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Morning Notes

McLean House Fire Started by Candle — An unattended candle placed near combustibles started a fire in the living room of a single-family home in the 1500 block of Dominion Hill Court on Saturday (Jan. 8). No injuries were reported, but the fire displaced two residents and resulted in approximately $919,500 in damages. [FCFRD]

Former School Board Member Named to Key Education Position — Elizabeth Schultz, who represented Springfield District on the Fairfax County School Board from 2012 to 2019, has been appointed by incoming Gov. Glenn Youngkin to serve as Virginia’s assistant superintendent of public instruction. Schultz has opposed protections for transgender students and appeared on Fox News to decry teaching that acknowledges racism. [Virginia Mercury]

No Return of Metro Trains in Sight — “Metro riders can expect the current level of limited rail service to continue for three more months after the transit agency’s top official said Thursday that Metro wants to focus on finding the ‘root cause’ of a defect that has sidelined more than half its rail cars since mid-October.” [The Washington Post]

Tysons Startup Launches “Smart” Grocery Delivery Box — “HomeValet, a D.C. Metro area-based startup that has developed a temperature-controlled smart box for grocery deliveries, is now releasing its smart home product to the public and expanding its partnership with Walmart.” [TechCrunch]

FCPS Superintendent Lines Up New Job — Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand will serve as executive director of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents, a nonprofit that provides support to and advocates for the state’s superintendents. Brabrand will leave FCPS on June 30 and assume his new position in July. [PR Newswire]

Relocated Jinya Ramen Bar to Open in March — “Local franchise owner Sam Shoja says the Mosaic District ramen shop outgrew its current space. The new corner location will allow for a large semi-enclosed outdoor patio with fire-top tables and an indoor Japanese whiskey lounge.” [Washingtonian]

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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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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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Morning Notes

Beware Vienna Halloween Parade Traffic — Expect major traffic backups on Route 123 tonight (Wednesday), as the Vienna Halloween Parade will close Maple Avenue between Berry and Center streets from approximately 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Most other roads along the parade route will close at 4:45 p.m., with drivers getting detoured on Church and East streets. [Town of Vienna]

Filipino Restaurant Opens in Falls Church — Kamayan Fiesta recently opened its second location at the corner of Annandale and Washington Streets in the City of Falls Church. Started 18 months ago in Springfield, the locally-owned eatery specializes in Filipino cuisine, including different kinds of pancit (or rice noodles) and chicken adobo. [Falls Church News-Press]

1st Stage to Require COVID-19 Vaccinations 1st Stage Theatre will require patrons to present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and a photo ID when it launches its first indoor performances of the pandemic on Nov. 18. The theater won’t accept negative test results as an alternative, and masks will also be required inside the Tysons venue. [Tysons Today]

FCPS Book Banning Plea Crops Up in Gubernatorial Race — A failed call to ban Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved” from Fairfax County Public Schools has resurfaced after the woman who advocated for the book to be removed in 2013 appeared in a campaign ad for Glenn Youngkin, the Republican Party’s nominee for governor, on Monday (Oct. 25). [The Washington Post]

Falls Church Contractor Acquired — Falls Church-based defense contractor PAE Inc. has been acquired for $1.9 billion by Amentum Holdings, the Germantown-based aerospace company announced Monday. Amentum was formed in 2020 and nearly doubled its workforce by purchasing McLean-based DynCorp International that September. [Washington Business Journal]

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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?

Murphy:

  • 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

Pan:

  • 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

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Morning Notes

Two Injured in Fire at CIA HQ — Two CIA employees were transported to a hospital for possible smoke inhalation after a fire broke out at the agency’s headquarters in McLean on Saturday (Oct. 2). The “small building fire” was extinguished by sprinklers around 12:30 a.m., according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, and the cause hasn’t been determined. [WTOP]

Parents Protest Outside McAuliffe Campaign Office — Fairfax County police responded to a protest of about 20 people outside Terry McAuliffe’s campaign office on Jones Branch Drive in McLean on Friday (Oct. 1). A passerby told Tysons Reporter that the parents, who police said “were peacefully demonstrating,” were “incensed” by the Democratic gubernatorial nominee saying in a recent debate that he doesn’t think “parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Founders Row Welcomes First Residents — “After a decade since the project was first proposed, the first 20 residents began moving in this Monday [Sept. 27] to the massive 4.3 acre Founders Row development project at the intersection of W. Broad and N. West Street in the City of Falls Church.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons Corner Bloomingdale’s Burgled — “COMMERICAL BURGLARY: 8100 Tysons Corner Center (Bloomingdales), 9/27/21, 4:40 a.m. Someone forced entry into the business and took property.” [Fairfax County Police Department]

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Morning Notes

Controversy Hits Tysons Korean Cooking Contest — Half of the judges for the 2021 K-Food Cook-Off have quit after a statement introducing one of them drew social media criticism for suggesting that the D.C. area has a lack of Korean restaurants. The competition, which will be held on Sept. 26 at the Tysons Hyatt Regency, has also come under fire for only having one judge of Korean heritage on its original panel. [Washington City Paper]

Police Investigate Possible Murder in Falls Church — Fairfax County police found the remains of 78-year-old Truman Nguyen in a shallow grave behind his house near Bailey’s Crossroads yesterday after a family member reported him missing on Monday (Sept. 6). His son was arrested and has been charged with murder, which would make it the county’s 18th homicide this year, triple the number that had been reported at this time in 2020. [The Washington Post]

Family of 9/11 Victim Shares Memories of Tragic Day — Now a student pursuing a master’s degree at George Mason University, Fairfax County resident An Nguyen was just 4 when his father was killed in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, where both of his parents worked. His mother, who came to the U.S. from Vietnam as a child, was not at the Pentagon when the plane hit. [NBC4]

Tysons Business Group Hosts Statewide Candidates Forum — “The Multicultural Chamber Alliance (MCCA), a powerful collaborative initiative of the Asian American Chamber, the Northern Virginia Black Chamber and the Virginia Hispanic Chamber, invites the press and general public to attend the Annual Candidates Forum. The Candidates Forum will take place Thursday, September 9, 2021, from 10 am-12 pm, at the University of North America (12750 Fair Lakes Circle) in Fairfax, Virginia.” [MCCA]

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Morning Notes

Lieutenant Governor Candidates Speak at Tysons Luncheon — “Candidates for lieutenant governor of Virginia told their personal stories and articulated their values at a Sept. 1 luncheon in Tysons, but provided few specifics on what they would seek to accomplish if elected.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

MCC to Hold Public Meeting on Budget Tonight — “The McLean Community Center (MCC) Governing Board will hold two, in-person budget meetings this month in order to gather input and suggestions from the residents of Dranesville Small District 1-A on the Center’s fiscal year 2023 budget. The first meeting, the Finance Committee Meeting of the Whole, will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons Startup Raises Millions in Funding — The Tysons-based startup theCut, a mobile platform that enables users to book and pay for barbershop appointments, announced last week that it has raised $4.5 million in seed money, bringing its total funding to $5.35 million to date. Company leaders say they will use the funds to build out a team that currently consists of 20 employees, including interns. [DC Inno]

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