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by ARLnow.com — June 9, 2014 at 10:15 am 5,301 0

Hard Choices by Hillary ClintonFormer Secretary of State and expected 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be in Arlington on Saturday, signing copies of her new memoir.

Hard Choices will go on sale on Tuesday. The book chronicles Clinton’s four years as Secretary of State and the “crises, choices, and challenges she faced.”

Clinton will be signing copies of the book at the Pentagon City Costco store from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on June 14.

Following Hillary to the signing will be a large tour bus paid for by Ready for Hillary, the Arlington-based political action committee that’s supporting Clinton in her expected 2016 presidential run.

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm 1,075 0

Mark LevineLast week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.

Here is Mark Levine’s unedited response:

There is a battle going on in the Democratic Party between its establishment and progressive wings. Conventional Democrats believe the best way to “get things done” is to appease the right wing, give them half of what they want, and declare victory.

I reject this strategy as counter-productive. When Don Beyer caved in to Republicans Jim Gilmore and George Allen, he didn’t win the debate: he lost his gubernatorial election by a landslide and ended up regretfully (and unintentionally) abandoning Virginia’s poor. When President Obama caved in to the tea party in 2010, it did not moderate his right-wing opponents. It increased their obstruction.

In contrast, in 2013, when President Obama stood firm and refused to surrender, the tea party blinked. When my hero Elizabeth Warren refused to back down on consumer protection, she won both the rhetorical battle and the legislation. My former boss Barney Frank insisted on regulating Wall Street firms that were too big to fail. And although he did not get everything he wanted, Paul Volcker’s rule (requiring banks not to gamble with their clients’ money) became law.

I was a good trial lawyer and never lost a case in my home court. Because opposing counsel knew I did not fear going to trial, I settled more than 90% of my cases. My willingness to go to trial increased my chances of a good settlement.

I saw Barney do the same thing on Capitol Hill. Time and time again, Republicans gave us what we wanted because they did not want Barney calling them out in public.

I’ve been The Aggressive Progressive on radio and television for more than ten years. I enjoy facing down right-wing pundits like Bill O’Reilly, promoting liberal values with my Constitution in hand. I’m confident I can pass bipartisan legislation behind the scenes if unreasonable Republicans know that I, like Barney, am unafraid to call them out in public.

We will always have moderate Democrats. The Party is full of them. We have a big tent. But if we in the Eighth Congressional District do not elect an aggressive progressive to make our case, who will? Who will be the Elizabeth Warren counterpart in the House? Barney Frank and so many strong liberals have already left Government. Jim Moran is retiring too, and he was no shrinking violet.

To fill Jim Moran’s seat, we need someone who can work effectively both behind the scenes and in front of a TV camera. We need someone who can reach out to voters nationally so they put pressure on their local representatives to do the right thing. That way, we in the Eighth effectively get more than one vote on Capitol Hill.

I’m Mark Levine. On Tuesday June 10th, I respectfully ask for your vote. I want to be a representative who stands out in a sea of politicians, makes a real difference, and fights the big-business interests who use big money and lobbyists to buy so many of our representatives in Congress. I can’t be bought, because I’ll only be working for you.

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm 1,597 0

Patrick HopeLast week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.

Here is Del. Patrick Hope’s unedited response:

Arlington is my home. When my wife, Kristen, and I were looking for a place to raise a family, we sought out an area with strong schools, a vibrant community, and diverse neighborhoods. That’s what first drew us to Arlington County and Northern Virginia, and why we have chosen to raise our three daughters here, who attend Arlington’s public schools. I believe passionately in public service, which is why I’ve served on numerous boards and commissions trying to make our community an even better place to live. I was a Special Olympics coach for eight years, and chaired the Arlington Community Services Board for five, which dealt with mental illness, substance abuse, and developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Outside of my public service, I am a healthcare attorney, and have worked in healthcare policy for 20 years, first working on Capitol Hill and now with nonprofit doctors organizations’ to expand the access, coverage, and quality of healthcare. The Tea Party may see healthcare as a privilege, but I see it as a fundamental human right.

