I'll be posting video of some of the speeches tomorrow (Monday), but I wanted to take some time today to bring up some of the highlights. Overall, I think it's important to note that officials from all different levels of government spoke about how Sharon's leadership has done fantastic things for the Fairfax community. When you combine this with how many elected officials showed up to the event, it was also obvious that folks believe the race for chairman will be one that's important politically as Democrats are trying to regain some momentum after a tough year at the polls in 2010.
Terry McAulliffe picked up on this theme when he took to the stage. As is typical when Terry takes the stage, he really got the crowd pumped up. He started out by giving us a reminder that during tough economic times last year, voters went to the polls to vote against a lot of incumbents despite the good that they might have done over the years. The way to combat that is to have a good message. While calling Sharon "the best Chairman in history" (while 2 former Chairmen were in the room for what it's worth), Terry said the clear message is that Sharon's leadership allowed the county to preserve funding for education and transportation despite the poor economy.
Terry wasn't just spouting campaign talking points as he told the crowd that the stability Sharon's leadership provides is one of the main reasons he has the headquarters for his new businesses in Fairfax. He also claimed he wanted to ensure Fairfax continues to provide a high quality of life for its residents because he raised his five children here and he wants to see them stay in Fairfax.
When Rep. Gerry Connolly took the stage, he gave us some facts that prove Fairfax is a great place to live. Of the 100 largest jurisdictions in the country, Gerry pointed out that Fairfax has the highest graduation rate, the lowest crime rate, and is usually among the wealthiest counties. The purpose of highlighting this was to mention that you can't get these superlatives without having strong leadership, which Sharon has provided throughout her time on the Board of Supervisors.
While all the political accomplishments and leadership drew a lot of attention during the event, we also heard a lot about about the personal relationships that Sharon had developed during her time in office. Her son, Delegate David Bulova, for instance, talked about how he frequently hears stories from folks about why they personally support Sharon's candidacy. He then added that how everyone in the room probably had a story they could share about why Sharon should be reelected. Penny Gross also added to the conversation about personal relationships when she pointed out that one of the reasons the Board of Supervisors worked so well was that Sharon built a relationship with the other Supervisors that allowed each Supervisor to work on issues they are passionate while coming together to work on the big issues that the county needs addressed.
While Fairfax might have had to make some major cuts due to the poor economy in recent years, anyone who has done some organizing in other counties knows that the speakers at today's events were absolutely correct. The leadership provided by Sharon Bulova and others has helped to keep Fairfax strong during tough economic times. And that is why at least 100 people came together on a rainy afternoon to show they wanted Sharon Bulova elected to another term as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors$