I’m uploading some video now (including of Delegate David Bulova and Senator Chap Petersen introducing Janet Oleszek) from Oleszek’s campaign kickoff earlier this afternoon for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors from the Braddock District. Also, see below for the prepared text of Janet Oleszek’s speech today. Remember, Oleszek lost to Republican incumbent John Cook by just 371 votes (12,492-12,121) last time around, in 2011. Since then, Cook has been no better, and in some ways worse. See below and after the “flip” for Oleszek’s blistering critique of Cook on ethics issues, specifically noting that “John’s firm is representing the Sheriff’s office in the recent taser death at the Fairfax jail.” Oleszek further notes the John Geer case, and that Cook’s “law firm is taking on a number of high profile cases involving Fairfax County,” which “means he has to recuse himself at times” on important issues pertaining to Braddock District and to Fairfax County in general. Obviously, if you find this situation unacceptable, you should NOT be voting to reelect John Cook this November. Instead, you can be one of the 372 additional votes Janet Oleszek needs to boot Cook off the Board once and for all. Go Janet!
Thank you all for coming!
Thank you David for that great introduction! And thank you Chap for your great remarks as well!
Four years ago I decided to seek a seat on the Board of Supervisors because our community was in need. We were not in need of a new set of priorities, Fairfax has always been known as a community ready to invest in its schools, in our workforce and for those in our community in need. But over the years in the great recession budgets got tight and we started to see real cracks emerging in the foundation of our community. That’s what made me decide to run for the Board of Supervisors.
Unfortunately we were not successful the first time. 52% of voters in Braddock District voted against Supervisor Cook but we split that vote with an independent candidate and came up short in the closest race in Fairfax County that year. After that campaign I decided I would watch carefully and only run for this position again if Supervisor Cook continued to work against our priorities. Unfortunately he has and that brings us to why we are here today. Let me tell you about what has happened since our campaign in 2011.
Fairfax County schools have had their full funding requests denied from Board of Supervisors every year. Because of that, class sizes have continued to rise at the elementary, middle and high school level. Our teachers have fallen further behind neighboring localities in terms of salary and we have had many great teachers leave us because of that. That’s why I’ve worked as the Chair of the Coalition to Fully Fund Fairfax Schools- I refuse to stand by while our schools move away from what made them so great!
Our human services which were once called the gold standard for localities have fallen as well. Did you know in Arlington and Alexandria there is no wait list for parents on welfare to get child care assistance while in Fairfax the waiting list has grown by hundreds? How can we expect a young parent on welfare to get back to working if they can’t afford child care? Public safety has taken a hit in funding, as have many other important county programs.
We are facing a crossroads. RIGHT. NOW. We can either demand that the Board of Supervisors make these needed investments in our community- or the Fairfax that we knew in the past won’t exist in the future.
And where has John Cook been on these issues? He has not been an advocate for making these investments in our community. John is still taking the salary every other Supervisor makes while he does the job “part time”.
Speaking of his other job… John’s small law firm is taking on a number of high profile cases involving Fairfax County. This means he has to recuse himself at times- taking away our community’s voice on the Board of Supervisors. Even worse- as a partner in this firm, John seems to be directly benefiting from some of the public money that is being paid to his firm. This isn’t just on some minor issues either- John’s firm is representing the Sheriff’s office in the recent taser death at the Fairfax jail. After the unacceptable delays in the John Geer case, we need Supervisors who are ready to speak on behalf of the public to ensure this NEVER happens again. We do NOT need a Supervisor who has to recuse himself from the public safety discussion because of financial conflicts of interest.
So I need your help. I’ll bring the discussion about making larger investments in our community to the Board next year if we can just make up that final 1% of the vote that we needed last time. I will bring ethics reform to the Board of Supervisors so members are held accountable for creating conflicts of interest- if you can help me find just 372 more votes.
This election will once again be one of the closest in Fairfax County this year. Let’s finish the job and make sure a handful of votes don’t silence us again this year!