There was a time when Steve Stockman was best known as the younger brother of former Office of Management and Budget director David A. Stockman.
But in his four years as supervisor from the Broad Run district in Loudoun County, Steve Stockman has forged a political image of his own, making headlines with his aggressive stance in favor of economic development and his suit against the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, including himself, over its actions seeking to preserve open space in rural areas of the county.
His politics has not only won the 38-year-old Stockman some fans but also some detractors, including Gregory R. Marquis, an independent who is challenging Stockman for the Broad Run seat.
"I don't approve of his methods, I don't approve of his theatrics," said Marquis, an outage cost analyst with the Potomac Electric Power Co.
Marquis said that Stockman, who owns a Loudoun title and escrow business, should not be on the board because his decisions on economic development pose a conflict of interest.
"I don't think Stockman is selling his votes to developers," Marquis, 37, said. "But I can't help but think that in the back of his mind he knows some decisions he makes can increase his business proportionately . . . . I think it is morally wrong."
Stockman, who holds office as an independent but is running as a Republican, said he receives no direct benefit from being on the board and that he is simply providing a needed service to county residents. His job is not an issue, he said.
The candidates are vying in the Nov. 3 election to represent the booming Broad Run District, between the Potomac River and Rte. 7 west of the Fairfax-Loudoun line. Broad Run, about eight square miles, has become one of the most populous districts in Loudoun County, transformed from farm land to fields sprouting residential and commercial development.
"If it is no-growth or progrowth, I guess I'm progrowth," said Stockman, a former Washingtonian who moved to Loudoun in 1979. "But that really is not accurate. I'm proeconomic development . . . . I am for more jobs. There is no reason that Loudoun County should be the bedroom community for Fairfax County."
Stockman, who proudly points to a reduction in Loudoun's real estate tax rate from $1.13 per $100 of assessed value to 88 cents during his four-year tenure on the board, believes that properly planned development can solve problems. Attracting business to the county expands its tax base, which eases the tax burden on residents and provides improved services, he said.
Stockman envisions a tract, which he termed the "Golden Triangle," running north along Rte. 28 from Dulles International Airport, west along Rte. 7 to Leesburg and back to Dulles on a proposed additional toll road, as the cornerstone for the county's future tax base.
Development of the triangle, which would take in Xerox Corp.'s large project, could provide additional employment and thus reduce the number of people who commute to jobs outside the county, alleviating the nagging traffic congestion on Rtes. 7, 50 and 28, he said.
Responsibility for roads lies with the state, which Stockman said has not provided the funds to deal with Northern Virginia's road problems.
Stockman said he does not favor more residential projects in the county, but added that they are inevitable because developers see the area as a hot market. Before his election four years ago, Stockman said, supervisors routinely denied developers' rezoning requests, routinely went to court about their decisions and routinely lost.
The boards of the 1960s and 1970s, in refusing to negotiate with developers, lost opportunities to obtain proffers (land, roads or other benefits that developers frequently provide local governments to compensate for the impact of their projects) that might have lessened problems, Stockman said.
Marquis, a county resident for 16 years who moved into the Broad Run district about a year ago, sees a far different picture. The developers "are having a field day in Loudoun County," he said. "It's like a feeding frenzy."
The current board, according to Marquis, is not paying attention to management of resources, such as water, sewage and solid-waste disposal, that will be affected by the snowballing growth.
As for roads, the increased economic development -- which Marquis insists he is not against -- will worsen congestion by placing more people on county roads, he said.
While the two candidates agree on little, there are similarities between them. Neither is spending much money on the race and each said that the bulk of his campaigning will be door to door.
Stockman, who has received about $1,300 in contributions and has spent about $618, said he hopes to keep costs at $1,700. Marquis said he has received $300 in contributions and has spent $200. The challenger forecasts expenditures of $2, 300.