Redistricting committee to recommend against name change for Mount Vernon District
The Fairfax County Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC) agreed Feb. 1 that the Board of Supervisors’ Mount Vernon District should not be renamed.
Community input proved to be strongly in favor of keeping the current name. Matt Bell, a Mount Vernon resident who serves as co-chair of the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee, kicked off public comment at the RAC’s virtual meeting by urging that the Mount Vernon District be removed from the renaming consideration set, at least partly due to the alleged lack of community input and transparency in the process about a potential name change.
A RAC member serving on the Mount Vernon/Mason District workgroup — Jimmy Bierman from Dranesville District — also suggested removing Mount Vernon/Mason from consideration. Bierman read a statement penned by workgroup members after the Jan. 25 meeting, which explained the significance of the Mount Vernon and Mason nomenclature, and distinguished between the Founding Fathers of the United States who owned slaves versus Confederate leaders who supported the institution of slavery. Bierman added that there was “no appetite” for name change among RAC members or community members who had been encouraged to submit their feedback via email.
The Hon. Gerry Hyland, former Mount Vernon District Supervisor, said that he had spoken with leaders from several key Mount Vernon organizations, including the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce and the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens’ Associations, and that they too supported keeping the Mount Vernon District name. He pointed out that the New Gum Springs Civic Association was against renaming the district and that association president Queenie Cox had spoken out at the Jan. 25 workgroup meeting.
Following this discussion, the RAC conducted a preference canvas on whether to recommend against renaming Mount Vernon and Mason Districts. All members responded “aye,” with no “nays” and no abstentions.
A decision was made to address the Gunston voting precinct at a later date, although the precinct also was expected to retain its name. The RAC’s Lee/Sully workgroup is still evaluating the potential renaming of the Hollin Hall precinct. The next RAC meeting will take place Feb. 8.
The committee will finish its work by March 1 and deliver its final report to the Board of Supervisors. The Board will decide if and how to make any name changes once it reviews the committee’s recommendations, according to the Redistricting website.
More information about the county’s district renaming process, including a video recording of the Feb. 1 meeting, is available on Fairfax County’s Redistricting website.