(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) While the Republican Party made headway in today’s heavily watched statewide races, Democrats have maintained their hold on Fairfax County, including in the Tysons area.

According to unofficial election results, incumbents Kathleen Murphy, Mark Keam, Rip Sullivan (District 48), and Marcus Simon (District 53) all won their delegate races.

Murphy, whose 34th District includes parts of McLean and the Wolf Trap area of Vienna, defeated businessman Gary Pan for a second time after they previously faced off in 2019. As of 10 p.m., Murphy led with approximately 58.7% of the vote compared to Pan’s 41.2% — almost the exact same split that they saw two years ago.

“I have represented the values of my constituents and have fought for the issues that matter most to the 34th District,” Murphy said in a statement. “I am grateful that they have sent me back to Richmond to fight for them. Thank you again for putting your faith in me to deliver on our priorities and build on the progress that we have made for the people of the Commonwealth.”

Keam cruised to victory in the 35th District, where he will represent the Town of Vienna, Tysons, and Oakton in the House of Delegates for a sixth term. He led Republican nominee Kevin McGrath with just under 70% of the vote, though 10 of the district’s 22 precincts have not reported results yet.

Sullivan and Simon saw even wider margins of victory.

In the 48th District, which includes southern McLean but predominantly lies in Arlington County, Sullivan beat Republican nominee Edward Monroe with 73% of the electorate, including approximately 66.7% of Fairfax County voters, according to the county’s unofficial returns.

Monroe, a science teacher who lives in McLean, was the first person from either major party to challenge Sullivan since he was originally elected to office in 2014.

Simon will serve a fourth term as delegate for the 53rd House District after garnering the support of 73% of voters in Merrifield, Idylwood, and Falls Church compared to 26.7% for restaurant manager Sarah White, who was the first Republican candidate in the district since Simon’s initial election in 2015.

With all 247 Election Day precincts reporting results just before 10:15 p.m., Fairfax County’s unofficial returns indicate a 53% voter turnout in line with the 50 to 60% turnout predicted by election officials.

More than 170,000 ballots were cast prior to Election Day — 23% of the overall turnout, according to the Fairfax County Office of Elections.

County spokesperson Brian Worthy confirmed reports that workers have to rescan approximately 20,000 ballots that were cast early in person. As of 9:45 p.m., 7,100 of those ballots had been tallied.

Four of the 38 machines that the county used at its early voting sites “had corrupted electronic media” where the votes were recorded, according to Worthy.

“The updated results report on the county website will continue to be updated as we get these additional ballots scanned in,” he said.

Fairfax County voters supported Democrats Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala, and Mark Herring in the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general races, respectively, though the majority of Virginians favored Republican nominees Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears, and Jason Miyares, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

Fairfax County voters also approved public school bonds for renovation projects by a 70% to 30% margin.

The battle for House District 53 is between Republican nominee Sarah White, left, and Del. Marcus Simon, right (courtesy Sarah 4 VA, Friends of Marcus Simon)

Editor’s Note — With all 100 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates on the ballot, Tysons Reporter is running Q&A-style profiles of the races in the Tysons area this week ahead of the general election next Tuesday (Nov. 2). The candidates’ responses have been edited for length and clarity.

The 53rd House District is relatively compact, encompassing Pimmit Hills, Idylwood, Merrifield, the City of Falls Church, and West Falls Church down to Woodburn.

Incumbent Del. Marcus Simon had not faced a Republican challenger since he was first elected to office in 2015, though independent Mike Casey obtained just under 25% of the vote in 2017. This time, he has an opponent in restaurant manager Sarah White, who won the Republican Party’s nomination at its convention in April.

Who are you?

Simon: I believe that every person has a sacred duty to work to repair the world. That’s the way I try to live my life, and that is where my commitment to public service comes from.

Early in my public service career, I served as an officer in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and also as a part time Special Assistant United States Attorney. In 2008, I co-founded the Law Firm of Leggett, Simon, Freemyers & Lyon and EKKO Title, a real estate settlement, title, and escrow company.

