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Herndon Race Heats Up

Bill Turque

It didn't take Herndon Mayor Stephen J. DeBenedittis long to jump into re-election mode. Less than a week after Town Council member Harlon Reece announced his candidacy for mayor in the May 6 elections, DeBenedittis has formally declared that he will seek a second term.

The pairing effectively sets up another referendum in Herndon over the impact of illegal immigration. DeBenedittis, a first-time officeholder, unseated Mayor Michael L. O'Reilly in 2006 in what was widely viewed as a voter backlash over a day laborer center opened by the town.

Under DeBenedittis and a coalition of new council members, the center was closed in September. The council has also approved a series of measures designed to discourage illegal immigrants from living and working in the western Fairfax community. Reece, a council member since 2000, said last week that he'd grown troubled by the divisions created by the immigration issue.

In a statement today, DeBenedittis pointed to closure of the center and enrollment of the police department in a federal program to enforce certain immigration laws as key accomplishments under his watch. He also cited what he described as a drop in residential crowding cases and controls on municipal spending as part of his two-year record.

"I have worked hard to make sure the voices of the residents of Herndon are heard. I will continue to listen carefully to every resident's concerns," said DeBenedittis, a manager and personal trainer at One to One Fitness Center in Reston.

His re-election has been endorsed by State Del. Thomas Davis Rust (R-Fairfax), who represents Herndon in the General Assembly.

By Bill Turque  |  January 14, 2008; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Election 2008/Local , Immigration  
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