Republicans in Fairfax County number more than you might think. Organizing them to take political action is where Jay McConville comes in.
“The first (thing) is to get people more active and more engaged,” he said. “That’s step one. As I ran for office—I saw this all the time—where folks would say, ‘Well, I really just don’t think there are a lot of Republicans in my neighborhood, and I’ve never been active.’ And I would say, ‘Well, I just met 20 of them as I walked down the street.’
“So that’s number one, is just to get people to realize that there are a lot more Republicans, and like-minded individuals who may not be Republicans, in the county than we think.”
The Fairfax County Republican Committee elected McConville as its new chairman during its biennial convention March 24. He will serve a two-year term.
McConville, 48, of Fort Hunt, received his bachelor’s degree in government and politics from and his master’s degree in science of strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College in Washington. He served as a U.S. Army intelligence officer for 12 years and participated in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm with the 1st Cavalry Division.
McConville left the service to go into business, beginning a 12-year career with General Dynamics where he rose to vice president of surveillance and reconnaissance. He then joined the company where he currently works, Chandler/May, where he works in unmanned aircraft. He is executive vice president and also served a year as CEO of one of Chandler/May’s companies, AME Unmanned Systems.
He began volunteering for political campaigns as an undergraduate and became more politically active after he left the service, getting involved with the Fairfax County GOP and making an unsuccesful run for the House of Delegates. He then served two years as the party’s vice chairman for budget and finance.
Politically, McConville described himself as a conservative Republican.
“I believe in the Republican creed as we talk to it,” he said. “I believe in limited government. I believe in fiscally responsible spending, and fiscally responsible spending and lower taxes generate economic prosperity for all. I believe that best serves all the people in all economic strata in life.
“I believe in respect for the Constitution, certainly, constitutional governance, and the importance of the family unit to our nation’s success going forward.”
McConville’s campaign slogan was “Through Growth Comes Victory,” which encapsulates his leadership strategy. He aims to better support party volunteers, increase grassroots activity and accelerate fundraising.
“Lastly, is just be more active in the community,” he said. “Be more evident, be more visible, be a place where people in the county can come to get information about our candidates and our beliefs.”
McConville plans to focus on, among other issues, the county’s fiscal situation going forward.
“Some of the things we have put into effect over the last 10 years or so will begin to have their impact, which is somewhat frightening, as we go forward in the next 10 years and beyond, and how we’re going to pay for that and what that’s going to do to our county,” he said.
For example, he stresses the need to make the county an affordable place to live for retirees, contain increases in the cost of living and provide an affordable education for children. He also questions the long-term viability and affordability of projects such as the Metro’s Silver Line, the Dulles Toll Road and Tysons Corner.
McConville succeeds Anthony Bedell, who retired as chairman after serving three and half years. Bedell called McConville an “excellent face” of the party going forward.
“I have a lot of respect for Jay,” Bedell said. “I think his background is perfect to carry forward what we’ve worked for during the past four years to carry the party forward in Fairfax.”
David Skiles, McConville’s transition chairman and first vice chairman of the 11th Congressional District Republican Committee, described him as a strong, effective and decisive person with bold new ideas for the county party that will translate into electoral victories.
“He brings a strong blend of both campaign experience as well as party knowledge to the job, and heading into the 2012 elections we really need a strong leader like Jay who can mobilize the grassroots of the Republican Party here in Fairfax County,” Skiles said.
Outside the political arena, McConville sings and plays trumpet in the local band Close2Home. He is also on the board of the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce. He lives with his wife, Sue, and the youngest of their three children.