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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Gary Aiken launches campaign for Mason District supervisor


Gary Aiken, the treasurer of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, has launched a campaign to represent Mason District the Board of Supervisors.

If no other candidates surface, Aiken would face off against Mason Supervisor Penny Gross in the Nov. 5 election.

“Fairfax County is becoming less wealthy and less of a desired destination,” Aiken states in a press release announcing his candidacy. “The county government is not doing enough to encourage young families to stay here, especially inside the beltway – in Mason District. Our schools are old and overcrowded. Our firefighters, police officers, and teachers can’t afford to live here. Hate crimes have plagued churches and the JCC in Mason. While there’s growth from Tysons to Dulles, Mason District declines.”

Aiken blames this situation on “more than two decades of ‘Penny’-wise, pound foolish fiscal policies and ‘Gross’-mismanagement of taxpayer dollars by the Board of Supervisors.”

A resident of the Ridgelea neighborhood in western Annandale, Aiken is chief risk officer for the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association, a life insurance company for members of the military. He has a degree in economics from the University of Maryland and an MBA from George Washington University.

He was student body president at his high school in Montgomery County, Md., but has never run in a countywide election.

“The one thing that really made me want to run” for supervisor, he says, is the attacks on the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia and Bethlehem Lutheran Church – both were defaced with Anti-Semitic and racist graffiti – and the fact that no one has yet been arrested in the most recent incident, in October 2018.

He wants the county to have more resources so the police can solve these cases and prevent future attacks.

Another big issue for Aiken is pension reform. “I was disheartened when the board had a chance to do something substantive and passed on it,” he says. “The underfunded pension fund is two or three times larger than what the county is telling people.”

“Every year we’re pouring more money into the pension system,” Aiken says. “Because of that, we can’t fund other things, like new schools or public transportation projects and have to increase taxes year after year.”

“It’s not an easy problem to solve but it takes a mindset of someone from the private sector to understand it and has the wherewithal to deal with it,” he says.

To improve transportation, Aiken supports new underground Metro lines along routes 50/7 and Columbia Pike/Route 236.

He calls the above-ground Metro line to Dulles “a stupid idea.” Metro should be extended through areas that are already urban, like Bailey’s Crossroads, he says. “We have dense urban areas that could grow denser. The only way to do that is to have public transportation that makes sense.”

Aiken is also concerned with the lack of affordable housing, noting that only 30 percent of Fairfax public safety personnel and 60 percent of teachers live in the county. “There’s a lot we can do – from a public-private partnership standpoint – to provide more affordable housing, especially workforce housing,” he says. “There are tons of opportunities to do that in Mason District.”

Although he is seeking a position on the BoS, not the school board, Aiken has some ideas for improving the school system, including having all classes start before 9 a.m. and having Advanced Academic Programs at all schools, so students don’t have to be bused outside their neighborhoods.

9 comments:

  1. Mr. Aiken seems more than qualified for the task of supervisor. With the national economy booming and the amount of newly constructed residential high rise housing, real mass transit would be a great addition to Mason inside the beltway. BEST OF LUCK.

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  2. Aiken is right on the money. I have always voted democrat. For this election, I will vote republican. He could not be more accurate in describing the decline of this County that has become a less desirable destination to live, recreate and work. The County has become a destination for the less desirable, illegals, boarding houses and the less educated immigrants that don't give a damn about taking care of their properties and our environment. All they know is how is chop down our mature trees, leave litter on their front overgrown lawns and rent rooms to more illegals that also don't give a damn. This may sound like a terrible generalization but it accurately represents many of our neighborhoods. When my wife and I moved here 25 years ago, the lawns were well kept, the schools were great and I was proud to a be a Mason resident. As houses have sold over time, each newcomer immigrant has run these houses down into further decline. There are newcomers that have done allot to assimilate and take care of their homes and contribute to the District but they are in the minority. Even these folks can't stand what has become to the area and are planning their exit. This failing County government has triggered an increase in a poorer population, a shrinking tax base a lower quality of life, deteriorating neighborhoods and inadequate mass transit. Don't be naive, Bulova knows it, she is taking the express train out. Gross has been a major contributor to this decline. Just look at the mess in Baileys Crossroads.

    Gross get out of the way and get on the Acela. Let someone else do something to improve our fate beyond building homeless centers. This area needs a major boost of capital and as long as Gross remains supervisor investors will take their money to the other side of the border, namely: Arlington, Alexandria and DC.

    Mr Aikens thank you for taking Gross on, I will be on a line of many supporting you.

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  3. I believe this is a great first step for a change in the Mason District area. A metro in the Mason District area is much needed with the approach of Tech companies and continued population growth. I look forward to hearing more from Mr. Aiken.

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  4. Mr. Aiken doesn't appear to live inside the beltway. Why does he disparage it so much?

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    Replies
    1. INSIDE THE BELTWAY - Gary lives in Mason District with his wife, Brooke, and their two boys, Emmett and Tyler. He prays and performs community charity work with Olam Tikvah synagogue’s Men’s Club. He also enjoys playing golf and music with his family – and going to Peking Gourmet (Duck and Szechuan Beef Proper!). After 15 years of living in Baileys, Falls Church, and Fairfax, Gary wants a Fairfax County that will provide his family and yours with economic opportunity, great schools, and safety.

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  5. ANON 5:21
    Glad you mentioned the new homeless shelter. Never liked Penny's proposal to convert unused office space into residential units.
    Obviously, she didn't think that was good enough for the homeless.

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  6. Unfortunately, I fear this will be another case of a potential change for the better going straight down the tubes only because Mr Aiken is a Republican. The trend has become to vote along party lines instead of who may be better qualified or do the better job.

    My fear is that a blind majority in Mason District will certainly vote for Ms Gross once again simply because she is Democrat regardless of what Mason District has become and what a terrible job she has done, especially over the last decade. Further, will the Democratic majority just stereotype Mr Aiken because he is a Republican? My guess is despite a lot of arguments from Democrats that we mustn't stereotype, the majority in Mason District will do exactly that.

    All the while, both Ms Bulova and Ms Gross have taken one of the most thriving counties in the U.S. and have flown it right into the ground. It's just amazing the county has done as well as it has in spite of them. The sad thing is they and their supporters blindly think they've done a wonderful job and no amount of arguments to the contrary or posts on this blog will ever change that.

    Maybe it's finally time for Mason District to have some genuine introspect and ponder the questions of, "Simply because the candidate (or incumbent) is a Democrat, does that mean he or she is qualified or competent enough to be the Mason District Supervisor?" Or, to put it another way, "Simply because the candidate is a Republican, does that mean he or she isn't more qualified or competent than a Democrat?" And for those who think I might be bashing Democrats, I would offer that if we lived in an area that was of a Republican majority, I would expect the inverse of those questions to be asked.

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  7. I generally vote democratic, but never for Gross -- She has done more damage for Mason district than any other person -- I believe people just don't realize how much power the supervisor has and they simply do not come out to vote. I hope Mr. Aiken is someone that is FINALLY able to get rid of Gross -- she has wielded enormous harm to the district -- and she says she is staying because she loves her job!! Well, it is time to get rid of her -- it will take YEARS of hard work to correct the harmful effects of her 20 years on the Board. Shame on us for voting her in all these years. No one can complain that didn't vote her out. We have what we deserve unfortunately.

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  8. Mr Aiken would be a much better leader than Penny Gross. Ask yourself what has improved under Penny Gross in the last 10+ years. Merrifield, Arlington, everywhere seems to have had some developments but not Mason District.

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