Tysons, VA

Super Tuesday” is in March — but Fairfax County is reminding voters about absentee voting and seeking election officers now.

Absentee voting for the 2020 presidential primary starts later this week on Friday, Jan. 17.

The deadline to register to vote in the March 3 primary is Feb. 10. People can check their voter eligibility on the Virginia State Board of Elections website.

Last week, the county announced that it needs 2,100 election officers for the primary.

The Office of Elections especially is looking for bilingual officers who speak Korean or Vietnamese for the Falls Church area, along with Annadel and Centreville, according to the county.

Election officers help set up voting equipment, check photo IDs and tabulate poll results. Compensation starts at $175 or people can choose to volunteer their time.

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The Falls Church City Council re-elected Mayor David Tarter and Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly.

Both were re-elected unanimously at last night’s meeting.

“Falls Church is a great community that we all love but our city is not standing still,” Tarter said, adding that the new high school and infrastructure changes will improve the city. “I am optimistic for the future.”

Tarter was first elected to the Falls Church City Council in July 2012 and has been been the city’s mayor since 2014, according to his city bio.

Connelly was first elected to the council in 2014 and has been the vice mayor since 2016, according to her city bio.

Tarter said that Connelly’s “collaborative approach to solving problems brings out the best in everyone.”

Images via City of Falls Church

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Two Vienna Town councilmembers plan to run for the mayor’s seat in the spring election.

Councilmembers Linda Colbert and Howard Springsteen announced their campaigns at the council meeting last night.

Colbert has been on the council since 2014 and has previously served on the Transportation Safety Commission and Hunter Mill Transportation Advisory Council, according to her town bio.

“I care about the future of Vienna, and I am going to run for mayor,” Colbert said. “I am looking forward to meeting and listening to as many residents as possible.”

Springsteen was first elected to the Town Council in 2009 and has served on the Transportation Safety Commission for eight years, according to his town bio. He currently works for Fairfax County.

Springsteen said last night that he is running to maintain the “small town feel” of Vienna.

“I have a reputation for getting things done and focusing on residents’ concerns and issues,” he said. “I think Vienna should be determined by tax paying residents and not non-tax paying developers.”

Colbert’s term expires in June this year, while Springsteen’s expires in June 2021.

Current Mayor Laurie DiRocco announced in December that she will not seek re-election. She was first elected to the Town Council in 2009 and has been the mayor since 2014.

The Vienna election is May 5. Voters will elect three councilmembers and the mayor this year.

Images via Town of Vienna

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(Updated 12/28/19) Come Jan. 1, the Fairfax County School Board will have a lot of new faces.

The 12-member board will see eight newcomers in 2020.

Half of the school board’s incumbents decided not to seek reelection, including: Ilryong MoonRyan McElveen, Jane Strauss, Pat Hynes, Sandy Evans and Dalia Palchik. The two Republican incumbents — Elizabeth Schultz and Thomas Wilson — lost their reelection bids.

At-Large Member Karen Keys-Gamarra won reelection, along with:

Here is information on the new incoming members, who took their oaths of office on Thursday (Dec. 12) at Jackson Middle School.

At-Large Members Abrar Omeish and Rachna Sizemore Heizer

Omeish and Heizer, along with incumbent Karen Keys-Gamarra, beat three opponents for the At-Large seats.

Heizer has worked as a college professor, disability justice advocate and lawyer, according to her campaign website. Omeish is the co-founder of Give, a youth-led nonprofit and led the county-wide campaign for an anti-bullying campaign, according to her campaign website.

Hunter Mill District: Melanie Meren

Meren, a former U.S. Department of Education employee, beat her opponent, Laura Ramirez Drain. Meren is a parent and small business owner who has lived in Fairfax County for more than 15 years, according to Reston Now

Dranesville District: Elaine Tholen

Tholen beat three opponents. A resident of Fairfax County for 25 years, Tholen most recently served as the director and treasurer for the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, according to her campaign website.

Mason District: Ricardy Anderson

Anderson beat opponent Tom Pafford. She has been a community volunteer, a veteran of the National Guard Army Reserve and lived in Annandale for more than 10 years, according to her campaign website.

Providence District: Karl Frisch

Frisch beat opponent Andrea Bayer in the election. Frisch has served as the executive director of consumer watchdog Allied Progress, was a small business owner and worked as a staffer for the Committee on Rules in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to his campaign website.

