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Reston Association (file photo)

Reston Association has announced a full slate of candidates for the upcoming Board of Directors’ election.

Voting begins at 5 p.m. on March 1, with many available seats contested this year. A 10% quorum is required for uncontested races.

Five seats are open for the month-long election: three at-large director seats, Hunters Woods/Dogwood District director, and apartment owners’ representative.

The apartment owners’ representative seat is elected by apartment owners, so that is not a seat that the general membership votes for, according to RA spokesperson Mike Leone.

The following is a breakdown for the race:

At-Large Director (3-year term):
John Farrell
Margaret Perry
Robert (Jeff) Spurrier
Gene Zapfel

At-Large Director (2-year term): 
Trevor Grywatch
Jalal Mapar

At-Large Director (1-year term):
Michael Brandland
Robert Petrine

Hunters Woods/Dogwood District Director (3-year term):
Travis Johnson

Apartment Owner’s Representative (3-year term):
Michael Collins

Members can also submit mailed ballots. The nine-member board oversees the association’s goals and policy matters, along with the passage of RA’s biennial budget.

Johnson was recently selected by the board to fill a seat that was vacated this past fall.

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Reston Association (courtesy RA)

Reston Association’s Board of Directors filled an at-large seat vacated by board member Glenn Small in November. 

At a Thursday (Jan. 26) night meeting, the board voted to select Travis Johnson — who has lived in Reston for a total of 14 years — over competitors Trevor Grywatch and Jeff Spurrier.

Johnson said he wants to ensure that Reston remains a good place to raise children.

“I love it here, we love it here and my goal is to help Reston remain a fantastic place to raise my family,” Johnson said at the meeting. 

He has two daughters: a high school senior and a sixth-grader. 

Johnson said he hopes to leverage his experience at large consulting firms to better RA as an organization. 

“What I’d like to do with the board is to help identify processes that don’t work and identify processes that do work,” he said. 

Johnson ran for a seat in 2018. Two other candidates for the seat removed their names from consideration prior to Thursday’s meeting. 

Four other seats remain open for the next election, which takes place in March. 

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Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity (via patherrity.org)

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity is running for a fifth term.

The lone Republican currently on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors officially declared this morning that he will run for reelection again, making the announcement at his alma mater West Springfield High School.

In the follow-up press release, he said that the county is a very different place compared to when he last ran in 2019.

Since I last ran for office, we have faced unfathomable challenges; from a global pandemic to historic unemployment, unprecedented obstacles for our business owners, interrupted education and record-setting inflation…We live in a different world than we did four years ago and I can’t think of a more critical time to need strong, experienced leadership on the Board of Supervisors. That’s why I’m announcing today my campaign to run for reelection for Springfield District Supervisor on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

First elected in 2007, Herrity is the son of Jack Herrity, a former Fairfax County Board chair in the 1970s and 1980s. As the board’s only Republican, he has clashed at times with the other supervisors.

A challenger has already launched a bid to turn the seat blue. Tech entrepreneur Albert Vega announced in September that he’ll seek the Democratic nomination. If Vega wins the June primary or no other Democrats enter the race, he’ll take on Herrity in the Nov. 7 general election.

“We need someone representing us who has the experience and track record to keep getting results for the County. I humbly consider myself the most qualified to serve our community,” Herrity said in a press release. “I proudly stood as a check on the excesses of the Board, and made sure that each decision made considered the impact it would have on every single one of our county’s residents.”

Herrity’s announcement brings the number of incumbent supervisors seeking reelection this year to six.

Chairman Jeff McKay, Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, and Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw have all said they’ll be running in 2023.

Longtime supervisors John Foust and Penny Gross are stepping down, leaving both races wide open for new candidates.

Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith and Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik have not made their intentions public yet.

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School Board Franconia District representative Tamara Derenak Kaufax (photo courtesy of Tamara Derenak Kaufax)

Tamara Derenak Kaufax won’t be seeking reelection to the Fairfax County School Board.

The three-term Franconia District representative and current board vice-chair announced this morning that she won’t be running this year via an emailed newsletter.

“I have never taken lightly my responsibility to you — my constituents, neighbors, and friends — to keep our schools strong so our community remains strong. I will continue to work hard for you throughout this year,” Derenak Kaufax wrote. “As I complete this chapter, I am filled with both humility and pride. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and for this opportunity to serve.”

