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Votes

Candidates Line Up for RCC Board

Reston residents will select three candidates in the preference poll, which runs Oct. 4-16.

Six candidates are running for three open seats on the Reston Community Center's Board of Governors.

Two of the candidates, Beverly Cosham and Terry Smith, are current members of the board who are seeking reelection. The other candidates are Reston residents John Abell, Mary Buff, Ram Singh and Roger Lowen.

The nine-member Board of Governors is responsible for establishing the community center's policies, gathering public input on programming and services, and providing fiscal oversight of the center's budget.

Each year in October, Reston residents and businesses vote in the preference poll, endorsing three candidates. Those nominations are forwarded to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for approval.

Walk-in and mail-in balloting for this year's preference poll begins on Monday. Mail-in voting concludes on Wednesday, Oct. 14, and walk-in voting ends two days later at 8 p.m. Ballots for the walk-in voting will be available at RCC-Hunters Woods and RCC-Lake Anne.

On Saturday, Oct. 16, the community center will hold a Community Polling Day, with ballots available at the five village centers in Reston.

Turnout for RCC preference polls have ranged from 300 to 2,200 in 1999, when the community center board was considering opening the Lake Anne center. Generally, turnout is in the 300 to 600 range for the preference poll.

The following candidate profiles were compiled from their statements of candidacy, interviews and research. The photographs are courtesy of RCC and were taken by Linda Rutledge.

John Abell

Abell is an editor with an international news agency and has lived in Reston for eight years. He is an avid outdoor athlete, riding his bicycle along the W&OD Trail into Washington, D.C. on his daily commute, and kayaking on Lake Audubon. While riding his bike on the trail, Abell serves as a volunteer member of the Friends of the W&OD Bike Patrol. He also volunteers with the PTA at his daughter's school.

A lover of Reston, Abell said he votes in all town polls and elections.

"My family has lived in Reston for eight years and we regard our town as a real-life Mayberry, where neighbors always have time for one another," he said in his statement.

If elected, Abell said he would ensure RCC continues to serve the desires of the community and would be a good steward of the tax revenue that funds RCC's programs and services.

Mary Buff

As vice president of the Republican Club of Greater Reston, Buff has been close to the issues faced by Reston's community organizations for many of the 26 years she has lived in Reston. She has also held several officer positions with local non-profit and community organizations, including a single parents support group called Reston Socials and the newly-formed Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners.

Buff said she is also active is voter registration around the Reston area. She is a retired intelligence analyst with the Department of Defense and a former middle school teacher.

Buff's priorities for RCC would be to ensure fiscally-responsible oversight of the center's budget and to expand and enhance programming for single mothers, teens and senior citizens.

"If appointed, I will work to ensure RCC tax dollars are managed in a fiscally responsible way, which should include measurement standards to help determine which of our programs most effectively enrich the community," she said.

Beverly Cosham

The current chair of the RCC Board of Governors, Cosham said she decided to seek reelection after she was angered by several of her fellow board members who wanted to give every eligible Reston resident a vote in the preference poll. Cosham's view was that the legitimacy of "one person, one vote" is too difficult to verify and would open RCC up to potential voter fraud.

A long-time Reston resident and volunteer, Cosham was a founding member of the Reston Chorale and the Reston Community Players, she served eight years on the Arts Council of Fairfax Advisory Panel, she helped organize past Reston Festivals, and she currently sits on the Lorton Adaptive Land Re-Use Panel and the Lorton Arts Foundation Board.

Should she be reelected, Cosham said she would continue to help steer RCC in the right direction.

"I look forward to continuing serving the community, helping to make Reston a greater place to live, work and play," she said in her statement.

Roger Lowen

Since moving to Reston in 1988, Lowen has volunteered with many community organizations, including the Reston Citizens Association and Reston Interfaith. He also sat on RCC's Governance Panel and helped establish a local scholarship fund. In 2003, he was award the MLK award for outstanding service to the Reston community. Also, he is a regular participant of Reston's cultural events and sporting events, such as the Reston Triathlon.

Lowen said his experience with other Reston organizations would be useful to RCC's Board of Governors. If elected, he said his priority would be to ensure RCC continues to provide educational, athletic and cultural services to all Reston residents and workers.

"I plan to accomplish this by listening to what people say they want from their community center and then by taking appropriate action," he said.

Ram Singh

A senior research analyst with the Department of Education, Singh has lived in Reston since 1988 and has volunteered much of his time to bringing together different faiths and different ethnicities. He is a former chairman of an interfaith organization and has been president of several non-profit organizations serving the immigrant community.

"My community service reflects RCC's motto of 'Bringing people together all over town,'" he said in his statement.

If Singh is elected, he said he would expand affordable services for the growing minority population and enhance programming for teens and senior citizens. He said he wants to ensure RCC's board remains fiscally-responsible and he also wants to institute reforms to increase citizen participation in RCC's preference poll.

Terry Smith

Smith, the RCC board's current vice chairman, has served on the Board of Governors for the last 18 years. A former government employee and a serious athlete, Smith has held positions with Reston Masters Swim Team, Reston Youth Soccer, and the Reston Triathlon Association. He is among the very few Reston residents who has competed in every Reston Triathlon. This year, he overcame debilitating surgery for cancer in time to compete in the race.

"My ongoing leadership approach will be to encourage participation in all that our center has to offer and to get others involved so that RCC continues to flourish as one of Reston's most valuable assets," he said.

Like Cosham, Smith was a vocal opponent of an effort to expand RCC's preference poll into a "one person, one vote" model, saying it was too open to voter tampering. If he is reelected, Smith said he would work to increase voter turnout, but in a way that ensures legitimacy.