Town of residence: Great Falls
Family: Husband: Brian Dickson; Stepson: Riley Dickson, Stepdaughter: Jordan Principe
Education: BS, Commerce, University of Virginia
Offices held, dates: N/A
Occupation and relevant experience: Vice President, IBM; Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), US Army; Board of Directors, Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association, Washington DC Chapter; Information Technology Fellow, American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council
Community involvement: Northern Virginia Literacy Council Volunteer Tutor
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter handle: @JenniferChronis
Name three favorite endorsements: Congressman Frank Wolf, Congressman Tom Davis, Congresswoman Barbara Comstock
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
Public service is central to my life. I served my Country and my community as a US Army officer for 21 years. As Supervisor, I look forward to continuing my life of service. Our greatest challenge in Fairfax County is the need for stronger fiscal management and prioritization of our County’s resources. With property tax increases of nearly 17% in the last three years alone, over $200M in projected 2017 deficits ($100M in FCPS), and an economy that saw only .4% job growth in 2014, we face serious challenges to sustain our quality of life. Our Board needs strong leaders with business experience who can make tough decisions about how to prioritize spending while also growing our economy. I have both the military leadership and business experience to bring people together to address these challenges, and to hold the County and Board accountable for executing on actions and programs that deliver tangible results.
What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?
I am a military leader who knows how to make tough decisions, put the needs of others before my own, and get things done. I am also a business executive who understands the importance of achieving financial targets and delivering value for every tax dollar. I will bring a fresh perspective to the Board and a business-minded approach to solving our greatest challenges and ensuring that we deliver measurable results for taxpayers. Unlike my opponent, I would not have voted for tax increases amounting to 17% over the last three years while also underfunding our schools by $100 million. And I would not have voted to increase my own pay by 27%, when we are keeping our teachers’ salaries practically flat. This is not what I learned as leadership in my military and business career and I will make better decisions for Dranesville residents.
More than half of the county budget is devoted to the local school system. A significant budget gap looms for the next budget cycle, both for FCPS and Fairfax County. What are the top county priorities and how will you assure funding and manage the budget? What ideas do you have for increasing revenue? Name two areas/items you would cut or reduce.
My top priority is to ensure that our schools remain the best in the country. I will work closely with the School Board to focus resources on students and teachers first. We need to reduce administrative costs and invest more in our teachers, as many of our best teachers are departing Fairfax for neighboring school systems that offer higher salaries.
My second priority is to strengthen the County’s fiscal and economic health. The Board has continuously raised property taxes, to compensate for weakness in our commercial property market. We must fill the 19 million square feet of empty office space in the County to grow our commercial tax revenue and relieve the tax burden on homeowners. We must make the County more business-friendly by streamlining our permitting and regulatory processes and partnering with our EDA to attract new industries like cybersecurity, healthcare, and IT to the County.
Finally, I will apply commercial best practices to county spending. We must consider implementation of shared services for administrative functions like HR, IT, finance, accounting, and contracting between the County and FCPS. Secondly, we must closely examine our pension system for new employees to determine the most financially viable system for the future. We should also consider eliminating duplicative functions; for example, Fairfax County is the only county in Virginia to operate a Consumer Affairs division, which largely replicates what the State Agency does. Responsibly managing the County’s resources is a critical responsibility for our Board of Supervisors. Doing so more effectively requires fundamental changes to the way the County manages its budget. I would implement outcome-based program reviews every two years for all county programs.
How many hours a week of outside employment do you anticipate while serving on the Board of Supervisors?
I will be a full-time Supervisor. I will devote all of my talents to the residents of Dranesville.