Her statement didn’t directly address why she made this decision. FFXnow has reached out to Derenak Kaufax but hasn’t heard back, as of publication time.

In the statement, Derenak Kaufax listed a number of accomplishments during her 12-year tenure including implementing later school start times, instituting the school system’s first strategic plan, and establishing an independent Office of the Auditor General.

She’s also been vice-chair now three times and school board chair once, back in 2014.

This announcement now makes it four school board seats that will be open during this election cycle. Last month, Dranesville District school board member Elaine Tholen officially announced she won’t be seeking re-election.

Laura Jane Cohen, who represents Springfield on the school board, also isn’t running because she’s looking to be voted in the Virginia House of Delegates. Neither is Sully District representative Stella Pekarsky, who’s campaigning in the Virginia State Senate’s redrawn 36th District.

Two school board members have said they’ll seek another term. Karl Frisch confirmed earlier this month that he’ll run again to represent the Providence District, and he already has a challenger. Conservative activist Jeff Hoffman has been a vocal critic of the school board, particularly over its policies supporting transgender students.

Hunter Mill District Representative Melanie Meren told FFXnow in December she is running again as well.

The six other school board members have not made an announcement yet if they plan on running in this year’s general election on Nov. 7.

Derenak Kaufax’s full statement is below: Read More

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Conservative Jeff Hoffmann is campaigning to represent Providence District on the Fairfax County School Board (courtesy Jeff Hoffmann for School Board)

The battle over transgender student rights has taken center stage in the race for the Fairfax County School Board’s Providence District seat.

Consultant and Vienna resident Jeff Hoffmann officially launched a campaign on Tuesday (Jan. 17) to challenge incumbent Karl Frisch, who announced last week that he’ll seek a second term in office this November.

“It really is time for change on the School Board in Fairfax County,” Hoffmann wrote in a statement on his decision to run. “The current incumbency has become too comfortable, and they choose to vote a Party line agenda versus listen to us, the parents and other taxpayers who invest a high percentage in education.”

Founder of the Virginia Parents First Coalition, a political action committee (PAC) that says it backs candidates “who believe in traditionally conservative education principles,” Hoffmann drew the local LGBTQ community’s attention this weekend with a stunt phone call to the Inova Pride Clinic, where he claimed to be the stepfather of a transgender kid.

Started last June to coincide with Pride Month, the clinic is the first health facility in Northern Virginia to provide primary care specifically for LGBTQ individuals. It serves patients 12 and older.

As reported by NBC4, Hoffmann told a receptionist at the Falls Church-based clinic on Saturday (Jan. 14) that he was looking to schedule a nurse visit for his transgender stepdaughter based on advice from Fairfax County Public Schools staff and a teacher.

Asking if the clinic works with FCPS Pride, an advocacy group for LGBTQ employees and families in the school system, he said his kid would be accompanied by a teacher but not her unsupportive biological father, an apparent attempt to see if a student could get medical services without their parent’s knowledge.

Admitting that the kid he described in the call doesn’t exist, Hoffmann says he wanted to raise “awareness” that gender-affirming care is available to local adolescents, who he claimed are being referred to the Pride Clinic by FCPS Pride.

FCPS Pride said in a statement on Saturday that some of its members obtain services from the clinic, but the group has no direct affiliation.

“FCPS Pride does not have a relationship with the Inova Pride Clinic, does not operate in schools, and does not give any medical advice or make medical referrals,” the group’s executive board said.

Though he says this is “not a priority issue in my campaign,” Hoffmann has a history of opposing FCPS’s policy supporting the right of trans and gender-expansive students to be treated in accordance with their gender identity, criticizing it as a distraction from issues like addressing learning loss and other impacts of the pandemic.

Hoffmann’s campaign for school board continues a trend of candidates for local and state offices in Virginia running on anti-LGBTQ and anti-trans platforms, according to FCPS Pride co-president Robert Rigby, Jr. Read More

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Virginia State Capitol in Richmond (via Doug Kerr/Flickr)

(Updated at 11:30 p.m.) Redistricting is going to make a number of state senate races in Fairfax County very interesting this year.

Just like the House of Delegates, every Virginia State Senate seat is up for election in 2023, and like in the Virginia General Assembly’s other chamber, several primaries may be extremely competitive after the 2021 redistricting process shook up electoral boundaries.

Incumbents that could face off 

In the newly-drawn District 35, which covers Annandale, Springfield, and George Mason University, two longtime incumbents could be facing off.

Sen. Dave Marsden had been the senator in District 37 since 2010, but redistricting pushed him and about 31% of his constituents into the new district. He announced his bid for reelection a year ago and has been campaigning ever since, a campaign spokesperson told FFXnow.

“He’s knocked doors in more than half of the precincts of the new SD35, and looks forward to continuing to serve the residents of Fairfax,” the spokesperson said.

Marsden’s potential primary opponent, Sen. Dick Saslaw, has been in the senate since 1999, making him its longest-serving current member. He’s also been the Senate majority leader since the Democrats took control in 2020. While redistricting kept Saslaw in the 35th District, only about one-third of his former constituents remain with him.

There have been persistent rumors that the 82-year-old might retire, but no announcement has been made yet. FFXnow reached out to Saslaw about his 2023 intentions but hasn’t heard back as of publication.

Marsden and Saslaw, if he seeks reelection, would also face newcomer and entrepreneur Heidi Drauschak, who declared her candidacy for the Democratic nomination earlier this month.

The newly-drawn District 38, which includes Herndon, Reston, and McLean, could also pair two Democratic incumbents, including one that also has been rumored to retire.

Sen. Jennifer Boysko first became a senator in 2019 after previously serving in the House of Delegates for two terms. She hasn’t officially announced anything about 2023 and didn’t respond to FFXnow’s request for comment, but said last year that she intends to run again.

However, she may have to run against Sen. Janet Howell in the Democratic primary.

Howell has served in the senate for more than two decades, representing District 32. Her former constituents make up nearly half of the new District 38, but there are also similar rumors about her retiring.

Howell didn’t respond to inquiries from FFXnow.

Boysko told FFXnow when the redistricting maps were announced last January that she holds an enormous amount of respect for Howell, calling her “the dean of the Senate” and a “true pioneer for women in government.”

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will have to face Republican Matt Lang in the Nov. 7 general election. Lang challenged Del. Ken Plum in 2021 but lost rather handily.

He told FFXnow that he’s running to break the “blue wall” in the senate, focusing on education policy, public safety, transportation issues and financial mismanagement.

Other potential primary battles 

Other primaries that are shaping up to be potentially competitive include District 36, which covers Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, and Fair Oaks.

Stella Pekarsky, who represents the Sully District on Fairfax County’s school board, announced last week that she will challenge for the seat to “stand up” to Governor Glenn Youngkin.

The incumbent is four-term George Barker, though redistricting kept only about 6% of his former constituents in District 36. As a member of the Virginia Redistricting Commission, he came under some fire in 2021 for drawing himself back into a district that, at the time, had no other challengers. Read More

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Stella Pekarsky is running for state senate in the 36th District (courtesy Stella Pekarsky for Senate)

Fairfax County School Board member Stella Pekarsky is running for Virginia’s State Senate in the redrawn 36th District, potentially challenging long-time senator George Barker.

The one-term Sully District representative announced her candidacy earlier today, saying she’s running to “stand up” to Governor Glenn Youngkin.

We are at a critical turning point as a Commonwealth where the lived experiences of our elected officials matter more than ever. The new 36th district deserves a Senator who has deep roots in the community with a long record of serving its residents and the bold energy it takes to stand up to Governor Youngkin’s extreme policies. As Chair of the School Board, I led the charge when we successfully sued Youngkin to protect our children against anti-science Executive overreach just days after he was sworn into office. I am focused on the future prosperity of the 36th district and its residents. It is critical that we protect abortion access, high quality public education, expanded voting rights, champion climate change solutions, and stand up for our progressive values. I look forward to talking with my neighbors in the weeks and months ahead as I seek to represent them in Richmond.

Pekarsky was first elected to the school board in 2019, defeating the Republican incumbent Tom Wilson. She served as the school board chair last year and is a former public school teacher.

She also runs a local air charter company based in Manassas with her husband. She is also a first-generation immigrant, according to a press release.

The announcement notes that during her time on the school board, Pekarsky prioritized “closing opportunity gaps, increasing teacher and staff pay, improving title IX training for students, and requiring research-based literacy instruction.”

