Political Jockeying in Mount Vernon

Political Jockeying in Mount Vernon

With Puller’s retirement, the race is on.

Soon after state Sen. Toddy Puller’s retirement announcement, candidates for the vacated seat are already emerging.

Del. Scott Surovell (D-44) said he will seek the Democratic nomination for the 36th Senate District seat; Mayor of Dumfries Jerry Foreman had already declared in December 2014 that he is seeking the Republican nomination for the seat. So far the only other declared candidate for the anticipated open seat is Paul Krizek who announced that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 44th House of Delegates seat to be vacated by Surovell.

In December, Foreman said, “The time is right and the place is right for a new leader in the 36th District Senate Seat. I will work hard every day to honestly and ethically represent the 36th District Senate seat. I believe in servant leadership and I have never forgotten for one minute who I work for and where I come from. … until we move beyond the status quo, until we eliminate the crippling partisanship of a political party, no policy breakthroughs will occur.

Foreman was elected in 2010 as town councilman; then elected in a special mayoral election in 2012, and reelected to a full four-year term in 2014.

Foreman received a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aviation science and management. He received his undergraduate degree at Southern Illinois University where he has served as a professor. As a Marine Corps veteran he climbed up through the ranks achieving the rank of major in a 25-year career (1980-2005). He currently owns a small business, Foreman Aviation Services and Technologies, and serves as an aviation consultant to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. His local appointments include membership on the Northern Virginia Regional Council, and the Northern Virginia Regional Transportation Authority. Since announcing in December he has established a campaign headquarters, filed campaign paperwork as required with the Republican headquarters in Richmond, and established a website: http//www.gmforemansenate36va.com/

On Jan. 18, Surovell announced in Richmond that he is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for the 36th District Senate Seat.

In his announcement he listed his accomplishments since taking office in 2009, including:

  • Repealed the $100 tax on hybrid vehicles
  • Expanded mental health services at Virginia’s community colleges
  • Brought back over $300 million in new funding for Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford county schools since 2009.
  • Collaborated with Senator Puller to secure $2 million for the U.S. One Transit Analysis that recommended extending the yellow line to Hybla Valley, and bus rapid transit to Woodbridge.

His announcement listed the following campaign initiatives that he will work to accomplish if elected as state senator:

  • Extend the yellow line to Hybla Valley, and install bus rapid transit to Woodbridge
  • Provide every public school student a computer.
  • Expand Medicaid
  • Fight predatory lending on Route One
  • Promote solar power and energy efficient technology
  • Focus on jobs, infrastructure, and support for veterans

Surovell ended his announcement by asking for volunteers and for supporters to sign his petition. He pointed out that he is forbidden from fundraising while the General Assembly is in session. E-mail: scott@scottsurovell.org

On Jan. 19, Krizek, who described himself as a community activist, announced that he will campaign for the Democratic nomination to run for the 44th District House of Delegates seat. Krizek, like Surovell, is a native son of the Mount Vernon area who graduated from Groveton High School, now West Potomac High School, and earned a law degree from Catholic University. A former legislative aide to former U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, Krizek has worked for Christian Relief Services Charities as chief counsel for the past 16 years.

“Scott Surovell has been an outstanding delegate for this area and I plan to support exactly the same issues in Richmond,” Krizek said. “We need to elect progressive Democrats that will fight for education, Medicaid expansion and ensure Fairfax gets its fair share in Richmond.” Email: paulkrizekfordelegate@gmail.com

More candidates may emerge to contest nominations for each party. In the case of the 44th District House of Delegates seat the Mount Vernon chair of the Republican party, Doug Jones, said he is confident that his party will field a Republican candidate to seek election to the House of Delegates seat. As for the Senate seat he felt that the Republican candidate already announced, Foreman, was “a solid candidate; experienced and well qualified.” He said it was premature to predict who else, if anyone, would emerge to seek the nomination for either seat but nevertheless he was pleased with the Foreman candidacy. Jones said he will be speaking to possible Republican candidates for the delegate seat this and next week but was not willing to reveal names at this time.

The Democratic party chair for Fairfax County, Sue Langley, was pleased by the State Senate candidacy of Surovell but stopped short of endorsing him. Her position is that it was premature, and it was the Committee’s primary responsibility right now to work with the other county Democratic chairs to arrive at a nominating process agreeable for all concerned. She could not say whether anyone else would emerge to seek the Senate seat nomination or the Delegate seat nomination beyond the two announced Democratic candidates. She also admitted interest in whether or not Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland will seek another term or retire; she was anticipating an announcement at his Town Hall meeting at the end of this month.

In discussing the open seats with Republican party activists it was generally viewed that the state legislative redistricting that occurred in recent years had significantly watered down and weakened the community of interest of the Mount Vernon area. For example the 30th senate district and the 36th senate district was cut up and included split precincts and such severe remapping that it served to confuse and discourage political participation.

Former State Education Board member Chris Braunlich said, “The redistricting has left me in the Adam Ebbin State Senatorial district even though I live in the Hayfield area. Tthe predominant part of Senator Ebbin’s district is in Alexandria city and Arlington. Instead of organizing political districts to enable our political representatives to help support, unite, and strengthen communities, the political gerrymandering has served to divide communities of interest and discourage public participation in the political process. No one benefits over the long term when our political representatives allow this to continue.”

Rob Hartwell, former Lee District GOP chair, and finance chair for the Republican Party of Virginia, said, “It is clear the Republican party has a lot to do if they are not fielding a full slate of candidates for open seats, but the opportunity is there given our recent electoral success in federal and state races in Virginia and nationally.”

Jan. 26, 2015: Updated to correct Sue Langley's name. Langley is the Democratic party chair for Fairfax County.