First elected to the House in 2013, I’m proud to serve as Secretary and Parliamentarian of the House Democratic Caucus as well as on four House Committees: Courts of Justice, General Laws, Rules and as chair of Privileges & Elections.

As a life-long resident of Fairfax County, my wife Rachel and I love raising our kids in such a welcoming community.

White: I manage a few restaurants here in Northern Virginia and have been in the industry for most of the last 20 years.

I love to be involved in the community and that is why I am a member of Rotary Club of Fairfax, National Association of Women Business Owners, Virginia Restaurant, Lodging, and Travel Association, several Chambers of Commerce, and a board member for Visit Fairfax to name a few.

What would you cite as your top accomplishments of the past term?

Simon: We’ve accomplished so much in the past two years with a Democratic majority. I’m most proud of our work to expand voting rights, to protect our communities with common sense gun violence prevention initiatives, to address the student loan debt crisis, and to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

As Chairman of the Privileges and Elections Committee, I oversaw moving Virginia up 37 spots in the nation for “ease of voting.” During the special session last fall, we passed a package of criminal justice reform legislation, including my bipartisan bill to hold “bad apple” police accountable by closing loopholes in officer decertification.

Why are you running?

White: I decided to run for office after seeing how divisive things have become in politics. I want to unite people. We need to get back to advocating for our community and away from party line politics where there is a winner and a loser. We need people in office who are willing to work together across party lines to do what needs done. My litmus test for policy: Is it good for District 53? Read More

48th House District Republican nominee Edward Monroe, left, and Del. Rip Sullivan, right (courtesy Monroe for 48th, 48th House District Office)

Editor’s Note — With all 100 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates on the ballot, Tysons Reporter is running Q&A-style profiles of the races in the Tysons area this week ahead of the general election next Tuesday (Nov. 2). The candidates’ responses have been edited for length and clarity.

While the 48th House District is primarily situated in Arlington, it also includes southern McLean between the Dulles Toll Road and Old Dominion Drive.

A science teacher who lives in McLean, Republican nominee Edward Monroe is the first person from either major party to challenge Del. Rip Sullivan since the current House Democratic Caucus chair won the 48th District seat in a special election in 2014.

Who are you?


  • Raised and attended public schools in Northern Virginia, along with his wife, Beth. They have four children and four grandchildren.
  • Graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a law degree from the University of Virginia
  • Partner in the law firm Bean Kinney & Korman, P.C., in Arlington
  • Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
  • Served as House Democratic Caucus Campaign Chair in 2017 and 2019, during which the party took control of both the House and Senate
  • Chairs subcommittees that deal with energy, corporate and individual income tax bills, and judge elections for all Virginia courts

“As a Delegate, Rip has fought every year to encourage the growth of Virginia’s clean energy and energy efficiency sectors, promote access to the ballot box, protect and advance LGBTQ rights, and de-politicize the redistricting process,” Sullivan’s office said.


  • Born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA, the youngest of three
  • Joined the U.S. Peace Corps after college
  • Has a nearly 20-year teaching career across Maryland, D.C, and Virginia
  • A former Fulbright Fellow who is currently earning a graduate degree in education leadership
  • Assisted in the General Election of 2020 as an Elections Officer at a local precinct

“As a husband and father, I am engaged in my faith-based community and have supported youth sports through coaching and officiating,” Monroe said. “My focus is on representation, education, and a responsive energy infrastructure.”

What would you cite as your top accomplishments of the past term?

Sullivan: During the 2020 session, Rip introduced the historic Virginia Clean Economy Act to advance the Commonwealth’s clean energy sector and promote energy efficiency and a life-saving “Red Flag” law to curb gun violence before a single shot is fired, among other significant pieces of legislation. Rip worked diligently with stakeholders and his colleagues to ultimately ensure that these landmark bills became law.

Why are you running for office?

Monroe: For me, the value of community service and representation became clear in my experience with the US Peace Corps. As a volunteer, I witnessed first-hand the difficult transitions underway in southeastern Europe, from command and control to participatory democracy. I was struck by the importance of good representation, provided by dedicated individuals who simply took seriously the interests of their communities.