Since you elected me to the General Assembly in 2009, I have worked tirelessly to promote our progressive values. However, when I first arrived in Richmond, I was shocked to see even some Democrats voting for budgets that defunded our public schools and for redistricting plans that put Democrats in a permanent state of minority. That’s why I founded the Virginia Progressive Caucus — to hold Democrats voting like Republicans accountable. I have championed legislation focusing on issues ranging from disability rights to prison reform, and am now leading the fight to expand Medicaid in Virginia.

One thing I admire about Congressman Jim Moran is that we always know where he stands — I would be no different. I have outlined some of my top policy priorities below, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact me personally at Patrick@HopeforCongress.com.

I pledge to:

  • Support our federal workers by restoring the federal transit subsidy, advocating for a 3.3% pay increase, and never voting for a government shutdown.
  • Defend and expand the Affordable Care Act by using my vast experience in healthcare policy. Even with full implementation, we will still have 20 million uninsured Americans. My first bill will be to bring those people into the healthcare system.
  • Protect our environment by fighting for a progressive carbon tax and investing in renewable energy technologies to spur innovation and reverse the effects of climate change. I will also oppose the Keystone Pipeline and end big subsidies to fossil fuel producers.
  • Protect our social safety net by opposing any efforts to harm our beneficiaries. This is perhaps the greatest difference between Don Beyer and myself — while then-Lieutenant Governor Beyer worked to “reform” welfare in the ’90s, I have a record of defending and protecting our most vulnerable populations, and will continue to do so in Congress.
  • Partner with Senator Elizabeth Warren to allow students to refinance their student loan debt and lower student loan interest rates. I will also work with her to put predatory payday lenders out of business.
  • Strengthen gun control laws by passing universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
  • Champion marriage equality nationwide and end workplace discrimination.
  • Support people with disabilities and their families through increased funding for job placement programs, research, and human services.
  • Protect a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions without government interference.
  • Stand up for our progressive values like I have in Richmond as the founder of the Virginia Progressive Caucus. (more…)

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm 866 0

Bill EuilleLast week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.

Here is Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille’s unedited response:

Since I announced I was entering the race for Congress in January, I have received support and well wishes from voters in the 8th Congressional District.

In Fairfax County (Lee District, Dranesville, Mt. Vernon, and Mason) and in Falls Church City, I hear: “We’re pulling for you! You have our vote!”

In Arlington and Alexandria, it’s been: “RUN BILL, RUN !”

As we’ve campaigned across the 8th district, voters have not just cheered us on, but have asked questions about where I stand on issues of vital importance to them. I answer just like I’ve governed as mayor of Alexandria since 2003. I have the integrity, skills, honesty and humbleness to be the Congressman.

I believe that EVERYONE should have the opportunity to succeed in our society. For more than 40 years, I have served my community — working as an elected official, as a businessman and with non-profit organizations. I grew up in public housing in Alexandria, then became the first in my family to attend college. I want more of our children to have the same educational opportunities I had. In Congress, I plan to continue the fight to educate our youth, pushing to make student loans more affordable and addressing the income disparities. Today, women make less than 77 cent for each dollar a man earns. I’ll also take on Tea Party Republicans who want to cut education funding.

I believe in a living wage for Northern Virginians. I passed Virginia’s first living wage law. In Congress, I will support raising the federal minimum wage above $10 per hour.

I believe in our small businesses. I’ve led efforts in Alexandria to help small businesses secure the capital they need to thrive. In Congress, I will work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help more entrepreneurs launch businesses in Virginia. I personally know the struggles of what a small business goes through. As Founder, President and CEO of William D. Euille and Associations — a contracting firm — not only did I employ people but I provided job readiness training and well as employ veterans.

I believe in and will continue to defend a woman’s right to determine her own medical care. As a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, I will also work to make sure everyone has access to quality health care. I will not allow the Tea Party to undermine a woman’s right to determine what happens with her own body. She must have full control over her own reproductive rights.

I believe that everyone in our country is equal under the law. In Congress, I will push for legislation to ensure marriage equality and equal treatment for same-sex couples.

