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Letter to the Editor: Home-Grown Candidates

To the Editor:

I would like to make all Alexandrians aware of two dedicated, home-grown candidates running for constitutional offices in Alexandria — Dana Lawhorne for Sheriff and Bryan Porter for Commonwealth’s Attorney. They represent the very best of bright, dedicated, and effective Democratic candidates, and I am pleased to support both of them.

Dana Lawhorne is the incumbent Sheriff, having been elected in 2005. Dana was born and raised in Alexandria and attended our public schools. Since his graduation from T.C. Williams High School, Dana has served in public safety positions, 27 years as an Alexandria Police Officer before serving as our Sheriff for the past 7 years.

In my opinion, Dana’s crown-jewel achievement is his leadership in taking the Sheriff’s Office to a high-visibility position in our Alexandria community. Before his election, Sheriff’s Deputies were mostly seen only if you went to the Courthouse, or jail, or serving court papers. Now they participate in numerous community events, serving needy residents, educating people about the responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office, and assisting in emergencies like the recurring flooding at the foot of King Street.

Dana also shows leadership in forging a close bond with the police department and other public-serving Alexandria departments. As an insider for part of his tenure, I observed the Sheriff’s Office transform from a disorganized, poorly-managed department into a highly efficient, well-managed, and effective one. He has increased the Sheriff’s budget for staff training and necessary equipment, while saving the Alexandria taxpayer money in the process.

Bryan Porter was also born and raised in Alexandria. Bryan is a product of our public schools, where his father served for 20 years as the principal of T.C. Williams high school. In 1995, Bryan began his career in law enforcement as a police officer. As he served with the Alexandria Police Department on the night shift, he attended George Mason School of Law where he graduated in 2001. It was then that Bryan joined the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney under Randy Sengel, the current Commonwealth’s Attorney. When Randy announced his retirement earlier this year, he endorsed Bryan for the position.

While a prosecutor, Bryan has tried over 40 jury trials involving some of the most serious offenses in Alexandria, such as murders, carjackings, and gang offenses. While busy trying cases, Bryan taught thousands of law enforcement officers about the law. He was invited to teach constitutional law at the National District Attorney’s Association Drug Prosecution Seminar this year. Bryan also won the 2013 Von Schuch Award, which is given yearly to Virginia's most distinguished assistant Commonwealth's Attorney by the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys.

Bryan intends to continue the community-oriented approach of his predecessor. He believes that the safety of our community is paramount, while treating victims of crime with compassion, and serious offenders with appropriate punishment.

For their entire adult lives, Dana and Bryan have brought their passion and dedicated service to their work for this community every day. They deserve our support and vote this November.

Jack Powers

Alexandria