As I said in an earlier post, there were some very clear differences between the candidates in the race to represent Dranesville on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Not only did Supervisor John Foust disagree with Ed Martin on an ordinance limiting the interaction local law enforcement has with ICE, but the two also had a completely different approach to answering questions during the forum.
Supervisor Foust, for instance, used his opening statement to give a little bit of background about himself before going into his record. He was the first in his family to go to college, for instance, which he apparently paid for “by working in the steel mills and on the rail road” in Pennsylvania. He then worked for a utility company while going to law school and earning his MBA at night before moving to Northern Virginia.
Once he came to Fairfax with his wife over 35 years ago, John became extremely active in the community. Over time, he served as the president of the McLean Citizens Association, was a soccer coach and scout leader, and was involved in a variety of other community organizations. He was then elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2007 and was reelected in 2011 and 2015.
Among the points he highlighted during his opening statement, Foust helped secure $300 million for the widening of Route 7, which increased capacity by 50% and helped reduce the amount of cut through traffic in McLean and Great Falls neighborhoods. He also played a role in getting full day kindergarten, which was crucial for Dranesville because many of its schools were last on the list to receive it in Fairfax County. Plus, he played a role in creating 82 units of independent living for low income seniors at the Lewinsville Center on Great Falls Street, increasing parking for Metro by 711 spaces, and funding the Springhill Rec Center that serves the community.
While Foust was focused in on his record during his opening statement, Ed Martin decided to start his portion of the forum off by launching attacks. After saying that he moved here three years ago after he “sorta bounced around” for awhile before his family finally “settled down our life,” Martin said he didn’t like the leadership Foust or other county officials were displaying.
“It didn’t take long for my wife and I, who had lived everywhere from Indonesia to London and Italy, all over the country, to realize there were some things wrong with leadership in this county,” the candidate said raising questions about why he picked the county to “settle down” in if the leadership was so bad. “My name is Ed Martin and I’m running for supervisor because I believe we can do dramatically better. And not just for the developers and not just for folks who have kinda outside interests coming here, but for all of you.”
This echoes the talking points that have been discussed here in previous posts. Andi Bayer, for instance, claims outside money and special interest groups our education curriculum and Elizabeth Schultz says wealthy Jewish people are funding the opposition to her campaign. In other words, he might be relatively new to Northern Virginia and is apparently disgusted with community leaders, but he’s certainly picked up on the talking points promoted by the Fairfax County Republican Party relatively quickly.
He continued with the Republican talking points by bashing Foust and the Democrats for supposedly only looking out for the best interests of developers.
“The priorities of the Board of Supervisors is spending billions on the things that they think might deliver equity and help developers, and have some vision that sometimes we don’t even know,” Martin claimed. He also claimed that “they’re gonna put in low income subsidized housing and they’re gonna price you out of your home.”
His comments there were a prime example of how strongly Martin wanted to launch attacks instead of actually discussing policy. In the same sentence, he attacked Foust for promoting low income housing (which would help people afford to live here) but claimed he’s “gonna price you out of your home.” It’s almost like he was trying to bash poor people who need some help while also claiming Foust is too cozy with developers.
Martin went on to claim that Fairfax County is crime ridden, which again raises questions about why he’d therefore want to “settle down” here. He’d later echo this sentiment during the Q&A portion of the forum while saying that immigrants were responsible for crime because they were gang members. On top of that, he claimed we were having budget issues because immigrants were in our schools.
In what might be the most traditional Republican talking point of all, Martin went on to say lowering taxes was the only way to solve all these blights on the community he sees in Fairfax.
“What we need to have a golden age for our kids, for ourselves, and especially our seniors, is we have to have less taxes,” he concluded. “We have to have less spending and we have to spend in the right priorities.”
While Ed Martin is quick to point out what he thinks is wrong with Fairfax County, he failed to truly present a vision of how we can continue having a community where residents thrive. Supervisor Foust, however, talked about how he has the record to improve things that need to be addressed and the vision to keep Fairfax a community where folks like his opponent have moved to in recent years to raise their family.