I am running for Congress to continue the great work of my life, serving my community. For more than 40 years, I have worked as a public servant, as a businessman and with non-profit organizations. As mayor of Alexandria since 2003, I am the only candidate who has continuously worked to serve the entire region of Northern Virginia on issues important to all of us.

I am the candidate who is ready to represent the 8th Congressional District on Day One.

I ask for your vote on June 10th. Together, let’s work to make sure everyone is part of our success in Northern Virginia. Send me because I care. Send me to Capitol Hill because I know how to get bills passed and finally send me because we are a great diverse district whose voices will be heard in Congress by electing me.

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm 1,056 0

Adam EbbinLast week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.

Here is state Sen. Adam Ebbin’s unedited response:

“How do I choose between so many candidates? What makes you different from the rest of the candidates?” These are the most common questions I hear on the campaign trail. Frankly, they are the right questions to ask. In a race where our platforms are similar, how can you differentiate?

I am proud to have devoted the last 10+ years passing progressive legislation in Richmond and serving my constituents right here in Arlington as well as neighboring communities.

There are many things that set me apart from the field.

I am:

  • the only candidate to have represented Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax for more than 10 years,
  • the only candidate in this race to have expanded Medicaid to cover prenatal care for immigrant mothers,
  • the only candidate to have increased insurance access for LGBT Virginians,
  • the only candidate to expand access to solar energy, and
  • the only candidate who wrote a bill to combat Ken Cuccinelli and his radical agenda,
  • the only candidate to establish an Arlington/Falls Church Public Defender Office,
  • the only candidate to secure major funding for the Doorways Shelter for women and children.

I am also the only candidate in this race who calls himself a LIBERAL without apology.

I am not the flashiest candidate in this race, nor am I the loudest. And throughout this campaign, I am certainly not the candidate that has made the loftiest promises. But my record speaks for itself — I know how to get things done.  That is why I have been endorsed by more elected officials than any other candidate, by two major unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), by the Gay Lesbian Victory Fund and Congressman Keith Ellison, the Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

I have always stood up for Arlington’s needs and values in the General Assembly and will do so in the U.S. Congress. If you support me on June 10th, I will work for you in Congress and there is no telling what we can accomplish together.

Please visit www.AdamEbbin.com for more information, or email me at Adam@adamebbin.com.

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 12:30 pm 1,054 0

Lavern ChatmanLast week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.

Here is Lavern Chatman’s unedited response:

I’m running for Congress to get things done for all families in the 8th District. The challenges we face demand a new type of leadership and a fresh perspective in Washington. I was born and raised in a working class family in Northern Virginia — my mom was a 30-year postal employee and my dad an automobile mechanic — where my four siblings and I learned the importance of hard work and education.

As President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, my work focused on social justice, affordable housing, youth empowerment, financial literacy, and eliminating the education achievement gap. I built collations — collaborated with businesses, churches, community leaders, and elected officials — to positively impact underserved families throughout Northern Virginia. We provided scholarships and mentoring programs to youth, retrained seniors to re-enter the workforce, and reduced the infant mortality rate among teen mothers.

I co-founded the NOVA Coalition, a group of more than 30 churches, non-profits, fraternities and sororities, focused on increasing voter participation, voter restoration, and civic engagement. During the 2010 Census, we traveled to hard-to-count communities in Northern Virginia to enable all communities to increase their rightful share of federal and state funding.

My experience working in the trenches with Democrats, Republicans and Independents to find real solutions to real problems affecting our community is what I would take to Congress.

I will work to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work because closing the wage gap benefits women and working families, in addition to our economy. Women are earning 77 cents to the dollar compared to men. Minority women are earning less than that at 59 to 56 cents. In a dual-income household, if one spouse is getting paid less, that means fewer resources for the entire family.

I will support legislation to end discrimination, protect voting rights, increase access to capital for women and minority-owned businesses, and pass comprehensive immigration reform to create a pathway to citizenship for millions of New Americans.

I understand the challenges small businesses in the 8th District face to stay economically viable. My late husband built a company to 400 employees, incubating other companies to help them grow. In 1993, we sold the company and started the Chatman Fund at the Northern Virginia Community Foundation to support development programs for underserved children in the region.

