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Sterne

Stafford County Circuit Court Clerk Kathy M. Sterne announced her intention to seek a second term in office.

Sterne has served as the circuit court clerk for the past seven years and has spent 29 years in the Clerk of Courts office in Stafford County. Voters elected Steren in 2015.

Barbara Decatur served in the role from 2003 from 2015.

“We have accomplished many things in the past seven years, and I look forward to moving this office forward in the next term,” said Sterne in a press release.

The Clerk of Court has over 800 duties in Virginia, and Stafford is in the top 6th busiest clerks office.

Sterene has worked to make changes within the Clerk’s office, according to the press release, while being mindful of tax dollars in modernizing the office and securing outside funding to maintain historical records.

“I want to thank everyone who supported me in 2015, and I look forward to serving you in the future,” said Sterne.

Stafford County Voter Registrar Anna Hash said Sterne has not yet submitted enough signatures qualifying her to be on the ballot.

The General Election is Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

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LaCroix

The Woodbridge Magisterial District has a Republican seeking the seat on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for the first time in eight years.

Republican Jeannie LaCroix announced today that she is running in the 2023 general election for the Prince William County (PWC) Board of Supervisors for the Woodbridge District.

LaCroix, a Realtor, a Prince William County resident for over a decade, and a Northern Virginia native, will challenge Supervisor Margaret Franklin in the November 2022 election. 

Her priorities include smart growth, supporting law enforcement, growing the police department, and repealing a meal tax enacted in 2022 without a citizen referendum. She also aims to preserve neighborhood character, beautify the Route 1 corridor, and fix sidewalks.

No other Republican has announced a run for the seat.

Democrat Margaret Franklin has held the seat since 2020. She ran unopposed in 2019. Steven Chapman was the last Republican to seek the seat in 2015. Former Democrat Supervisor Frank Principi won the election in a landslide with 62% of the vote and served three terms (2008 to 2019) before losing a Primary Election to Franklin in 2019.

A change in state law gave the Prince William Board of County Supervisors the option to approve a new 4% meals tax to generate about $25 million more for the county government, which was already flush with a $35 million surplus. Supervisors said the meals tax would fund schools.

Bryan Dolieslager, a former member of the county’s tourism board and manager of Evergreen Country Club near Haymarket, resigned from the tourism board in protest of the new tax.

Several restaurant owners wrangling with rising costs and supply shortages begged the Board of County Supervisors not to enact the tax.

As for public safety, Prince William County Assistant Police Chief Major Kevin Hugart said crime is up across the county, as it is across the state and the U.S. The Woodbridge area has seen a particular increase in violent incidents, including murders. Hugart made the comments during a public safety town hall meeting at Potomac Shores Middle School near Dumfries on Thursday, February 1, 2023.

Due to recent violence, the Virginia ABC pulled a liquor license from a 7-Eleven on Route 1 at Prince William Parkway. The number of murders in the county doubled, from 10 in 2021 to 20 in 2022.

Franklin is seeking a second term on the Board of County Supervisors.

Here’s the full press release from LaCroix: Read More

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Sumers (D) and Weir (R) are running in a February 21 Special Election for the Gainesville District seat on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

Two candidates vying for the Gainesville District Supervisors seat will participate in a voter forum on Thursday, February 9, 2023.

Kerensa G. Sumers (D) and Robert B. “Bob” Weir (R) will appear on stage at Battlefield High School, 15000 Graduation Drive near Haymarket, at 7 p.m. The event staff from the Prince William Committee of 100 will open the door to the school at 6:30 p.m. Here’s more information on this event flier.

Insidenova Prince William Publisher Bruce Potter will moderate the forum. Both candidates seek to replace Peter Candland in a February 21 Special Election. Early voting is underway, and more information about early voting and where to vote is available on the Prince William County Elections Office website.

Candland represented Gainesville on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors between 2012 and December 2022. Candland resigned last month after Commonwealth Attorney Amy Ashworth advised him not to vote on any land-use issues to come before the Board this year.