Springfield District: Laura Jane Cohen

Cohen beat two opponents, including Republican incumbent Elizabeth Schultz. Cohen has been a resident in the county for nearly 20 years and is a former preschool teacher, according to her campaign website.

Sully District: Stella Pekarsky

Pekarsky beat Republican incumbent Tom Wilson. She was previously an FCPS ESOL teacher, small business co-owner and trustee on the Fairfax County Board.

Come 2020, the school board seats will all be filled by Democrats.

“Corbett Sanders will remain chair of the School Board and Derenak Kaufax will remain as vice-chair,” according to FCPS. “School Board officers are elected at the first meeting in July of each year.”

The board also includes a non-voting student representative who is selected by the Student Advisory Council.

Photo via Facebook

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Little City Incumbents Celebrate Reelection — “All four incumbents won handily in Tuesday’s City of Falls Church City Council and School Board elections and their success was touted as a ‘vote of confidence.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons Building Off The Market — Rubenstein Partners and Griffith Properties “completed the sale of Centerstone at Tysons, a six-story office building located at 1550 Westbranch Drive… The sale follows the announcement earlier in 2019 that Centerstone at Tysons was brought to full occupancy through a single 150,000-square-foot lease at the property.” [Cision]

French Cuisine Coming to Mosaic Soon — “Parc de Ville, a French bistro set to feature classic cuisine for brunch, lunch and dinner… is set to open for dinner service on Monday, Nov. 18.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Women-Owned Businesses Booming in Falls Church — “Across the Washington metropolitan area, the highest rates of business ownership for are in Falls Church City, and Prince George’s County, as 12 percent of establishments. In Falls Church City, 12 percent of workers work at business establishments owned by women.” [DC Policy Center]

Vienna IT Firm Working With Defense Department — “Vienna IT consulting firm Rightstar Inc. secured a spot on a $820.45 million blanket purchase agreement (BPA) Friday [Nov. 1] to supply the Department of Defense with commercial-off-the-shelf software.” [Washington Business Journal]

Former Falls Church City Attorney Dies — “Paul Terrence ‘Terry’ O’Grady, age 81, formerly of Falls Church, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Soaking Up The Sun in Vienna — “Vienna’s zip code is the top place for solar energy system installations in Northern Virginia, according to numbers from the Solarize NOVA program.” [Patch]

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The three incumbents for the Falls Church City Council — David Tarter, Phil Duncan and Letty Hardi — won reelection yesterday.

The city announced the official results today, saying that 45% of the 9,910 active, registered voters in the city voted in the election.

“The last ‘off-year election’ (with no federal or gubernatorial races on the ballot) was Nov. 3, 2015, where 42.1% of active voters participated,” the press release said.

Here are the results for the City Council race:

  • Letty C. Hardi: 31.1%
  • David Tarter: 30.3%
  • Philip Duncan: 25.2%
  • Stuart Whitaker: 12.5%

The councilmembers will be sworn in on Monday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers (300 Park Avenue). The City Council will then vote on the mayor and vice mayor on Monday, Jan. 6.

For the city’s school board, Philip Reitinger was re-elected and will be joined by newcomers Susan Dimock and Laura Downs.

Here are the results for the school board race:

  • Laura Downs: 31.5%
  • Susan Dimock: 30%
  • Philip Reitinger: 24.1%
  • Douglass Stevens: 13.7%

Democrat Parisa Dehghani-Tafti was newly elected as the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church.

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Come January, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is set to see four new faces — and all of them are Democrats.

Democrat Dalia Palchik defeated her Republican opponent for the Providence District seat, which represents Tysons and Merrifield.

In addition to Palchik, new faces on the 10-member board will include Democrats James Walkinshaw for the Braddock District, Walter Alcorn for the Hunter Mill District and Rodney Lusk for the Lee District, according to unofficial election results.

Voters reelected Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, along with Penny Gross (Mason District), Daniel Storck (Mount Vernon), Kathy Smith (Sully) and Pat Herrity (Springfield).

With Republican John Cook, who represents the Braddock District, retiring, Herrity will be the only Republican on the board.

Current Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay won the board’s chair.

In a celebratory newsletter thanking her supporters, Palchik wrote, “I am proud to be the first Latina to hold this position.”

