Run for all and all for one.
While they each have issues unique to their districts, the six incumbent Democratic members of the Board of Supervisors and three Democratic challengers on Tuesday pledged to run a unity campaign.
“It’s exciting and good to see the Democratic party so unified to keep control of the Board of Supervisors and make sure all the value they fought for the last three years are upheld so we remain the best county in the country to live in,” Avram “Avi” Fechter, Loudoun County Democratic Committee chairman, said at a news conference. “They don’t always agree on each individual issue. Heck, they don’t always get along in private, but they have learned that if there are ever another set of challenges that come at this county [like the COVID-19 pandemic] these are the people they want to face it with.”
The platform has six planks:
- Transparent and respectful constituent relations and service.
- Providing county services and adequately funding county schools while keeping taxes low.
- Maintaining strong infrastructure while increasing affordable housing.
- Balancing growth and environmental preservation.
- Maintaining good relations with federal and state officials and providing competitive benefits and wages to county employees.
- Maintaining voting rights including reinstating early voting on Sunday which was
Board Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall, D-At Large, said the first aspect of the platform is connected to all others. She said respectful constituent relations means being straight with people, rather than telling them what they want to hear and admitting when you’re wrong and rectifying the error.
“We want to hear from our constituents every day in every way that they want to communicate with us,” she said. “That is all part of respectful government.”
The county’s population, which ballooned from 169,00 in 2000 to 421,000 in 2020 – a 148% increase – according to the U.S. Census Bureau, continues to grow. Supervisor Michael R. Turner, D-Ashburn, said the growth puts “enormous pressure” on the board in terms of land use decisions and how to maintain sustainable growth and a good quality of life. He said a major goal of the next four years is getting residents out of their cars and onto Metro buses or trains.
Turner also said sustainable growth of data centers — Loudoun has the largest concentration of them in the world — continues to be a key issue. The centers provided $650 million in tax revenue last year, but are also use an enormous amount of electricity and produce huge greenhouse gas emissions.
Turner said there is a finite amount of land and the board must balance approving data centers or housing development against environmental preservation.
“We want to work with the data center community, but it’s a real challenge and we’re going to have to be very cognizant of that going forward,” he said. “With all the growth in Loudoun County and with the data center influence on the budget, we still always want to preserve western Loudoun County.”
Board Vice Chairman Koran T. Saines, D-Sterling, said getting Sunday voting was a long and hard fight and it was a “sham” for the three-member Electoral Board to remove it. He said he’s also concerned the board could remove Judy Brown, Office of Elections and Voter Registration general registrar, without cause.
Saines also condemned Republican election deniers for flooding the office with 187 Freedom of Information Act requests between Aug. 1 and Sept. 13. That’s seven times more requests than the 25 requests from the previous four years. Saines said the requests — part of a national trend by Republicans — were frivolous and designed to waste the time and resources of the elections office.
Juli E. Briskman, D-Algonkian, said Democrats supervisors delivered on their 2019 campaign promises which included approving collective bargaining for county workers and an equity policy for county government, approving a strategic housing plan, and removing the Confederate statue in front of the Loudoun County Courthouse.
“Every one of us kept our promises,” she said. “You can see it.”