Kicking Off Election Season

Kicking Off Election Season

Three candidates hold kick off events, gear up for May 2 elections.

Three Herndon Town Council candidates hoping to receive the winning votes to become members of the 2006-08 Town Council had a busy week.

Holding the first kick-off event, more than 120 residents filled the Herndon Municipal Center March 9 to join current Mayor Michael O'Reilly to announce his bid for re-election.

"Mike is not afraid to make the tough decisions and he is very dedicated to the community," said Dranesville District Supervisor Joan DuBois during the kick off. "I'm proud to be standing here today to support Mike in his bid for re-election."

Highlighting the current council's accomplishments over its two-year term, O'Reilly spoke to the importance of having council members with knowledge of the town's history — specifically its development history.

He took this opportunity to list council members he felt should be elected. These consisted of current council members running for re-election, including Carol Bruce, Harlon Reece, Steve Mitchell and new candidate Jorge Rochac.

"I hope through this election people can understand what we can do at the local level and what we cannot do at the local level," he said. "I need you to vote because we do not know what's going to happen with outside groups that have come in to disrupt things."

O'Reilly is endorsed by Del. Tom Rust (R-86), Sen. Janet Howell (D-32), Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerry Connolly (I-at large) and DuBois.

SUNDAY MARCH 12 was the popular choice for two other candidates running for one of the six town council seats.

Dave Kirby, in his third attempt to be elected, held his kick off event at Jimmy's Old Town Tavern. Joined by approximately 30 supporters, Kirby's kick off was attended by council member Ann Null as well as other candidates running in this year's election. These included Connie Hutchinson, who ran for mayor in 2004, new candidates Charlie Waddell and Bob Rudine and mayoral candidate Steve DeBenedittis.

The commander of the American Legion Post 184, Kirby highlighted issues he felt were priorities to the town of 23,000 people. These include giving local police the training and tools needed to protect the community as well as the authority to check the legal status of those suspected of committing crimes; identifying the root causes of overcrowding; and maintaining Herndon's "small town" feel by keeping the town's small, single-family homes.

A few hours later and just up the street at Griffin-Owens & Associates, Jorge Rochac held his campaign kick off.

A 15-year Spanish translator volunteer for the Herndon Police Department and Vecinos Unidos/Neighbors United volunteer, Rochac was joined by roughly 60 supporters. Included in that mix were current council members, Mayor Michael O'Reilly and Vice Mayor Darryl Smith. Not running for re-election, Smith introduced Rochac, a long-time friend.

Speaking to the demographic changes that have occurred in Herndon over the years, Rochac encouraged residents to incorporate the "silent majority" — Herndon's ethnically diverse population — into the town's many activities.

"We must join together and unite our town for the benefit of our future generations," he said. This unification would create a "stronger Herndon with firm roots in the past and bright eyes toward a better tomorrow," he said.

"There are those in our town who openly oppose this unity and favor the isolation and marginalization of those who are different in our neighborhoods," he said. "On May 2 we will come to a major crossroads where we must choose our direction ... Vote for a positive future. Vote to unify Herndon."