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MCC Governing Board candidates make pitch as election nears

Voters will be able to cast ballots on McLean Day for open adult, youth seats

Four of the five candidates seeking three adult positions on the McLean Community Center’s Governing Board this year gave presentations at the McLean Citizens Association’s board meeting May 3 as to why voters should choose them.

Sowjanya O’Neill, one of MCA’s two liaisons to the community center, moderated the proceedings. Each candidate gave a three-minute speech and there was no question-and-answer period afterward.

Matt Colsia, a 26-year U.S. Army veteran and helicopter pilot who now works for Cypress International, said his military experience, which included five combat deployments, taught him the importance of teamwork, resilience and dedication.

Colsia’s vision for the community center revolves around fiscal responsibility, transparency, community engagement and diverse programming for all residents.

“I am committed to fostering collaborative partnerships with local organizations, schools and non-profits to maximize the impact of our resources,” he said.

Colsia promised to ensure the facility’s safety and security, promote volunteerism and self-governance, and empower community members to take an active role in the center.

Katie Gorka, who has worked in public-policy jobs at think tanks and in government, called the community center an “amazing asset” and “treasure for our community.”

If elected, Gorka said she would ensure that the center was using tax dollars responsibly and offering programs that put first the interests of McLean residents whose moneys fund the facility.

Gorka, who once directed a festival in New York City featuring films from Central and Eastern Europe, said she has a love for the arts and theater.

Kathleen Cooney Porter, who moved to McLean with her husband in 1998, has practiced intellectual-property law for 30 years. She recently joined the MCA.

Porter enjoys music, opera, cooking, reading, tennis and spending time with friends, family and French bulldog Louis, who was born on Bastille Day.

“I believe my experience will advance the programs of the MCC and increase representation of our diverse community,” her campaign statement read.

Lincom (aka Amirthalingam Thillaichidambaram) did logistics and supply-chain management for TNEB Chennai, India, for more than 30 years and attended law school at night while working for the utility. He became a practicing lawyer and eventually a small-claims judge.

“All my life, I have actively engaged in community and served its people,” he said.

“I commit to bring my love of education, community building, leadership and, above all, the wisdom I’ve accumulated over a lifetime of experience to the McLean Community Center Governing Board.”

A fifth adult candidate, Gloria Marrero Chambers, did not take part in the MCA meeting. Born in Puerto Rico, Chambers has worked as a teacher, served as vice president of the governing body of the Langley School.

Her campaign statement on the community center’s Website said she would be responsible steward of tax dollars and ensure the center’s events and programs engage everyone in the community.

Absentee ballots cast by Dranesville Small District 1A residents for the election must be received by the McLean Community Center by May 17 at 5 p.m. In-person absentee ballots also must be cast by that deadline.

In-person voting for the election will take place at the McLean Day festival at Lewinsville Park on May 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The winners of the three adult seats will serve three-year terms. The election also will feature a race for one youth candidate each living in the boundary areas of McLean and Langley high schools (but not necessarily attending those schools) and those winners will serve one-year terms.