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Candidate Essay: Walter Tejada

by ARLnow.com November 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm 3,251 20 Comments

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 J. Walter Tejada (D):

My name is Walter Tejada and I am proud to call Arlington my hometown.  I am honored to have served you on the Arlington County Board over the last eight years.  We have a great community in which we enjoy a high quality of life.  We are a safe community.  We have a low real estate tax rate, the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia, and great schools. We are an award-winning model for smart growth.

Like one quarter of Arlington’s population today, I was born in another country; in my case, El Salvador.  I came to the United States at age 13, and quickly adapted to a new culture and language.  In 1992 I settled in my new hometown, Arlington County.  Right away I became involved in our civic life to try to make a difference, and I haven’t stopped.  I proudly served the community in many civic roles before joining the Board in 2003.

When elected, my mission was to continue being a good steward of our county government while making my own contributions to improving our community.  My philosophy is rooted in the principles of social and economic justice, and I believe my achievements in the last eight years reflect this commitment.  Among my proudest achievements are leading the way to:

  • setting up the Community Volunteer Network  to help young adults engage in our civic life and become the next generation of leaders;
  • establishing the Office of Public Defender for Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, ensuring legal representation for indigent residents;
  • creating the Arlington Non-Profit Assistance Program to strengthen our non-profit organizations;
  • launching FitArlington, to promote a culture of fitness and to encourage healthy living;
  • initiating the Diversity Dialogues, which bring Arlingtonians together to discuss meaningful issues, and which has become an important tool in community conversations.

If I have the privilege of being elected once again, I will continue to work on issues of critical importance to the success of our community, including:

  • Fiscal sustainability – While I’m proud that in each of the eight years I have been in office Arlington has received a triple AAA bond rating, we must continue to maintain our fiscal health through wise investment, a responsible capital improvement plan, and careful management of our resources while maintaining a safety net for our most vulnerable neighbors.
  • Affordable housing – One of the most compelling issues in Arlington today is affordable housing.  While we are grateful for our economic success, we can’t let that success turn away valuable members of our community through rising home prices and rents.  I will continue my priority to increase the number of affordable housing units in the county.
  • Promoting healthy living – I want to continue to make Arlington a healthy community, a place where there is easy access to parks, bike trails, walkable neighborhoods and ample sources of locally-grown fresh foods.
  • Maintaining a caring and inclusive community – Virginia is known as the cradle of liberty, yet there are many who seek to move us back to a less welcoming era.  Thankfully, here in our hometown we set an example for the rest of the state in creating a welcoming community.  I will continue to promote our values of unity and social justice, and speak up for those who work hard every day for our community.

There are of course many other issues we will confront in the next four years to which I will dedicate time and energy, such as:

  • Pursuing greater environmental sustainability
  • Preserving and enhancing open space
  • Implementing our community energy plan

Working together for all of Arlington, I look forward to the years ahead, hearing your ideas, and joining efforts toward our shared goals.  I ask for your support and for your vote, not only for me but also for my running mate Mary Hynes, on November 8.  Working together, we can continue to ensure that our hometown is a world class community for all.

  • Walter,

    You have been a credit to Arlington and I appreciate all your hard work. You have done a terrific job.

    I respect your efforts for the Latino community in Arlington, they deserve and need our support.

    I have lived in Arlington for 21 years and I see the problems with illegal aliens. What is being done in Arlington to help these people get citizenship and right to work status and what is being done to get rid of the criminal element?


    • Jimmy

      “I respect all laws, except for the ones I disagree with. I just don’t like feeling guilty is all, gee.”

  • Sam I Ain’t

    I will continue to tax like crazy, borrow even crazier, and spend like a drunken monkey in a banana shop. But it’s not my fault, because Zimmie tells me what to do. Walter T.

    • drax

      Yet he’s not actually doing any of that.

  • KalashniKEV

    I oppose Secure Communities, because I think it’s way better to have “Diverse” Communities -Walter T.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    I will not vote for a county board incumbent(one of who’s primary responsibilities is approving site plans) when he is so woefully unprepared or unqualified as to have to ask what the symbol for a door is on a floor plan – you can see it in the county board videos.

  • Manuel Escandolo

    I’d like to ask him details on any of the above talking points to see if he can formulate an answer on his own, without staff assistance.

  • Manuel Escandolo

    And btw, what’s the idea with these merged “Hines/Tejada” signs? I’d say it’s every man for themselves…or anybody but a yesman.

    • Thes

      It’s called a political party. In this case the Democratic Party. They organized to nominate and get behind two candidates for two slots. Vote as you wish, of course. But Democrats have a right to organize and express their views.

      • Manuel Escandolo

        Party-line voting is for ____________.

        • Thes

          ___ people who have identified a party that best aligns with their values.

          • Burger

            more likely people that can’t think for themselves.

      • Jack Thomas

        Thes the apologist has returned! Great to see that the County PR staff is still working at 4:46 pm.

        • Plunkitt of Clarendon Blvd

          “Great to see that the County PR staff is still working at 4:46 pm”

          Oh they work around the clock……

    • Manuel Escandolo


  • PotentialSlacker

    I see this guy taking public transit a lot. I know nothing else about him but at least I know he is a man of the people.

  • RhymesWithFolly

    Interesting .. no mention of transportation issues. Maybe he’ll back off supporting the CP trolley … Hey, a person is allowed to dream now and then 😉

  • Narlington

    I don’t like him and I am not going to vote for him. He has done nothing for this county or its employees.

  • Miriam Gennari

    The way to impact the board is “bullet voting” Vote for Clement ONLY. If we are very lucky she will win a seat. Since both incumbents have the same agenda. One will win by default, one will lose and that is their fault.

  • Talter Wejada

    I’m as bad of a leader as I am a soccer player.


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