Now, at home in the 48th District, I recognize the difficult conversations necessary for finding a path forward on a variety of topics. I am running as a Republican in a District that for a number of years has had only one candidate on the ballot. If we believe that our system of government is of high quality, then we need to take steps to fully utilize it. I am thankful for having the opportunity to do my part. Read More

35th House District Republican nominee Kevin McGrath and incumbent Del. Mark Keam (courtesy McGrath 4 VA, Mark Keam)

Editor’s Note — With all 100 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates on the ballot, Tysons Reporter is running Q&A-style profiles of the races in the Tysons area this week ahead of the general election next Tuesday (Nov. 2). The candidates’ responses have been edited for length and clarity.

The 35th House District covers Tysons south of the Dulles Toll Road and extends to Fair Lakes, including the Town of Vienna and Oakton.

The district has voted Democratic since 2003, with incumbent Del. Mark Keam as its delegate since 2010. He has a challenger for the seat for the first time since 2013 in Republican nominee Kevin McGrath, a former CIA employee.

Who are you?


I was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, and my interest in seeking reelection today is the same as when I first sought this position: I believe in our democracy and the civic process, and I want to help solve some of the problems facing our state, rather than simply sit on the sidelines and complain about them.

I have devoted my professional career to public service and worked in federal, state, and local governments as well as with dozens of nonprofit organizations. I also believe in the power of the private sector to improve our quality of life and their socially responsible roles in making our society better.  That is why I have worked with both start-ups and large companies to do good while doing well.


I am a native Northern Virginian. Born in Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, DC, I grew up in Mosby Woods in Fairfax and attended school there for most of 1st through 12th grades. I graduated from Oakton High School, and then from Virginia Tech with a BA in Political Science. After graduating from Tech, I worked for the CIA for 30 years and retired 6 years ago.

I have served my community in many ways. My passion is coaching youth sports and I have enjoyed coaching Vienna youth baseball, soccer, and basketball for 20 years. I have also been involved with my parish church, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Vienna, volunteering and raising funds over the years. And yes,  I am still a Washington Redskins fan.

What would you cite as your top accomplishments of the past term?

Keam: As a state legislator, one of my priorities is addressing climate change by helping Virginia transition from finite and polluting sources of energy to cleaner and renewable sources. I’ve drafted several bills that became law to reach these goals, including expanding rooftop solar for consumers, banning offshore drilling, promoting electric vehicles, and requiring environmental justice analysis. During the most recent legislative session, I passed a bill to create a new state fund that will help schools convert their diesel school buses to electric models.

Why are you running for office?

McGrath: I follow politics and I know how important the results of elections can be. After the November 2020 election chaos, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and run for office. Regardless of how this election works out, I feel it is my duty as an American to try and stop the madness that our current politicians have recently shown. Read More

House District 34 Republican nominee Gary Pan and incumbent Del. Kathleen Murphy (courtesy Pan for Virginia, 34th District office)

Editor’s Note — With all 100 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates on the ballot, Tysons Reporter is running Q&A-style profiles of the races in the Tysons area this week ahead of the general election next Tuesday (Nov. 2). The candidates’ responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Represented by incumbent Del. Kathleen Murphy since 2015, the 34th House District encompasses most of McLean and the Wolf Trap area of Vienna, stretching west into Potomac Falls in Loudoun County.

Currently vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Murphy won her party’s June 8 primary and is now vying for reelection against Republican nominee Gary Pan, president and CEO of the information technology firm Panacea Consulting.

Who are you?


  • Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus
  • Member of the House Finance Committee, General Laws Committees, and vice chair of the Transportation Committee.
  • Founder of the Gun Violence Prevention Caucus and former co-chair of the Safe Virginia Initiative
  • A member of the Military and Veterans Caucus and the Virginia Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus
  • Created the Rare Disease Caucus


  • 34th District resident for over 20 years with wife and three sons
  • Started multiple successful businesses in IT consulting
  • Serves on boards for the Northern Virginia Technology Council, Great Falls Citizen Association, and Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
  • Received bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Lehigh University and MBA from Virginia Tech
  • Named a Lord Fairfax honoree in 2017
  • Currently serves as a Scoutmaster and president of the Rotary Club of Great Falls

What would you cite as your top accomplishments of the past term?

