Tom Burrell withdraws from supervisor race

Tom Burrell of Woodbridge announced Friday he is withdrawing from the Coles District county supervisor race and threw his support behind the Republican challenger.

He said his withdrawal was not an easy decision but he said things have changed in his personal life that led him to reevaluate a run, but he would not elaborate.

Burrell shocked many county Republicans when he decided to forgo vying for the GOP nomination and declared as an independent.

Supervisor Mary K. Hill, R-Coles, faces Martin E. “Marty” Nohe in a primary for the Republican nomination. The winner will go against Democrat Victor Bras.

“The issues that face the county are nonpartisan and so I just wanted to lay it out like that. I wanted to take the issues to the people,” Burrell said.

A longtime Republican, Burrell said he is dismayed by the Prince William Republican Committee sidestepping many issues that affect citizens like density of development and transportation, although the party came out against the sales tax referendum last year, he said.

“I don’t see the party engaged in possible fixes,” he said.

He defended the strategy of running as an independent, but many Republicans said he would have gotten support in a three-way primary race.

Throughout of the race, Burrell still laid out his issues, which are familiar to slow-growth foes of the “Gang of Five” on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. Hill and the rest of the “Gang of Five” on the board are ignoring the county’s land-use plan and in some cases do not understand land-use designations, he said.

“Her infatuation with being on the Metropolitan Council of Governments has detracted from her duties as a supervisor and not provided any benefit. Prince William County and the Coles District are on the cusp between growing smartly into the 21st century or stagnating in the ‘cronyism’ of the past,” Burrell stated in his letter of withdrawal.

Hill could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.

Burrell said he will return all campaign contributions and asked his supporters to vote for Nohe in the June primary.

Burrell thanked his mentor, Supervisor Ruth T. Griggs, R-Occoquan, and Supervisor Maureen S. Caddigan, R-Dumfries, in his withdrawal.

Griggs, Caddigan and Supervisor Sean T. Connaughton, R-at-large, round out the smart-growth minority on the board.

In its current term, the board has approved the Cherry Hill housing development on the east end and more than 4,000 housing units and three retail centers in Gainesville

On the board’s other major conflict, police versus sheriff, Burrell is the same as the slow-growthers on the board: the police department is the primary law enforcement agency so why pay to duplicate efforts, he asked.

Burrell is currently in his fifth year as president of the Board of Trustees of the Westridge Homeowners Association. He and his wife Bonnie have lived there since 1988. He retired from the Army in 1992 after 22 years and is active in county civic groups including LOCCA/PELT committee, the Lake Ridge Occoquan Coles Civic Association Planning, Environment Land Use and Transportation Committee.

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