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: Tim Sargeant
Occupation: Public Affairs and community relations, Dominion Resources
Community involvements: Fairfax County Planning Commissioner since 2007; gubernatorial appointee to the Board of Visitors of Gunston Hall since 2009; one of three appointees to the Board of Supervisors’ Laurel Hill Project Advisory Committee, overseeing re-development of the penitentiary and reformatory areas of the former D.C. prison in Lorton; Mt. Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Northern Virginia Community College Foundation Board; Northern Virginia Regional Park Foundation Board
Family: Wife: Nancy (married 25 years); Daughter: Emily; Son: Eric
Favorite quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
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. As the next Mt. Vernon supervisor, I will establish a satellite office in the Mt. Vernon District Supervisor’s office for our next School Board member, so that we can work collaboratively to address the needs of all Mt. Vernon School children. I will advocate strongly on behalf of Mt. Vernon’s school children and teachers. We not only have more students than our facilities were designed to handle, we also have more students requiring additional resources and programs. I will work with our next School Board member and the Board of Supervisors to ensure that the FCPS priorities, even with a limited budget, match the needs of the Mt. Vernon District to provide a quality education to all Mt. Vernon students.
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. We need to grow our economy. My civic and Planning Commission experience provide the skill sets and vision needed to create new opportunities for economic development and renewal in the Mt. Vernon District. We can create vibrant retail and residential options for new residents as well as longtime residents looking to downsize. We can do more to become a destination for tourism: We have Mt. Vernon, Gunston Hall, Woodlawn Plantation, the Workhouse Arts Center and in the near future, the new Army Museum. I’m also aware that property tax relief is an issue we should for seniors, the disabled and veterans.
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. New revenues became available with the passage of new transportation funding at the General Assembly. Initially in northern Virginia, much of that went to completion of the Silver Line. During the next several years, it is time for Mt. Vernon to receive its share of those funds for the Richmond Highway corridor. I will assert the needs of our district for those funds while completing plans for transportation improvements and new mass transit in our district. A complete planning vision for the Richmond Highway corridor will serve as an incentive for public and private investment in transportation and transit.
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. We need better coordination of resources to meet the needs of our low and moderate income residents. As someone who has worked with government, the business sector and private service providers, I see opportunities to coordinate resources to achieve better results. This is a priority for me.
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. I have met with leaders of Mt. Vernon’s senior community to discuss needs and resources. It is clear that we can redirect public and private resources such as transportation for seniors and other services to the Mt. Vernon area to better serve seniors. My office will work to implement the recommendations of the County’s 50 + Community Action Plan.
Q. Why should voters support you for Mount Vernon supervisor instead of one of the other Democratic candidates?
A. I am the only candidate who can meet the challenges we face. As state Sen. Toddy Puller has said in her endorsement, I have the “… vision, integrity and experience to be a great supervisor.” As the Washington Post said in its endorsement of me, “None of his rivals on the ballot comes close to matching his breadth of knowledge on issues ranging from housing and transportation to development.” I have a record of listening to people, bringing them together and getting things done.