Murphy: This past session in Richmond, the Democratic majority delivered on the issues and values that matter most to our constituents. We passed legislation to support Virginia’s families and businesses through the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we expanded access to affordable healthcare, and we raised teacher pay.

I have strong support from our community for my efforts to make gun violence prevention a priority. Having lost my brother to gun violence, this issue is personal to me. In the last two sessions, we have delivered stronger background checks, a bill to allow school boards to ban guns on school property, a ban on plastic or 3D-printed “ghost guns,” and a ban on guns in the Capitol and other state buildings. Most notably, we passed my bill, H.B. 1995, a landmark bill to keep guns out of the hands of violent domestic abusers.

Additionally, I passed a bill to create the Rare Disease Council. Having recently lost a child to a rare disease, I am acutely aware of the challenges these families face.

Why are you running for office?

Pan: I love this community and I don’t think it’s getting the representation it deserves. Even with the vast array of issues facing the constituents of the 34th, our current delegate repeatedly chooses her party over the best interest of the district. I couldn’t stand by and watch. The pendulum has swung way too far to the left thanks to one party rule in Richmond. Read More

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

The Virginia General Assembly has wrapped up its first fully in-person session since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Convened on Aug. 2, the special session concluded on Tuesday (Aug. 10) after the House of Delegates and state Senate appointed eight new judges to the Virginia Court of Appeals and passed a plan to spend $3.5 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds.

The eight-day session marked the first time in 17 months that the State Capitol in Richmond hosted the entire legislature. While the Senate continued meeting in person throughout the pandemic, the House conducted most of its business remotely, with the exception of a one-day veto session in April 2020 and the initial days of a special session in August 2020.

“It was just really nice to see people again getting together,” Del. Mark Keam (D-35th) said by phone while driving back from Richmond on Tuesday.

The special session still required some adjustments in response to the continued threat of the coronavirus.

Plexiglas shields were erected around each legislator’s desk in both chambers, and Keam says all of the Democrats at least were fully vaccinated with masks donned throughout the session, though there was less consensus about the etiquette for greeting people.

“Some people shook hands. Some people just bumped their elbows,” Keam said. “…I can’t speak to what the Republicans are doing, but for the Democrats, we went out of our way to not only practice safe protocols, but also to show to the public that, you know, you’ve got to take this seriously still.”

For Keam, whose district includes Vienna and part of Tysons, highlights of the adopted American Rescue Plan Act budget bill include the $700 million to expand broadband with the goal of achieving universal access by 2024.

That kind of major investment would’ve taken much longer to put together without the federal funds, which were approved by Congress in March, Keam says, noting that while the need for broadband is most acute in Virginia’s rural areas, Fairfax County also has gaps in coverage.

“As a one-time expense, we’re finally able to catch up on the broadband infrastructure that we need,” he said.

As chair of House’s higher education subcommittee, Keam cited subsidizing financial aid for college students as another top priority. The General Assembly allocated $111 million to that, along with $250 million to upgrade ventilation systems in K-12 public schools.

Other ARPA funds were allocated to small business recovery, unemployment benefits, water and sewer infrastructure, and bonuses for some law enforcement officers. The bill also requires that the Department of Motor Vehicles resume walk-in services.

Keam and the rest of the recently formed Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus had hoped to see more money devoted to making government services — particularly the Virginia Employment Commission, which will receive more than $800 million — more accessible for people who are not fluent in English.

The budget includes $500,000 to help state agencies expand language access, according to a news release from the AAPI Caucus.

