Newsletter

Morning Notes

Herrity Criticizes Langley HS Book Display — Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity took issue with a display in Langley High School’s library featuring books “some adults don’t want you to read.” The supervisor later claimed that Fairfax County Public Schools “apologized for the sign on display” and “are now reviewing their policies and procedures.” [Pat Herrity/Twitter]

How to Detect COVID-19 Scams — “Martin Bailey, a member of the Northern Virginia AARP Fraud Watch Network, the Virginia Senior Medicare Patrol and Fairfax County’s Silver Shield Task Force, regularly produces a Scam Slam audio series. And the most recent Scam Slams cover these COVID scams — unsubstantiated COVID-19 treatment claims appearing on social media platforms, phony COVID testing sites and how to get your free COVID test kits.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Tysons Ritz-Carlton Among Top Virginia Hotels — “We are delighted to share that The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner has been awarded the #9 Best Hotel in Virginia and #20 in Washington, D.C., and has earned a Gold Badge in the Best USA Category by U.S. News and World Report! Thank you to our guests for supporting us through the years and for the #RCMemories shared.” [The Ritz-Carlton Tysons/Facebook]

General Assembly Hits Midpoint — It’s crossover day for the Virginia General Assembly, when the House and Senate take up the other chamber’s bills. The Republican-controlled House has passed a slate of bills favored by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, including restrictions on voting, abortion, and school curriculums, while the Democratic Senate has mostly blocked the governor’s agenda. [The Washington Post]

McLean Budget Forum Scheduled — With the new proposed county government budget set to be unveiled next Tuesday (Feb. 22), the McLean Citizens Association will host a free, virtual public forum on the topic on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. Participants will include Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, School Board Representative Elaine Tholen, and County Executive Bryan Hill. [MCA]

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Morning Notes

IBM and Chima buildings at Towers Crescent in Tysons (photo by Phil Foss/Novafoto.co)

Fairfax County Leader Criticizes Senate Vote on Masks — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said he’s “deeply disappointed” in the Virginia Senate for passing a bill that would let parents opt out of school mask requirements, arguing that it usurps local school boards’ authority. He says local officials have asked the governor to work with them on “an offramp” for when to stop using masks but “have not received any response to that suggestion.” [Jeff McKay/Twitter]

I-66 West Ramp to Vienna Metro Reopens — The ramp from westbound I-66 to the Vienna Metro Station, via an exit to Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard, has reopened to traffic after an extended closure that began on Jan. 21. The closure was needed for utility work related to the project to extend the I-66 Express Lanes from I-495 in Dunn Loring. [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]

Park Authority Highlights History of Freedom Hill — “Drive through busy Tysons, Virginia, and the traffic, buildings and construction make it hard to imagine the place as anything but a busy urban center. But did you know that it was once a rural community made up of free Black Fairfax County citizens?” [FCPA]

Tysons Company Faces Facial Recognition Concerns — “Two days after the Internal Revenue Service said it would transition away from using facial recognition for taxpayers to access certain IRS documents online after a wave of privacy complaints, Tysons, Virginia-based ID.me said it would make the use of ‘selfies’ optional for all of its government clients.” [WTOP]

Farmers’ Market Managers Sought — The Fairfax County Park Authority is currently recruiting volunteers to manage its 10 farmers markets, including a McLean market that will operate from May 6 to Nov. 11 at Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road). The market managers provide on-site support by setting up supplies, enforcing rules, answering questions, and helping with vendor selection and community outreach. [FCPA]

Photo courtesy novafoto.co

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Morning Notes

FCPS Can Keep Enforcing Mask Mandate — An Arlington County judge ruled yesterday (Tuesday) that Fairfax County Public Schools and the six other districts engaged in a lawsuit against Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order can enforce their requirements until the legal challenge is resolved. The ruling came as the state Senate, led by Sen. Chap Petersen, approved a measure to let parents opt out of school mask mandates. [The Washington Post]

I-495 Pedestrian Bridge Under Construction — “Check out the progress on this bicycle and pedestrian bridge over I-495 and the connecting shared-use path in Tysons! This link from Tysons One Pl/Fashion Blvd to Old Meadow Rd and Provincial Dr is scheduled for completion this summer.” [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]

Keam’s Roundabout Funding Bill Dies — A House of Delegates subcommittee voted to table legislation proposed by Del. Mark Keam, who represents Vienna and much of Tysons, that would’ve given more funding to sidewalk and roundabout projects. Virginia currently requires regional transportation funds to be prioritized based on congestion relief. [Sun Gazette]

Valentine’s Day Market Coming to Tysons — “Need a gift for your Valentine? @CelebrateFFX has you covered! Stop by the Loving Shop Local Market, this Saturday, Feb. 12 from 12-5 PM at The PARC for all of your Valentine’s Day essentials!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

