As the pageantry and excitement of President Trump’s inauguration subside and the new administration settles down to the daunting task of resuscitating the American republic, it’s time for Republicans in Fairfax County to refocus their attention on strengthening local public policy.
That task is daunting because Democrats completely dominate the county’s two key policy-making bodies: the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (8 Democrats, 2 Republicans) and the Fairfax County School Board (9 Democrats, 3 Republicans). And this Democrat dominance will remain in place at least through January 2020 when new Boards will be sworn in after the 2019 local elections.
Moreover, the 2016 election results in Fairfax County show serious Republican weakness. Contrary to the Trump-inspired grassroots Republican wave that surged across most parts of the country, then-Republican candidate Trump received a meager 28% of the vote in Fairfax County. Incumbent Congresswoman Barbara Comstock received only 51% of the vote in the county, barely edging out her decidedly mediocre opponent.
So while all county residents will benefit from the taxation, economic, immigration, energy, healthcare, and regulation policies to be enacted over the next four years by the Trump Administration and a Republican Congress, Republicans will continue to face the wrong-headed local government and education policies and practices that have bedeviled the county in recent years. These will likely include:
- Cost-ineffective county government spending on nonessential goods and services, including disproportionate expenditures on low-demand transit and pedestrian/bike paths, stormwater run-off constructs that exceed EPA requirements, and provision of 143,000 free meals per school day to public school students.
- Salary increases and pension structures for local government and public school employees exceeding those in the private sector, with total school personnel compensation escalating at a faster rate than school population expansion would dictate.
- Increased residential property taxes to pay for the increased government spending and to compensate for high business building vacancy rates.
- Public school curriculums focused on graduating “global citizens” and incorporating extensive classes on family life (read sex) education at most grade levels.
- Public school policies that promote transgender rights in school bathrooms and locker rooms and on sports teams at the expense of the rights of “non-transgender” students and students holding religious views opposing such practices.
Faced with the continuing prospect of such damaging policies over the next three years, Republicans can either throw up their hands in despair over the fact that there are “too many Democrats” in the county and suffer silently and stoically. Or, they can FIGHT!
FIGHT means adopting an aggressive “small force” strategy aimed at defeating Democrat policies and initiatives through whatever legal means possible.
FIGHT means launching information campaigns to notify the public about below-the-radar Democrat campaigns to implement unwanted practices, as the Democrats on the School Board tried to do this past summer with the transgender implementation memorandum that was not staffed through the full Board.
FIGHT means mounting aggressive grassroots campaigns that defeat ill-considered initiatives, as the anti-meals tax coalition did in defeating the meals tax in the 2016 election, or pressure the electoral prospects of Democrat officials who support ill-conceived policies, as the Concerned Parents and Educators of Fairfax County have done in opposing sex education and transgender implementation in the public schools.
FIGHT means recruiting and organizing a district-precinct level Republican machine that systematically and reliably turns out a higher percentage of Republican voters than Democrat voters.
FIGHT means recruiting strong Republican candidates early in the process (NLT January 2018) to run for all 10 Supervisor positions and all 12 School Board member positions.
FIGHT means developing Republican positions and messages that will resonate with county Republicans and “independents.”
FIGHT means hustling on all fronts to defeat ill-conceived Democrat policies, practices, and taxation.
Sadly, some indicators since the November elections portend continued poor Republican Party performance in Fairfax County.
- The Fairfax County Republican Committee has announced no major shifts in policy, organizational, recruiting, and messaging directions. Maybe those are in the planning stages, but we’re 2 1/2 months into the new political campaign year and most local Republican activists are oblivious to any changes to the approach that delivered a 28% vote result for President Trump.
- Only about 15 people attended an advertised meeting at Chantilly High School on January 17 with the representative of the search firm responsible for selecting the new School Superintendent. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the desired characteristics of the new Superintendent—criteria that will drive the selection process. Half of the meeting elapsed before criteria about skills in dealing effectively with parents, views about sex education, and financial management qualifications even arose. The new Superintendent will be the single most important influence on school operations, and yet Republicans are not turning out in droves to shape the hiring criteria.
The holidays are over. Likewise the Trump inauguration. Now it’s time for county Republicans to regain control of its listing ship. Failure to do so will mean more ineffectual local government, higher property taxes, continued deterioration of our public schools, more drag on Republicans running for statewide elections, and Democrat domination of local government as far as the eye can see.