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Local Leaders Predict Hot Topics in 2013

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova  --aka “The Turkey Master”--pictured with her sous chefs: nephew, Jesse Horneber (right) and brother-in-law, Dave Koss (left). Bulova spent the holidays in Ocean City with 13 relatives. “I am the family Turkey Master. I love to cook but don't get enough chance to ‘nurture’ a big meal. Cooking turkey with my sausage and veggie dressing with gravy is hugely satisfying to me!”

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova --aka “The Turkey Master”--pictured with her sous chefs: nephew, Jesse Horneber (right) and brother-in-law, Dave Koss (left). Bulova spent the holidays in Ocean City with 13 relatives. “I am the family Turkey Master. I love to cook but don't get enough chance to ‘nurture’ a big meal. Cooking turkey with my sausage and veggie dressing with gravy is hugely satisfying to me!” Photo contributed

We asked local movers and shakers to tell us what headlines they’d like to see in the New Year, what issues will dominate the political agenda, what their New Year’s resolutions are, and their Express Lane experiences. If our prognosticators are correct, the top three issues that dominated the headlines last year will again dominate this year. In order of priority: transportation, transportation and transportation.

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Del. Dave Albo (R-42), with wife Rita and 7-year-old son, was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1994. He is the most senior Northern Virginia majority party delegate in the state legislature. He grew up in West Springfield and attended Fairfax County Public Schools (Rolling Valley Elementary and West Springfield High School). Prior to being elected to the House of Delegates in 1993, he served as president of the West Springfield Civic Association, prosecutor for the City of Fairfax and a guardian for Abused and Neglected Children. Albo is presently chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee.

Albo: Roads to Happiness

Q: What headline would you love to see for Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A: “Washington By-pass Route Set by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. East Coast traffic to by-pass Fairfax!”

Q: What are top legislative priorities this session?

A: “Build roads, pave residential roads, get more in-state students into Virginia colleges, get through yet another dismal economic year without raising taxes.”

Q: What do you consider to be the number one issue affecting our community? How will you address it?

A: “In order to keep Virginia at the top of the Best Places for Business, and therefore having lots of jobs in NOVA, we need roads and rail. Virginia slipped from number one to number three almost entirely on the issue of lack of transportation improvements. This will cost a lot of money. I propose that we set our taxes on out-of-state businesses and visitors at the same rates they charge Virginians. For example, presently out-of-state corporations pay no corporate income tax on the money they earn for performing services in Virginia. Yet, if a Virginia company goes to Maryland to perform a service, it has to pay Maryland. Not only is it ludicrous to treat out-of-state corporations better than Virginia corporations, but it is a disincentive to locating a business here. Changing out corporate income tax system to the same system used by Georgia, Maryland, California and others would bring the state $370,000,000 in new revenue, which we can use for roads and rail!”

Q: Express Lanes?

A: “Wonderful. Got to Tysons from Lorton in 35 minutes!”

Q: Any personal or professional New Year's resolutions?

A: “I am on a Led Zep kick these days. So I have vowed to learn "Moby Dick" and "Black Dog" on my Gibson Les Paul guitar. ("Heartbreaker" solo is too hard.)

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Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova --aka “The Turkey Master”--pictured with her sous chefs: nephew, Jesse Horneber (right) and brother-in-law, Dave Koss (left). Bulova spent the holidays in Ocean City with 13 relatives. “I am the family Turkey Master. I love to cook but don't get enough chance to ‘nurture’ a big meal. Cooking turkey with my sausage and veggie dressing with gravy is hugely satisfying to me!”

Bulova: Silver Line Stations Top Priority List

Q: What headline would you love to see for Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A: “Fairfax Board Adopts FY 2014 Budget; Amazing Balance is Achieved--Tax Bills Remain Affordable, Quality of Life Maintained Despite Difficult Economic Climate"

Q: What are--or should be--top priorities for our state legislators this session?

A: “To adopt new, sustainable funding for Virginia's current and long term transportation needs.”

Q: What are some challenges/opportunities facing Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A: “Top on my list for next year is the successful opening of four new Silver Line Metro Stations in Tysons Corner. I am working with stakeholders in the Tysons area to make sure employees and neighbors will be able to use the new stations through shared parking arrangements in commercial buildings near stations, as well as new bus service/routes and pedestrian access.