Candland signed a letter of intent to sell his home to data centers developers at Prince William Digital Gateway, more than 800 acres of land next to Manassas National Battlefield Park slated for server farms. The Board approved a rezoning, clearing the way for the park in November 2022. Candland abstained from the vote.

Data center development will be a key issue in the Gainesville District Supervisors race. Weir, who has seen multiple Democrats cross party lines to vote for him during a firehouse primary earlier this month, is opposed to further data center development near homes and has been an outspoken advocate for land preservation in western Prince William, where the majority of data centers are being built.

The Democrat-controlled Prince William Board of County Supervisors is aligned with Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R)  in supporting data center expansion for economic benefits. This month, Youngkin announced Amazon would invest $35 billion in new data center construction across the state — the largest private investment in state history.

Yesterday, Monday, January 30, 2023, Republicans in the House of Delegates Rules subcommittee killed a resolution by Prince William County Delegate Danica Roem (D) requiring the state’s energy department to study the impacts of data center construction on the environment statewide. Data centers are power and water hungry, using both resources to power and cool servers, respectively.

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Left to right: Rep. Gerry Connolly, Va. Delegate Danica Roem, Prince William County Occoquan Supervisor Kenny Boddye [Photo: Uriah Kiser]
A bill from Delegate Danica Roem (D-Prince William) to study the impacts of data center development died today in the House of Delegates.

The resolution, HJ522, would have directed the state's Department of Energy be requested to study the impacts of data center development on Virginia's environment, economy, energy resources, and ability to meet carbon-reduction goals.

The measure comes as the Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved the Digital Gateway, more than 800 acres next to Manassas National Battlefield now marked for data center development. The centers -- hundreds of thousands of square feet wide and nearly 100 feet tall -- are server farms that power the internet.

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Jessie

A long-serving Prince William County School Board member won't seek re-election.

Her husband -- an outspoken fixture at county school board meetings -- will run to replace her.

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Delegate Candi Mundon King

Delegate Candi Mundon King (D-Woodbridge, Stafford) filed a bill to ban the names and faces of anyone who took up arms against the federal government, committed acts of treason, or could be considered an insurrectionist from state license plates.

Virginia offers more specialized places than most other states in the union. The bill is awaiting action in the House of Delegates Committee on Transportation.

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Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair At-large Ann Wheeler.

By Alicia Gloss
Coles District
Prince William County

Chairwoman Ann Wheeler and the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors have made a lot of news over the past three years and not the good kind.

Vote after vote, whether it’s controversial land use cases, increasing our taxes every year, meals tax, public corruption investigations, lack of disclosing data center stock, having illegal board meetings, the list goes on and on.

This chair has sighed, smirked, laughed, eye-rolled, and even interrupted citizens during their comment time many times over the years and even disrespected fellow colleagues by interrupting them and accusing them of inciting citizens simply for daring to keep their constituents informed. The truth is the public is speaking out in record numbers due to failed leadership by this chair and board.

This chair has shown disdain for public comment time since she realized she had to listen to us and we would hold her accountable. This leadership has chosen developer first, citizen last policies, padding wallets and stock portfolios over citizen’s best interests.

Supervisor Angry in the past has said, “I want to create this feeling, or this movement of trust and community relationships. I had that growing up, and I want to do more to create that and to get us back to that.”

How is limiting public comment time going to do that? I will call this what it is, an attempt to stop speech, to crush dissent over highly unpopular voting decisions.

The attempts to limit public speech by this chair and board are unprecedented, and at no point in the previous board did they ever limit public comment time as this board has.

This Chair has already limited our voice by changing how long our supervisors can speak on our behalf by limiting them to two five-minute statements during discussions, removing many of the 7:30 p.m. evening meetings in lieu of 2 p.m. meetings when the public is at work.

And whatever happened to the Saturday meetings this board said they would hold so people who work can participate and be heard? We’ve never seen one.

When we are allowed to speak, the chair has changed the rules requiring us to speak at the end of the meeting. This puts our voices last after all the voting and indicates what she has continually done during her tenure as chair. Since this hasn’t worked to silence us, she is now trying to restrict our voice further.