Palchik, who currently who is the Providence District member on the Fairfax County School Board, ran on a platform focused on education funding and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In an interview with Tysons Reporter, Palchik said that she wants to tackle affordable housing — “the number one challenge… in the Tysons area” — and finding solutions to the last mile challenge.

“Big Win” for Democrats

Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34) called yesterday’s election a “big win” for Democrats in Virginia. For the first time since 1993, Democrats took control of both the State Senate and the House of Delegates.

Murphy told attendees at a Democratic watch party last night to think about the “misery we felt” when former Rep. Barbara Comstock won the 10th congressional district.

“We never wanted to feel that way again,” Murphy. “So what did we do? We went out and we won.”

Voters Approve Funding for Public School Renovations

Fairfax County voters also OK’d a $360 million school bond referendum that includes $2 million in planning funds for a new “Silver Line elementary school,” along with:

  • $19.5 million in construction funds for adding an addition to Madison High School in Vienna
  • $49.6 million in construction funds for renovating Cooper Middle School in McLean
  • $1.7 million in planning funds for renovating Louise Archer Elementary School in Vienna

Fairfax County uses bonds to pay for renovating and building new schools.

Kalina Newman contributed to this story. 

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(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) School Board member Dalia Palchik defeated Republican Eric Anthony Jones to win the Providence District seat on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Meanwhile, John Foust was reelected to the Dranesville District seat, defeating his Republican opponent Ed Martin. Foust was first elected to the county board in 2007.

Palchik received roughly 70 percent of the vote, while Foust received about 64 percent of the vote — voting figures cited are unofficial.

Palchik celebrated her win at the Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge in Fairfax with Karl Frisch, who won the Providence District seat on the Fairfax County School Board, and Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, who won reelection.

Palchik will replace Linda Smyth, who announced last December that she wouldn’t run for reelection this year.

“I’m overjoyed. It’s been a long year,” Palchik told Tysons Reporter. “We’ve come out with a stronger community and a stronger county.”

Meanwhile, at the watch party at the McLean Community Center for Foust and other Democratic candidates, attendees appeared stressed around 8 p.m. when an “error” message appeared on the Virginia Department of Election’s webpage with the live results.

“People who care about our future are being elected to office,” Foust told Tysons Reporter. “I think the type of leadership we need to move forward in Fairfax County is in place.”

Current Lee District Supervisor Jeffrey McKay won the Board of Supervisors’ chair with roughly 65 percent of the vote, beating Republican Joe Galdo.

Democrat Steve Descano won the race for the Commonwealth’s Attorney position in Fairfax. Descano ousted current Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrogh in the June primary.

Democrat Elaine Tholen won the Dranesville District Seat on the Fairfax County School Board.

More from social media:

Catherine Douglas Moran, Ashley Hopko and Kalina Newman contributed to this story.

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Updated at 4:25 p.m. — As of 4:23 p.m., county-wide turnout is at 25.1% for in-person voters, Fairfax County tweeted.

With just a few hours left before the polls close this evening, Tysons-area voter turnout has steadily increased throughout the day.

Contested races are underway for the Providence and Dranesville District seats and the chair on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

As of 1 p.m., voter turnout was at 15.9% in the Providence District, 18.2% in the Hunter Mill District and 18.4% in the Dranesville District, Fairfax County tweeted.

Around 2 p.m., Tysons Reporter spotted a full parking lot outside George Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike). As of 1:57 p.m., 991 people had voted at the high school.

A polling official at Marshall told Tysons Reporter that it’s been a “great steady flow” all day.

The Chief Election Official at Langley High School in McLean told Tysons Reporter earlier today that most voters tend to come between 5 p.m. and when the polls close at 7 p.m.

Registered voters can find their polling locations with the My Neighborhood Map or through the portal on the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Tysons Reporter interviewed the candidates running for the Providence and Dranesville District seats on the Board of Supervisors: Dalia Palchik, Eric Anthony Jones, John Foust and Ed Martin.

Additionally, we have a guide about who is running in the local races for the Tysons area.

Kalina Newman and Catherine Douglas Moran contributed to this story.

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Today is the last chance for Fairfax County voters to head to the polls.

More than half of the seats are contested on both the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board.

While many of the Board of Supervisors candidates are incumbents — like John Foust, Penny Gross and Pat Herrity — some new faces are also vying for seats due to officials retiring, like Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth.

Voters will also decide the fate of a $360 million bond referendum for Fairfax County Public Schools.

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