Residents preparing for the upcoming Town Council elections have less than one week to turn in the necessary petitions to get on the May 2 ballot.
Vying for a seat on the seven member council, 12 candidates have circulated petitions for the elections, including two mayoral candidates.
Confirmed residents collecting signatures include six of the seven existing council members. These are former mayor and vice mayor Carol Bruce, Dennis Husch, Steve Mitchell, Ann Null and Harlon Reece. Vice Mayor Darryl Smith is not running for re-election because of his recent appointment to Chief of Police for the Town of Purcellville.
Running for a second term, Mayor Michael O'Reilly currently has only one opponent, Steve DeBenedittis. Since deciding to run, DeBenedittis has attended almost every public meeting or event, gathering signatures and speaking to residents as he prepares his campaign.
Returning candidates from the last elections include current Planning Commissioner William Tirrell, Dave Kirby and Connie Hutchinson, president of the Herndon Dulles Visitor's Center. Tirrell and Hutchinson ran for mayor last year; this year they are running for council.
New candidates include Help Save Herndon members Bob Rudine and Susan Powell, who became active in town politics this summer during the day-labor public hearings. Rudine and Powell have also attended recent community meetings and events to gather signatures and prepare for the upcoming election.
The final candidates gathering signatures include Charlie Waddell and Jorge Rochac. Current president of the Dumbarton Square Home Owners Association and the Herndon Community Association Coalition, Waddell hardly ever misses a Planning Commission or Town Council meeting. A long time Spanish-translator for the Herndon Police Department, Rochac retired from the position that kept him on-call 24-hours a day last year. With his new free time Rochac volunteers in the community and teaches English to non-English speaking residents at the Herndon Official Workers Center.
After turning in petitions March 7, council candidates will begin their public campaigns, knocking on doors and speaking with voters in an attempt to get them out to vote. If elected, residents will serve a two-year term.