by Dan Roem, Gainesville Times

19 May 2011, pp. A1, A8

“After gliding to re-election in 2007 without a primary or general election challenger, Brentsville District Supervisor Wally Covington (R) will actually have to compete for his job this year.

“Gainesville homemaker and GOP activist Jeanine Lawson (R) is set to kick off her campaign this Friday outside of the district at the Evergreen Country Club Haymarket as she challenges Covington in the Republican primary.

“The one-time financial donor to Covington said the supervisor ‘hasn’t changed a whole lot’ since he first won election in 2003.  ‘He’s always been pro-growth,’ she said.

“She contrasted herself to Covington, saying ‘the more I matured through my political involvement, my eyes began to open to how unmanaged growth can affect lives.’

“After redistricting, the newly configured Brentsville District includes the precincts of Bristow Run, Cedar Point, Glenkirk, Nokesville, Limestone, Stonewall Jackson, Marsteller, Victory, Piney Branch, Buckland Mills and Brentsville.  Those precincts are in Gainesville, Bristow, Nokesville, Brentsville and parts of Manassas.

“An Iowa native, Lawson graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor of arts degree in political science in 1992 and moved to the Linton Hall corridor in 1995.  She cites residential growth, taxes, transportation and illegal immigration as her top issues along with the need for more recreational facilities in the western half of the county.

“Her illegal immigration stance is simplest as it calls for no changes to the county’s current policy.

“During a Monday night phone interview, it appeared that development is her subject of choice.

” ‘First of all, I would make park improvements a top priority,’ she said.

“She criticized the Board of County Supervisors for considering, in her view, park services late in the budget process this year while opting to spend money on extending the second phase of University Boulevard and Rollins Ford Road between Gainesville and Bristow instead of the first phase.

“The intersection for Rollins Ford Road and Linton Hall Road ‘is beyond me,’ she said, noting that a traffic light, scheduled to eventually come on line, was not installed earlier in a planning phase.

“Because of that, Lawson explained that some of her neighbors along the Linton Hall corridor drive through multiple subdivisions in the morning so they can drop their kids off at school ‘simply to avoid that dangerous intersection.’

“In order to pay for more road improvements, Lawson supports some projects being funded by the county’s capital improvements budget but mostly through increased pledges made by residential developers that offset quality-of-life costs associated with their projects.

” ‘I’d like to see our proffers even get tougher,’ she said.  ‘(We should) proffer more than what we are getting now.’

“Though noting that the real estate market had been ‘hitting a brick wall’ before its more recent recovery, Lawson advocated for the increase as a way to slow down development.  That comes at a time when there are still thousands of designated lots still waiting to be developed throughout the county.

” ‘Why we would continue to add to the supply side of this, I’m not certain of it,’ she said.

“When asked how increasing proffer regulations reconciles with her view of limited government, she responded that she does not ‘deem proffers as government regulation.’

” ‘It’s up to the Board [of Supervisors] of our county to dictate policy that’s going to provide growth,’ she said.  ‘So I dismiss that argument altogether.’

“One growth project she spoke out against last year that distinguishes her from Covington was the rezoning of Avendale in the Rural Crescent.

“Located near Route 28 and Vint Hill Road, the site can now include up to 295 houses built by residential developer Brookfield Homes, due to a 5-3 vote by the Board of County Supervisors last August.

“Part of the proffer agreement from the deal calls for the creation of football fields that are leased out to the Gainesville-Haymarket Youth Football League, specifically, the Gainesville Grizzlies.

“Covington sided with the majority on the vote.

” ‘I would have voted against Avendale because I didn’t want to add more homes,’ Lawson said, adding that when it came to the open space requested by the Grizzlies organization for new fields, she would have ‘gone back to the drawing board.’

“Lawson said she plans to sign a pledge to protect the Rural Crescent while supporting mixed-use developments in other areas of the county.

“While she admitted to not knowing much about the county’s transfer of control of Silver Lake in Haymarket to the Park Authority instead of the privately held Bull Run Mountains Conservancy, she took issue with what she viewed as a lack of consistency in county policy on transferring open space to private entities.

