Two candidates have emerged to run for county supervisor in the Providence District in November, a seat that opened unexpectedly with incumbent Supervisor Gerald E. Connolly's (D) candidacy for Board of Supervisors chairman.
Linda Q. Smyth of Briarwood, the Providence District planning commissioner, said she is considering running on the Democratic ticket. Oakton resident James Hyland, a lawyer, said he will run as a Republican.
Providence became the board's third open seat last week as Katherine K. Hanley (D) announced that she will not seek reelection as board chairman and will explore a race for Congress. Fairfax Democrats chose Connolly to run for the top job.
Hyland, 42, is a Republican activist who worked as an aide to Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va) and as legislative director for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Tex.). His campaign will sound a familiar theme among GOP candidates for county board this year: homeowners' unhappiness with escalating property tax bills.
"I feel it and a lot of people feel it, an outrage at the double-digit tax increases," Hyland said.
His first act as supervisor would be to ask the county executive to prepare a county budget that "assures that no homeowner gets a tax increase." County spending would not need to be cut, he said, but instead would not increase from year-to-year at the current rate of about 4 percent. Or, he said, spending could rise no more than the rate of population growth, approximately 1.6 percent this year.
Smyth, 53, has served for 31/2 years as Connolly's appointee to the Planning Commission, representing one of the county's busiest corners of new commercial development. She said her experience with land-use issues would position her for a supervisor's job, since development and its effects on transportation and the environment constitute a large chunk of the board's business.
"We must be concerned about our land use and the direction this county is going to grow," said Smyth, who has worked as a substitute teacher. "It has a bearing on everything from our real estate assessments to the air we breathe."
If elected, Smyth said she would "look at how the county spends money." One area ripe for trims is the merit-pay system of raises for county employees, which may be too generous, she said. Another is the fund to which developers donate to pay for new school construction, called proffers. A new system encourages cash donations, but Smyth said the county may be better off with non-cash contributions.
Providence encompasses central Fairfax, including Merrifield, Tysons Corner, Oakton and parts of Vienna.
Dranesville, in western Fairfax, also will be an open seat on Nov. 4 with Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn's (R) departure from the board.