When the government shutdown happened last year, Congressman Jim Moran called on me to bring together local businesses to identify solutions to maintain economic stability. Our group is working to strengthen federal legislation to ensure small businesses are not left out of the federal contracting process.

As your next U.S. Congresswoman, I will continue working to increase economic and educational opportunities for all. I have a proven track record of putting our progressive values into action and I ask for your vote in the Democratic primary on June 10th!

by ARLnow.com — June 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm 1,558 0

Don BeyerLast week, we asked the candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District congressional race to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the June 10 primary.

Here is former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer’s unedited response:

I was taught growing up that we are each put on this earth to build something larger than ourselves and to serve others. It is with this in mind that I am a candidate for Congress.

I have a proven record on many issues and across many interest groups. And if elected, I will work diligently with constituents and fellow members of Congress to make principled, constructive progress locally, nationally and internationally.

I have been a businessman in Northern Virginia for 40 years, and led the transition team for President Obama at the Department of Commerce. I was Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor for two terms and President Obama’s ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein for four years. I have a long record as a leader in many community nonprofit organizations as well. And I am also the father of four and a grandfather of two.

I want to take all of these experiences to the House of Representatives and, with your help, be an agent for change on the issues that matter most.

I will push for a progressive carbon tax, because I believe climate change is the most pressing crisis of our time. When I was ambassador, I authorized a carbon footprint assessment of the U.S. embassy, which was a first for a U.S. embassy. Then we reduced it by 40 percent. As a lifelong hiker who has hiked half of the Appalachian Trail and aspires to complete it, I will do all I can to enhance and protect our green spaces in this urban and suburban congressional district.

I will work for gun safety and stand up to the NRA, so that we can put an end to the plague of gun violence. I want to enact reasonable legislation like enhanced background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and banning high capacity magazines. I am stunned that, in the wake of so many gun deaths and tragedies, our country still has not passed such basic measures.

I will always fight for reproductive rights and to keep the government out of personal decisions. As Lieutenant Governor, I blocked parental consent bills dozens of times and I will continue that record in Congress.

I will be an advocate for federal employees, who have borne too much of the country’s budget struggles. We need to make sure they receive the pay increases they are due and get respect, rather than disdain, for their service to the public.

I will apply my business acumen and credentials toward raising the minimum wage and helping the local, as well as the broader Virginia and U.S. economies. Too many working families are falling behind. The middle class is shrinking as the gap between the wealthiest and the poor is growing. I want to do all I can to help these families.

I have spent countless hours volunteering for local and state nonprofits, and the experience informs my understanding of the needs of the most vulnerable in our region. For fourteen years, I chaired Jobs for Virginia Graduates, the state’s most successful high school dropout prevention program. I also spent nearly a decade on the board of the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. And I was president for three years of Youth for Tomorrow, Joe Gibbs’ home for troubled adolescents.

Our nation was founded with the ideal that everyone deserves a fair chance. This means equal pay for equal work, the right to love whom you choose to love without discrimination, and immigration laws that keep alive the American dream. My years of service abroad representing our country inspire me to fight for the freedoms and rights that make our diverse country great.

If you elect me your next member of Congress, I will have an open door and will listen to your concerns. I ask for your vote in the June 10 primary.

by ARLnow.com — May 29, 2014 at 9:00 am 558 0

(Updated at 9:10 a.m.) Congressional candidate Lavern Chatman released her first television ad this morning.

In the ad (above), Chatman highlights her upbringing as the daughter of a postal worker and an auto mechanic, then pledges to fight for pay equity for women, a higher minimum wage, and a woman’s right to choose.

Chatman, the former President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, is one of seven Democrats facing off in the upcoming June 10 primary in the race to succeed Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.). She’s the only woman in the race.

Chatman is one of the top fundraisers in the race, thanks in part to a fundraiser with media mogul Oprah Winfrey. However, her campaign has been marred by the revelation that she was found guilty in a fraud case more than a decade ago.

by Ethan Rothstein — May 27, 2014 at 10:00 am 1,561 0

Del. Patrick Hope (D) calls for higher taxes on the wealthy in front of the D.C. IRS headquartersDel. Patrick Hope, one of seven candidates for the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in Congress, fell down stairs while campaigning this weekend and sustained fractured ribs.

