Kessler declares run for supervisor seat

Woodbridge resident Keith Kessler is well known as an advocate for health care reform for the disabled and elderly.

Now he has decided to run as an independent for the Prince William Board of County Supervisors against Supervisor John D. Jenkins, D-Neabsco. “I want the people to have a choice and not only a choice, but a change,” he said.

He wants to run because he says Jenkins has not represented the people. He called him “a Wilbourn puppet,” because he often votes with Supervisor Edgar S. Wilbourn III, R-Gainesville, who is pro-development.

He also said a majority of the people in the county did not favor the regional sales tax referendum to pay for roads, which Jenkins supported.

He said he supports smart growth instead of uncontrolled growth, which he views the county as now having, and adequate public facilities reviews that would require infrastructure to be in place before development occurs.

Kessler’s political activism has made him familiar to presidents and governors, and he has also been influential in the Disabled Action Committee, which he founded. He says it reaches more than 5 million readers nationwide with newsletters and works to unite disabled groups into a minority voting block.

His efforts got the disabled and elderly a 20 percent discount on their cable television bills. Kessler said when Jenkins didn’t follow through on the suggestion he made, he took it upon himself to get it done.

“It was intended to help people whose only source of entertainment is television,” he said.

When governors don’t take his calls he just faxes them every day for six months. That’s how he got Gov. James S. Gilmore III to restore his money for home health care aides, he said.

During this legislative session he has asked Manassas Sen. Charles Colgan, D-29th, to introduce a bill that would mandate that all apartments set aside 10 percent of their housing for a 25 percent discount for low-income residents, the elderly or disabled and that it be mandated they accept Section 8 housing vouchers.

He also told President Bill Clinton to put food stamps on electronic benefits transfer cards to reduce the possibility of waste and fraud. The administration called him back and said they appreciated the idea.

One of his main gripes about local government are politicians who make promises then don’t keep them. If elected, he says he will do what he says and represent the entire county, not just the Neabsco district.

He has been self-employed, but has also worked for various types of businesses from manufacturing to auto repair. He has been a Woodbridge resident for 10 years.

The Anderson company sued Kessler in December because of comments he made about its involvement in dirt that was allegedly contaminated at the county landfill. Kessler said the lawsuit won’t keep him from running.

Staff writer Diane Freda can be reached at (703) 878-4723.

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