Meet Vienna’s next mayor- new election date May 19

Ed. Note: We asked the three candidates running for mayor in the Town of Vienna’s non-partisan town council race to submit answers to the same four questions. Here are their responses, in ballot order. Separately, we are publishing the statements of the candidates running for town council member positions. 

Update Apr. 24: The election is now scheduled for May 19, as Gov. Ralph Northam announced  that he would use emergency executive authority to move the election date two weeks from the original date of May 5, after legislators failed to approve his proposal to postpone elections until Nov. 3.



Q. Why are you running for mayor:

I have been on the Vienna Council since 2009 (six terms). In December when the current Mayor announced she was stepping down after three-plus terms and several years on the Council, I discussed my future on the Council with my family and close supporters. Just last spring I won re-election this past spring (2019) and won re-election by a larger margin than any of my previous runs! Given my passion for public service, I announced in early January my run for Vienna Mayor.

I have a history of demonstrating involvement, service, and leadership in a wide range of community organizations in Vienna and the surrounding community. I am running for Mayor because I believe I can deliver on what the residents of Vienna want now and can make a difference.

I have a record of accomplishment that provides confidence in future performance.  I bring extensive expertise to town government. I hold a master’s degree in Public Administration from NYU, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia and have over 30 years of public management experience.My strong record of building coalitions with Fairfax government officials and extensive community service add great value to my work on behalf of Vienna.

Strong fiscal oversight and decisive action will be critical in order for the town to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. As Mayor, I will be able to make the hard decisions needed and provide the necessary leadership. I will not make unrealistic promises. Once we get thru this emergency, we need to keep the Town heading in a good direction. I stand by my record of success, experience and reputation.

Q. What are the biggest issues facing the Town of Vienna, and what is your position on them?

The recent public health emergency has really put an emphasis on why we need a robust local economic/smart development direction. In both areas, I have the extensive Council experience, common sense, a reputation of being responsive to citizens’ concerns and record of getting things done.

Q. What sets you apart from the other candidates running for your position?

I have the most experience (11 years) on the Council, my record speaks for itself.  I have a long record of accomplishments that provides confidence in future performance including keeping the property tax rate stable, addressing needed infrastructure projects, street maintenance issues and overall public safety.

Q. Would you consider yourself a Democrat or Democrat-leaning?

I have been a lifelong Democrat and member of the Hunter Hill Democratic Committee for over 25 years. My philosophy is that everyone should be treated fairly no matter who they are. I am a firm believer in the value of public education. After spending two years as a Peace Corps volunteer and five years working on health issues in developing countries, I firmly believe in affordable health care and a woman’s right to choose, and the importance of public service. Given my years of service in local, national and internationally, public service is a part of who I am. I am a Democrat.


Q. Why are you running for mayor:

I’m running because I want to change the priorities of the Town to reflect what matters most to residents.See my platform below.

Q. What are the biggest issues facing the Town of Vienna, and what is your position on them?

Foremost: create a COVID-19 fund for masks, gloves, PPE, and testing equipment. Support small businesses through micro-loans. Defer all new spending until the pandemic is over and the economy – and tax revenue – stabilizes. I am following Chairman McKay’s lead on this approach.

During the pandemic, our first priority has to be basic services and public health. All other activities are secondary. After we recover, I will change the Town’s agenda to a new set of priorities:

  1. Slow down cut-through traffic, make residential streets safe for children. Add sidewalks, crosswalks, and speed bumps to limit the impact of cut-through
  2. Build parks and green spaces throughout Town. Create an 8-acre park on Beulah Road and maintain leaf pick-up and mulch delivery. Add parks throughout Town. Establish tree conservation policy.
  3. Protect residential neighborhoods from rezoning risks. Keep our distinctive residential zoning. Do not allow or incentivize larger houses. No more high-density, luxury housing projects. Support affordable housing that is actually affordable (not $900,000 townhouses), and protect existing affordable housing zones.
  4. Thoughtful planning for Maple Avenue. Plan ahead for traffic, don’t dump cars on residential neighborhoods. Plan ahead for schools, don’t add hundreds of students and put our kids in trailers. Attract new businesses, not 150-unit apartment buildings.

Q. What sets you apart from the other candidates running for your position?

Three key differences distinguish my candidacy:

  1. Hometown history: Vienna is my hometown. My family fled persecution in Iran to come to America. I grew up playing VYS and VYI as a kid at Louise Archer Elementary. I went to TJ, Duke University, and George Mason Law School, then came back home to raise my family in my hometown. Our family has four generations in Vienna because we love this Town.
  1. Policy professional and environmentalist: I have 15 years experience developing policy, and I lead Conservation International’s domestic affairs as Senior Director for US Policy and Government Affairs.
  1. Leading a post-partisan team: I’m working with a diverse team of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans on a post-partisan agenda. After COVID-19, the top priority is lessening the speed and volume of cut-through traffic. Politicians for 30 years have been promising to address cut-through traffic, but it only gets worse. Our team – with four votes – can finally deliver.

Q. Would you consider yourself a Democrat or Democrat-leaning?

I am an old school, Vienna independent. Vienna has always been independent and nonpartisan, because there’s no such thing as a Democratic sidewalk or a Republican speed hump. Vienna has enough problems right now, we don’t need to add partisanship to Town politics.

But we still have our values. I challenge my opponents to explain why they did not support my efforts to implement progressive values such as a tree conservation policy, protecting our affordable housing, and purchasing land for parks and green space throughout Town.

When I voted in the Democratic primary this year, I voted for the candidate with a record that matched my values. When you vote in Vienna, I urge you to do the same.


Q. Why are you running for mayor:

I grew up in Vienna with a father that was on Council and a mother that was Mayor of our Town . They taught me the importance of service.  Upon graduating from UVA and Va Tech, I taught math at James Madison High School and my husband and I moved back to Vienna to raise our daughters. I have volunteered with many organizations in Town with people of all ages and backgrounds.  I currently am a small business owner, tutoring math to many middle and high school students in Vienna.

I understand and cherish the history of our Town and I will fight to keep Vienna unique amidst the metropolitan area .  I am running for Mayor of Vienna because I love my hometown and the people who make it so special.  I want to improve communication between the government and the residents and I want to make Vienna work better for its residents

Q. What are the biggest issues facing the Town of Vienna, and what is your position on them?

Most of the concerns I hear about from residents are things that affect their quality of life on a daily basis.  These range from traffic, sidewalks, road quality and downtown shops and businesses.

Traffic will always be an issue in Vienna as Maple Avenue is a cut through route.  Keeping traffic flowing helps keep cars on the main street and out of neighborhoods. Real time traffic signaling is being implemented as a way to keep cars moving. As the Vienna representative to the Greater Tysons Community Coalition, I am continuously working with Fairfax County to ensure Vienna’s voice is heard to ensure Tysons development does not impact our town.

So many people in Vienna love to walk!    We were fortunate to receive a gift for new sidewalks from the late Councilwoman Maud Robinson.  Sidewalks need to continue to be a priority and we need to install them first on our busiest streets, and on streets leading to bus stops, schools, other places of interest and downtown.

We must have a vision for our main street.   We have an opportunity to make it walkable, sustainable, beautiful, vibrant and thrive economically.  I am looking forward to thoughtful community conversations to discuss a vision that is shared and trusted by all.

We must preserve and increase green space and trees to protect the health and welfare of our environment and community.

Q. What sets you apart from the other candidates running for your position?

Covid-19 is affecting our economy and is taking a toll on our well being.  I am a leader that can guide our town through this difficult time while continuing to improve our Town for its residents.   I have vast local and regional connections and experience.  I understand Vienna’s past and the opportunities we have for its future.  I listen to our residents and work well with residents, commissioners, town staff and regional partners.

Q. Would you consider yourself a Democrat or Democrat-leaning?

Vienna’s elections are nonpartisan. I am an independent candidate and if I am elected Mayor, I look forward to working with any new and existing Councilmembers to make our Town work better for its residents.

Note that all candidates are “independent” and there will be no party identification listed on the ballot. The staff of the Blue View and the Fairfax County Democratic Committee encourage you to request an absentee ballot for the town election and the November General Election.

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