Last month, Pekarsky told FFXnow that she would make a decision in January regarding whether she will run for reelection to the school board.

This announcement now takes her out of the running for the Sully District seat, which will be on the Nov. 7 ballot with the school board’s 11 other seats. No candidates have come forward for the position yet.

However, with Pekarsky seeking the Democratic nomination for state senate in the 36th District, that could put her up against a long-time incumbent in the primary.

Now in his fourth term, George Barker has represented the 39th Senate District since being first elected in 2007.

With redistricting, though, only about 6% of his former constituents are in the newly redrawn 36th District, where Barker resides and would potentially run for re-election. The district covers Chantilly, Clifton, Fair Oaks and Centreville right up to the Prince William County line.

Most of Barker’s former constituents are scattered across several other districts, including the 33rd District, the 34th District, the 35th District, and the 29th District, which is now mainly centered in Prince William County.

FFXnow has reached out to Barker about his intentions for the 2023 election several times but has yet to hear back as of publication, making Pekarsky the only confirmed candidate at the moment.

Photo via StellaPekarsky.com

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Providence District School Board Representative Karl Frisch (courtesy Friends of Karl Frisch)

Karl Frisch will run for a second term representing the Providence District on the Fairfax County School Board.

Frisch announced today that his qualifying paperwork has been approved, and he will seek an endorsement from the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, which can endorse candidates but not officially campaign them in the nonpartisan school board races.

Areas in the Providence District include Tysons, Dunn Loring, Idylwood, Merrifield, Mantua, and Oakton, along with parts of Fairfax, Falls Church, and Vienna.

A formal campaign launch will come later this year, ahead of the Nov. 7 general election.

“I am seeking reelection to help protect public education and local control,” Frisch said. “I will never stop fighting to give every student safe and inclusive public schools with exceptional educators and equitable access to the rigorous academics and other opportunities they need to be successful after graduation.”

When first elected in 2019, a year that ushered in a historically diverse, all-Democratic board, Frisch became the first openly gay person to ever serve on the county’s school board. He is the only out gay man currently on any school board in Virginia, according to his press release.

While the school board has often been occupied with responding to the pandemic over the past couple of years, Frisch’s work so far has included the Mosaic Elementary School naming, planning for a future Dunn Loring Elementary School, and a rerouting of school buses away from Blake Lane after two Oakton High School students were killed in June.

Last fall, he sought to join the General Assembly as the new 35th District delegate, but the Democratic nomination went to nonprofit leader Holly Seibold, who was elected to fill the vacated seat yesterday.

In his announcement, Frisch says he decided to seek reelection in response to state actions that would “compromise curriculum quality and jeopardize student safety.”

Fairfax County Public Schools has clashed on occasion with state leaders, most recently over a delay in merit award notifications. The school board sued Gov. Glenn Youngkin over his elimination of universal masking, and the governor has sided with opponents of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s admissions process.

Last year, Frisch criticized the widely protested draft state policies that would prevent schools from supporting transgender students as “putting the lives of young Virginians in jeopardy to score political points.”

Education is expected to be a key focus of this year’s General Assembly session, which convened today. Filed bills include a prohibition on students from joining athletic teams based on their gender identity, the creation of a statewide policy on library materials, and a voucher program that allow public funds to be used for private schools and services.

“This is a pivotal election year for Fairfax County,” Frisch said. “Will we abandon our world-class public schools in favor of risky Richmond political experiments, or will we continue our critical work to address every student by name and by need?”

All 12 school board seats will be up for election this November.

Frisch joins Hunter Mill District Representative Melanie Meren as the only incumbents so far to confirm they will seek another term. Dranesville District Representative Elaine Tholen said she won’t seek reelection, while other members have yet to announce their intentions.

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Democrat Holly Seibold won a special election on Jan. 10 for Virginia’s 35th House District seat (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Holly Seibold is headed to Richmond.

The nonprofit founder and Democratic nominee won a special election yesterday to represent Virginia’s 35th House District, which encompasses Vienna, Oakton, Dunn Loring, Fair Oaks and part of Tysons.

Vying to succeed Mark Keam, who resigned in September after 13 years in the House of Delegates, she defeated Republican contender Monique Baroudi with 67% of the vote, according to the Virginia Department of Elections’ unofficial results.

