Twenty years in and raring to go for the next four. That's the message Supervisor Gerald Hyland (D-Mount Vernon) sent to his constituents Thursday, April 12 with a press release announcing his intention to seek reelection to a sixth four-year term.
"I want to continue my public service because I'm still challenged by serving the community and helping solve Mount Vernon residents' problems," said Hyland, in making his announcement.
"It has been a great honor representing Mount Vernon District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for the last two decades and I want to continue the tradition of constituent service our residents expect of a responsive local leader," he said, in the press release. "Citizen input and involvement in decisions which will affect them will continue to be the rule in Mount Vernon."
"This will be my 20th year to be an elected official," Hyland said, during an interview after making the announcement. "It gives you an opportunity to do things for people that need help with their problems."
"Serving the people of this district for the past 20 years has been the most professionally satisfying endeavor of my life. It's been anything but dull and I wouldn't have it any other way," he said.
"We have a very involved and vocal constituency here. I encourage that. The more controversial an issue the more interesting it is. It brings people together to work toward a common solution."
"Mount Vernon District is different from any other in challenges," Hyland said. "It has both very developed areas combined with one of the largest developing areas in Fairfax County — the Lorton area."
"In addition to the entire Route 1 revitalization program we now have a very large community about to be dropped into our midst as a result of BRAC [the Base Realignment and Closure Report of 2005 pertaining to Fort Belvoir]. This represents a whole new set of challenges. Although, it's fun and I enjoy that, the challenges are staggering and significant," he said, sitting in his office at the
Mount Vernon Government Center on Parkers Lane.
THE ISSUE OF BRAC'S various incarnations is only one of the myriad of future challenges Hyland sees to which he feels he can make a meaningful contribution.
"We need to continue the transformation of Richmond Highway from an automobile oriented retail strip into an attractive, pedestrian friendly business center," he said.
In the last four years, over 1,500 acres of land within Mount Vernon District have been dedicated as park land, preserving almost one third of the district's total land mass. "I will continue to preserve and protect our environment over the next four years by reducing our carbon footprint and through conservation," Hyland said.
"The people of Mount Vernon District are not shy. They will let you know what they think on all sides of any issue. And, that is the way it should be. The people respond to that and so do I," he said.
Another of Hyland's remaining challenges is schools, in particular the proposed Laurel Hill Middle School which he sees as being exacerbated by the BRAC situation. "The Board of Supervisors and the School Board need to address the overcrowding in schools, especially in the southern part of the district and accelerate the construction of the Laurel Hill Middle School," Hyland said.
"I've got significant issues that need to be finished," he said in explaining his desire to seek reelection. Among those he cited: strengthening regulations on infill development; the increasing need of an ever-growing senior population, particularly helping them to stay in their homes; putting permanent flood protection measures in place; and bringing to fruition the Museum of the U.S. Army, to mention only a few.
A retired U.S Air Force colonel and attorney, Hyland is chairman of the Revitalization Policy Committee; National Association of Counties Board Member; Fairfax County Representative and past president, Virginia Association of Counties; member and Past Chairman, Chesapeake Bay Local Government Advisory Committee; former member, Board of Zoning Appeals; and Past President, United Community Ministries.