[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
We’d estimate that perhaps 80 percent of Fairfax County residents have no idea about the changes that will be occurring on the Board of Supervisors starting next January, as a number of long-serving board members are retiring. It will mark one of the most substantial changes in local governance in a generation.
Four Democrats are vying to succeed Sharon Bulova for board chairman in a June 11 primary; given the leanings of the Fairfax electorate in recent years, it is the primary, rather than the general election, that is likely to determine the eventual victor . . . and the next leader in a county of more than 1.1 million people.
Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee) and School Board member Ryan McElveen (At-large) are joined on the ballot by Timothy Chapman and Alicia Plerhoples in a race that, despite its significance, has been flying largely under the radar. (The pulse of things did pick up briefly in recent days after opponents of McKay, operating under the cloak of anonymity, found a media outlet willing to run with a nothingburger of a “scandal” that he easily beat back.)
McKay has served as supervisor in Lee District since 2008, and for two decades before that was chief of staff to the previous occupant of the seat, Dana Kauffman. The lack of what we’d term extensive real-world experience is a bit of a concern, but not one that cannot be overcome.
The other three in the race – McElveen, law professor Plerhoples and developer Chapman – all seem to be coming across, to varying degrees, less interested in the nuts, bolts, potholes and other boring facets of governance and more in using the election as a step up the political ladder. Right now in the county’s history, that’s not necessarily what Fairfax residents need most.
It is perhaps not surprising, but still somewhat noteworthy, that the retiring Bulova has endorsed her colleague McKay. We have differed now and again with Bulova, but long have acknowledged that she maintains a steady hand on the ship of state, never lurching too far one direction or the other. Her opinion about a successor, while not representing the final word, deserves strong consideration.
Of the four Democrats on the ballot June 11, JEFF McKAY seems most likely to keep the S.S. Fairfax County moving at a steady clip even in choppy seas. His breadth of experience suggests he understands the challenges facing the county, as well as the trade-offs that have to be made to maintain quality of life without pricing out residents.
McKay is our pick. He deserves your consideration.
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As a reminder, primaries in Virginia are open to all voters (there is no registration by political party). If you don’t like the rules, get the legislature to change them, but under the existing framework every registered voter has the right to take part in this and other primaries on the ballot.