“I am beyond grateful to the voters of the 35th District for electing me to the Virginia House of Delegates,” Seibold wrote in a statement. “Virginia rejected extremism in 2022, and in 2023, we have rejected it again. Because equality, justice, and freedom are Virginian values!”

Seibold will be sworn in today, as the General Assembly convenes in Richmond for its 2023 session.

Given Keam’s long, mostly unchallenged tenure, it’s not a surprise to see another Democrat prevail in the 35th District, but voters still turned out at a slightly higher rate than in previous special elections in Fairfax County.

According to unofficial returns from the Fairfax County Office of Elections, there were 10,888 ballots cast in the special election, representing 17.9% of the district’s 60,883 registered voters. In comparison, special elections for the 33rd Senate District and the 86th House District in 2019 saw turnout rates of 16.5% and 13.7%, respectively.

Notably, voting laws have changed significantly over the past couple of years, which have seen the introductions of no-excuse absentee voting and same-day registrations, among other reforms.

About half of the votes in the 35th District special election either came through early voting — which began on Nov. 23 and ended Saturday (Jan. 7) — or were mailed in and counted on the night of the election.

Founder and president of the nonprofit BRAWS, which collects and distributes mentrual supplies, Seibold cited reproductive health care, gun violence prevention, public education and climate action as top priorities.

Baroudi, a former government contractor, campaigned primarily on education issues, criticizing Fairfax County Public Schools as a system in decline and saying that private schools handled Covid better.

Seibold outspent Baroudi by a significant margin, reporting $265,000 in campaign spending to her opponent’s $47,513.

Seibold is guaranteed just one year in the House of Delegates. When all 100 seats in the chamber go on the ballot this November, the Vienna area will be represented by a new 12th District created in 2021.

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Jeremy Allen hopes to represent the Mason District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (photo courtesy of Friends of Jeremy Allen)

Another new candidate has joined the increasingly crowded contest for Penny Gross’s job on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Democrat Jeremy Allen has declared he’s running to be the next Mason District supervisor. Currently a staffer working in constituent services for Rep. Don Beyer (D-8), he has lived in the county for six years, per his campaign website.

“As a leader in his local neighborhood effort Save Bren Mar, which successfully stopped a negative rezoning application for increased industrial activity in his community, Allen has made the decision to run with a focus on championing similar causes throughout the Mason District,” his candidacy announcement read.

Allen joins a growing list of candidates vying for the job filled for 27 years by Penny Gross, who is retiring when her term ends on Dec. 31.

Last month, Andres Jimenez announced his intentions to run to be the next Mason District supervisor. He’s an at-large member of the county planning commission and the executive director of the nonprofit Green 2.0.

Two other Democratic candidates — Steve Lee and Reid Voss — are reportedly planning on running for the seat as well, according to Annandale Today.

The Democratic primary election is set for June 7, while the general election will be held on Nov. 7.

When asked how Allen differs from the other candidates, a campaign spokesperson told FFXnow that he has similar “lived experiences” to many Mason residents:

Jeremy understands what it means to be an advocate for his community and has lived experiences like many of Mason’s residents. He understands how targeted programs and collective action can enhance our community. Jeremy and his wife were able to purchase a home through the Fairfax County Workforce Development program after struggling to afford housing in the county. As Supervisor, Jeremy wants to increase awareness, access, and effectiveness of local government efforts so that other people can benefit similarly.

He said one of the major issues Allen would like to tackle, if elected, is “affordable homeownership.”

As a staffer for Beyer, whose district includes the Mason District, Allen noted that he has worked directly with constituents to connect them with resources, helping them file for state unemployment benefits during the pandemic, for example. This gave him an opportunity to be a “listening ear and voice of support” for residents.

“For the past three years, I have been interacting with constituents every day to hear their concerns and turn their feedback into policy solutions,” Allen said in the press release. “This experience helped me deeply understand Mason District residents and is directly relevant to what I would continue to do in the role of Supervisor.”

Gross announced in December that she won’t seek reelection in 2023. Longtime Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust will also step away from the Board of Supervisors. Jimmy Bierman announced his candidacy for that seat last month.

So far, five supervisors have confirmed they’ll seek reelection this year: Chairman Jeff McKay, Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, and Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw.

Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith, Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik, and Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity have all yet to announce their intentions for the 2023 election.

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