Sun Gazette: Foust, Chronis spar on school budget, economy

Posted on October 20, 2015, InsideNOVA.com, By Brian Trompeter

Coming down to the wire before the Nov. 3 election, Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) and Republican challenger Jennifer Chronis on Oct. 18 differentiated their views on taxes, transportation, economic development and leadership style.

Foust, a lawyer and former McLean Citizens Association (MCA) president who first was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2007, cited a laundry list of community accomplishments during his tenure, ranging from new athletic fields to road improvements.

“I didn’t come out of nowhere to run for supervisor,” said Foust, who lives in McLean. “I listen, I lead, I deliver.”

Chronis, a Great Falls resident and U.S. Army veteran who until recently was an executive with IBM, touted leadership lessons she learned in the military.

“I am an experienced leader who will act and get things done,” she said. “I don’t believe my opponent is that leader.”

The candidates debated the issues at an MCA forum at the McLean Community Center.

If elected, Chronis promised to expand Fairfax County’s economy by streamlining regulatory processes, working with the county’s Economic Development Authority to bring in new businesses and enhancing workforce training so students learn the necessary skills to compete.

Chronis concentrated her attack on the county’s struggling economy and Foust’s role in raising property taxes 17 percent in the last three years and approving raises for county supervisors.

Foust countered that supervisors while he has been on the board had reduced drastically the rate of property-tax hikes from a decade ago. At an earlier debate in Great Falls, he noted that the supervisors’ pay hike would take effect for the next board and that supervisors had not authorized a compensation increase in eight years.

Regarding the recent store relocation of NOVA Firearms next to Franklin Sherman Elementary School, Foust emphasized county supervisors have scant control regarding firearms and that the store legally was allowed to occupy that site.

“They’re there by-right, but it’s not right,” said Foust, adding he would seek opportunities to get the gun store to move.

Chronis said the issue was highly emotional and complex. Franklin Sherman parents understandably are concerned about their children’s safety, but the store owners are complying with all regulations, she said.

Chronis supported MCA’s plan to form a subcommittee to examine the issue, but said Foust should have de-escalated the situation instead of insulting law-abiding business owners and inflaming passions for political gain.

Foust and Chronis agreed that widening Route 7 between Tysons Corner and Reston is crucial, but Chronis said the improvements are not funded yet and will occur way too far in the future. Foust said the project would not be nearly as far along if he had not pressed the issue.

Both candidates opposed adding toll lanes on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway, although Chronis said Foust had cast a vote with the Northern Virginia Technology Council regarding how to spend those revenues.

Foust said the vote was necessary procedurally because that agency manage those funds if the toll lanes were approved.

“Pay attention to the facts, not necessarily what you’re hearing,” he told the audience. “

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