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Candidate Essay: Theo Stamos

Last week, we asked the two Democratic candidates for Commonwealth’s Attorney in Arlington to write a sub-750 word essay on why residents should vote for them on Tuesday.

Here is the unedited response from Theo Stamos:

My name is Theo Stamos and I am running for Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church. For the past 25 years I have been on the front lines of the criminal justice system, beginning as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in 1987 and serving as Chief Deputy since 2002. I have prosecuted and supervised the prosecution of thousands of cases, always guided by the truth that the role of a prosecutor is to seek justice for victims and fairness for all.

I am honored to have the endorsement of my friend and mentor, Dick Trodden, our out-going CA, as well as the support of the Arlington Coalition of Police, the Falls Church Police Association and the Arlington County Deputy Sheriff’s Association. These dedicated public servants are the people who know my work best and see me in court every day.

My devotion to our community is a deeply personal one. My husband and I have been so fortunate to raise our two sons here. As a participant in Leadership Arlington, as board member of Offender Aid and Restoration, and as a member of the PTA at Arlington Traditional School, Swanson Middle School and Yorktown High School, I have developed a broad appreciation for the values of the community we call home.

Since announcing my candidacy last December I have knocked on more than 10,000 doors, introducing myself to voters, listening to their concerns and making the case for their support. In countless conversations I have been heartened and encouraged; heartened by the expressions of care and concern for our community, and encouraged to continue to fight for what is right for victims, witnesses, and criminal defendants.

During my tenure I initiated our office’s Domestic Violence Rapid Response Team to better coordinate our response to victims of domestic violence. I am also proud of our office’s role in starting “Second Chance,” a diversion and early intervention program for first-time youth drug and alcohol offenders set to begin this fall. I have been working with other community leaders to modernize our approach to drug possession cases. Using lessons learned elsewhere from the success of Drug Courts, we are working on an Arlington-specific model with the goal of fewer convictions, less incarceration, more treatment and less recidivism.

As Commonwealth’s Attorney I intend to expand our outreach to communities who may feel reluctant to report crimes. Our office speaks for all victims of crime no matter how those victims happened to arrive in Arlington. We will allow no language barrier, no cultural divide, no question of documentation to prevent victims from having their day in court to confront their assailant.

I am committed to diversity within our prosecutorial ranks. Although we do not currently have any bi-lingual assistant CAs, we have in the past and hope to have more in the future. But the ability to connect with witnesses and victims, earn their trust and make sure that they testify clearly and truthfully is not dependent on everyone speaking the same language. Compassion, empathy and trust are universal languages and are most prized in our office.

I am honored to serve the people of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church. I ask for your support and for your vote Tuesday, August 23.

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