This week, we asked the Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them in the Democratic caucus. The caucus is being held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. today and from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Here is the unedited response from Peter Fallon:
Arlington is a caring community that promotes equality, values diversity, helps those at risk, has great schools, invests in our future, and practices good government. My priorities in this campaign represent these shared values.
As I’ve reached out to voters, the message I’m hearing back has been consistent. People tell me they don’t think the County Board’s decision-making is representative of the community as a whole. I consistently hear that no one is listening to them. Well, I’m here to tell you that I’m listening, and I want to be your voice on the County Board.
I work as a tax accountant and small business advisor. I understand the struggles entrepreneurs face working to make their dream a reality. I also understand that Arlington must reposition itself to attract quality employers to fill our vacant office buildings and maintain our commercial tax base. As an accountant and former auditor, I know when the numbers “don’t add up right.” I pledge to bring a new focus on both transparency and fiscal accountability to Arlington’s decision-making. We must rebuild the public’s confidence in the County’s ability to manage large capital projects both on-time and on-budget.
Arlington has long held a reputation for good government, grounded in the tradition of electing county board members with deep roots in our community and years of service on our advisory commissions. I share this tradition.
My family and I have called Arlington home for more than 27 years. In 1991, we purchased our first home in the Donaldson Run neighborhood where we still live today. Our children attend a local preschool and our eldest will enter Taylor Elementary in September.
I started out as a community advocate, as the President of the Donaldson Run Civic Association for 11 years and represented my neighborhood on the Civic Federation and Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC) for over a decade.
I’ve been privileged to serve on the County Planning Commission, the Housing Commission and the Transportation Commission. Over the years, I’ve acquired direct experience across all major areas of responsibility of the County Board from affordable housing to zoning and long range planning. I have a record of working with the community and respecting the diversity of opinion that accompanies all issues in Arlington.
I have been part of the smart growth story that has made Arlington successful, while preserving our established neighborhoods and protecting our high quality of life.
I have focused on getting results for Arlington. I’ve worked to preserve and create over 1,000 units of committed affordable housing. I’ve advocated for our human services community and fought for those seniors, the disabled, and others so that they can live independently and with dignity. I worked with APS, parents, elected officials and the community in the design and approval of Washington-Lee HS, Yorktown HS, Wakefield HS, and the recently approved elementary school projects at Ashlawn and Williamsburg. I know we must work collaboratively with the school system to resolve capacity issues, maintain small class sizes, and ensure equal access to FLES and other learning opportunities in all our schools. We must not allow geographic boundaries to limit access to quality education.
I have worked to protect open space, build recreation facilities, a library and a fire station. These are among the core services of Arlington, and should not be forgotten as we plan our future.
In the next few days, you have an opportunity to make a choice for the future of Arlington. Experience matters in a community like Arlington. I have that experience and can be effective on Day One. To bring about change, you have to have seen firsthand, where we need to improve. I hear your dismay about the County’s priorities. We must think of new ways to do things and I have the experience to do that.
As a member of the County Board, I will continue my record of independent leadership. I will seek common ground with other members to get more results on our core services and bring new opportunities to our community. I pledge to work openly and cooperatively with all members of the County Board, School Board and the community. Civility is an Arlington tradition, which we should demonstrate even as we disagree.
I’m Peter Fallon. I ask for your vote on Jan. 30 or Feb. 1 to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for the Arlington County Board special election.