I’m also excited about new Express Connector Bus Service that will whisk travelers from VRE stations in Lorton, Burke and Springfield via the new Beltway Express (HOT) lanes into Tysons. The new service will be rolled out in January. Go to the following link for more information: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/expresslanes/. Throughout the next year my colleagues and I will continue our focus on the former Lorton prison site. This South County area is transforming into an exciting mixed-use town center, including the wonderful Arts Workhouse. Since 2002, when the U.S. Congress transferred the 2,300 acres of property at Laurel Hill to Fairfax County, the county has worked with residents and task forces to develop plans for future uses of the area. The approved Master Plan for the Adaptive Reuse Site at Laurel Hill (east of Route 123 and south of Silverbrook Road) creates a hub of community residences, workplaces, shopping and green space.”

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Supervisor John Cook with Burke United Methodist Church volunteer Barbara Nowak during the church’s Hypothermia Prevention week on Dec. 21.

Cook: Transportation Funding Tops Wish List

Q: Headline for 2013?

A: We would love to hear (not that we think we are going to hear): State passes major transportation funding plan.”

Q: Top priorities for state?

A: “A new transportation funding plan, economic development in the face of federal government’s cutbacks, funding group homes for people with disabilities including those leaving the Northern Virginia Training Center, education funding and Medicaid reform.”

Q: Challenges & opportunities?

A: “Transportation funding, county budget gap, federal ‘cliff’ fallout, school funding, Community Services Board reform and funding.”

Q: Top issue facing the community?

A: “Transportation. I will continue to push for Fairfax County to play a larger role in transportation.”

Q: Express lanes?

A: “Fantastic experience. These are a gem. Try them!”

Q: New Year’s resolution?

A: “Attend more Nationals games. There’s nothing like a winner!”

Corcoran: FBI on ‘Most Wanted List’

Q: What headline, or headlines, would you love to see for Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A:

  • “FBI Picks Fairfax”

  • “Fiscal Cliff Averted”

  • “[Insert company name] Selects Fairfax County for New Headquarters”

Q: What are--or should be--top priorities for our state legislators this session?

A:

  • Sustainable transportation funding

  • Education policies that support workforce development, particularly in the STEM fields.

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Jim Corcoran is president and CEO of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. On Dec. 14, Corcoran (center) put on a pair of jeans to support Jeans Day 2012, an initiative to support the effort to prevent and end homelessness in Fairfax County. He is standing with Jeans Day supporters Michael O’Reilly, (left) chairman of the governing board at the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness and Dean Klein, director at the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness (OPEH). For more information on the Fairfax Chamber, go to www.fairfaxchamber.org.

Q: What are some challenges/opportunities facing Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A: “Federal uncertainty, the ‘fiscal cliff’ and sequestration are posing critical challenges for Northern Virginia in the coming year. The Fairfax Chamber has been and will continue to advocate for elected leaders on both sides of the aisle to come together and compromise on sound policy for businesses and our nation. Incidentally, compromise is the same thing our elected leaders in Richmond need to do to fix the second biggest issue affecting Northern Virginia: transportation.

The biggest opportunity for Northern Virginia lies in our creative economy. Northern Virginia hubs many of the innovative businesses in the nation and the world. The opportunity exists for us to capitalize on the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation to continue to grow the regional economy into the future. Economic diversification will be key, especially in the health IT sector. “

Q: What do you consider to be the number one issue affecting our community, and how will the Fairfax Chamber play a role?

A: “When asked why they choose to headquarter or locate in Northern Virginia, businesses consistently cite the quality of the public schools system and a qualified workforce as the number one reasons for selecting Fairfax County. Our region stands to face a gap in the number of workers qualified in the STEM fields and available jobs. Preparing our students in these critical areas is of paramount importance. To address this, the chamber has assembled other chambers and organizations throughout Northern Virginia to create scalable systemic solutions to train students in the STEM disciplines and prepare them to be equipped for the workforce of the future.”

Q: Have you driven on the Express Lanes?

A: “Yes. I would rate my experience as excellent. The Express Lanes are a great example of what can be accomplished when the private and public sector work together to solve a problem.”

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Fairfax City Councilmember Dan Drummond and wife Kerry attended the reception honoring former Mayor Robert F. Lederer in June at the City Hall Atrium. Drummond, a former journalist, is director of Public Relations for Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. He is also a member of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Transportation Planning Board.

Drummond: In a Word--Gridlock

Q: What headline, or headlines, would you love to see for Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A: “Kitty Pozer Park Opens in Downtown City of Fairfax, Creating Renewed Interest in Restaurants, Shops”

Q: What are--or should be--top priorities for our state legislators this session?

A: “Providing a forward-thinking plan to fund transportation projects, supporting legislation that gives local government more autonomy and focusing on issues that matter most to Virginians, not ‘show’ bills that make headlines, but don't create jobs or improve our quality of life.”

Q: What are some challenges/opportunities facing Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A: “In a word: gridlock. Political gridlock in Washington, D.C. will have a continuing negative impact on the Northern Virginia economy and transportation gridlock continues to dampen residents' quality of life.”