“Things like language [assistance] and other things that take more time to develop and hire more people, they didn’t think that we could use the money right away for that,” Keam said. “But that’s something that they want to work with us into the next year.” Read More


Morning Notes

Tysons Could Get a Rock Climbing Center — An affiliate of the Manassas-based Vertical Rock Climbing & Fitness Center plans to convert the former Hamilton’s Sofa & Leather Gallery at 8461 Leesburg Pike into a rock climbing facility. The 9,220 square-foot space has been leased and is slated to open later this year, but Fairfax County is still processing permit applications to allow the use at that location. [Washington Business Journal]

Tysons Education Nonprofit Honored by General Assembly — Del. Mark Keam (D-35th) presented a signed commendation to the Center for Excellence in Education (7918 Jones Branch Dr.) during the 38-year-old nonprofit’s annual Congressional luncheon on July 15. The State Senate and House of Delegates both approved a proclamation recognizing CEE for promoting science, technology, engineering, and math education with free programs for students and teacher training. [CEE]

Visit Fairfax Joins Regional Sports Tourism Partnership — “The tourism-marketing organizations of Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties on Aug. 10 announced the launch of SportsNOVA, a new regional sports-tourism partnership designed to market Northern Virginia as a premier destination for travel-sports events.” [Sun Gazette]

Maryland Beltway Project Contract Approved — The Maryland Board of Public Works voted 2-1 to approve a “predevelopment agreement” with toll lanes operator Transurban and financial firm Macquarie to design express lanes on I-270 and part of the Capital Beltway. The much-debated project is seen as critical to the success of Virginia’s 495 NEXT project in McLean, which got key federal approvals last month. [The Washington Post]

Fairfax County is looking at imposing a tax on single-use plastic bags (via Daniel Romero/Unsplash)

Fairfax County took a first step yesterday toward potentially taxing plastic bags used by grocery stores and other retailers.

The Board of Supervisors voted 9-1 yesterday (Tuesday) to direct county staff to draft an plastic bag tax ordinance, but even supporters of the measure allowed that there remains some uncertainty around how exactly the tax would be implemented if approved.

“Let’s definitely try this, but we may end up back in the General Assembly in the foreseeable future to try to get clarification,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said, noting that the county is subject to the Dillon rule. “…This is probably a prime example of when we probably need a little more flexibility, but I’m all for it.”

The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation during its 2020 session giving localities the authority to impose a five-cent tax on disposable plastic bags, starting on Jan. 1, 2021.

Roanoke became the first jurisdiction to take advantage of the new law when it adopted an ordinance in May that’s set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Under House Bill 534, which was identical to Senate Bill 11, cities and counties can tax each disposable plastic bag provided to customers by grocery stores, convenience stores, and drugstores. The tax would not apply to plastic bags designed to be reused, garbage bags, bags used to hold or package food to avoid damage or contamination, and ones used to carry prescription drugs or dry cleaning.

The legislation allows retailers to retain two cents from the imposed tax on each bag until Jan. 1, 2023, when the amount that goes to retailers drops to one cent.

That “dealer discount” provision is intended to help offset additional expenses retailers might incur from adjusting their operations, but it also puts added pressure on localities to adopt an ordinance as soon as possible, according to Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay.

“We want to start the process of the ordinance review, looking at the language, the public input, because the clock literally is ticking,” McKay said.

Complicating matters is the fact that the Virginia Department of Taxation has not yet released guidelines clarifying what a plastic bag tax ordinance should look like, leaving questions around the definition of a grocery or convenience store, how the tax will be enforced, and other issues, County Executive Bryan Hill told the board in a Nov. 30 memorandum.

Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw, who introduced the board matter on Tuesday, said the draft guidance that county staff has seen and provided input on through the Northern Virginia Regional Commission will clear up many of those questions.

