Candidates for the House of Delegates representing the Braddock District and candidates for Fairfax County Sheriff debated voting rights, civil service agreements, background checks, and other topics at a candidates’ forum Monday night at Kings Park Library in Burke.
Each of the candidates answered questions from a room of about 50 people. Many of the questions during the 90-minute forum, which was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, were directed to the four candidates for sheriff: Stacey Ann Kincaid (D), Bryan A. "B.A." Wolfe (R), and independents Christopher DeCarlo and Robert A. Rivera.
Some of the sheriff candidates spoke candidly about their views regarding alleged corruption with the department and whether they supported civil service protection for current employees.
“Bad people infect the department. Good people don’t want to work for those kinds of people... there’s misconduct and then there’s criminal conduct and that’s what I’m talking about,” said Wolfe about the alleged corruption.
Watch each of the candidates for sheriff explain their view on civil service agreements in the videos above.
While each candidates ultimately said they would support increasing diversity in the Sheriff’s office, their answers differed slightly. Wolfe said he’d support an outside assessment to help increase diversity in the office while Rivera, who identifies as Hispanic, said he’d make sure “oxygen thieves,” or people who remained in the office “past their expiration date” were removed so that the office could move forward.
Watch each of the candidates for sheriff discuss diversity in the videos above.
DeCarlo, who is running for sheriff and as an independent candidate for the 41st District, said his 30-year experience as a small business owner has taught him to “evaluate who you can trust.”
House of Delegates Candidates Get Passionate About Voting
About halfway through the forum, the candidates running for a seat in the House of Delegates became visibly passionate when answering questions about their views on voting rights.
“Voting is a constitutional right. Many of the other things we need ID for are not a constitutional right,” said Kaye Kory (D), who currently represents the 38th District, which includes Annandale. “There are a number of people in our state that don’t have birth certificates because of discrimination at the time they were born, and don’t drive or can’t drive, so they don’t have a license. It’s absolutely unfair to put that burden on people to prevent them from voting. We should be making it easier to vote.”
Kory’s opponent, independent challenger James L. "Jim" Leslie, said proper identification should be required. “It behooves anyone if you can learn to speak the English language… there’s always a way to get a photo ID. Everyone should have the minimum ability to be able to get a photo ID,” said Leslie.
Vivian Watts (D), who represents the 39th District and is currently running unopposed, echoed Kory’s comments, arguing that requiring ID was a “discriminatory practice.”
“That concept of protecting the minority is something that’s very much a part of this discussion on voting. It’s not whether most people can; it’s whether or not we’re disenfranchising individuals,” said Watts.
House of Delegates Candidates Talk Second Amendment, Background Checks
When asked if they support gun rights, many of the candidates for the House of Delegates spoke in favor of background checks.
“It’s a lot easier to get a gun in Virginia than it is to vote. That’s backwards,” said Kory, who added that she supports background checks and doesn’t think they’re a threat to the second amendment. Leslie said he’s against background checks, but supports the second amendment.
“I’m concerned about how someone’s behavior is seen as normal or their mental health is deemed okay compared to someone else... These are not easy answers to weigh: the public safety issues, the personal issues, due process issues all matter, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to have a complete and full dialogue,” said Watts.
The Annandale chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) will host a forum for the 38th, 39th, and 53rd District candidates Wednesday morning.