Last week we asked the six Democratic Arlington County Board candidates to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them during the June 9 primary. Two County Board seats are up for grabs this year.
Here is the unedited response from Andrew Schneider:
When you run for office and knock on doors, you start to hear the same questions over and over. Why are you running? What are your priorities? How are you different from the other candidates?
Why am I running?
I am running because Arlington is facing two concurrent challenges that must be addressed aggressively and creatively. The first is our rapidly growing school population. Where we put these kids and how we pay for them is fundamental to the future of our County. The second challenge is what’s happening with our economy – the high vacancy rates, the impact of BRAC, increasing regional competition, and the changing nature of office space and work. As an Arlingtonian and as a candidate I have thought how these issues are interconnected and how I can make a difference in each of these areas.
- Stronger collaboration with the School Board in budgeting, school location and construction, and forecasting.
- To pay for schools, we must aggressively work with our partners in the business community and Arlington Economic Development to lower the vacancy rate and to invigorate the commercial sector in key areas like Rosslyn and Crystal City.
- To attract businesses we must have great customer service and make it easier to interact with the County. This goes for residents as well as businesses whether it’s applying for a permit, submitting a site plan, or reporting a pothole.
- We can’t do any of these things if we spend our time playing “sandbox” politics. From day one, I have focused my campaign on One Arlington, One Community. We have to stop pitting different parts of our community against one another – Schools vs. Parks, North vs. South, Housing vs. Parks, and Business vs. Residents etc.
How am I different than other candidates?
The candidates that I am running against are all good people and we share many of the same values. I like to answer this question through three criteria 1) Values 2) Experience and 3) Leadership style.
- Regarding our values, the fact that we are all Democrats means that many of our core values are similar and, frankly, there isn’t a huge amount of policy separation between us. This fact has been born out in nearly every policy question asked of through the campaign.
- Regarding experience, each of us brings different skills and experiences to the table. Some of my colleagues argue that this is the defining differentiation. I believe that my experience as an Arlingtonian, Civic Association President, and member of the Lee Highway revitalization effort has partially prepared me for this office. I also believe that my MBA, work in the private sector, having run a Chamber of Commerce, and my work in the public sector has also prepared me. I am a sum of my experienced and I believe that my resume and my record of leadership and of civic engagement have prepared me to serve our County.
- Regarding my leadership experience, I offer myself as a leader who listens and works to build consensus. I will not present myself as someone who has all the answers but rather I will work tirelessly every day to learn and act on behalf of the community that we all love so much.
From day one of this campaign, I have run as a candidate who will listen, work hard, and do what I can to address the challenges that we face as a County. I promise to never talk down to voters, to always have an open mind, to always think creatively and innovatively, and to always reply to funny, snarky, and creative GIFs in the comment section of arlnow.com
To learn more about me, see a list of Arlingtonians who have endorsed me, and to watch my campaign videos, please visit www.andrewforarlington.com
I’d be honored to earn your vote on Tuesday.