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McLean Community Center reports strong turnout for 2022 board election

Voters cast ballots in a McLean Community Center Governing Board election (courtesy MCC)

(Updated at 12:15 a.m. on 5/25/2022) The McLean Community Center saw a noticeable uptick in participation for its latest governing board election.

A total of 2,504 ballots were cast to determine three new adult board members and two teen members, MCC reported in its preliminary results. That is roughly four times the 606 voters who turned out for last year’s election.

There were 2,381 voters and 123 youth voters. 2,064 people voted absentee, while 440 people cast their ballot this past Saturday (May 21) during McLean Day.

The turnout still represents just a fraction of the 18,000 households in Small District 1A — Dranesville, the special tax district that funds the center, but MCC says it was glad to see more residents get involved.

“We are happy with the increased participation,” MCC spokesperson Sabrina Anwah said. “As the center’s programs continue to expand and become more inclusive, we hope to experience more and more involvement of the patrons that we serve.”

The 2022 governing board race was unusually crowded, drawing 12 candidates — nine adults and three teens.

Kristina Groennings led the field for the adult seats with 1,531 votes. She will be joined on the board by Anna Bartosiewicz (1,403 votes) and Ari Ghasemian (1,400 votes).

Max Blacksten, who currently represents the McLean High School boundary area on the board, was defeated by two votes in his bid for reelection. He will be succeeded by Sarah Tran, while the Langley High School area will be served by Charlotte Loving, who unsuccessfully campaigned for the seat in 2021 but ran uncontested this year.

Tasked with making policy, programming, and budget decisions, the MCC Governing Board’s typically unassuming proceedings have been shaken up over the past year by conservative backlash to a “Drag Storybook Hour” for children that the center co-sponsored with the Dolley Madison Library last June.

According to The Washington Post’s account, tension over the Pride Month event turned the 2022 board elections into a referendum on MCC’s efforts to promote equity and diversity with its programming, which has become a priority under new Executive Director Daniel Singh.

Groennings, Bartosiewicz, and Ghasemian had expressed support for Fairfax County’s One Fairfax equity policy and were backed by members of the county’s Democratic committee, according to the Post. The other candidates included former Trump administration official Katherine Gorka.

(Correction: The election winners were not endorsed by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, as previously stated. They got support from individual committee members, but the FCDC didn’t officially endorse any candidates, since this was a nonpartisan election.)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted today (Tuesday) to formally appoint the election winners to the governing board.

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