just south of the Vienna Metrorail station, the land is zoned for high-density, mixed-use.

She would also like to follow up with the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Department on the implementation of its regulations on property in Vienna, and she hopes the town can look at transportation and traffic-calming issues on a larger scale.

Cole added that the town is also considering whether the construction of residential sidewalks should be included in a future bond issue.

An attribute she can give to the Town Council, Cole said, is her willingness to question the prevailing view or status quo.

"I have an independent view and I'm willing to ... question, and I'm willing to vote no on things," Cole said. "I think that's a useful function."

FOR KELLEHER, she explained that another term on Town Council would provide further opportunity to serve town citizenry. She said she appreciates it when people stop her at the grocery store to talk about an issue.

"It's what I signed up. Not only do I not mind it, I enjoy it," Kelleher said.

Kelleher would like the town to utilize better its cable TV channel, possibly by airing Council meetings on television. She submitted a budget request this year for the town to explore that possibility.

She also submitted a budget request to explore whether wireless Internet access could be made available for citizen use at the Vienna Community Center and some area parks.

Forthcoming issues she sees the Council dealing with include the Beulah Road property, the update of the town's comprehensive plan, and the prioritization and consideration of what town-owned projects should be the subject of a future bond issue. Upcoming possible projects could be the Town Center park, the Nutley Street yard and the creation of more residential sidewalks.

Kelleher added that she looked forward to seeing the implementation of the reverse 911 system, as well working with members of the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department on their fund-raising efforts for renovations to their building.

She hoped that even though the races are uncontested this year, more citizens who haven't volunteered for town functions would decide to participate in town boards and commissions.

"This is a very small place. A lot of people wear multiple hats," said Kelleher.

A Councilman for almost seven years, from December 1996 to June 2003, Polychrones sees the town's major issues as ongoing, such as transportation. He wants to see the downtown corridor maintain its economic viability, and he would like to work with state representatives to commence repairs on Beulah Road.

Polychrones also wants the vision commission and report for Maple Avenue to proceed. That report would include making Maple Avenue a more cohesive and unified unit architecturally and economically.