According to his campaign, Hope was canvassing Sunday morning in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Fairfax County when he fell. He was taken to Virginia Hospital Center and diagnosed with one broken rib, multiple fractured ribs and some “ugly bruising,” his campaign said in a press release.

“I am resting comfortably at home in Arlington now,” Hope said in the release. “I’ve knocked on 13,000 doors in the last five years, and dealt with a few misjudged stairs, a dog bite and a couple of ankle sprains and never missed a beat. A rib break will cause me to miss some time on the campaign trail however.”

Hope is the only remaining candidate in the Democratic race who lives in Arlington. His six opponents in the June 10 primary — Don Beyer, Lavern Chatman, Bill Euille, Adam Ebbin, Mark Levine and Derek Hyra — all live in Alexandria. Hope had previously planned to visit every precinct in the 8th District, which covers all of Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County, but he announced those plans will have to change.

“I am committing today to personally call voters in those precincts I am unable to visit,” Hope said. “When I thought about those who are uninsured and need our help — I decided that the campaign will go on.”

Hope is a healthcare attorney who works as the senior director of legislative policy for the American College of Cardiology, and he has vowed that, if elected, his first actions in Congress would be to defend Obamacare and to try to institute universal healthcare.

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm 644 0

Mark Levine, one of the seven remaining Democratic candidates competing to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), has released a new television ad.

In the ad, he calls Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “my role model” and pledges to strengthen the Voting Rights Act and reverse the Citizens United decision “to reduce the impact of big money corruption in politics.” Levine, an attorney and liberal talk show host, says he’ll be “a strong voice that stands out in the crowd.”

Levine’s campaign says it will be “placing a six-figure media buy on broadcast, cable, and radio” — including “a minimum of several hundred thousand dollars over the next three weeks on TV alone” – to help get the ad and the message of Levine’s “experience with national issues and progressive agenda” out. The Democratic congressional primary will be held June 10.

Levine isn’t the only candidate to release a TV ad. Former Virginia lieutenant governor Don Beyer released a commercial last month that featured an endorsement from former state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple.

“The 30-second spot is about reproductive rights, equal pay and paid maternity leave, and opens with Whipple, who is the Beyer campaign Treasurer,” the Beyer campaign said in a press release, which touted a “six-figure” media buy for the ad.

by Ethan Rothstein — May 19, 2014 at 11:00 am 1,159 0

Barbara Kanninen votes for herself in the 2014 School Board Democratic caucus (Flickr pool photo by wolfkann)(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Barbara Kanninen won the Democratic endorsement for the Arlington School Board this weekend, a narrow victory in the caucus over Nancy Van Doren and Greg Greeley.

Kanninen, who narrowly lost to School Board member James Lander in last year’s Democratic endorsement caucus, defeated Nancy Van Doren by a similar margin this year, with 1,812 votes to Van Doren’s 1,794. Before an instant runoff was conducted, and Greeley’s votes were distributed to voters’ “second choice” candidates, the margin was a bit wider: Kanninen received 1,549 votes, Van Doren 1,329 and Greeley received 839.

Kanninen campaigned for reduced standardized testing among Arlington Public Schools students and said she was “uncomfortable” when Arlington was announced as the top-spending school system in the state. She also said that one way to solve APS’ growing capacity issue was flexible spending during a debate among the three candidates last month.

Kanninen, an economist and children’s book author, said through working on advisory boards for both the School Board and County Board over the years, as well as with children in Arlington and D.C., she has the experience needed to be a productive Board member.

“Our schools are important to all of us, whether we are parents, teachers, homeowners, or citizens who want to live in a community that values education,” she wrote in her candidate essay for ARLnow.com this month. “Collectively, we have the energy, the brains, and the will to do great things for our kids and our community.”

