Fisette reelected in Arlington; Fairfax backs school bonds

Jay Fisette (D) won another term on the Arlington County Board.
Jay Fisette (D) won another term on the Arlington County Board.
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By Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Below the boxes to check for governor and other statewide races, Washington area Virginians faced down-ballot contests Tuesday, voting overwhelmingly to support a continuation of one-party rule in Arlington County and in Fairfax County, supporting a bond measure to build a new school and update several others.

Also in Fairfax, Patricia S. Reed defeated John N. Jennison for a vacant School Board seat.

In Arlington County, Board Vice Chairman Jay Fisette (D) easily fended off a challenge from Green Party candidate John G. Reeder, winning with 66 percent of the vote.

Reeder campaigned against one-party rule on the all-Democratic board, saying members had become too focused on "vanity" brick-and-mortar projects and had pushed development and spending beyond sustainable levels. Fisette, who won a seat on the board in 1997, becoming Virginia's first openly gay elected official, ran on his record and vowed to maintain the county's AAA bond rating while balancing "reasonable tax rates" with needed funding for county services. "I was pleased, and I think Arlington voters spoke about our commitment to good government," Fisette said of the win.

In Fairfax, Reed won a special election to fill the Providence District seat on the School Board. The seat was left vacant when Phillip A. Niedzielski-Eichner resigned in June to join the Obama administration.

Reed, a former teacher and co-founder of the Choose 2 Lead Women's Foundation, said she would push for a more open school budget process, beginning with an audit, as the system faces another deep budget gap.

School Board candidates are not required to disclose party affiliation, but Jennison, a lawyer, cast himself as a fiscally prudent Democrat who could work with members of both parties to forge consensus. Christopher F. DeCarlo, a businessman who was also running as a candidate for the House of Delegates, came in a distant third.

Fairfax voters overwhelmingly approved $232.6 million in school bond spending to build a middle school in the south part of the county, where enrollment is increasing, and to fund nine other improvement projects at elementary and middle schools.

Local uncontested candidates included James S. Lander for Arlington School Board and incumbents S. Randolph Sengel (D) for commonwealth's attorney and Dana A. Lawhorne for sheriff in Alexandria; and S. Stephen Bittle (D) for sheriff in Falls Church.

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