Scott York believes “Loudoun County is a very special place …. not only number one in Virginia, but number one in America.” After devoting the past 19 years of his life helping the county get to that point, he cannot in good conscience all it quits, York said at his 2015 campaign kick-off last week in Leesburg.
Elected to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors for the first time in 1995, representing the Sterling District, York then won the at-large seat as Board chair in 1999, an office he has held ever since.
At the campaign event, York listed challenges the Board has addressed during his years at the helm, and successful outcomes Loudoun residents are now seeing.
But first: why he switched gears and opted to run for a sixth term on the Board – fifth as chair:
When York made the decision earlier in 2015 to “focus somewhere else” and leave public office, he expected one of the current supervisors to step up and seek the chairman’s position.
Unfortunately that has not happened. I cannot fathom leaving the county in inexperienced hands, and I cannot fathom leaving the Board with Eugene Delgaudio’s attorney …. We are in a crucial four-year period coming up. Loudoun County has been a rural community that has gone through a lot of growing pains, and we’re now going over that hump. There’s a lot that still needs to be done.
Ticking off a list of his key “promises made, promises kept,” York began with the status of Loudoun County’s rural economy, an area of great concern for past Boards seeking to balance property rights, economic development and preservation.
The end result? Based on the flourishing wine industry, breweries and hop farms, and continued strength in the horse industry, “We’re not our grandfathers’ and grandmothers’ farming any more”:
We had a choice: Let it all go to housing, or scale back. But in scaling back, making sure that we provided the opportunity for landowners to be able to make money. So what we did was work with the farming community, to do what we could from a government standpoint to make it easier for folks to be able to invest in their property and do unique things with farming …. In the course of the last decade, we’ve been able to turn around the rural economy.
One of the main promises kept during the current Board term, York said, has been to improve transportation. In addition to the Board’s vote to bring Metro to Loudoun, York noted his initiative to direct two cents of real estate tax to transportation projects as nearly $13 million of about $750 million in Loudoun’s Capital Improvement Program, most of which is going to transportation. York is also a member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, which is providing tens of millions in funding to Loudoun projects.
Key road improvements underway or coming soon include:
- New lane on Route 28 south of Sterling Boulevard;
- Gloucester Boulevard being completed to connect Pacific Boulevard with Loudoun County Parkway “to relieve about 50,000 daily trips off of Waxpool Road”;
- The northern section of Pacific Boulevard under construction now, to connect to Russell Branch Parkway;
- Construction beginning soon on Route 7 interchanges at Ashburn Village Boulevard and Belmont Ridge Road (moving of utilities is already completed at the latter); and
- Widening of Route 606 around the airport, “perhaps the most important project today.”
In the area of education, York said “this Board supports high quality education” and pointed to the full funding of the recent School Board budget, and several million invested in new school construction. Going forward, York said the Board can expect to continue to address the need for new construction. He is also personally committed to working with the School Board to implement all-day kindergarten in Loudoun County, “for all students, not just a third of the students.”
Another prime concern at the beginning of York’s current term was economic development, which he said is moving in the right direction, with the commercial tax base expanding to take the tax pressure off of homeowners, and the right personnel in place at the Economic Development Authority. He noted success in bringing foreign companies to the county, and that “we’re not just sitting on our laurels. We’re taking advantage of having an international airport right in our backyard, and taking our show internationally.”
With the growth in population, wealth, business, international profile and the fact that most of the world’s Internet traffic now comes through the county, York said his commitment and track record of success will be vital during the next Board term:
We need leadership at the helm that is experienced and knows what needs to be done and has a vision for Loudoun County …. It is a great place to live. It is a great place to raise a family. It is a great place to invest and do business. And my goal is to keep it that way.