FCPS Mask Requirement Still in Effect — Masks are still required in Fairfax County Public Schools after a hearing in the lawsuit that seven Virginia school boards filed to prevent Gov. Glenn Youngkin from enforcing his optional masks executive order. An Arlington Circuit Court judge did not make a decision in the case yesterday (Wednesday) but said one will be made soon. [FCPS]

Dulles Toll Road Changes Anticipated — With Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line expected to open this spring, transportation officials said earlier this week that fares on the Dulles Toll Road will likely rise in 2023 to offset the project’s cost. The road could also switch to an electronic, cash-less system this year, where drivers will pay using their license plate, an EZPass, or a phone app. [Inside NoVA]

No Charges in FCPD Officer Shooting — A Fairfax County police officer who shot and injured a man in Chantilly on Jan. 4 will not face criminal charges, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced yesterday (Wednesday). The prosecutor said the officer “was reasonable” to fear serious injury or death, due to evidence that the resident was wielding a compound bow and arrows. [Patch]

Local Students Speak in Support of Transgender Inclusivity — Some Fairfax County Public Schools students testified in support of policies protecting transgender and gender non-conforming students from discrimination at a General Assembly hearing on Tuesday (Feb. 1). However, a House education subcommittee passed the debated bill, which seeks to halt a requirement that local school boards adopt those policies. [WUSA9]

Registration Begins for Park Authority Classes — “The Fairfax County Park Authority just opened registration for spring classes. Despite an enormous number of available classes to choose from, there are limited spaces available in our facilities, so timely registration via Parktakes Online is recommended to reserve your spot.” [FCPA]

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Morning Notes

Police Investigate Reported Unlawful Filming — The Fairfax County Police Department is looking to identify a person of interest in the unlawful filming of a minor at the Surf N Suds laundromat at 5715 Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads. A teenage girl reported seeing a phone with a camera coming from the ceiling of the women’s bathroom around 7:50 p.m. on Dec. 12. [FCPD/Facebook]

Tysons Retail Enters New Phase of Development — “The face of the retail market in Tysons is changing. A series of new moves in the market, from longtime store closures to first-time openings to mall redevelopments, highlight how the Northern Virginia edge city is entering a new generation of its retail life cycle.” [Bisnow]

FCPS Criticizes Thomas Jefferson Admissions Bill — Fairfax County Public Schools denounced a bill proposed for the Virginia General Assembly’s upcoming session that challenges its new admissions process for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. FCPS says the legislation “rests on the fiction that any action taken to increase access for underserved or underprivileged groups is discrimination.” [FCPS]

The PARC to Host “Shop Local Saturday” Markets — “New Year, New Events! Join @CelebrateFFX, this Saturday, Jan. 15, for the 1st Shop Local Saturday Market of the year at The PARC in Tysons! This event is free to attend & will feature 25+ local business and makers who offer a variety of goods!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

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Del. Mark Keam is preparing for a sixth term representing Virginia’s 35th House District, which includes Tysons and Vienna (courtesy Mark Keam)

The Virginia General Assembly is one week away from starting its 2022 legislative session, but Del. Mark Keam (D-35th District) still has a lot of questions.

To start with, it’s unclear exactly how the session will proceed as COVID-19 surges across the Commonwealth, which is now averaging more than 14,000 cases a day.

“It’s a huge question mark,” Keam, who represents Tysons and Vienna, said in a phone interview on Dec. 31. “I don’t think anybody knows how it’s going to be, because we don’t know what [the omicron variant is] going to look like or if there’s another variant coming up again, and after the holidays, if there’s a superspreader…We don’t know.”

Last year’s regular session saw the House of Delegates and state Senate take differing approaches, as the former met remotely and the latter gathered in person with social-distancing rules in place. It took until August for the full legislature to meet in person.

While public hearings on the next state budget were conducted virtually yesterday (Wednesday), the General Assembly appears set to convene in Richmond on Jan. 12 in person.

However, no expectations for masks, social distancing, vaccinations, testing, and other health protocols have been announced yet. Keam says many Republicans refused to wear masks at previous in-person meetings, raising concerns about the number of people that will be mingling in the state Capitol building next week.

“Bottom line is we need to be very, very careful,” Keam said. “I would hope — and I certainly would think the Republicans would agree — that public safety is of the utmost importance.”

General Assembly Prepares for Leadership Transition

The uncertainty of the pandemic further complicates a session that will see significant changes in leadership, with the Republican Party taking over both the executive branch and the House for the first time since 2013.

Now in his sixth term after winning reelection on Nov. 2, Keam is returning to familiar territory with Democrats as the minority party in the House, but he says incoming Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s lack of prior political experience and the slow pace of staff and cabinet appointments make it difficult to know what to expect this year. Read More

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(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.

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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

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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?

Sullivan:

  • 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.

Monroe:

  • 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

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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?

Keam:

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.

McGrath:

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

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