Fairfax County Board of Supervisors-Mason: Penelope A. “Penny” Gross (D)

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors-Mason: Penelope A. “Penny” Gross (D)

Question and answer

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Candidate Questionnaires

* = Incumbent


Sharon Bulova* (D)

Glenda Gail Parker

Arthur Purves

Braddock District

Carey C. Campbell (I)

John C. Cook* (R)

Janet Sloate Oleszek (D)

Dranesville District

Jennifer Chronis (R)

John Foust* (D)

Hunter Mill District

Catherine M. Hudgins* (D)

Lee District

Jeffrey C. McKay* (D)

Mason District

Penelope A. "Penny" Gross* (D)

Mollie A. Loeffler (I)

Mount Vernon District

Jane Gandee (R)

Dan Storck (D)

Providence District

Linda Smyth* (D)

Springfield District

Corazon S. Foley (I)

Pat Herrity* (R)

Sully District

John P. Guevara(R)

Kathy L. Smith (D)

Town of residence: Mason District

Age: 71

Family: Husband Hal, three children

Education: University of Oregon (B.S.)

Offices held, dates: Mason District Supervisor (1996 - present), Vice Chairman of the Board (2009 - present)

Occupation and relevant experience: Mason District Supervisor (1996 - Present), Vice Chairman of the Board (2009 - present)

Community involvement: 4 years as President of the Lincolnia Park Civic Association; 8 years on the Executive Board of the Mason District Council of Civic Associations; 5 Years as President of the Weyanoke Elementary School PTA; Honorary Lifetime Member of Virginia PTA; Founding Member of the Friends of Mason District Park; 35 year local park volunteer.

Website: pennygross.com

Email address: gross.penny@gmail.com

Twitter handle: facebook.com/PennyGrossForMason

Name three favorite endorsements: Fairfax County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics – Local 2068, Mason District School Board Member Sandy Evans, Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce.


What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?

In one word: growth. When our children were small, I was one of the first PTA presidents to recognize the changing nature of our growth. My mission, as a community leader, as well as Supervisor, is to serve the needs of all members of our dynamic and diverse community.

Growth is a core issue facing every aspect of our county. First and foremost, we must maintain the quality of our schools and educators with the increase in student population. We must find efficiencies and revenues to maintain and expand school funding as we continue to make our schools adaptable to the needs of our ever changing and growing communities.

We must also focus on smart development that is conscious of density and traffic patterns that new growth has created. Additionally, we must maintain steadfast in encouraging residential or office construction be near Metro stations and other public transportation.

Finally, we must fix the housing shortfall in Fairfax County that is an offspring of growth in the area. We need to provide a more diverse menu of housing options in a county whose residents have many different housing needs.

What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?

Campaigning is fun, governance is hard. I have the experience, the relationships, the work ethic, and the energy to continue to provide the responsive, pragmatic leadership that makes Mason District a great place to live, work, play, learn, worship, and grow old gracefully.

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.

Schools are the Board's priority, and mine. This commitment is illustrated by the 150% increase in school funding that I have supported during my tenure as Mason District Supervisor. With my support, funding for FCPS has increased by $230 million since 2008.

County schools need more funding from the state. For the amount of income tax dollars we send to Richmond, Fairfax County taxpayers receive a minimum of support in return. The Virginia State Constitution mandates state support for education, a responsibility that the state has not met in recent years. Additional state funding for public education can help reduce the burden on local budgets, and provide the support all students in FCPS deserve.

As President of the Virginia Association of Counties, I have met numerous times with Governor Terry McAuliffe and members of the General Assembly to strongly demand action, and we are making progress. I am committed to using my relationships and experience to secure a much needed increase in state funding for FCPS.

The periodic Lines of Business (LOBs) review, which will begin in January, will help the Board determine areas for additional efficiencies and adjustments.

How many hours a week of outside employment do you anticipate while serving on the Board of Supervisors?