|Braddock supervisor candidates Jason Remer (left) and James Walkinshaw.|
Jason Remer, the Republican candidate, says he is running because he wants to give back to the community.
The candidates spoke at a forum Sept. 3 hosted by the local chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. Candidates for Mason Supervisor also spoke at that event; their remarks were reported on in an earlier blog post.
Walkinshaw worked as an aide to Rep. Gerry Connolly, served on the board of the Ravenworth Farm community association, and is a member of the Fairfax County Domestic Violence Prevention, Policy and Coordinating Council.
Remer, a former employee at the U.S. Department of Energy, served on his community association board, was a Boy Scout leader, and has assisted refugees as a volunteer.
For Walkinshaw the top issues are investing in schools in order to retain the best teachers and to keep class sizes small and to improve the transportation network.
Remer said his top issue is rising property taxes, which are a “tremendous burden,” especially to seniors. Families are leaving Fairfax County because they can no longer afford to stay here due to the high taxes, he said.
His priorities also include the need to address “human trafficking in our schools,” and to help small businesses struggling with unnecessary regulations. “Government is here to serve you, not the other way around,” he said.
Walkinshaw would work to provide more transportation choices, such as expanding transit, and adding more bus options and bicycle paths. He would seek funding to complete the Braddock Road improvements already approved.
According to Walkinshaw, the public transportation system is based on getting commuters to D.C. and Pentagon, but more recent job growth is in places like Tysons, Reston, Herndon, and Sterling. The Fairfax County Parkway can be widened, but “we can’t widen all roads, he said. “We can’t pave our way out of this crisis.” He suggested exploring north-south transit alternatives, such as a light rail system connecting Annandale and Tysons.
Remer would also improve the transportation infrastructure, citing VRE stations, the Fairfax County Parkway, and Braddock Road,
Regarding traffic, Remer said, “We have to think 20 years down the road.” The increased use of autonomous vehicles will help alleviate traffic congestion.
Walkinshaw would address climate change by leading the way to having the Fairfax County government become carbon neutral. “That would save taxpayers dollars in the long run,” he said.
One of the first things Walkinshaw would do is create a task force to consider the “next version of Audrey Moore,” one of the oldest recreation centers in the county and “long overdue for renovation.”
Remer said he would rebuild trust in local government and also bring in management techniques to improve efficiency and modernize government to bring costs down.
When it comes to education, he would expand options for students in career and technical education, as not everyone needs to go to college.
Both candidates have experience working with immigrants.
Remer spoke about how he’s helping a Uighur family who escaped from China, as well as other immigrants, find housing and jobs in Fairfax County.
Walkinshaw mentored boys living in tiny apartment with a single mother in Culmore through Fairfax County’s BeFriend-A-Child program. “Every level of government failed them except Fairfax County, he said. The federal Pathway to Citizenship proposal that could have brought the mother out of the shadow economy didn’t happen, and the state denied her an opportunity to get a driver’s license.
Fairfax County came through with counseling to help her escape a domestic violence situation, and the schools offer opportunities to play an instrument, take a field trip, and learn a language. “Our schools offer the only opportunity for kids living in poverty,” he said. “That’s what One Fairfax is all about.”
A third candidate for Braddock Supervisor, Carey Campbell, who’s running as an independent, wasn’t at the forum.