Unlike Gerry Connolly, Mike Van Meter will protect women in the 11th

The following was published on May 2nd in the Fairfax Times and can be found here.

As a mother of young children and a lover of trail running, I am curious as to what Congressman Gerry Connolly is doing to keep female runners and young moms safe in Fairfax County? It seems that each week there is a new story of crime in Fairfax County, but also across the country involving innocent females who are violated or even murdered when out running. 

What once felt like a safe community, now does not. I used to feel much more comfortable running all around Fairfax County on the W&D Trail, but now would I feel comfortable doing so if there are not many others on the trail? Absolutely not. 

Connolly was re-elected in 2022 and has served in Congress representing the 11th District since 2009 and on the Board of Supervisors prior to that from 1995-2009. What has he done since his last election and frankly since 1995 to keep our communities safe, protect women, and ensure that repeat offenders not only stay off of our streets but our running trails and family friendly playgrounds? 

It is troubling that just this week a featured news headline revealed that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) released a report on the arrest and detention of an illegal immigrant in Fairfax County. This individual was first arrested in Texas for illegally entering the U.S. in June 2021 but released with a notice to appear and made his way to Fairfax County. He was arrested again here in July 2023 in Herndon for rape and assault. ICE requested that this man be held until deportation. Yet, on Aug. 17, 2023, Fairfax County Adult Detention Center released him, a violent rapist, into our community and onto our streets. Connolly’s own Fairfax County did not honor ICE’s request to detain this individual as well as others. In fact, Fairfax County even denied 98% of ICE detainers from 2018-2022. ICE finally confirmed that it did arrest this rapist who was formally charged on Oct. 12, 2023. How was it that this individual roamed free for two full months in Connolly’s home district placing women and children in the community at risk? 

What has Connolly done to ensure that our borders are secure to prevent rapists, criminals and dangerous individuals from freely entering into our country? What has Connolly done to ensure that Fairfax County does not play games of being a sanctuary city for criminals (rapists, criminals, gang members and drug dealers) to be pro women and pro child and pro safety? What has Connolly done to ensure that young moms can safely walk on a community trail to take their children to the playground without fear of being assaulted, robbed or even raped? 

NOTHING. Connolly has only made the problem worse by refusing to secure our border. He has not supported ICE and certainly has gone along with the nonsense of the release of violent criminals onto our streets even after arrests. 

I am so thankful that a man who cares about the safety of women, children and all Fairfax County residents is running for Congress to unseat Connolly. Mike Van Meter understands the dangers of a wide open border. Van Meter is committed to being truly pro-women to ensure that women are safe when simply running on a trail or taking their children to the park. 

It is critical for Fairfax County residents to assess the following: Has our county become safer since Connolly entered Congress? Have our schools improved? Have our taxes decreased or increased? Do we now have a safe haven for rapists, drug dealers and gang members here in our own community? Please do not give Connolly a free pass as he is not doing his job to listen to his constituents and keep them safe.

Elizabeth McCauley is a mother of two and a Fairfax County resident.

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