Everything on the Ballot in the Upcoming VA Election: Your Voting Guide


Image via Patch

Virginia’s state election is incredibly tense and important, being deemed the most important election in the state’s history, and one of the most important races in the country (you can read my further analysis of the election here). This is what voters who live in the South Lakes High School area need to know about what is on the ballot.


Senator Candidates

Image via Virginia Interfaith Center

Janet Howell (Democrat) – 32 District

Janet Howell is the incumbent Senator. She has focused on combatting the Virginia debt crisis, domestic assault, sex trafficking and has recently been placing emphasis on monitoring cigarette trafficking. She has been endorsed by the Virginia Education Association, Virginia Sierra Club, AFL-CIO and EMILY’s List. She has been awarded the following accolades: “National Child Advocate of the Year”  by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Senator of the Year” by the Virginia Sheriffs Association, “Distinguished Leadership Awardee” by the Coalition for Mentally Disabled Citizens, “Legislative Champion” by the League of Conservation Voters, “Legislator of the Year” by the Alzheimer’s Association and the first “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Northern Virginia Technology Council. She has been a leader in the Northern Virginia community for over 35 years. 


Image via Inside NOVA

Arthur Purves (Republican) – 32 District 

Aruthur Purves is running on the platform of removing the principles of John Dewey. Dewey was an educational psychologist and reformer who worked to implement more open and liberal values into the classroom during the early twentieth century. Purves wants to put the Bible in school and implement the 10 Commandments into the classroom. He believes that history should be taught in school, not social studies, as he does not want a “whole world” approach to learning. Purves once wrote, “Public schools are graduating ‘socialists’, or as the Fairfax School Board puts it, ‘global citizens,” and that progressive schools gave students dyslexia. He stands against gun control, the right to choose and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which is a bill to protect equal rights. He has run for office eight times and lost each election.


Image via Reston Patch

Jennifer Boysko (Democrat) – 33 District

Delegate Jennifer Boysko, the incumbent Senator, running on the platform of standing up strongly for the many issues that are important to the state of Virginia and the people who live there. Boysko has worked on legislation such as improving health education in school, stopping the “school to prison pipeline” and getting menstrual products in school bathrooms. She believes in improving emergency health, improving mental health care at a state level, mandating healthcare coverage for those with autism spectrum disorders and expanding medicaid. She supports improving environmental protections, Roe V. Wade and the ERA. She has supported numerous bills on gun control and fair voting. She supports protections for immigrants, improvements to Northern Virginian transportation, fair payment legislation. She is is a Herndon local and the daughter of an Episcopal priest and nurse. She stated,“My colleagues in the House of Delegates know and respect my positions, even when we differ.”


Image via Loudon Now

Suzanne Fox (Republican) – 33 District

Suzanne Fox is a candidate with Republican values who describes her platform by saying, “I’m a proud Republican, but I will act on principle, not party.” Fox wants to limit healthcare overhead, reform education, improve transparency, improve Northern Virginian transportation, alter Virginia’s tax distribution and block abortion bills. Fox said that the latest abortion bills in Virginia were what called her to action, saying that she’s “a heartbeat to heartbeat person.” She graduated from the Mormon university Brigham Young University in 1995, and has lived in Leesburg for 16 years, serving on their town council since 2014. She describes a desire to live by the “Virginia Way,” and to bring those values to Richmond (you can read about one delegate’s visit to South Lakes and his views on the “Virginia Way” here). 


Delegate Candidates 

The districts local to South Lakes High School have delegates. They are all running unopposed.


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Almanac of Virginia Politics

Mark L. Keam (Democrat) – 35 District

Delegate Mark Keam is the the incumbent delegate. He has worked on agriculture, conservation of the Chesapeake and the environment, improving commerce and labor, local education and improving finances.  He is most known for his co-sponsorship of a bill that required female inmates be given feminine hygiene products at no cost. He is “the first Asian-born immigrant and the first Korean American elected to any state-level office in Virginia,” and he lives in Vienna where his children attend Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). Delegate Keam retains a record as a bipartisan official.


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Ken Plum (Democrat) – 36 District

Delegate Ken Plum is a retired teacher and FCPS administrator, who is the longstanding incumbent delegate. He is focused on connecting with his constituents and representing their values in Richmond. He has supported legislation on animal safety, the environment, housing, technology and numerous other topics. He serves on the following committees: “Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee; Rules Committee; Science and Technology Committee; Transportation Committee; Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee (JLARC); Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS).” He has shown bipartisanship and has received numerous awards and recognitions from organizations around Virginia and the nation. Delegate Plum lives in Reston.


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David Bulova (Democrat) – 37 District

David Bulova is the incumbent delegate and a Virginia local. He is focused on transportation, lowering class sizes, improving the affordability of housing, improving manufacturing, improving energy, protecting the environment and Chesapeake, improving Virginia’s addiction and mental health care, improving Veteran care, passing the ERA, protecting Virginians from human trafficking and identity theft. Delegate Bulova lives with his family in Middleridge.



