What’s on your ballot? Senate, House, constitutional amendments and a $182M bond

Fairfax County voting graphic

(Fairfax County image)

Alexandria voters in both the City of Alexandria and in the Fairfax County area will be choosing their representatives to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Nov. 6.

In addition, voters across the Commonwealth will be considering two constitutional amendments, and voters in Fairfax County will be voting on a $182 million public safety bond.

City of Alexandria voters will also be voting on school board candidates (see our guide here) and City Council candidates.

Where to Vote

To find your polling location, go to www.elections.virginia.gov/citizen-portal/index.html.

The election is Nov. 6. If you are unable to vote on Nov. 6, you may be able to vote absentee — learn how to vote absentee here: www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/index.html.

Here’s what you should know before you head to the polls:

U.S. House of Representatives: Oh, Beyer

In the 8th Congressional District, which includes the City of Alexandria and the Alexandria section of Fairfax County (zoom in on the map below), voters will choose between Republican candidate Thomas S. Oh and current Rep. Donald S. Beyer, Jr., a Democrat.

According to his campaign website, Oh is a native of Northern Virginia, a military veteran and now serves in the U.S. Army Reserve while working in project management. He is an MBA student at George Mason University. Oh is running on a platform of smarter spending, fewer taxes, protecting the 2nd amendment, increasing parental leave and fair immigration policies. Oh’s campaign website is at www.letuschangecongress.org.

Current Rep. Don Beyer has been in office since 2015. Beyer (yes, he owns car dealerships in the region) was also Lt. Gov. of Virginia from 1990 to 1998. His campaign focuses on economic development, an increased minimum wage, improving schools, strengthening gun control laws, expanding family leave and more. Beyer is a longtime Northern Virginian. His campaign website is at friendsofdonbeyer.com.

U.S. Senate: Stewart, Kaine, Waters

There’s a three-way race for senator in Virginia between Republican candidate Corey Stewart, current U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (Democrat) and Libertarian candidate Matt J. Waters.

Republican Corey Stewart is currently the at-large chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. Stewart is known for locally cracking down on illegal immigration, lowering taxes and hiring teachers, firefighters and police officers in Prince William. He is an international trade attorney. Stewart says on his website that “I am running for U.S. Senate to retire Tim Kaine and support President Trump’s America First Agenda.” More information about him is on his campaign website at coreystewart.com.

Current U.S. Sen Tim Kaine is running for re-election. He has been serving as a senator from Virginia since 2013. He was Virginia’s Lt. Gov. from 2002 to 2006 and Governor from 2006 to 2010. Kaine’s campaign website notes that he “knows that to have a strong Virginia, we need access to good jobs for all, education for all, health care for all, and true equality for all.” Learn more about him at timkaine.com.

Libertarian candidate Matt J. Waters is a lifelong Virginian who is running as a Libertarian for the U.S. Senate. On his campaign website, Waters writes: “I am running for office because I am concerned about our out of control spending. A $21 trillion dollar debt. An annual $1.5 trillion dollar deficit. A military industrial complex involved around the globe, a weaponized IRS and agencies such as the NSA and FBI that spy on American citizens. An unaccountable Federal Reserve whose policies devalue every dollar we earn. And of course there are the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Energy, and Education that can be privatized and put into the marketplace to compete with non-profits and for-profits.” Learn more about him at mattwaters.com.

Constitutional Question 1: Flooding and Tax Relief

Should a county, city, or town be authorized to provide a partial tax exemption for real property that is subject to recurrent flooding, if flooding resiliency improvements have been made on the property?

According to the Virginia Dept. of Elections, Virginia’s constitution calls for all property to be taxed, but some types of property can be exempted. “For example, the Constitution of Virginia allows the General Assembly to permit localities to provide a partial exemption from real estate taxes as an incentive for property owners to make substantial improvements.” This amendment proposes allowing local governments to provide a partial tax exemption for property that is subject to repeated flooding if improvements have been made on the property to address the issue.

Constitutional Question 2: Residence Exemption for Surviving Spouses

Shall the real property tax exemption for a primary residence that is currently provided to the surviving spouses of veterans who had a one hundred percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability be amended to allow the surviving spouse to move to a different primary residence and still claim the exemption?

Virginia’s constitution requires that the primary residence of any veteran who has a 100 percent service-connected disability to be exempted from taxes. The tax exemption is also provided to the surviving spouse of such a veteran. The proposed amendment would allow the surviving spouse to move to another primary residence and keep the tax exemption.

More information on both of these issues is available at www.elections.virginia.gov/election-law/proposed-constitutional-amendment-2018/index.html.

Fairfax County Public Safety Bond

Shall Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money, and issue bonds in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $182,000,000 to provide funds, in addition to funds from public safety facilities bonds previously authorized, to finance, including reimbursement to the County for temporary financing for, the costs of public safety facilities, including the construction, reconstruction, enlargement, renovation and equipment of civil and criminal justice facilities, police training and operational facilities and stations, fire and rescue training facilities and stations, including fire and rescue stations owned by volunteer organizations, and the acquisition of necessary land?

Fairfax County government officials are asking the public to allow them to borrow money to construct, renovate, enlarge and equip new facilities for police, criminal justice, and fire and rescue, including buying land if necessary. Alexandria area residents could see the renovation of replacement of the Mount Vernon fire station from this bond (as well as fire stations at Fairview, Seven Corners, Gunston, and one volunteer-operated station). Funds would also support improvements to the Police Evidence Storage Annex and the Mason District station, among other projects.

Learn more about the bond issue here.

This article originally ran in Alexandria Living Magazine, a regional magazine covering the businesses, events and issues affecting the dynamic and growing Alexandria area.