Q: What do you consider to be the number one issue affecting our community? How will you address it?

A: “Balanced growth and development in the City of Fairfax. We have a number of housing and retail development projects coming before the City Council that could positively alter the city's future. We need the community's input on what they want their community to look like.”

Q: Have you driven on the Express Lanes?

A: “No, but I certainly can see why people would want to take it if the Beltway is jammed.”

Q: New Year's resolutions?

A: “Like just about everyone else, I'll be trying my best to eat better and exercise more. We have great gyms and trails in the City of Fairfax so there's no reason I can't make it happen.”

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Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield), center, stands with McGruff as the crime-fighting bloodhound gets ready to take a bite out of crime during National Night Out events across Fairfax County in August. McGruff, the popular canine, started the night off at the West Springfield District Station, where he was joined by fellow law enforcement officers and Supervisors John Cook (to McGruff’s right) and West Springfield Police Captain Joe Hill (next to Cook).

Herrity: Transportation As a Priority

Q: What headline, or headlines, would you love to see for Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A: “VDOT announces Express Lanes Project for I-66 Giving Commuters Transportation Choices”

Q: What are--or should be--top priorities for our state legislators this session?

A: “Coming together as a delegation to solve some of our transportation funding shortfall.”

Q: What are some challenges/opportunities facing Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A: “Traffic congestion, sequestration (and/or the inevitable cuts in the federal budget), and the county’s budget shortfalls projected for the next several years. On transportation, Fairfax County has the opportunity to go back to our traditional way of funding new infrastructure--developer proffers. Our state delegation has an opportunity to come together as a region and identify existing and new funding that can be used to fund a state priority--transportation. There is also opportunity for using our scarce resources wisely, and partnering with the private sector to get goals accomplished. Bringing the Express Lanes to I-66 would offer congestion relief with a way to pay for it and give commuters transportation choices. With the coming budget cuts we have the opportunity to further diversify our economy in Fairfax County and the county’s projected budget shortfalls provide an opportunity to correct the structural imbalances in the current budget.”

Q: What do you consider to be the number one issue affecting our community?

A: “Outside of sequestration, the ever-present problem of traffic congestion is this region’s biggest issue. Outside of the issues I mentioned before (Express lanes for I-66 and the focus of proffer dollars on transportation), I believe we have to begin reducing the congestion on the Fairfax County Parkway. I was able to have the parkway’s designation changed to a primary road in 2012 which should bring more state construction and maintenance resources and held a hosted a town hall to begin developing the vision for the future of the parkway. Hopefully we will be successful in converting these actions into additional capacity in 2012.”

Q: Have you driven on the Express Lanes?

A: “I have and they are great. Not only do they give you a more predictable commute when you really need it, but the new entrances into Tysons help tremendously. They appear to be having a positive impact on the regular lanes as well. I am hoping the county’s new Connector express bus routes that start in January will reduce congestion in the regular lanes even more and that eventually we will see slug lines into Tysons.”

Q: New Year's resolutions?

A:

  • Keep off the weight I lost during last year’s surgery.

  • Continue to proactively serve the residents of Fairfax County.

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Nancy-jo Manney, the executive director of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, spoke during the news conference kicking off the long-awaited demolition of Springfield Mall. Manney, standing with Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee) and Vornado/Charles E. Smith President Mitchell Shear, was unconditionally optimistic about the renovation of Springfield Mall last year, and she said she’s “going for even more optimism in 2013” with her headline this year. (We all have our fingers crossed for this one.) For more information on the chamber, go to www.springfieldchamber.org.

Manney: ‘Pain We Can Agree to’

Q: Top headline for 2013?

A: “Express Lanes and Silver Line Unlock Gridlock.”

Q: Top legislative priority?

A: “The top priority for the 2013 General Assembly must be finding a long-term sustainable transportation funding source for NOVA and the commonwealth. The answer is going to be ‘what pain can we agree to’ because there is no solution that doesn’t hurt.”

Q: Challenges and opportunities?

A: “I think the economy will continue to be our biggest challenge, but as bad as it may be elsewhere I believe NOVA still has more opportunities for growth. Being this close to Washington, D.C. does have its benefits.”

Q: What do you consider to be the number one issue affecting the community?

A: “We’re going to see a lot of revitalization and economic development come to life in the Greater Springfield area in 2013. Its impact on our community could be a bit overwhelming for some. The Greater Springfield Chamber will work with property owners, developers, DOT and our elected officials to roll out the welcome mat.”

Q: Express Lanes?