Kanninen told ARLnow.com in an email Monday afternoon that she enjoyed “the many lively and informative discussions” she’s had with the community during what she called “a vigorous campaign that highlighted Arlingtonians’ deep commitment to making our schools the best they can be.”

Van Doren announced after the caucus results were counted that she would be throwing her support behind Kanninen for the general election in November, for which Kanninen now becomes the odds-on favorite. She will run to fill the seat left vacant by retiring School Board member Sally Baird.

“I wholeheartedly support Barbara in the upcoming general election as she faces the challenges in our school system,” Van Doren said in a press release. “Our community needs to work together to face the challenge of continuing to improve educational outcomes while working with the county to find space for our growing student population.”

Greeley, in an email to ARLnow.com, also congratulated Kanninen, saying the campaign was a chance to have “a great discussion about the future of our schools.”

“Barbara ran a strong campaign,” Greeley wrote. “She had the experience and organization from her campaign last year. Last year’s campaign also provided a degree of name recognition that ultimately proved decisive this year. I look forward to working with her to address the important issues our school system faces, most notably our looming capacity crisis.”

Flickr pool photo by wolfkann

by ARLnow.com — May 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm 966 0

Greg Greeley in the 4/22/14 School Board debateLast week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the endorsement caucus on May 15 and 17.

Here is the unedited response from Greg Greeley:

Over coffees and breakfasts, and outside the more than 1,000 doors I’ve knocked on since December, I’ve had great conversations about how to make our good schools even better.  It’s been a chance to listen and learn and to share my own vision for our schools.

I’m so grateful to have earned the support of Sally Baird, Karen Darner, Ingrid Morroy, Patrick Hope, Adam Ebbin and so many other community leaders.  The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Past PTA Presidents from across Arlington have endorsed me, as have even the Wakefield High School Young Democrats.  Now I’m asking you for your support.  I hope you will agree that I am the best choice to serve on the Arlington School Board right now.

Why should you vote for me?  Here are four reasons:

I’m the only candidate who lives in South Arlington.  A 27-year resident of Columbia Pike, my son attended Randolph Elementary School, a Title 1 school that has struggled to meet the needs of its diverse learners.  There I worked closely with families, staff, school administration, and neighbors to build a stronger neighborhood school.  My son now attends Jefferson Middle School and will attend Wakefield High School.  With a perspective shaped by my experience in South Arlington schools, I will bring a critical balance to the School Board.   I will work to meet the needs of all school communities.

I’m the only candidate working on our school system’s crowding problem.  As a member of the Arlington Public Schools (APS) Facilities Advisory Council (FAC) and chair of its Projections and Capacity Subcommittee, I have been immersed in the most critical issue facing our school system–our capacity crisis.  Over 7,000 additional students will enter APS in the next decade.  I am already working to ensure that APS provides sufficient resources to meet the needs of all our children in the best way possible.  I am also working to ensure that our solutions are constructive and positive, serving the needs of all students.  The School Board named me an “Honored Citizen” for my service to our public schools on this important issue.

I am the only candidate with more than 25 years of professional leadership experience.  An Air Force veteran and business professional, I have managed budgets and staff and know how to address our community’s needs in fiscally responsible ways.  Working with the County Board (which funds our schools), I will guarantee that we plan smartly, use our resources wisely, and ensure our school system’s current and future needs are met.

Finally, I am the only candidate who is the parent of an English language learner.  As a foster parent and the parent of an English language learner who is now a Dream Project scholar, I know we can do better for our kids with special needs.  We must serve all of our children with special needs, be they students with language and ability needs or students with gifted needs.  I will work to ensure that all of our learners with special needs get the early intervention and consistent, effective support they need to succeed in school and in life.

To learn more, please visit my campaign web site at www.gregreeley.com.  Thank you for your support on May 15th or 17th!

by ARLnow.com — May 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm 736 0

School Board candidate Barbara KanninenLast week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the endorsement caucus on May 15 and 17.

Here is the unedited response from Barbara Kanninen:

I am Barbara Kanninen, and I am running for Arlington County School Board because I believe that together we can make Arlington Public Schools the best that they can be.

