Ahead of the June 9 Democratic primary, The Gazette and Connection solicited responses from each of the candidates vying to move forward to the November election.
Name: Jack Dobbyn
Occupation: Business Owner
Community involvements: Co-Chair Successful Youth and Child Policy Team, appointee on Human Services Council, Co-Chair land Use Committee (FCFCA).
Family: Wife, Kathryn. Daughters Victoria and Marie, Son Jackie.
Favorite quote: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought with accepting it.” —Aristotle
Q. Approximately half of the county budget is devoted to the local school system. According to the superintendent there is currently a budget gap between what is needed and what the current Board of Supervisors has transferred to them. If elected what steps will you take to deal with what the School Board says is needed to fully fund the needs of the school system?
A. It is easy to say that FCPS and/or the county must cut trim operating size, or learn to operate with less. Like most individuals around Fairfax County and in the Mt. Vernon District, I recognize that FCPS and the county both have needs, and that we need revenue diversification to ensure our high quality of life is maintained. Understanding that this diversification is not quickly occurring, we must figure out a way to adequately fund services and operations, while not over burdening our tax payers. The BOS is beginning its Lines of Business process. Hopefully this will not be a budget cutting exercise, but one that helps the County determine how our programs are run, and if there are better, more efficient ways to operate. I will encourage the School Board to do the same, in a transparent manner. Our biggest quandary is maximizing the dollar in both systems without sacrificing the needs of the other.
Q. Local property taxes are the primary source of funding for all the county’s needs. The growth of property taxes continues to rise, and is now a source of hardship for low income families and those living on a fixed income. If elected what will you do to deal with the growth of property taxes and the continued reliance on property taxes as a primary source of county government spending?
A. I will work with county staff to identify and eradicate waste, fraud, and abuse in our government. I commit to not arbitrarily raise any of our tax rates, and will question our Chairman and Budget Committee chair about the same. I will work with the members of the BOS to firmly encourage our state partners to search for ways to increase the dollars returned to Fairfax County, and be a staunch advocate for equal taxing authority of cities and towns. I will strive to increase the business footprint in Mt. Vernon and Fairfax County to better balance the county’s commercial property vs. that of our residential property.
Q. The Mount Vernon District and immediately surrounding region is undergoing a variety of infrastructure pressures as it copes with the needs of a growing population, expansion of Fort Belvoir, and the most significant Route 1 road and mass transit expansion in half a century. If elected, what will your transportation priorities be and how do you propose to fund them?
A. My priorities are: Route 1 expansion, increased local transit options to get cars off the road, Metro expansion, and a more bikeable and walkable community.
For funding I would: Use the state’s Commercial and Industrial tax for Mt. Vernon Projects; seek DOT & DOD funds dealing with Ft. Belvoir; work with Alexandria and Arlington to mitigate traffic as Mark Center and Pentagon are starting and destination points for Ft. Belvoir traffic.
Q. Meeting the needs of the low and moderate income population in the Route 1 corridor is a continuing high priority. How do you plan to finance the continuing needs of this population in light of the growing financial pressures on the county budget for all services?
A. The first thing we need to do is recognize that this battle is not between the haves vs. have nots; we must continue to focus on the quality of life for all residents. In doing that, Fairfax County needs to ensure that all residents, especially our children, have access to the programs that make higher quality of life attainable. And then, we must fund them as we fund the programs that address health, mental health, education, etc.
Q. The fastest growing minority population in Mount Vernon is senior citizens 55 and older. What steps will you take to support the transportation, housing, and resource needs of this growing seniors population?
A. My father is 87 years old and lives down the street from me, so this issue is of particular importance to me. As Mt. Vernon becomes more populated, we must find activities and programs that keep seniors an active part of the district. Mt. Vernon At- Home is part a national, regional, and county senior village movement, and is the oldest and most successful village model in Fairfax County. It is a volunteer-driven approach, but comes with a membership cost. However, all of our residents cannot afford this luxury; we need to work with Inova Alexandria and other service providers to provide screenings and other preventative services. Public safety agencies need to ensure that our seniors are safe and secure in the community.
Q. Why should voters support you for Mount Vernon supervisor instead of one of the other Democratic candidates?
A. I have committed my life to working for the betterment of all in Mt. Vernon. My opponents have over 20 years of planning and School Board representation amongst them with little to show for their efforts. Our schools and community deserve better. I have the experience and relationships to get the results we need.