Opinion: Independent Progressive: Surging Newcomers for Supervisors, School Board, Not Legislature

Opinion: Independent Progressive: Surging Newcomers for Supervisors, School Board, Not Legislature

A few days ago, I attended a meeting of the Hunter Mill District Democratic Committee, something I had not done for quite a while. What particularly interested me was the prospect of seeing, meeting some of the early candidates for the 2019 Elections. With a little luck I thought I might even invite a couple of them to be guests on Reston Impact (Sundays at 8 p.m. and Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast 28 and Verizon 1980!) in the weeks ahead.

Up for election this year in our area are: State Senators and Delegates, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney, County Sheriff, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, 9 District Supervisors, 9 District School Board members, 3 At-Large School Board members, and 3 Soil and Water District Directors. (For today, I will not address the S & W Directors.) The General Assembly is in session, so our State Senator Janet Howell and Delegate Ken Plum did not attend the Wednesday meeting. So far, they are unopposed. Although competition is good and healthy, I suspect both will remain unopposed. Steve Descano, an impressive young candidate for Commonwealth Attorney opposing 35-year, underwhelming incumbent Ray Morrogh, was present and touting former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s hearty endorsement.

Also present were two of four running to replace retiring consensus master Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova--two-term School Board Member Ryan McElveen and newcomer local Tim Chapman. I hope to interview both. Heir apparent Supervisor Jeff McKay was absent as was newcomer Alicia Pierhoples.

All 4 would-be Cathy Hudgins successors were present: Walter Alcorn, a long-time Hudgins supporter and 16-year appointee to the County Planning Commission; attorney and promising activist progressive Laurie Dodd; Shyamali Hauth, former US Air Force officer and member of various Democratic committees; and Parker Messick, youngest of all, with some campaign experience and a promising future. Note: I am aware of a couple of other interesting prospects who have not yet stepped forward, but could surprise me by jumping in.

Speaking of surprises, a third candidate threw his hat in the ring Wednesday evening seeking the Democratic endorsement for the non-partisan election to Hunter Mill District seat on the Board of the Fairfax County Public Schools. (The seat is being vacated by one of my favorites, Pat Hynes.) The newcomer also formally applied to join the Party. He is Andy Sigle, Lake Anne Brew House bartender and current Reston Association Board President, stepping down after just one year. As late as Wednesday afternoon word was circulating that Sigle wanted to run for Supervisor. The other candidate seeking the Democratic endorsement is Melanie Meren, an experienced professional in Elementary and Secondary Education policy. The third candidate for the Hunter Mill District seat on the School Board is Laura Ramirez Drain who is seeking the Republican Party endorsement in the nonpartisan race. Ms. Drain founded and hosts Café Latino TV, and is a community activist in area business and charitable organizations.

Why, you might ask, am I so belatedly mentioning a Republican candidate for one of these Hunter Mill District/Reston area offices? The answer is that Ms. Drain is to date the only announced Republican candidate for any of the offices discussed. Is this a prelude to a very good year for Democrats? Perhaps. But my sample is small and this is, after all, Reston and Hunter Mill, hardly Republican strongholds.

However, I strongly believe it is fair to say that the one good thing the current President has accomplished, in the longest two years I can remember, is energizing Democrats to rise up and fight in Virginia and around the country.