He hopes the guidelines will be finalized soon so county staff can incorporate them into the ordinance that they have now been directed to draft and present to the board in September.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, the lone Republican on the board, opposed the board matter, taking issue with the timing of the proposal. Read More


Morning Notes

General Assembly to Hold Special Session in August — “Governor Ralph Northam today [Wednesday] issued a proclamation calling the members of the General Assembly into special session on Monday, August 2. A special session is necessary to fill judicial vacancies and allocate more than $4.3 billion in federal relief funding.” [Office of the Governor]

British Pub Opens Doors in Vienna — Hawk & Griffin had a long-awaited soft opening this week for its 435 Maple Avenue West venue, which is now open for reservations and will start allowing walk-ins on Friday (June 25). The British pub has been in the works since February 2020 but delayed opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [Patch]

Tysons Boulevard Lane to Close Again — One northbound lane of Tysons Boulevard will be temporarily closed for a second year to give pedestrians and bicyclists access to a half-mile stretch of road in the Tysons Galleria area. The closure will begin on July 6 with no set end date, though it could be reassessed depending on traffic conditions. [Fairfax County Department of Transportation]

Scott’s Run Trail Project Awarded — A new asphalt pedestrian trail and two bridges over Scott’s Run were named Project of the Year for Transportation in the under-$5 million category by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project started construction in July 2019, and Fairfax County held a ribbon-cutting on Feb. 4. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Vienna Hosts George Mason University President — GMU President Dr. Gregory Washington will discuss the paradox of Mason’s role as a key figure in American history and as a slaveholder at the Vienna Community Center at 5 p.m. today. The event will also feature a panel discussion as part of the Town of Vienna’s Liberty Amendments Month celebration. [Volunteer Fairfax/Twitter]


As Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” blasted through the ballroom, Terry McAuliffe, former and potentially future governor of Virginia, took the stage at the Hilton hotel in Tysons shortly before 9 p.m. on Tuesday (June 8) to celebrate his victory in the 2021 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

McAuliffe easily surged past four other candidates to clinch his party’s nomination, winning 62% of the vote in a race that the Associated Press called just 44 minutes after polls closed across the state.

Unofficial returns show that Fairfax County joined the rest of the Commonwealth in backing McAuliffe’s bid for a third term as governor. 64.4% of primary voters cast a ballot for him, followed by 19.3% supporting former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, who also came in second statewide.

“We launched this campaign about six months ago on a simple idea: that Virginia has some very big challenges ahead,” McAuliffe said in his victory speech. “And I’ve said we’ve got to go big, we gotta be bold, and we need seasoned leadership to move us forward and lift up all Virginians.”

Pledging to “build back a better, stronger Virginia,” McAuliffe quickly pivoted to the general election looming on Nov. 2, when he will compete with Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin, who he aligned with former President Donald Trump.

He will be joined on the Democratic ticket by Prince William Del. Hala Ayala, who will face Republican Winsome Sears in a lieutenant governor race that will put a woman of color in a statewide office for the first time in Virginia history.

The Virginia Department of Elections’ unofficial results show Ayala winning by more than 13 percentage points statewide in a race that featured six candidates, but her margin of victory was closer in Fairfax County. She only won by about 5% over runner-up Del. Sam Rasoul, who became the legislature’s first Muslim member in 2014.

Mark Herring won the Democratic nomination for attorney general in his attempt for a third term. He won by about 13% state-wide over Del. Jay Jones, but was overwhelmingly favored by Fairfax County voters. Herring won by more than 40 percentage points in the county.

In the General Assembly races, incumbent Del. Kathleen Murphy prevailed over challenger Jennifer Adeli in the contest for the 34th House District seat, which represents northern McLean and the Great Falls area.

“It was a great win and I am delighted to have received such strong support across the district,” Murphy said in a statement to Tysons Reporter. “I look forward to continuing to work on  behalf of my constituents and represent the issues that are important to them. I am especially focused on getting our kids safely back in school, increasing teacher pay, re-opening our businesses and continuing to support our veterans and stand up for gun safety measures.”

Republican Gary Pan is seeking to unseat Murphy in November, when Tysons area voters will also get contests between incumbent Del. Mark Keam and Republican challenger Kevin McGrath for the 35th District (Vienna), Del. Rip Sullivan (D) and Edward Monroe for the 48th District (McLean), and Del. Marcus Simon (D) and Sarah White for the 53rd District (Falls Church). Read More


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