Voters in Virginia's 35th District are all too familiar with the rush-hour scene on Maple Street in Vienna, which in recent years has turned into a long parking lot as thousands of drivers inch their vehicles through town to get to work in Tysons Corner and beyond.

As such, frustration over traffic congestion in the fast-growing state House district--which includes Vienna and the surrounding area--has become the main backdrop in an election race involving two old political foes who offer similar transportation solutions but disagree on emphasis and how to pay for them.

"Two years ago, it was education. This year it's transportation," said Republican Jeannemarie A. Devolites, who is seeking her second two-year term against Democratic challenger George E. Lovelace. "People just want the transportation system to improve."

Both candidates, who are meeting for the second time in two years, say providing public transportation holds the key to unlocking gridlock and they support efforts to extend rail to Tysons Corner and Dulles International Airport.

But, in the interim, Lovelace, who lost to Devolites by 800 votes in 1997, said bus service needs to improve to get more people off the roads.

"The issue, to me, boils down to capacity," said Lovelace, 63, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and telecommunications consultant. "What we need to do is take the capacity we have and move the maximum number of people, and public transportation meets the need."

In 1996, Lovelace became the first African American elected to the General Assembly from Northern Virginia since Reconstruction. A longtime Vienna Town Council member, he won a special election, after the incumbent Republican retired.

Devolites, who narrowly beat Lovelace in 1997, said she also supports increased bus service but believes road improvements, such as widening Route 7 between Tysons Corner and the Loudoun County border, are a priority.

"We need to fix our local roads and transportation systems--without raising our taxes and without new tolls," Devolites said.

Devolites, 43, a self-described soccer mom and Girl Scout leader with four daughters, ran unsuccessfully for Fairfax GOP chairman and Providence District county supervisor before beating Lovelace.

How the transportation projects would be funded has been much debated and may hold the key to victory for either candidate. Lovelace supports the Democratic Party plan, which would use half of every budget surplus to ease traffic congestion. The state could raise an additional $71 million a year for transportation by dedicating recordation taxes--fees paid when real estate is sold--that now go to local governments.

Devolites supports the Republican legislative plan to issue bonds that would be used to make road improvements. It would be the fastest way to raise the money needed for road construction, she said.

"They can be finished quicker," Devolites said, asserting that the Democratic plan is "unrealistic" since half of the budget surplus is already earmarked for other state expenses.

While transportation has topped debates and forums, the candidates also have started to trade sharp political barbs in recent weeks. Lovelace accused Devolites of reneging on her previous election promises by opposing a bill to send lottery money to public schools and by stopping legislation that would have allowed Fairfax County to ban guns from county-owned recreation centers.

Devolites has vehemently denied ever doing such a thing and has accused Lovelace of running a "deceitful" campaign. The incumbent said she supported sending all lottery proceeds to fund schools and co-sponsored a bill permitting Fairfax to ban guns in public buildings including schools and recreation centers.

"He's running a dishonest campaign," Devolites said.

Lovelace said: "The record speaks for itself."

DISTRICT 35: House of Delegates

Jeannemarie A. Devolites (R)*

Age: 43.

Residence: Vienna.

Education: BA, mathematics, University of Virginia.

Occupation: Legislator.

Elected offices/civic activities: Board of directors and president-elect, Tysons Corner Rotary; PTA board, Oakton High School; board of directors, Fairfax Spotlight on the Arts; member, Governor's Commission on Information Technology; Girl Scouts leader.

Family: Married; four children.

Why should the voters elect you?

"During my first term I have proven to be an effective leader. I saw 18 pieces of my legislation enacted, which was quite an accomplishment for a freshman delegate! I was also elected president of my Republican freshman class. My district is home to many technology companies, executives and employees. As a member of the governor's technology commission, I have been working hard on the issues that most affect our community: education, transportation and job training. Northern Virginia is the hub for the new information economy, and I want to continue to help pave the way for its continued success."

What would you like voters to know about you?

"I am the first woman undergraduate from the University of Virginia to serve in the legislature. I grew up in Northern Virginia and have chosen to raise my four daughters here."

E-mail address:

George E. Lovelace (D)

Age: 63.

Residence: Vienna.

Education: BS, physics, Lincoln University (Mo.); MS, George Washington University.

Occupation: Retired.

Elected offices/civic activities: Former member, House of Delegates (1997); Vienna Town Council (1982-1996); co-founder, Malcolm-Windover Heights Civic Association; retired lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army; Vienna Lions Club.

Family: Married; two children.

Why should the voters elect you?

"I care. This district needs a leader to represent our values and fight for our demonstrated leadership on the key issues facing the district: transportation, education, gun control, health care and choice. Our quality of life is at stake. Congestion is at a crisis level, and more government is interfering in our private lives. There is serious work to be done to protect our children, to ensure people get quality health care and to prepare for the long-term care needs of our growing elderly population. My priority as delegate will be serving my constituents and improving our lives here in the 35th District."

What would you like voters to know about you?

"I am committed to reducing crime against our children. I will introduce a bill to keep guns out of Fairfax County recreation centers."

Web site:

E-mail address: