Budget woes define election in Virginia’s largest jurisdiction

October 31, 2015, WashingtonPost.com, By Tony Olivo

Those concerns are resonating more strongly in some other races, including a tight contest in the wealthy Dranesville District, where Supervisor John W. Foust (D) hopes to win a third term over Republican Jennifer Chronis.

Chronis, an executive with the IBM computer company, has received substantial support from Republican leaders eager to win the seat.

Since January, she has outraised Foust $324,000 to $293,000. Among her backers is U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Fairfax), who defeated Foust last year in their race for the 10th Congressional District seat.

Chronis calls the county’s bureaucracy too cumbersome and says that not enough is being done to cut waste in schools and in other government agencies. She says homeowners are paying too much in property taxes. Since 2008, rates have gone from 89 cents per $100 of assessed value to $1.09. “The county is on an unsustainable financial and economic path,” Chronis said. “It requires stronger leadership on the Board of Supervisors to address those challenges.”

She and Foust say Fairfax must diversify its economy away from federal contractors in the wake of sequestration and other cuts.

“We have to recognize that the gravy train of the federal government is ended,” Foust said. He cited plans by the Inova hospital group for a cancer-research complex in Merrifield as an example of how the county can become a hub for the health-care industry.

The Dranesville race recently took an ugly turn over a McLean gun shop that opened in September near an elementary school.

Foust’s campaign accused Chronis of ignoring parents’ concerns about the location and mailed a flier to voters depicting a bullet-pocked traffic sign of a child running.

Chronis called the mailer “reprehensible” and said it misrepresents her desire to broker a peaceful solution to the controversy. “The only thing we can do as leaders is calmly address the fears and concerns of the parents and balance that with the rights of the business,” she said.

Foust, who joined protesters at the store when it opened, noted that Chronis remained silent when the gun store posted on its Facebook page that residents should vote for her if they wanted to support the Second Amendment.

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