South County Federation to hold fall candidate forum


Credit: South County Federation

The South County Federation, a non-partisan umbrella group of homeowners, civic and citizens associations in the greater Lorton area, plans to hold an in-person and virtual candidate forum Sept. 20 for several general election races.

According to the Federation’s Treasurer and Land-use Co-Chair Keith F. Shovlin, all 20 invited candidates said they would participate.

Theoretically, the event could have been even bigger.

“Because of the Federation's boundaries extending across several district borders, we were facing nearly 50 candidates that would be eligible, just sticking to those appearing on the ballot,” said Shovlin. “We decided to limit it to the main offices in our area — Board of Supervisors for Mount Vernon and Springfield, School Board for Mount Vernon and Springfield, State Senate 33rd and 34th districts, and House of Delegates 15th, 18th, and 19th districts.”

South County Federation’s immediate past president Dale Rumberger will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, which will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lorton Community Center’s multipurpose room, as well as on Zoom. The room will accommodate around 50 community members, said Shovlin, while the Zoom call can handle up to 100 participants. For those who can’t attend, the Federation plans to make a recording of the Zoom session available on its website.

Given the large number of presenters, attendees will not be able to pose questions during the event, said Shovlin. Federation officials provided each campaign three issues important to local residents and asked them to speak to those points, he said.

“Candidates are asked to speak on their goals if elected, and any sort of attacks, partisan or otherwise, are strictly prohibited,” said Shovlin.

According to the event agenda, candidates for the Board of Supervisors will speak from 6:40 to 7:10 p.m.; State Senate from 7:10 to 7:30 p.m.; House of Delegates from 7:30 to 8:05 p.m.; and School Board — plus, time permitting, candidates from other races — from 8:05 to 8:25 p.m. A full line-up of participating candidates and speaking times is available on the Federation’s Facebook Page.

“We want this event to serve numerous purposes,” Shovlin said. “Our membership needs to be informed about who is on the ballot, the public needs to know we’re here to make these people accessible, and the candidates need to know that we are a resource they can rely on.”

One of the South County Federation’s member associations, the Mason Neck Citizens Association, will be holding its own Candidates Night, Oct. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Gunston Hall. The event, which is open to the general public, will feature candidates for State Senate, House of Delegates, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Mount Vernon District Representative for School Board.

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