While he’s not saying “I told you so,” Eugene Delgaudio says the scope of miscues by Metro authorities is “gigantic” and bears out his warning of a Silver Line boondoggle prior to the last election. At the same time, he thanks his Democratic opponent for recognizing Delgaudio’s accomplishments in bringing improvements to Sterling.
The incumbent Loudoun County supervisor will face Democrat Koran Saines in November for the Sterling District seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. Delgaudio recently answered some questions for FirewallNOVA, about his opponent, the Sterling District, Metro and various other issues, including his uncanny ability to get reelected in a Democratic district.
Delgaudio, a Republican, has won the Sterling seat in every election since 1999, making him one of the longest-serving supervisors in county history.
Anecdotally, from spending time with the group over the past few months, I can tell you that Delgaudio enjoys a strong position with area Republicans – even more than in the run-ups to past elections. During the current term in office, he survived a grand jury investigation where the key witness was a disgruntled former employee and turned back a “recall” attempt led by defeated former opponents. So he has something akin to an aura of invincibility that, from my perspective, has increased his stature among not only Sterling supporters but within the Loudoun County Republican Committee as a whole. Everyone respects a survivor.
Following is our interview with Delgaudio. FirewallNOVA looks forward to presenting similar question and answer sessions with other candidates throughout the 2015 election season.
FWN: We now know that Koran Saines has edged out Tony Barney as the Democratic nominee to challenge you in November. What was your reaction on learning of the Sterling primary results?
Congratulations to Koran Saines for winning the Democratic nomination. I win election with the support of Republicans, Independents and Democrats, and know people in Sterling will give him a fair hearing.
FWN: In what ways does having Mr. Saines as the opponent change your approach to the campaign, versus what it might have been if it was Mr. Barney or Al Nevarez?
The Democratic Party promotes more spending, higher taxes, and excessive regulation that discourages companies of every size, large or small. All of the Democratic candidates signed on to the idea that bigger government is better, more spending is better, more regulations are ideal – the mantra of the liberal philosophy that dominates Loudoun politics in the Democratic Party today.
FWN: What are some of the key issues and decisions facing the Board of Supervisors in the next several years?
1. Keeping crime and criminals at bay is number one.
2. Utilizing citizen outreach and non-law enforcement methods to preserve Sterling’s quality of life through zoning enforcement of standards for outlawing and prohibiting flop houses, overgrown grass, abandoned cars and large commercial trucks and vans in the residential areas.
3. Opposing unnecessary spending on boondoggles like the $40 million public horse park, the $21 million public firing range, the $15 million pet resort-style animal shelter, is critical to keeping spending down.
FWN: We have just been informed that, because of various problems, the Silver Line Metro to Loudoun is delayed until possibly 2020. It already has more than $200 million in cost overruns. Four years ago you labelled it a “boondoggle” and recent developments seem to be proving your point. What is your opinion of the project now, what can you tell us about its ballooning price tag, and what can we expect in the future?
The scope of the mistake is gigantic. Fewer than an additional 50 people in Sterling are prepared to use Metro, yet our share of this debt and annual payment equals the cost of a new car for each of these 50 people. The idea of giving 50 people a brand new Escalade or Cadillac – each year – is not my idea of government frugality.
I encourage citizens today, in flyers and newsletters distributed to every door, to ride the Fairfax Connector from the Sterling stop at Dranesville Road and Route 7 in the Giant/Town Center Plaza. Yet it is the lowest utilized bus-to-Metro service in the region.
Every week another new cost is added. Just a few days ago, a representative of the Metro system walked into the board room and announced that a new fare card system was immediately needed and that Loudoun must agree to an additional share of the cost which would represent 4 to 5 million dollars to install the system. In five minutes – about one million dollars a minute – this new cost was added to the budget.
Debt service, construction costs, adding hundreds of new cars recently, capital improvements, and discovering after the fact that canopies are needed for rain to protect escalators and stairwells from rusting: This represents billions of dollars in additional costs on top of the expenses projected. I promise to fight to keep the developers who profit from this boondoggle on the hook to pay for this through the tax district, and even Dulles Airport must contribute to these ballooning costs following the recent announcement they intend to develop their land next to the Loudoun train stations.
FWN: The US Census showed that Sterling was about 75 percent minority population in 2010. This district votes Democratic in almost all races except yours. In recent elections, for instance, your vote percentages have far surpassed those of prominent Republican candidates such as John McCain, George Allen, Mitt Romney, Ken Cuccinelli, Mark Obenshain, Ed Gillespie, David Ramadan. Why do Sterling’s Democratic voters continue to support you?
Sterling has trended strongly Democratic in major elections since 2008 – more than seven years ago. I stand for the values of the average voter here. I am a father to six wonderful children – many neighbors know all my children – and husband to Sheila for 33 years.
My successful administration of a non-profit group that makes national headlines defending traditional marriage, defending the Boy Scouts of America, or standing for religious liberty for all who have a strong faith, is seen as an asset in the sense that my values are the same values as those of most Sterling residents, who support the scouts, support traditional marriage, or enjoy their place of worship.
I give out my home phone number, 703-421-4599, and respond personally to requests, and ask my staff to act the same way, providing the citizens with help late at night or on the weekend. Hard work and personal accessibility, around the clock, seven days a week, on the Internet, by cell phone, on Facebook, Twitter or by email, along with constant outreach through newsletters, mail, house visits, and community meetings.
Fighting for what is fair for Sterling without compromise, and getting my head handed to me over and over again. This is and has always been a racially diverse district with a richly rewarding freshness, and my constant upfront and bold devotion is met by a wonderful enthusiasm by a majority of Sterling residents who want a brighter future today and are willing to go shoulder to shoulder with me in this march to prosperity for Sterling and Loudoun.
Citizens who have questions know that I will explain my votes and if I do not know an answer to a question will go and find out. And I am willing to admit when I am wrong or if I miss something.
For these reasons, and others, a majority of voters in the old and new parts of Sterling have voted for me four times and have indicated they are satisfied with my level of leadership for a fifth term.
Mr. Saines lists among his priorities to bring more county money to Sterling, to improve transportation in Sterling and to upgrade the Sterling Community Center/Library. Would these be different from your priorities and if so, how?
Sterling is undergoing a massive transformation with a new sheriff’s station fully operational and making crime the lowest in many years. There is a bond approved for a complete renovation of the Sterling Community Center, the expansion of the Library from 5,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet, into a nearby shopping center, and the building of new expanded Fire and Rescue station with the closing of a land purchase just announced by the Board. There is $4 million in paving going on, and the super street sweeper is about to arrive. There is over $50 million in overdue county spending going on this year – and this is a partial list.
Every single improvement necessary for the revitalization of Sterling has been completely budgeted and brought to bear this year and it took years of cooperation from many Boards to get to this point. It is nice for a newcomer like Mr. Saines to recognize my accomplishments, and I take it as a solid confirmation that I was right to devote my energies for years to these improvements which are coming to fruition now.
FWN: The Republican Party has no candidate, so far, to oppose the moderate Democrat, John Bell, in the 87th District delegate race. Is the GOP going to have a candidate any time soon, how will the candidate be selected, and who are some people under consideration?
I have no information on that.
Thanks to Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio for taking the time to answer our questions. For more information on his campaign, click here to visit his Web site.