As a current employee of the Federal Aviation Administration, Cliff Keirce faced a few hurdles when he contemplated a run for the Broad Run Supervisor seat. Federal employees are governed by the Hatch Act, which bars them from engaging in partisan political activities.
After some investigation, Keirce found that Hatch Act amendments allow federal employees to run as Independent candidates. Unimpressed with the other candidates running for the Broad Run seat – Democrat Andrea McGimsey and Republican Shawn Williams – Keirce decided to throw his hat in the ring.
“I would have run as an Independent even if I didn’t have to,” Keirce said. “I always believe in voting for the person, not the party. I think a lot of decisions are made for party interests, not citizens’ interests. My vote won’t be based on any party.”
Keirce believes that McGimsey has misused her power on the Loudoun Board of Supervisors. As a member of the Broadlands HOA, Keirce worked on the recent redistricting plans and was unhappy with the Board’s ultimate decision. In particular, if McGimsey were elected Broad Run supervisor, she would represent constituents from just half of one precinct from her current district.
“We gave our input, but we were disheartened to find that the current board had already made up their minds about what to do,” said Keirce. “The Broad Run district is completely gerrymandered. It motivated me to make sure the incumbent isn’t reelected. She created this district for her own interests.”
Keirce also believes Republican candidate Shawn Williams is the wrong man for the job.
“Shawn Williams has absolutely zero county background or experience,” said Keirce, who in addition to te planning commission has served on the Broadlands HOA, the Loudoun County Facility Standards Manual Public Review Committee and the Loudoun Library Foundation. “I admire that he wants to get involved, but the board is not where you start.”
If elected, Keirce said he would make economic development his top priority.
“Too much of our tax revenue is dependent on residential properties,” he said. “We need a more balanced ratio between business and residential taxes. We have a lot of upward pressure on residential taxes. In ten years, residential taxes have doubled.” [Editor’s note: Not adjusted for inflation, the average homeowner paid $2,347 in 2001 compared to $5,105 in 2011.]
Keirce sees Metro’s extension into Loudoun as a pivotal hook to bring new businesses to the area, and he fully supports the project.
“I’m 100 percent certain it will be completed,” he said. “It’s important not only to the region but to the federal government.”
In a recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Keirce learned that while Phase 2 does not have any federal funding currently, Sec. LaHood promised that the federal government would assist in some way with Phase 2 – likely through low-interest federal loans.
In addition to bringing in new businesses, Keirce believes supervisors should reevaluate current spending.
“I think its incumbent upon the Board to do a more thorough review of the school’s budget to see where cuts can be made,” he said. “The board needs to give the school board suggestions where they can cut costs.”
School costs are a common topic among supervisor candidates; the county board control how much money schools get, while the school board decides how to spend the money allocated.
Keirce also supports building larger schools to accommodate the rapidly growing population in Ashburn and cut long-term costs.
“High schools should increase from 1600- to 2400-student capacity,” he argued. “Size is not strictly an indicator of how successful a school will be. Some of the most successful high schools in the country have larger enrollments. I don’t think a high school that’s a little larger will negatively impact education quality.”
Keirce understands that traffic is a major headache for many area residents as well, and advocates using proffer-flexing to complete many unfinished roads.
“The County has concerns about reaching too far from where a proffer is intended to be used. They are reticent to move proffered monies around,” he said. “But if the county has money proffered for transportation amendments, the county should be able to use it in areas where it needs it most.”
Keirce believes that using proffered money in areas nearby the originally proffered sites will allow the county to finish roads like Claiborne Parkway – .
Keirce and his wife have lived in Ashburn for 14 years. He said they fell in love with the area and stayed here to raise their three kids.
He hopes that his government background, experience serving the county, and long-time resident status help him win the board seat in November.
[Corrections: The initial version of this story indicated Keirce worked on redistricting as a member of the Loudoun Planning Commission; he worked on it as a member of the Broadlands HOA.]