This chair and board receive constant backlash from the community because it is not in sync with what the community wants. Voters thought you were beholden to them, but they now realize you are beholden to power and monetary gain.

You have had our community in a constant uproar with all the controversial votes against the will of the people, but now you have gone too far. You have agitated the State Legislature with the approval of the Digital Gateway without waiting for the results of the environmental studies we’ve paid for, and even though so many citizens, senators, delegates, and conservation groups urged you not to.

The State Legislature is seeking to pass emergency legislation to stop the Digital Gateway and other data centers in Prince William County and to help protect our National Parks and land since you won’t. You have carved up Prince William County acre after acre and betrayed the voters with a bait and switch.

People of Prince William County: Let’s not forget what Ann Wheeler and this board have done to our community and hold them accountable in November. In November, the citizens will have the ultimate public comment time by cutting you out altogether.

The voice of the people should never be limited.

Potomac Local News accepts letters to the editor on issues of local importance. Submit your letters to [email protected]

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Jefferson

Deshundra Jefferson said she's about policy, not politics.

The Democrat will challenge Ann Wheeler in a June 20 Primary Election for the At-large Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman seat.

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Fields

Dumfries Town Councilman Brian Fields gave an earful to a resident and former mayoral candidate who questioned the marriage of two town employees — the police chief and a fellow officer.

Ebony Lofton, who mounted an unsuccessful bid to unseat Mayor Derrick Wood in November 2022, spoke at January 10, 2023, town council meeting. During her speech, Lofton called out the police chief Vernon Gaylen, who she said married officer Anna Torres, who reports to Gaylen, late last year.

Lofton presented a couple’s wedding photo taken from social media to PLN. During the meeting, Lofton questioned whether or not the council was concerned the marriage would violate the town’s fraternization policy which prohibits “dating, romantic involvement, and sexual relations” and “close friendships” by “any employee who reports to the manager or whose terms and conditions of employment such as pay increases, promotions, scheduling, and advancement…”

Mayor Derrick Wood told PLN he’s not privy to the marital status of the town’s police chief.

Lofton’s comments came just days after five children and teenagers were shot and five people at a house in town on January 4, 2023, killing a 3-year-old girl. The accused mass shooter, a 20-year-old Washington, D.C. man, was in a relationship with a 17-year-old girl whom police said he shot first outside the home.

Lofton frequently attends and speaks at Dumfries Town Council meetings and demands the transparent, responsible administration of town government for the town of about 5,700 people.

One of them, Brian Fields, a former town police officer, fired back at Lofton, saying it is inappropriate to question the council about the police chief and the fraternization policy.

“I want to talk about coming together as a community [after the shootings]. It’s not happening well enough. It doesn’t mean coming here and launching complaints…straight up throwing shade. This ain’t no damn place to throw shade. If you want to throw shade like I do, do it on social media,” said Fields.

Fields noted Lofton is the South Cove HOA president, the neighborhood where the shooting occurred. Fields said she should do more to protect her community.

Unlike the nearby gated community Aquia Harbour in Stafford County, South Cove does not have an accredited police force. Like the rest of the town, it relies on officers from the Dumfries and Prince William County police departments for protection.

“The finger is painted right back at you, the person who is leading the community.” Yes, goddammit, I am the real police. I worked my ass off cleaning up this community when I was on the police force,”  said Fields.

Mayor Wood interjected and asked Fields to maintain an appropriate level of decorum.

“I’ve got decorum. I’ve got all I need,” replied Fields. “We are doing a damn good job here… this is our community, our town. We are doing great,” Fields said of the town council.

“We’ve been elected, re-elected, write-in elected, and elected again,” he added before standing up from his chair and temporarily walking out of the meeting.

Several elected town council members spoke about the shooting, offered condolences, and praised the police officers who responded to the call.

Councilman Shaun Peet suggested the town restore a service that allowed residents to receive text messages on their cell phones in an emergency. The mass notification system could allow residents to help the police who are called to those situations, he said.

On January 7, 2023, Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk Jacquline Smith swore in Wood for his second mayoral term. She also swore in the remainder of the town council for their new four-year term.

Voters elected Fields to the town council in 2016.

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