[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]
Among those the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will be losing at the end of the year, the departure of Linda Smyth (D-Providence) certainly will be among the most lamentable.
During her tenure, Smyth largely has been a voice of common sense, not only on issues related to the district – which includes areas like Merrifield, Dunn Loring, Oakton and portions of Tysons – but also on countywide matters. It’s a style and gravitas others could emulate.
Smyth is retiring, and four Democrats are seeking nomination in the June 11 Democratic primary. Given demographics of the district, the primary will serve as the de-facto election, merely awaiting ratification on Nov. 5.
Of the five candidates in the office, the field can be winnowed rather easily, with three (Dalia Palchik, Linh Hoang and Erika Yalowitz) having their strengths but largely beingoutmatched by the other two in the field.
With Palchick, Hoang and Yalowitz removed from consideration, that leaves us with Fairfax Planning Commission member Phil Niedzielski-Eichner and former Vienna Town Council member Edythe Kelleher to mull.
Our inclination would be to give the nod to Niedzielski-Eichner, based on his service on the Planning Commission, which in general is effective in doing the labor-intensive work of teeing up development issues for the Board of Supervisors to make final decisions on. At the same time, however, we would urge voters to consider Kelleher, who has experience with planning issues and also seems to have a common-sense approach to governance.
In the final analysis, it comes down to personal preference, but we’d say NIEDZIELSKI-EICHNER or KELLEHER are the best choices to succeed Smyth.
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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.