Arlington, VA

Candidate Essay: Mary Hynes

Last week we asked the three candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why the county’s residents should vote for them on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Two County Board seats are up for election this year.

Here is the unedited response from incumbent Mary Hynes (D):

I love Arlington. It’s been my family’s home for more than 30 years; my five kids grew up here. I love that people from all around the world call Arlington home, that our small business community is very diverse and that our corporate citizens include some of America’s best companies. Our school system is admired; we’re fortunate to have great parks and libraries and many recreational choices. I love that Arlingtonians are not shy about sharing opinions and quick to offer help – whether it’s professional experience that’s needed, neighbor-to-neighbor outreach like Citizen Corps or Neighborhood Conservation, or effective advocacy and creativity on significant challenges like ensuring sufficient affordable housing. Working together we’ve made Arlington a great place!

I am honored to have served my fellow Arlingtonians for more than 16 years – twelve as a school board member and, since 2008, on the County Board. I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to do. During my time as a School Board member, the student achievement gap narrowed, great schools were built across the county, and competitive pay ensured our kids had excellent teachers. As a County Board member, I’ve worked to make sure we take great care of our County parks, roads and other facilities and created a citizen group to advise the County Board in this important area. Working with neighborhoods across the county to help citizens better understand and participate in the work of the County and increasing budget transparency and accountability through the use of performance measures also have been priorities for me.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate the bold and thoughtful choices made by our community’s leaders in the 60s – in particular their decision to locate Metro lines along Wilson Boulevard from Rosslyn to Ballston and through Pentagon City and Crystal City. These decisions contribute significantly to Arlington’s strong transit orientation, financial health, and economic diversity. I believe the question for us now – especially given current economic uncertainty – is “What’s next for Arlington? What vision – what plan – will allow us to become an even more inclusive, healthier community, one that continues to grow and improve in important ways – even as jurisdictions throughout the region adopt plans and policies that Arlington has employed successfully for years?”

The answer, I believe, depends upon our making systematic choices to be smarter, more sustainable, and better prepared. To me, this means:

  • Expanding our housing choices
  • Extending effective transit across the County
  • Encouraging resource conservation
  • Elanning to make it easier to get most of what we need close to home
  • Preparing so we can depend on each other in times of need

Recently, I’ve taken on regional responsibilities I believe will help advance these necessary, ambitious goals. As a Metro Board Member, I work every day on our region’s complex transportation challenges. I bring to that work a clear understanding of Arlington’s transit-dependency coupled with the urgent state and regional need to plan and pay for new ways to efficiently move many more residents and workers. As a Vice-chair of the Region Forward Coalition for the Council of Government, I am an advocate for well-coordinated job, housing and transit policies and plans designed to improve Arlington’s sustainability while ensuring regional vibrancy.

In the end, I am committed to Arlington continuing to be a great place to live, work, learn, play, raise a family and grow older. These are challenging times. It will take all of us working together, listening carefully, and planning thoughtfully to chart our course – one that will guide us for the next 30 years.

I ask for your vote on November 8th for myself and for my running mate Walter Tejada so we can continue the journey together. What a gift we can give to those who come after us!

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