We have a critical need for volunteers now through Election Day

Typography that says nurture democracy, vote for democrats. Every voter will have a chance to vote for 14 candidates and a school bond issue on this year’s ballot. But just two of those positions (state Senate and House of Delegates) will identify candidates by party. If you don’t know who the Democrats are, you may have a difficult time filling out your ballot. That’s why getting our Democratic sample ballots in the hands of every voter is absolutely critical this year.

There are multiple opportunities to help do that! Early voting begins this Friday, September 22, at the Mount Vernon Government Center, and Franconia Dems are asked to help out there. Sign up here. Early voting at the Franconia Governmental Center runs from Thursday, October 26, through Saturday, November 4, at the Franconia Governmental Center. That’s when our need for volunteers really ramps up! Sign up here. 

Student leads move to change name of Van Dorn Metro Station

By Russell Brooks

Why are heroes of the “Lost Cause” still being honored in Northern Virginia? Specifically, why should the Van Dorn Metro Station implicitly celebrate General Earl Van Dorn of the Confederate States of America? That question is being asked by Taylor Brigman, a Springfield resident and Spelman College sophomore.

Earl Van Dorn (September 17, 1820–May 7, 1863) was born near Port Gibson, Mississippi. He graduated from West Point and served in the U.S. Army until he decided to side with the Confederacy in the Civil War. He held the rank of major general and commanded the Trans-Mississippi District in the western theater. He was considered a notable cavalry officer, but his service ended when he was killed by a man who claimed Van Dorn was engaged in an affair with his wife.

Upon learning who the station is named after, Brigman started a petition to demand that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority change its name. “Our community must embody our core principles and pay tribute to those who have significantly and positively impacted society. Renaming the station would represent a symbolic stride toward inclusivity and the rightful recognition of deserving individuals,” says Brigman. You can sign the petition here. 

To date, the online petition has garnered 115 signatures from local residents and continues to grow. Brigman is also seeking support from the Fairfax County NAACP, the Link Inc., and local alumni of Spelman and Morehouse colleges.

The Van Dorn station straddles the boundary between Fairfax County and Alexandria City. The station opened on June 15, 1991. Alexandria is the home of 41 streets named after Confederates, 20 of which were named after a 1953 city ordinance that required that streets running north to south be named after Confederate military heroes. Van Dorn Street was Lincolnia Road until 1953. According to Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, “Our predecessors used street naming policies as a form of permanent protest against the burgeoning civil rights movement and growing political power for African Americans. As a symbol, these honors persist today, honoring virulent racists, many of whom took up arms against our nation. These honors are not defensible and should be removed.”

Fairfax County also has numerous streets named after Confederates. The county changed the name of Lee Highway (now Rt. 29) and Lee-Jackson Highway (Rt. 50) in 2022, as well as renaming Robert E. Lee High School to John R. Lewis High School in 2020.

Alexandria City changed Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway/Route 1 in 2019 and will begin a process this year to rename its streets honoring the Confederacy by announcing three streets that will be renamed. The Alexandria City Council has agreed to a plan to rename three streets each year. The Alexandria City Council Naming Committee meets at 6 pm on Thursday, September 28, to consider which three streets to rename in 2024. Anyone can attend the meeting.

Taylor Brigman hopes Van Dorn street will be one of them.  “In view of recent advancements in renaming streets and removing controversial monuments, I am confident that WMATA will also recognize the need to rename the Van Dorn Metro station to something that truly reflects a positive contribution to our society.”


Franconia Dems
October meeting

Thursday, October 12 | 7 pm on Zoom | Sign up here.

Can you name your 14 candidates in 2023?

In this year’s off-off-off-year elections, we get to vote for 14 different offices. That’s a lot, and you’ll find party ID for just two races on your ballot. That’s why we hand out sample ballots!

To view your personalized sample ballot, visit fairfaxvotes.org and enter your address.

These are the Democratic and Democratic Party-endorsed candidates running for office in Franconia District.

Jeff McKay, chairman, Board of Supervisors
Rodney Lusk, Franconia District supervisor
Steve Descano, commonwealth’s attorney
Stacey Kincaid, sheriff
Chris Falcon, clerk of the Fairfax Circuit Court

Scott Surovell or Dave Marsden, Virginia Senate
Mark Sickles, Paul Krizek or Kathy Tran, Virginia House of Delegates

Marcia St. John-Cunning, Franconia District school board*
Kyle McDaniel, school board at large*
Ryan McElveen, school board at large*
Ilryong Moon, school board at large*

Chris Koerner Soil & Water Conservation District director*
Dana Barakat Soil & Water Conservation District director*
Rhonda Bitterli Soil & Water Conservation District director*

* endorsed by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee

To sign up for the Franconia Dems newsletter, please follow this link.