Commonwealth Attorney


Image via @SteveDescano on Twitter

Steve Descano (Democrat)  

Seteve Descano is focused on, according to his campaign, “…Three core values: Community, Equality, and Justice.” He has a detailed, extensive reform plan, which you can read here. He served as a federal prosecutor in the Obama administration and worked in legal advocacy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders who rely on medicaid. Descano is a graduate of West Point and was a helicopter pilot in the Army. Descano now lives in Fairfax County with his wife and daughter.


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Image via Fairfax County Republican Committee

Jonathan Fahey (Republican)

Jonathan Fahey is focused  “fighting for crime victims.” He prioritizes prosecuting gang members and combating the opioid crisis. He does not support reforms. He most recently served in the Trump administration as a federal prosecutor. Fahey lives in Fairfax County with his wife, daughter, and two sons.


School Board, At-Large


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Image via @Keys_Gamarra on Twitter

Karen Keys-Gamarra

Karen Keys-Gamarra is an incumbent school board member of two years running on the platforms of improving equal educational access in schools, responses to sexual misconduct and education on “opioids and other addictive substances.” Her campaign states that she is “focused on continuing efforts to improve our discipline process, eliminate disparities, improve restorative efforts and keep kids in school.” Keys-Gamarra has an extensive list of endorsements that you can read here.


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Image via The A-Blast

Ilryong Moon

Ilryong Moon has held his position as a board member since 2003. He has received endorsements from the Fairfax County Democratic Party, Fairfax County Federation of Teachers and The Washington Post. Moon has remained a strong advocate for FCPS families and teachers.



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Image via Cheryl Buford

Cheryl Buford

Cheryl Buford is running as an Independent, but has previously run (and lost) elections as a Republican. She is a former teacher, and was part of the George W. Bush administration in the Education Department. Buford believes that “we need to expand our career technical education offerings as well as our partnerships with business, civic, and faith-based organizations.”


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Image via @PriscillaforFfx on Twitter

Priscilla DeStefano 

Priscilla DeStefano is focused on transparency, improving the accessibility of school curriculum and limitation of the politicization of FCPS . Through her campaign she states, “The time for wasting valuable resources on partisan politics, personal agendas and secondary priorities is over.” She has not held public office before. She has stated that the word “equity” is  “a big buzzword this election season and I would argue it’s the opposite.” DeStefano is endorsed by the VA Grand Old Party (GOP). 



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Rachna Sizemore Heizer

Rachna Sizemore Heizer is running as an Independent, but is openly a Democrat. She has served on numerous local boards and is centrally focused on making FCPS’s approach more accessible to different types of learners. Through her campaign she states, “My vision for our schools: A strengths-focused education that teaches to our students’ strengths without letting their challenges limit their potential. Instead of focusing on what our students can’t do, we need to start focusing on what they can do.”


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Image via Abrar Omeish

Abrar Omeish

Abrar Omeish is a highly-endorsed candidate focusing on inclusivity and equitable learning environments. She is “the only candidate running in the entire county with a staff policy team.” Omeish has defined plans for issues such as finance and energy, and has served in numerous different boards and political programs.



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Image via Vinson Palathingal

Vinson Palathingal

Vinson Palathingal is a strongly self-described Conservative and anti-socialist candidate. He is running on “parental rights,” “academic rigor” and “fiscal prudence.” He is endorsed by the Virginia GOP. Palathingal has called for “traditional family values,” privatization of FCPS schools, focus on STEM and reversal of health education and trans protections in school.


School Board, Hunter Mill


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Image via @MelanieForEdu on Twitter

Melanie Meren (Democrat)

Melanie Meren is an “education policy professional, parent, and community advocate who believes that strong schools make a strong community.” She is a Democrat and has three key points to her campaign: “Educate all children for their own personal success that cultivates their paths beyond school and into adulthood. Fortify our teaching force through appropriate compensation, vital instructional resources and support, and reasonable expectations on teachers’ time. Offer safe, human-centered spaces and facilities that inspire learning and create connections among school, community, and the natural environment.”


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Image via Fairfax County Times

Laura Ramirez Drain (Republican)

Laura Ramirez Drain is a Republican candidate who states, “I’m running to be a voice for people with children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces and families of the Hunter Mill District and all of Fairfax County. I believe in the importance of a high-quality public education for all students.” She has expressed concern with and been upset by the way “the new curriculum also says gender identity ‘includes transgender’ and sexual orientation ‘includes heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual,” which could impact bathroom bills, trans student protections and family life education.


Hunter Mill Supervisor


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Image via Washington Exec

Walter Alcorn 

Walter Alcorn, who is running unopposed, has been the incumbent since 2011. He is focused on ensuring the quality of FCPS and equality in the community.




Image via The Tysons Reporter
Election Questions

Shall Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money, and issue capital improvement bonds in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $360,000,000 for the purposes of providing funds, in addition to funds from school bonds previously authorized, to finance, including reimbursement to the County for temporary financing for, the costs of school improvements, including acquiring, building, expanding and renovating properties, including new sites, new buildings or additions, renovations and improvements to existing buildings, and furnishing and equipment, for the Fairfax County public school system?


What This Means

YES OR NO: Should Fairfax County assume an additional debt of $360,000,00 in bonds in support of FCPS, to temporarily help with the costs of renovations and construction of schools, and to pay parts of the County back for some of debt FCPS has accumulated?