Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Voters say no to pols who supported tax-subsidized illegal alien day labor center

A local election in Herndon, Va., sends a message to pro-illegal alien politicians tonight. WJLA reports:

The day labor site in Herndon may have changed the face of politics in Herndon.

Steve DeBenedittis, a resident who opposed the center, has been elected mayor of Herndon, defeating incumbent Michael O'Reilly.

DeBenedittis captured 1,363 votes, 130 more than O'Reilly.
The center opened late last year, replacing a chaotic unofficial site in a 7-Eleven parking lot as a spot for employers to recruit day laborers.

There was also turnover on the Herndon town council, as only two, Dennis Husch and Harlon Reece, were re-elected. Connie Hutchinson, Dave Kirby, Bill Tirrell and Charlie Waddell have been newly elected to the council.

The mayor and town council take office on July 1.

Here are the official election results. The Washington Post has more (hat tip: Allah):

Herndon voters yesterday unseated the mayor and Town Council members who supported a bitterly debated day-labor center for immigrant workers in a contest that emerged as a mini-referendum on the turbulent national issue of illegal immigration.

Residents replaced the incumbents with a group of challengers who immediately called for significant changes at the center. Some want to bar public funds from being spent on the facility or restrict it to workers residing in the country legally. Others want it moved to an industrial site away from the residential neighborhood where it is located.

The day-labor center thrust the western Fairfax County town into the national spotlight as the issue of illegal immigration became emotional. Even though fewer than 3,000 people voted yesterday, advocates on both sides of the issue looked at the election as a test case of public sentiment. Outside groups such as the Minutemen Project, which favors sharp curbs on illegal immigration, intervened in the town debate. Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group, is suing the town over establishment of the center.

Steve J. DeBenedittis, 38, a health club operator and political newcomer, defeated Mayor Michael L. O'Reilly with 52 percent of the vote. Council members Carol A. Bruce and Steven D. Mitchell, who voted for the center, were turned out of office. Jorge Rochac, a Salvadoran businessman who supported the center and was seeking to become the town's first Hispanic council member, was also defeated. About one in four town residents is Hispanic.

The incumbents were replaced by William B. Tirrell, Charlie D. Waddell, Connie Haines Hutchinson and David A. Kirby, all opponents of the day-labor center, which is designed to help immigrants find work each day.

Two incumbents were reelected. Dennis D. Husch was one of two council members to vote against the center when it was approved by the panel in August. He received more votes than any of the eight other council candidates. J. Harlon Reece was the lone supporter of the center who was reelected. He received the fewest number of votes among the winners.

Twenty-six percent of the town's 10,203 registered voters came to the polls, according to Fairfax County figures, up from 20 percent when O'Reilly was elected two years ago.

DeBenedittis, the son of a popular former high school art teacher in Herndon, said his victory was the product of intense door-to-door campaigning and deep discontent over how the labor center issue was handled by the mayor and council in the town of 23,000 residents.

"They didn't like the way the debate went down, and there was the feeling that they were not heard," he said.

A lot of immigration enforcement supporters feel that way.

Comprende, Washington?



National backlash
Herndon approves day labor center
Cities tackle day-labor dilemma


Hypocrisy, thy name is Rockefeller
End sanctuary for illegal immigrants

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