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Votes

McKay Officially Enters Lee District Race

Kauffman's retirement creates a critical open seat.

More than 100 potential constituents and elected officials jammed the home of Jeffrey and Crystal McKay on Collard Street, Lee District, Saturday afternoon to be part of McKay's official announcement to become the next Lee District Supervisor succeeding his present boss, Dana Kauffman, who is retiring at the end of this year.

A lifelong native of Lee District, McKay, 32, has served as Kauffman's chief of Staff for the past 12 years. Born and raised on the Route 1 corridor, he has worked closely with Kauffman on constituent and policy issues since his graduation from James Madison University with a degree in Public Administration. He is also a graduate of the University of Virginia's Sorenson Institute of Political Leadership.

"If you want to keep the accomplishments of Lee District moving ahead, elect McKay," Kauffman said in endorsing the candidacy of his top staffer.

He also offered a word of advice to McKay and his wife. "When you officially announce for public office your life changes from being your own to a group activity," he said.

Having been married for approximately two years, that group activity will take on special meaning just nine days prior to the upcoming election. That's when McKay's wife is due to give birth to the couple's first child.

"I could talk about passing the torch, but it's more like passing along a dozen or so hot potatoes," Kauffman said. McKay is well aware of those "hot potatoes" having worked hand and glove with Kauffman on all of Lee District's primary issues.

"I want to be a member of [the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors] because there is a lot that needs to be done on a wide range of issues — the impact of BRAC, keeping the Route 1 revitalization momentum going, bringing the Springfield back to what it used to be, and increasing parks and open space," McKay said in naming a few of his priorities.

"Local government is our basic level of government. That's why it was important for me to kick this campaign off in my neighborhood and in this house," he said. The McKays live in his grandmother's former home, where he spent many childhood hours, he said.

His grandmother, Dorothea Morris, was an active community and Democratic Party member. She served as the finance officer at William Cullen Bryant Middle School, Fairfax County Schools, from 1960 until her retirement in 1972.

She was also a charter member of the Groveton Civic Association and its treasurer from 1946 to 1995. Her political activism included being a campaign staffer for numerous local, state, and national campaigns beginning in the 1950s and serving as a member of the Lee District Democratic Committee, where she also served as treasurer from 1959 to 1995.

She and her husband, Robert, were jointly awarded the Community Builders Award in 1996 and the Lifetime Achievement Award by Fairfax County. In 1995, the Morris Glen Senior Retirement Community was dedicated to Robert and Dorothea Morris.

MCKAY CONTINUES that tradition of active community involvement. He is an active member of the Groveton Civic Association, the oldest such association in Fairfax County; the Southeast Health Planning Task Force to preserve and enhance Inova Mount Vernon Hospital; the Metropolitan Washington Local Government Assistants Association; and is a sworn Reserve Deputy Sheriff for Fairfax County.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald Connolly added his voice to McKay's election bid. "We are gathered here today to secure continuity in Lee District leadership. We have to make absolutely sure that Lee District sends [the Board] a progressive Democrat to maintain the momentum and work of Dana Kauffman," he said.

"We must maintain that momentum. We are on the verge of transforming Fairfax County. That's why the election of Jeff McKay is so important," Connolly said.

Although Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland was not present due to his travel schedule, Kauffman read a letter from him pledging his total support for McKay's election. "It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I wholeheartedly support and endorse your candidacy," Hyland wrote.

In asking the crowd for their support, McKay said, "This election is going to be tight. It's an open seat and with an open seat you cannot take anything for granted."

He also predicted a low turnout. "For that reason we need everyone to be active. To knock on doors and work as hard as I and my campaign manager, Chris Jackson, intend to do," McKay said in concluding the event.