An already competitive Vienna Town Council race has gotten more interesting in recent days, as candidate Elizabeth Korondy dropped out of contention and the Vienna Transportation Safety Commission (TSC) chairman decided to seek a Council seat via a write-in campaign.
In a note sent to Fairfax County officials, the Town Council and Mayor Linda Colbert, Korondy cited work reasons for leaving the race.
“Due to personal conflicts, I have decided that it is in my family and community’s best interest to formally withdraw my candidacy,” she wrote. “My work has me fully committed, and I would not be able to serve to the best of my ability. I am confident that our community will be best served by those elected. I will remain committed to the Town of Vienna and volunteer my time when possible.”
Korondy’s departure leaves seven declared candidates seeking six Council seats: incumbent Council members Charles Anderson, Ray Brill Jr. and Howard Springsteen and challengers Sandra Allen, Roy Baldwin, Shelley Mountjoy and Jessica Ramakis. (Colbert is running unopposed for mayor.)
But another candidate, TSC chairman Beth Eachus, has entered the race with a write-in bid.
“I have a lot of experience and I thought I should try,” she said of her Council run. “It might be incredibly difficult to try as a write-in candidate, but I am passionate about this community and it’s the next logical step in which I can serve it.”
The Chicago native, who has lived in Vienna since 2004, said she had considered making an official run for Council earlier this year, but held off while she was trying to secure special services for one of her four children.
A TSC member for eight years, Eachus also has been a PTA president nine times at three schools that her children have attended. She helped start the pantry at James Madison High School and is the school’s Special Olympics coach. Eachus holds a degree in accountancy.
While Eachus isn’t scheduled to take part in any of the scheduled candidate forums, she said she would focus her campaign on attaining more housing diversity in Vienna and soliciting residents’ perspectives on issues facing the town.
“I’ve always been more of a servant leader and I think it’s really important that the vision of the town incorporate other people’s visions as well,” she said. “I don’t think sometimes that [town leaders are] listening as much as they need to.”
Three Council incumbents – Nisha Patel, Steve Potter and Ed Somers – opted not to seek re-election this year.
The town for decades held its nonpartisan Council election in May, but following passage of General Assembly legislation in 2021, officials starting this year had to hold the election to November to coincide with the general election. The newly elected Council will take office next January.
In response to the new law, the Council canceled the 2022 election, extended some members’ terms so they would expire at the end of 2023 and rearranged how members would be elected. The Council voted to keep members’ two-year terms, agreeing that longer periods in office might impose too much of a burden, but decided to put all six seats, plus the mayor’s, on the ballot during odd-numbered years.
The town previously had three seats up for grabs annually, with the mayoral election held in even-numbered years. The Council agreed to have all seats on the ballot in odd-numbered years so as not to disadvantage candidates who would have run in even-numbered years featuring high-turnout Congressional and presidential elections.