This month, we asked the candidates from each competitive race on the ballot on Election Day to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them on Nov. 4.
Here is Democratic County Board candidate Alan Howze’s unedited response:
On November 4th, your vote will help define Arlington’s future. The election is about choosing a vision for our community and the leadership we need as we confront decisions that will affect our county for generations to come.
I am running to bring a new voice to the County Board and new ideas for how to move Arlington forward.
By many measures our community is thriving — with great schools, vibrant neighborhoods, high-quality transit that makes Arlington such an attractive place to live and work.
However, we also face challenges. We need to move quickly to address school overcrowding, strengthen our local economy, focus on affordability, and provide parks and recreational space for residents.
I will bring my experience in business and government to addressing these needs in a fiscally responsible manner that brings the community together without resorting to the politics of division or obstruction.
I represent a new generation of Democratic leadership and I bring a different perspective.
As we address school overcrowding, I would be the only County Board member with children in our schools.
In a county where 60% of all residents are between the ages of 20-50, I would be the only Board member under 55 years of age.
I would bring to the Board my business experience as we address our rising commercial vacancy rate.
Moreover, I am proud to run as a Democrat on a ticket with Senator Mark Warner, who I worked for when he was Governor of Virginia. Our team of Democratic candidates share a commitment to opportunity, equality and prosperity — and to progress, not obstruction.
In contrast, my opponent, who claims to be an Independent, is a lifelong Republican. He actively sought — and received — the endorsement of the Arlington GOP. He has been an active Republican volunteer and has given thousands to anti-choice and anti-environment Republican candidates. His campaign has been funded primarily by Republican donors. Republicans are not supporting an independent voice, but rather attempting to move Arlington away from its progressive principles.
To move our community forward, I am putting my Democratic values and my experience in business and government into action through specific proposals to address key issues in our community:
- Solving school overcrowding by working with the School Board and community to develop short-term solutions and a long-term plan
- Expanding pre-K access to ALL Arlington families
- Setting a target of ZERO pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths due to vehicle accidents
- Providing safe-routes to all our schools
- Saving money and improving services by sharing services between the County and Schools
- Reducing our carbon emissions and making Arlington more resilient to climate change
- Making critical improvements to Metro and creating a modern streetcar system that runs on renewable energy and minimizes construction disruption for neighborhoods and businesses
- Increasing community engagement in solving school overcrowding and through a streetcar referendum
Contrast these detailed plans with my opponent, who has offered no vision for addressing our community’s challenges and has engaged in obstruction instead. Putting politics ahead of the community’s best interests, he voted AGAINST funding to address school overcrowding, to maintain the Metro system, and for our parks.
He even proposes sending $150M in transportation funds back to Richmond rather than using it here in Arlington to improve our economy and quality of life. That is not the leadership we need.
I am ready to deliver innovative, community-based solutions that reflect all our community’s needs and interests. I will not always agree with my fellow Democrats, but I will push hard for real solutions and work to bring our community together without stoking divisiveness.
I will demand accountability and focus on fiscal responsibility, much as I did on the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission where I called in 2013 for a $6.4M tax cut and created a plan to maintain our parks and facilities. I will also support private sector innovation through public investments like ConnectArlington and market innovators such as Uber and Lyft.
I have spent months knocking on thousands of doors and listening to voters like you talk about the issues and the solutions that will help move Arlington forward.
My innovative ideas and hard work have earned the endorsement of the Sierra Club and the endorsement of Arlington’s Educators. Visit my website to learn more.
If you are as impatient for solving Arlington’s challenges as I am, I ask for your vote on November 4th. Together we can fulfill a vision of a vibrant, safe, diverse and affordable community. Let’s get to work.
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