We’re facing complicated issues that span many dimensions–from budgeting and meeting capacity needs to optimizing classroom instruction–and I bring an equally expansive set of experiences to the table. I have volunteered in schools and worked with children in Arlington and DC for over 20 years.

I have served on School Board and County Board advisory committees, and I’m a professional economist, children’s book author, and long-time Democratic activist. These experiences have given me a deep familiarity with data analysis, hundreds of hours with kids and teachers in classrooms, and a history of working at the community level on grassroots organizing and engagement.

Here are my priorities for our schools:

  • Promote critical thinking over standardized testingI believe our kids spend too much time in class prepping for and taking tests, and teachers have told me they feel this way too. We need to take a hard look at the testing schedule and process to see which tests are essential to classroom learning.
  • Tackle overcrowding with strong leadership and constructive community engagement. As we work to catch up with the growth in our school population, we need to create a long-term plan that considers instructional needs and programs first. We need to work closely with citizens and the County Board to bring a whole-community mindset to the issue, and we must maintain flexibility so that we can adapt, over time, to our changing population and needs.
  • Give teachers the support they deserveTo create an environment in which every child can excel, teachers need support and resources. They also need the flexibility to adjust their teaching approach and pacing to their students’ needs as well as avenues for providing feedback to school principals and county administrators.
  • Support children with mentorsAn adult mentor is a developmental asset that contributes to kids’ problem solving, self-esteem, and achievement. I’d like every student in Arlington to know that there is at least one adult in school who knows them, whom they can go to with problems, and who believes in them, exactly as they are.
  • Continue investing in the arts and strengthen STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs.
 We should strengthen STEM skills through, for example, more hands-on science programs in all elementary schools and more accessible STEM programs across all schools, including the Arlington Career Center. At the same time, students need opportunities to express themselves creatively, so we need to give students at all levels access to a variety of art forms.
  • Be budget-minded by prioritizing funding for teachers and classroom learning. In this time of tight budgets, we need to be both disciplined and principled about spending decisions. My number-one principle is the need to focus on the day-to-day classroom experience and teacher-student relationships, so my budget priorities will be teachers and the resources they need.

Our schools are important to all of us, whether we are parents, teachers, homeowners, or citizens who want to live in a community that values education. Collectively, we have the energy, the brains, and the will to do great things for our kids and our community. I’m excited about the possibilities, and I would be honored to have your vote.

You can vote on either Thursday, May 15th from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at Drew Model School (3500 23rd Street South) or Saturday, May 17th from 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Washington-Lee High School (1301 North Stafford Street).

by ARLnow.com — May 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm 694 0

Nancy Van Doren in the 4/22/14 School Board debateLast week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the endorsement caucus on May 15 and 17.

Here is the unedited response from Nancy Van Doren:

Arlington Public Schools are at a critical juncture: We must continue to improve educational outcomes for all our students while also finding space for over 700 new students each year. This challenge requires a leader who has a deep understanding of our students and schools. I am that leader. I ask for your support and vote on May 15 and 17 at the Democratic School Board endorsement caucus.

For the last decade I have dedicated myself to working with scores of parents, students, and teachers across Arlington to ensure APS is responsive to individual student needs. I am the only candidate with such extensive experience at the operational level in our schools. I am also the only candidate with hands-on experience at the school and system level in multiple areas, including facilities improvement, transportation, instruction, special education, family engagement and diversity. I am also fluent in Spanish and helped to found the Arlington Latino Network. This experience and knowledge is essential to ensure student, parent and teacher voices are heard at the Board table while critical decisions are made related to facilities and student achievement.

I work collaboratively and build coalitions to fix problems and find solutions. This track record of “getting the job done” is my hallmark. For example, as Jefferson Middle School PTA President, I worked with civic associations, feeder schools, parents, and staff to get Jefferson and its playing fields renovated cost-effectively; I also ensured families from all backgrounds were supported and welcomed in school. I lead the effort and successfully secured Jefferson’s designation as a County-wide school, which enables students from across Arlington to attend the school and receive bus service.