“Several people seemed to think that managed growth means slow growth, or no growth.  I disagree,’ Lawson wrote on her campaign website.  ‘I want everybody to excel and that means growth.  My point is that we can manage our growth so that we all benefit.  It can be done, it just needs some common sense and some independent thinking.’

Learning Curve

“Lawson conceded that Covington is better versed than she is in some areas of growth, specifically citing the Innovation business corridor along the Prince William County Parkway. She said one of her first acts if she is elected would be to talk with the county’s economic development officials to figure out what’s the best way the county government can assist in high-end job creation.

” ‘There’s definitely been a learning curve since I decided to do this,’ said Lawson.

“As for why, then, Brentsville District residents should vote for her instead of someone with the experience of Covington, Lawson said, ‘because I think I can do a better job with managing growth … due to the improper infrastructure that should come with the growth but frankly has not.’


“While Lawson is a first-time candidate, she is no stranger to the electoral and political process due to her role within the local Republican Party during the last 11 years.

“Brentsville District School Board Representative Gil Trenum has appointed her to the Safe Schools Advisory Council.  She served as Glenkirk Elementary School’s Parent-Teacher Organization treasurer for a year and on School board committees for textbooks and school naming.

“Politically, Lawson served as Prince William County GOP vice-chairwoman from 2008-2010 and is a member of the Bull Run Republican Women’s Club.

“Throughout the last decade, Lawson contributed $8,157 to Republican and conservative candidates and committees according to the Virginia Public Access Project website, while donating no money to Democratic candidates or committees.  Her top seven donors all hailed from within the county.

“That list, compiled between 2001 and 2010, includes $2,600 to the Prince William County Republican Committee, $1,025 to Manassas Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th), $750 to Gainesville District Supervisor John Stirrup (R), $600 to former Prince William County chairman Sean Connaughton (R), $600 to four–time state Senate candidate Bob FitzSimmonds (R) and $350 to Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart (R).

“FitzSimmonds, in turn, paid Lawson $2,000 in 2007 for working on his last campaign.

“Lawson also donated to Stewart during his 2003 run for Occoquan District supervisor.  During that same year, she gave Covington $150 for his inaugural run for the board.

“Perhaps one of the most compelling parts about Lawson’s GOP activism came in 2010 as she volunteered for congressional candidate Keith Fimian’s (R) second run at the 11thcongressional district seat against Rep. Gerry Connolly (D).

“During the Republican primary, Lawson served as a volunteer in the Limestone precinct and campaigned for Fimian door-to-door from March to June, hitting every home at least once, she [said] last year.

“Fimian ended up winning 94 percent of the vote (204 votes to 14) in Limestone against Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity (R) on his way to clinching the GOP nomination.  In his loss to Connolly that following November, Fimian won 60 percent of the vote in Limestone.

” ‘It’s our message that people (care) about and that’s jobs, taxes and the economy,’ she said at the time.  ‘And illegal immigration.  That’s another one.’ ”

“Lawson in race for Brentsville supervisor”

The Bull Run Observer

3 Jun 2011, p. 15

“Jeanine Lawson, a longtime resident of the Linton Hall corridor and a Republican leader has announced her candidacy for the Brentsville District seat on the County’s Board of Supervisors and launched her campaign May 20.

“Lawson said in a news release, ‘Our district grew 102 percent in the last decade without the proper infrastructure to support the growth.  I want to serve the residents of the Brentsville District with better management of residential growth, fight to reduce our rising property taxes and work to attract more professional jobs to Prince William County.’

“Lawson has been an active leader in the community, informing citizens of development that will affect the Brentsville District.

“If elected supervisor, Lawson said she plans to have an open line of communication with constituents through newsletters, a website and regular district wide meetings.

” ‘I will place a high value on constituents’ input, and keeping them informed on the issues will be a top priority.  I will work for them,’ she said in her news release.

“Lawson said she and her husband, Dan, have lived in the Bridlewood Community for nearly 17 years.  They are raising two children who both attend Prince William County public schools.

“She has been a leader and volunteer in the community ranging from treasurer of the Glenkirk Elementary PTO to Vice Chair of the county’s Republican Party.  Lawson believes that the county can better manage growth and continue to prosper.

“More information on her candidacy can be found on the website: