The cherry blossoms are blooming, the daffodils are popping, and as March prepares to go out like a lamb, primary season is roaring into Hunter Mill District like a lion. We are currently in the midst of the filing season for candidates in many state and local races, and in the face of all the high-profile retirements, whether you prefer to Pick Your Pony or press the flesh at the 2023 Lasagna Dinner, it is looking like an exciting year to be a Hunter Mill Democrat!
Primaries are funny things because, like any other election, you have to be all in for your candidate and give everything you can as a volunteer and a supporter. But unlike in a general election, when the dust settles and a candidate is either nominated or endorsed, we will only succeed if we rally to elect the nominee/endorsee—regardless of whether it’s the one we would have chosen. In the end, we all want to keep Fairfax County a special shade of deep sapphire, and the only way we can do that is for candidates and their supporters to be enthusiastic and respectful. The press loves a “Dems in disarray” story, and Republicans will go to great lengths to turn us against each other.
Also, primaries are a great opportunity to engage our neighbors and friends in the civic process. Invite your friends to get engaged with the candidates and our local committee during this time. As the saying goes “democracy is not a spectator sport”.
We are fortunate in Hunter Mill to expect such a great selection of candidates, and to have such a deeply engaged and committed group of activists who back them. Let’s look forward to some real democracy in action, and select the best candidates we can for November.
Another major political retirement is coming to Hunter Mill District as Sen. Janet Howell recently announced she would not seek reelection in 2023. It’s fitting that we should have the opportunity to honor her historic career during Women’s History Month.
Sen. Janet Howell has been an elected representative in Reston and Fairfax County since 1992 and is the longest-serving female legislator in Virginia. Howell is a champion of education, mental health services, and a staunch women’s rights advocate. As the Chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee, she guided crucial funding to our school districts and universities in the Commonwealth.
Howell stated she believes she has accomplished “most of [her] legislative goals” over her 32 years of service and now hopes to spend more time with her husband, including for travel. Howell leaves a long legacy of mentees in the General Assembly and even left a roadmap for future leaders with her book Leading the Way: Women in Power.
March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day. Senator Howell’s achievements are part of the substantive foundation of women impacting the Hunter Mill District community. Her leadership will be sorely missed, but we consider ourselves fortunate to have benefitted from that leadership for so long.
Join the Hunter Mill Democrats for a petition pizza party! Hosted at the North County Governmental Center Community Room from 6 PM to 8 PM.
Help our Hunter Mill District candidates collect signatures to get on the ballot in 2023. It’s a great informal way to meet candidates, learn about upcoming events, and catch up with your fellow Hunter Mill Democrats. Also, it’s a great time to invite prospective or new committee members too.
Qualified voters who are not members of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee will need to preregister between April 10 and May 5.
There will be a period of online voting from May 13 to May 20, with in-person voting on May 20 available at multiple locations. Those locations are not yet announced but will be announced no later than April 22.
The candidate filing deadline is April 6.
Primaries can be challenging for parties with passionate members like ours. We encourage everyone to fully support their preferred candidates, but that engagement should not involve using any official FCDC or Hunter Mill title. If democracy is going to prevail, party officials must remain neutral in their official capacities and keep their thumbs off the scales.
For our part here at the Hunter Mill Democrat, our publication standards remain neutral as well, which means that we will publish events and announcements that are submitted to us and are salient to the Hunter Mill District Democratic Committee. We encourage candidates to let us know about their events so we make Hunter Mill Democrats aware and give them the opportunity to engage.
Del. Ken Plum, who has been an elected representative in Reston and Fairfax County since 1977, and whose formidable career as a Democratic legislator is rivaled only by his remarkable capacity as an auctioneer at Hunter Mill Democrats’ Lasagna Dinners over the years, plans to announce his retirement and will not run for reelection in 2023.
Del. Plum has been a fixture of Democratic politics in Fairfax County for going on half a century. As a legislator, Del. Plum has had a strong Democratic voting record on virtually every Democratic priority and has consistently been a voice for Hunter Mill values. He has been a frequent attendee and participant at Hunter Mill Democrat meetings, keeping our members abreast of developments in Richmond and offering valuable perspectives on the issues we care about most. Those who attend meetings regularly have no doubt gotten to know Del. Plum and his signature warmth and affability. Before becoming a leader in Fairfax County, Del. Plum was a teacher and school administrator.
We are grateful to have had such a consistent, respected voice representing us and our values in Richmond for such a long time. We hope you will join the Hunter Mill Democrats and the Fairfax County Democrats in thanking Del. Plum for an incredible career of service to Hunter Mill District, Fairfax County, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
We expect multiple candidates will vie for the opportunity to replace Del. Plum in the House of Delegates. The primary will take place on June 20, 2023. The deadline for candidates to file for the primary is April 6.
Voting has concluded in the HD-35 Democratic Caucus, and voters have chosen Holly Seibold as the Democratic nominee to fill the vacancy following Mark Keam’s appointment to the Biden-Harris Administration. In announcing the results, Fairfax County Democratic Committee Chair Bryan Graham released the following statement:
“We are pleased to announce that Holly Seibold will be the Democratic nominee for the January 10, 2023 Special Election for the existing 35th House District.
“Holly works day-in and day-out to make our community a better place for everyone. While our absentee Governor and his lackeys in the legislature attack public education, the LGBTQ+ community, environmental protections, and even democracy itself, we need candidates like Holly to lead the fight to protect the progress we’ve made and forge a path to move Virginia forward when we retake the House of Delegates next year.
“Two excellent candidates sought the Democratic nomination for serving the remainder of the Honorable Mark Keam‘s term in the House of Delegates. Thousands of Democratic voters from the existing 35th House District participated in our nomination caucus earlier this week and today. Both campaigns should be commended for their ability to organize and mobilize voters in a compressed timeframe.
“Now that the caucus is over, Democrats are united behind our nominee and the next Delegate from House District 35, Holly Seibold.“
Holly is a mother, public school teacher, and non-profit leader. From the classroom to the boardroom, Holly has been a champion for women and children. Voters can learn more about Holly’s impressive background and committment to her community by visiting her website, HollySeibold.com. Voting information, including how to vote early and by mail, for the January 10th Special Election will be available at FairfaxVotes.org once details are confirmed.