Scott York for Loudoun chair­man

The in­cum­bent brings just-the-facts lead­er­ship to com­plex is­sues in the boom­ing county.

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

FOR MUCH of the two decades that Scott K. York has served on Loudoun County’s Board of Su­per­vi­sors, the county has been among the na­tion’s fastest-grow­ing lo­cal­i­ties, and its rich­est as mea­sured by me­dian in come. Hav­ing added more than 50,000 peo­ple since 2010, Loudoun’s pop­u­la­tion is now ap­proach­ing 370,000, more than dou­ble the num­ber who lived there when Mr. York was first elected in 1995.

As the board’s chair­man since 2000, Mr. York has presided over this ex­plo­sive growth and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing po­lit­i­cal tu­mult — over pub­lic schools, land-use plan­ning and trans­porta­tion, to name a few are as of con­tention. Yet through see saw shifts in party dom­i­na­tion of lo­cal pol­i­tics, and fierce de­bates over the pace of de­vel­op­ment, Mr. York has been a steady­ing, se­ri­ous-minded in­flu­ence. The fact that Loudoun has with­stood such dizzy­ing change and re­mains pros­per­ous and well man­aged is tes­ta­ment to his calm­ing, level-headed lead­er­ship.

Mr. York was pre­pared to re­tire af­ter this year, at the com­ple­tion of his cur­rent term; he even an­nounced his sup­port for a board col­league to suc­ceed him. But fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions of do­mes­tic abuse, that col­league, Repub­li­can Shawn M. Wil­liams, with­drew from pol­i­tics. And as it be­came clear that Mr. Wil­liams could not be a vi­able can­di­date, Mr. York changed his mind and an­nounced he would run again. Al­though he con­sid­ers him­self a Repub­li­can, Mr. York will ap­pear on the bal­lot as an in­de­pen­dent.

He de­serves re­elec­tion both on the strength of his record and the short­com­ings of the other can­di­dates’ rel­e­vant ex­pe­ri­ence. His op­po­nents in­clude a Demo­crat, Phyl­lis J. Ran­dall, a men­tal-health ther­a­pist; and a Repub­li­can, Charles King, a lawyer. Nei­ther Ran­dall nor King has held elec­tive of­fice.

While Ms. Ran­dall, who has served on some state boards, has ad­vanced con­struc­tive ideas about tight­en­ing ethics rules, she has also ranted against what she called a “full scale in­va­sion” of il­le­gal im­mi­grants, which sug­gests she may not have the tem­per­a­ment to lead a county of Loudoun’s size and com­plex­ity.

As for Mr. King, his solid record of com­mu­nity in­volve­ment is un­der­cut by his agree­ment to pro­vide le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion for Eu­gene A. Del­gau­dio, a mem­ber of the Board of Su­per­vi­sors who was ac­cused of cor­rup­tion. We don’t gen­er­ally look askance at lawyers based on the clients who hire them, but in the case of Mr. Del­gau­dio, a Repub­li­can who is among the most di­vi­sive fig­ures in the county, Mr. King was ill-ad­vised to run for the county’s top elected po­si­tion im­me­di­ately af­ter hav­ing mounted a spir­ited de­fense for so in­cen­di­ary a fig­ure.

Mr. York, to his credit, has stood above the board’s oc­ca­sional shenani­gans and the provo­ca­tions of its more col­or­ful char­ac­ters. He gen­er­ally sticks to a dry, just-the-facts de­liv­ery that en­cour­ages ra­tio­nal de­bate. That trait will be in de­mand as the board pre­pares to grap­ple with how to ac­com­mo­date de­mands for in­creased den­sity and de­vel­op­ment around Loudoun’s two new Sil­ver Line Metro sta­tions, which are sched­uled to go into op­er­a­tion by 2020. In pre­vi­ous fights over de­vel­op­ment, Mr. York has proven him­self able to chart a cen­trist course.

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