A: “I have my E-ZPass Flex but haven’t yet had a need to use the Express Lanes. But look for my Subaru going up and down, up and down, and up and down the lanes during my two free weeks in January!”

Q: New Year’s resolution?

A: “Ask me my New Year’s resolution in July. In the meantime, I’ve got too much to do to spend time planning what I need to do.”

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State Senator David Marsden (D-37) in front of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fairfax Station. Marsden is currently serving his second term as a senator in the Virginia General Assembly. On Jan. 12, 2010, Marsden won a special Senate election to replace Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who was elected attorney general the previous fall. Since 2006 and prior to serving in the State Senate, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 41st district.

Marsden: State Credit Card Maxed Out

Q: Top headline for 2013?

A: “Governor McDonnell eliminates Route 460 funding and invests in lower tolls on Dulles Toll Road.” Nobody uses the current 460, why would they use the new one?

Q: Top legislative priority?

A: “Transportation. Without new funding sources we are in trouble. The state credit card is maxed out; our construction dollars are being diverted to maintenance; we soon will not qualify for our federal highway match. Our ‘Best State to do Business’ rating is headed south and Rt. 460 will not help! Pay attention to Senator John Watkins (R- Powhatan) bill to provide new funding ($733 billion). It is brilliant and won’t cost the average Virginian much of anything.”

Q: Top opportunity?

A: “Our greatest opportunity is to finally address our violence problem. Let’s make sure gun owners are responsible to keep their firearms out of the wrong hands by holding them civilly accountable if they allow them to be stolen or misappropriated and used in a crime through carelessness. Finally, require background checks on gun purchasers conducting private sales at gun shows. A no-brainer.”

Q: Express Lanes?

A: “Express lanes are great. I work in Bethesda and live in Burke and the commute is much easier as people are using these lanes enough to make life easier for those of us in the regular lanes. I want to throw them flowers.”

Q: Resolution?

A: “I will not eat anything that comes on a toothpick in Richmond this session and will work out at the YMCA every day… sure.”

McKay: Increasing Needs, Shrinking Funding

Q: What headlines would you love to see for Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A:

  • Tolled to Death, Virginians Revolt Against Inadequate State Transportation Funding

  • General Assembly Votes for Sensible Transportation Funding to Northern Virginia

  • Monster Pothole Swallows 18-Wheeler… State Road Funding Wake Up Call

  • Virginia Elects a Governor With a History of Working Across Party Lines

  • General Assembly Drops Divisive Social Issues in Favor of the People’s Work

  • Springfield Mall Progress Continues; Community Eager for Re-Opening Next Year

  • GSA Dinosaur Makes Way for New FBI Headquarters in Springfield

  • Schools’ Commitment to Helping Struggling Schools and Students Succeed Pays Off

Q: What are, or should be, top priorities for our state legislators this session?

A:

  • Getting a handle on our Northern Virginia transportation crisis

  • Funding our education system and human services safety net

Q: What are some challenges/opportunities facing Northern Virginia in the coming year?

A:

  • Economic development opportunities from BRAC, the Silver Line, Springfield Mall, and possibly a move to the Springfield GSA site by the FBI.

  • Challenges: same as above because of our crumbling transportation infrastructure.

  • Continuing to responsibly pull out of economic decline by not destroying our highly regarded local services: police, schools, human services, parks and libraries, etc.

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Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee), who has been instrumental in pushing the Springfield Mall project forward, holds up chunks of Garfinckel’s Department Store as souvenirs of the iconic mall’s demolition, which began on Monday, Nov. 26 with the destruction of what was originally the upscale Garfinckel’s (and later became a Sports Authority.) “The exterior demolition is a strong signal that the mall renovation is well underway,” McKay said, adding that he keeps pieces of Garfinckel’s in his office along with other remnants of Springfield’s past.

Q: What do you consider to be the number one issue affecting our community?

A: “Where you stand depends on where you sit, so one person’s number one issue may be number 15 on a neighbor’s list. However, I am very concerned about how we will balance our increasing needs (education, human services and transportation) with our shrinking funding. My colleagues and I on the county board will be doing our best to craft a sustainable budget and we’ll be lobbying our state and federal partners for the support we deserve.”

Q: Have you driven on the Express Lanes?

A: “I have not. They are a good alternative for those who can afford them but they in no way should relieve the state from its neglect of our roads and imposing tolls on our community.”

Q: New Year’s resolutions?

A: “Professional: to continue to dedicate myself to representing the residents of Lee District and Fairfax County, and to find ways to maintain our quality of life and essential services in the face of federal and state cuts.

Personal: To listen to my wife when she tells me to cut back on coffee and to make sure that regular trips to the gym make it onto my busy calendar.”