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Monday, April 18, 2011

Braddock Supervisor candidate Chris Wade touts experience in business

Christopher Wade believes his experience as a pragmatic problem solver and his background in business makes him well-qualified to represent the Braddock District on the Fairfax Board of Supervisors.

Wade will face off against Marc Greidinger in a Democratic primary slated for Aug. 23. The winner will challenge incumbent John Cook in the general election Nov. 8.

When asked why he’s running, Wade says, “I want to shape the future of the county my kids are going to grow up in. Braddock needs the kind of collaborative, problem-solving approach I can bring to the table.”

Wade says his “whole professional career has been based on bringing people together to solve problems.” His strong background in finance, he says, has helped him “understand where to look for savings and where to invest.”

Wade is a manager in the Financial Management and Performance Improvement Business Unit at MorganFranklin, a consulting company based in McLean. And as member of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce board of directors, he has strong ties with local businesses, which he says will help him work with the business community to promote job growth.

According to Wade, Cook initially billed himself as the Republican equivalent of Sharon Bulova, former Braddock representative and current chair of the Board of Supervisors. But Cook’s “voting record and approach” have not lived up to that promise, Wade says, and “he has taken an uncompromising approach to governing,” opposing any attempt to increase revenue for a county facing huge budget challenges.

Noting that 63 percent of the county’s revenue comes from real estate taxes, Wade says he would never run a business so dependent on revenue from one source. “I would look for ways to diversify revenue” in a way that would impose less of a burden on homeowners, he says, citing the county sales tax as one possibility.

Wade expressed concerns about the lack of raises for county employees in the 2012 budget under consideration by the Board of Supervisors and the impact of a third year without raises on employee morale. Noting that he would support “some sort of compensation increase,” Wade says, “We’re still not out of the woods, but we have to look out for county employees.”

Another issue Wade is concerned about is the lack of affordable housing in the county. “So many people like police officers and teachers can’t afford to live here,” he says.

While a redistricting plan for Fairfax County has not been approved yet, there’s a strong possibility that central Annandale could shift from the Braddock District to the Mason District.

Nevertheless, Wade believes in the importance of revitalizing older commercial centers like Annandale. “Revitalization is an issue that needs to be addressed if we want to grow as a community,” he says.

When it comes to Fairfax County Public Schools, he says, “we have invested a lot in the schools, and it’s important for the community to understand where those funds are going.” That’s why he believes there needs to be more transparency in the FCPS budget.

With regard to the county’s transportation problems, “it always comes down to cost and how to pay for it,” Wade says. He suggests the county explore a remote worker program like the one he implemented when he worked at SAIC. When employees were given the option to work at home or at sites closer to where they lived, they were “more enthusiastic, more loyal, and more productive,” he says.

Wade is a member of the FCPS Superintendent’s Business and Community Advisory Council [as is the Annandale blogger]. He coaches soccer with the Braddock Road Youth Club and teaches Sunday School at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Burke.

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