Bernard J. Way and William D. "Bill" Bogard--the candidates for the Sugarland Run seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors--cast themselves as polar opposites in a debate Tuesday at Meadowland Elementary School in Sterling.
Way, 41, the Republican candidate and the Sugarland Run member of the Loudoun County Planning Commission, said his "basic position" is "to protect the taxpayer."
Bogard, 47, an independent who received the endorsement of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee, said that he would stress "what is best for the community" in addressing policy and land-use issues.
The candidates answered questions submitted by an audience of about two dozen people as well as the hosts of the event--the League of Women Voters and the Sterling Foundation--on topics that spanned transportation, education and land-use issues.
The seat they are seeking is being vacated by Steven D. Whitener (R-Sugarland), who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for commissioner of the revenue.
The differences between the two candidates crystallized regarding such questions as how to solve the traffic congestion and other transportation problems facing Sugarland Run in particular and Loudoun in general.
Way, an assistant professor of political science at Christendom College in Front Royal, ticked off half a dozen projects that are of concern to Sugarland Run residents, including extending the Fairfax County Parkway, widening Route 7 and installing more lights on Algonkian Parkway. He said he would seek "more money from Richmond" to complete those projects.
Bogard, a personnel manager at Unisys Corp. in McLean, said his approach would be to "finish what we've started" and then consider alternatives to new construction.
"We've been trying to pave our way out of congestion for almost 50 years," said Bogard, who made his name locally as an activist who protested a 199-foot monopole in Sterling.
"We should look at other ways to work on" the congestion, Bogard said, although he did not mention specific measures. He proposed more pedestrian crossings and trails.
The candidates also differed in their approaches to managing growth.
Bogard said he would work to "do away" with the county's long-used proffer system, in which developers offer amenities such as land for new schools in exchange for approval of development plans. Bogard said he favors impact fees, which would be tacked on to the upfront cost of building and used to pay for new public facilities. Bogard criticized state lawmakers for failing to put such tools in the hands of local governments.
Way emphasized that property rights are paramount in Virginia, which is why, he said, control of growth tools lies in Richmond.
"Virginia is a property rights state; it's part of the old South; it's part of our heritage," Way said. But he said that "if Richmond okayed impact fees," he would be willing to consider them.
On education, the candidates were asked whether they favored tax-funded measures such as school vouchers and tuition tax credits, both of which would be implemented by the state and not the Board of Supervisors.
Way, who noted that he sends his children to parochial schools, did not endorse either measure but told the audience, "Are public schools doing the job?"
Bogard said he does not favor vouchers or tax credits because he is not convinced that they would improve public schools. To achieve that, Bogard said, he would support other changes, such as smaller class sizes and incentives to retain good teachers.
The candidates will face off in elections Nov. 2.