The common thread for all the speakers at Supervisor Dan Storck’s (D-Mount Vernon) town hall meeting was the need to defeat the coronavirus, and rebuild the economy as the virus impact is lessened in Virginia. These town hall meetings are an annual event for Storck’s office and have included an exhibit hall in the past.
“We have the resources to tackle this, we need the members of the community to stand with us,” said Chairman Jeff McKay (D), and mentioned more federal relief funds that may be coming in the near future. “The Route One corridor needs it more than anyone right now,” McKay said. The covid vaccines are working their way into the population, but McKay said “we are not getting enough vaccines to support the demand.” He also noted his contact with Richmond to get more vaccines. McKay invited communications with anyone from the community.
“Our door is always open,” he said.
Supervisor Storck introduced County Executive Bryan Hill. Hill touted the county’s response to the pandemic, and talked about the support the non-profits have gotten, particularly New Hope and Good Shepherd, both in Mount Vernon. “We have really stepped up our networks,” Hill said, referring to the food relief events that have taken place in those areas.
Hill also mentioned the search his office is involved with for the new police chief as Chief Edwin C. Roessler steps down. “We have over 40 candidates that we’re getting down to 10,” Hill said.
The “One Fairfax,” plan was mentioned a number of times, and that is a joint social and racial equity policy of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board. It commits the county and schools to intentionally consider equity when making policies or delivering programs and services. It’s a declaration that all residents deserve an equitable opportunity to succeed — regardless of their race, color, sex, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, disability, income or where they live, the county website said.
On Richmond Highway, the assortment of businesses, housing and transportation is varied like nowhere else in Fairfax County, so the One Fairfax concept could be felt there immensely. There is a One Fairfax task force, McKay said.
Other speakers at the town hall meeting included Mount Vernon District School Board Member Karen Corbett Sanders, Health Department Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Col. Joshua SeGraves and special guests U.S. Reps. Gerry Connolly and Don Beyer.
When the time came for the viewers to ask questions, they wanted to know about zoning changes, COVID-19 vaccines, the safety of students returning to classrooms and whether real estate taxes would go up this year.
As the grand finale, Supervisor Storck took the audience on a virtual tour of the District, highlighting changes across the District ranging from the urban development in the Huntington area to the upcoming groundbreaking for the South County Police Station and Animal Shelter, in Lorton.
The town hall usually has an exhibit hall to kick off the event, and this year, Storck’s office didn’t want folks to go away empty handed, so they put together “our ever popular ‘Goodie Bags’ that will be filled with much of the information typically found in the Exhibit Hall.” Bags can be picked up outside the Mount Vernon office by the front door starting Monday, Feb. 8, in the Mount Vernon Governmental Center at 2511 Parkers Lane.
The meeting will be on Facebook, and available to watch on Channel 16 on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m.