- The Washington Times - Monday, May 19, 2003

The two Republicans running in the June 10 primary to become chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors agree on oneissue: The countyneeds leadership.

“These people don’t do anything but they tax your socks off,” said candidate John F. Herrity, who served as chairman from 1976 to 1988. “That’s why I’m running.”

His opponent, at-large School Board member Mychele B. Brickner, said her success in stopping a recent survey that asked public high school students questions about sex is just one example of the leadership she would bring to the board of supervisors.

“I’ve accomplished a lot even though I’ve been in a minority position on the board,” she said.

Mrs. Brickner said recent successes also include making the school budget easier to understand for parents, having “more honest” listings of projects and completion dates in the capital improvement program andhelping revamp the county’sclassroom curriculum.

Mr. Herrity, 71, or Mrs. Brickner, 52, will face Gerald E. Connolly, the Democratic supervisor from the Providence District, on Nov. 4.

Mr. Connolly, 53, is unopposed in the primary.

He has criticized Mrs. Brickner for lacking experience and has accused her of being a “polarizing figure” on the School Board.

“She provided no leadership,” Mr. Connolly said. “She sought opportunities for wedge issues to promote an extreme agenda.”

Mrs. Brickner, who has been outspoken in her defense of conservative values, said social issues will not be of primary concern for the county supervisors and defends her record, which includes restricting young readers’ access to certain books.

“I believe I represent a strong segment of the community that feels strongly about those issues,” she said.

The winner of the Nov. 4 election will replace two-term Chairman Katherine K. Hanley.

Mrs. Hanley, Democrat, will challenge Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, for the state’s 8th Congressional District seat in 2004.

Mr. Herrity has spent the last 15 years doing pension planning and government consulting and has been on the executive committee at George Mason University for the last four years.

He said easing traffic gridlock is a top priority. His campaign signs state: “Vote to fix traffic” and “Vote for experience.”

Mr. Herrity said his first act as chairman would be to renew the fight for federal money to widen Interstate 66, which is two lanes each way inside the Capital Beltway.

A recent study on widening the highway through Arlington County was dropped last week from the state’s $7.2 billion, six-year transportation program.

“I’m shocked no one in Fairfax County stepped up to try to keep this project alive,” Mr. Herrity said.

He compared himself with former President Ronald Reagan, saying he would bring a change to the county similar to the one Mr. Reagan did in making the United States a “city on a hill.”

Mrs. Brickner said that besides transportation, cutting taxes and eliminating government waste are among her top priorities.

She said “there’s a lot of anger in the community” because property taxes have risen 53 percent in the last four years.

“You have to address spending in order to make that happen,” she said.

One of her ideas is to appoint an inspector general to review government programs for efficiency and to see whether they are necessary or redundant.

Mr. Herrity has proposed the same idea.

“The whole government needs to tighten the belt a little bit,” Mrs. Brickner said. She also used the tax issue to take aim at Mr. Connolly.

“He has experience,” she said. “He’s raised taxes 53 percent in four short years. Do we need that kind of experience for four more years?” she asked.

Mr. Connolly fired back by saying, “I’ve never received a letter from her, asking to reduce the school budget.”

The school system will receive 53 percent of the county’s $2.3 billion budget in fiscal 2004.

Mr. Herrity and Mrs. Brickner are scheduled for a televised debate Thursday, which will air on Fairfax’s Cox Cable Channel 10 on June 1 at 2 p.m., June 3 at 2 p.m., June 5 at 6:30 p.m., June 8 at 2 p.m. and June 10 at 2 p.m.

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