During the campaign, Republicans in Fairfax County essentially tried to turn the election into a referendum on One Fairfax. The policy essentially requires elected officials to take into consideration the impact policy decisions would have on communities who don’t traditionally have a seat at the table, but the GOP tried to portray it as some sinister plot that would destroy the region.
In the various school board campaigns, for instance, conservative candidates decried it as a “radical agenda” that would force students to be bused all over the county. There was even some talk about how Fairfax students would even be bused outside of the county to schools in Prince William. They claimed these efforts would not only be horrible for students, but would end up lowering home values and harming the entire community.
All of this was an attempt to channel the rhetoric used by folks who opposed integration during the civil rights movement in hopes that it would win them a few votes. Fortunately, the tactic was soundly rejected at the polls as every single Republican candidate lost their school board races and we saw other gains in Fairfax County.
During a Fairfax County Democratic Committee meeting on November 19th, Supervisor Jeff McKay (who won his bid to be the next Chairman of the Board of Supervisors) spoke about how the message of One Fairfax helping to ensure all residents have an opportunity was well received by voters. They rejected the divisiveness the GOP was trying to stir up and embraced the message of hope and inclusiveness.
“I remember years ago sitting down with Supervisor Hudgins and talking about this concept of One Fairfax, which we thought was pretty normal stuff,” McKay said. “We’re in a progressive area, we want to fight for all people. We want to give all everybody an opportunity to succeed. This should not be hard stuff.”
McKay also stressed how this wasn’t just something leaders suddenly started talking about recently. It’s been a concept that’s been discussed openly for years as Fairfax has been trying to create a more welcoming community that recognizes the benefits of having a diverse population.
“We were talking about this before Donald Trump was in office, about how we double down on that,” the Chairman-elect said. “It wasn’t a response to Trump, it was about being a Democrat in progressive Fairfax County.”
“If you told me years ago that Republicans would try taken this issue and divide our community and think that running against One Fairfax, that unites all of our people in every corner of the County, and guarantees equal opportunities for people,” McKay added, “if you would have thought that would be what the Republicans would have run against the Democrats on, that is absurd. And the voters saw right through it.”
In other words, running against a policy that brings people together in order to make a stronger community is a horrible campaign strategy. And the voters made it clear they wouldn’t support bigotry and divisiveness here in Fairfax County.
For those who are interested, here’s a recording of McKay’s remarks.