When APS disrupted its transportation system, I stepped up, served on the Multi-Modal Transportation Committee, and worked to issue recommendations to get students safely to school. I lead the successful effort to obtain school bus service to dozens of students along the Columbia Pike Corridor attending Kenmore and Jefferson Middle Schools.

As Chair of the Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee, I spearheaded an effort to have special needs services evaluated, resulting in a blueprint for improved services and instruction. I also created support groups for families and advocated on their behalf, ensuring students got what they needed to succeed in school.
These concrete accomplishments in leadership positions over the past ten years at the school and county level set me apart from the other candidates.

I am education advocate with extensive business and international experience. I spent 12 years in the private sector with Connecticut National Bank, The Travelers Companies, The Hartford Courant and Newsday. I am fluent in Spanish and lived in Nicaragua and Spain. I spent eight years overseas with my husband Jack Zetkulic, a Foreign Service Officer, and my family living in Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland. For the last decade, my family and I have lived in Ashton Heights and my children attend Jefferson Middle School and W-L High School). I served on and/or Chaired the following Committees in APS: Multi-Modal Student Safety Special Services Committee, Arlington Career Center Parent Advisory Committee, Family and Community Engagement Working Group, Arlington Special Education Advisory Committee, ADHD Task Force, Advisory Council on Instruction, County Council of PTAs, Jefferson Middle School PTA President, Washington-Lee Crew Boosters and Fundraising, Arlington Latino Network (Founding Member), ArlingtonADHD and ArlingtonReading Parent Support Groups (Founder).

To read more about my candidacy, please visit my website www.nancyvandoren.org. I can also be found on Facebook at Nancy Van Doren for School Board.

by Ethan Rothstein — May 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm 2,295 0

Alan Howze speaks at the Democrat's election party 4/8/14(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) The latest edition of the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s monthly newsletter, The Voice, indicates that many Democrats feel the Arlington County Board is to blame for the results of last month’s special election.

New County Board member John Vihstadt defeated Democrat Alan Howze by a 57-41 percent margin, becoming the first non-Democrat elected to the Board since 1999.

“The overriding conclusion of Democrats who campaigned long and hard was that voters were ticked off at what they perceived as ‘arrogrance’ by the County Board,” The Voice, written by Editor-in-Chief Warren L. Nelson and Deputy Editor Eric Wiener, said in a front page story. “What was most remarkable, however, was that this concern about arrogance was not just voiced by those who voted for John Vihstadt but by legions of voters who stuck by the Democratic candidate, Alan Howze.”

“The overriding issue of the special election was the proposed Columbia Pike streetcar,” the newsletter noted.

The Voice wrote that ACDC President Kip Malinosky addressed the local party’s Steering Committee and asked for assessments. The committee members, the Voice writes, “disagreed strongly” with the voters’ claims of Board arrogance, but “found it prevalent as they campaigned and talked with voters.”

“This election wasn’t about Alan or John or the ACDC,” one Steering Committee member wrote, “it was about the current ruling coalition on the County Board, and their aloofness, hubris and tone-deaf attitude toward their constituents.”

“I believe real changes need to be made about the way Arlington is run,” another Steering Committee member said, “and about the specific policies the Board has committed to without obtaining citizen approval… Real changes need to be made to show Arlingtonians we have absorbed the lessons of [the special election].”

The newsletter also argued that Vihstadt may not be as much of an underdog in the upcoming November rematch against Howze as some Democrats like to think.

Many around the party argued that this was only a special election with a small voter turnout — the typical scenario where the GOP does well–and that things will be different in November. But that was not the view that prevailed among those party workers who were most active in contacting voters.

The turnout was large for a special election, a record, in fact. ACDC’s ground campaign effort was widely seen as very effective in getting out the Democratic vote. But as one campaigner said, “Many of them then voted for Vihstadt.”

The newsletter, released this week, comes on the heels of County Board member Libby Garvey, who supported and donated to Vihstadt’s campaign, resigning from the ACDC after Malinosky called for a hearing to potentially remove her.

Garvey spoke to ARLnow.com after she resigned, saying she hopes the party will become stronger in the long run after it “figures out what the real questions and issues are.”

“I’m not the problem,” she said after her resignation, “I’m a symptom.”

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