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Posted October 2, 2015, 9:00 a.m.
Commonwealth of Virginia

Commonwealth of Virginia

The Virginia General Assembly is composed of two houses, the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate. Members of the House of Delegates serve two-year terms, and members of the Senate serve four-year terms, elected at a two-year offset from our gubernatorial elections. This year, both houses are standing for election.

British colonists established what is now called the General Assembly in 1619 at Jamestown, where it was called the House of Burgesses. It moved to Williamsburg in 1699, and then became the General Assembly in 1776 when the American colonies declared independence. It moved to Richmond when that city became the state capital in 1780.

The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest extant legislative body in the western hemisphere.

Virginia Senate, 13th District

The Virginia Senate is the upper house of the General Assembly. There are forty senators representing forty districts across the commonwealth. Today, the Republican Party holds a narrow twenty-one seat majority, and the Democratic Party holds the remaining nineteen seats.

The Senate’s thirteenth district includes much of northern and central Loudoun County, as well as an area of southeastern Loudoun and an area of northern Prince William County. Communities in the thirteenth district include Hamilton, Hillsboro, Gainesville, Lovettsville, Purcellville, Round Hill, South Riding, and Waterford. Read More…

Posted October 1, 2015, 9:00 a.m.
Loudoun County

Loudoun County

Article VII Section 5 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia establishes that each local government must be governed by an elective body. In Loudoun County, this body takes the form of a Board of Supervisors, which has responsibility for all local legislation, budgeting, and appointments. It operates under the authorities and limits set forth by the Virginia General Assembly.

The board is composed of nine members, all of whom serve concurrent four-year terms on the same election schedule as the Virginia Senate. The chairman is elected in a county-wide at-large race, and the remaining eight members are elected by voters from each of the eight named county districts. Currently, the Republican Party holds a unanimous eight-seat majority. One seat is currently vacant.


The Chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is the leader of the board and the highest local elected official.

The Incumbent: Scott York (I)

Incumbent Chairman Scott York (R) has served four terms as Chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, and is seeking reelection. In his current term he was elected as a Republican, but has sometimes served as an independent. This year he is running as an independent.

York has been an active member of the community, having served on the Loudoun County Planning Commission for many years and then serving one term as the Sterling District representative on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors before being elevated by the voters to the office of chairman. As chairman, he has presided over an incredible period of growth in Loudoun County, and the county has done a reasonably good job of keeping pace with that growth. Read More…

Posted September 30, 2015, 9:00 a.m.
Loudoun County

Loudoun County

Article VII Section 4 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia establishes a number of elective local offices that must be filled in every city and county. These offices are Treasurer, Sheriff, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and Commissioner of Revenue.

The people elected to these offices serve four-year terms, except for the Clerk of the Circuit Court who serves an eight-year term. Elections are typically held in the same year as Virginia Senate elections. This year in Loudoun County, all of these offices, including the Circuit Court Clerk, are up for election.


The Loudoun County Treasurer has responsibility for billing and collecting local taxes, including property taxes and car decal taxes, as well as for investing and disbursing county funds. Treasurers serve a four-year term.

The Incumbent: H. Roger Zurn Jr. (R)

Roger Zurn (R) has served five terms as the Loudoun County Treasurer and is seeking reelection. Before being elected treasurer, Zurn worked over twenty years in the banking industry and served two terms representing the Sterling District on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

Zurn has been well regarded as county treasurer, and has been recognized with numerous state, local, and national awards. The county’s books have received a clean audit each year since 1996, and the county has never lost money in its investments. Zurn’s office was the first in the Commonwealth of Virginia to offer an online tax payment option, and the first to offer e-billing. Read More…

Posted September 29, 2015, 9:00 a.m.

Loudoun County Bond Referendums

Loudoun County

Loudoun County

Article VII Section 10 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia requires local governments to obtain voter approval to issue bonds (i.e., contract debt). Government debt should be used sparingly, and only for large and necessary capital projects that cannot be funded through general funds and tax revenues.

Public Safety

Voters in Loudoun County, Virginia, will be asked in a referendum to authorize the county to issue up-to $2,940,000 in general obligation bonds for public safety purposes. Specifically, the county intends to acquire fire and rescue apparatus, although the referendum also allows the debt to be used for “other public safety projects throughout the county.”

Loudoun County is among the fastest growing counties in the United States, and our fire and rescue services must maintain a high level of effectiveness and keep pace with population changes. Our county is also one with unique challenges. We are bordered by a river, a major international airport, and a mountain range, and we are a mix of urban, suburban, rural areas.

In other words, our fire and rescue services need to be able to handle pretty much anything. They may be called upon to serve at water rescues, plane crashes, hiking injuries, chain-reaction freeway crashes, office building fires, farm injuries, and cats stuck up in trees.

The county has allocated over $71 million to Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services in the 2016 fiscal year. It is unclear why almost $3 million more should be raised through public debt instead of also being provided from the general fund. The schools, with a budget of over $1.2 billion, could probably spare $3 million without even noticing it. But at the same time it is critical that all planned public safety purchases move forward, so I reluctantly endorse a YES vote on the public safety bond referendum. Read More…

Posted September 27, 2015, 11:56 a.m.

Since 2004, I have made political endorsements each year here on Off on a Tangent . . . and this year will be no different. Following my standard policy, I will be making endorsements for every race and ballot issue that will be in contention my home precinct.

This year happens to have a fairly heavy ballot. Citizens of Loudoun County, Virginia, will be electing our representatives in the Virginia General Assembly (both Senate and House of Delegates), the entire Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (chairman and district members), the entire Loudoun County School Board (at-large and district members), the county treasurer, county sheriff, county commonwealth’s attorney, clerk of the county circuit court, county commissioner of revenue, and Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District Directors. On top of all of that, we have two Loudoun County bond referendums.

All-in-all, I will be reviewing thirty candidates for fourteen offices. I will be dividing my endorsements into four sets, and will begin posting them daily on Tuesday, September 29. First will be the two ballot issues and some largely-unimportant offices, followed by the five Loudoun County constitutional offices, then the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors races, and finally, on Friday, October 2, the two Virginia General Assembly races.

Stay tuned!

About Scott Bradford

Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.