Progressive Voice: Cristol and Dorsey — Right for Arlington

Joe WholeyProgressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or

This year’s County Board election is the most important in many years.

It is vitally important that Arlington voters take the time to vote.

It is equally important that they cast two votes for the County Board and that those votes go to Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey.

The alternatives in this year’s election will put into jeopardy many great things that make Arlington the community we love. Indeed the County’s longstanding vision and values are at risk if we do not vote for Katie and Christian.

Their opponents want to cut taxes, focus only on ill-defined “core services” and cut school funding. If Arlington were to elect even one of their opponents, we could lose many good things that make Arlington Arlington.

Katie and Christian are policy-oriented people who will bring fresh perspectives on protecting the County’s core values and moving the County forward.

They will make sure that the County’s fiscal resources are spent wisely and prudently.

They are very personable and dynamic – able to engage and listen – to make sure that the voices of residents are heard in the County’s planning and decision-making.

They also understand that Arlington did not become the place so many people want to live by shortchanging its future or by pitting people and priorities against each other in a hostile and harmful way.

From my experience on the County Board, I know that we can and must deliver core services in an effective, efficient, and cost-conscious way.

But I also know from that experience that much of what has made Arlington special is our decades-long commitment to long-range planning, effective innovation and partnerships, and smart strategic investments.

We have always looked beyond what is standard to make Arlington a truly remarkable place that attracts and keeps people who want something better.

And I learned from that experience that we can’t solve our problems by promising every group that they will get their priorities addressed to the exclusion of others. Rather, we must work together to find solutions that advance a range of County priorities simultaneously – good government with sound finances and a reasonable tax structure, outstanding schools, good libraries, fine parks and recreation programs, attractive transportation options, economic development and competitiveness, human services programs, and affordable housing programs, among others.

These priorities are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they can and do build upon each other to create a greater whole. Our residents are fully capable of coming forward with good ideas for making it all work.

For those of us who remember the accomplishments of Arlingtonians for a Better County – I say that Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey are our best hope for a Better Arlington.

They deserve your votes and your support.

I am heartened to know that a newer generation of Arlington voters sees this election in a similar way. Progressive Voice columnist Harrison Godfrey is a member of the Millenial Generation who was raised in Arlington and wants to make it his long-term home.

Here is Harry’s take on this year’s County Board election:

“It’s not by accident that Arlington has the highest percentage of Millennials of any county in the United States. Smart planning, a welcoming, cosmopolitan culture, and a vibrant economy – especially in the midst of the Great Recession – have made it an attractive destination for young professionals. That’s great news for our County as small non-profits and large companies alike look for an educated, engaged workforce when deciding where to locate.

“Unfortunately the attributes that have attracted young professionals to Arlington aren’t guaranteed. Federal budget sequestration, for instance, is dampening area job growth and raising commercial vacancy rates. At the same time Arlington’s attractive features have helped push home prices beyond the reach of many first-time buyers and winnowed the stock of affordable rental units.

“To meet these challenges, it’s more important than ever that we have a County Board that upholds Arlington’s tradition of smart planning. Katie and Christian will — with a particular focus on housing affordability, education, and economic competitiveness.

“It’s also critical that we have a Board that represents the demographic, geographic, and economic diversity of our County. The addition of Christian and Katie will ensure that.”

Please join Harry and me in voting for Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey on November 3.

Joe Wholey is former three-time Chairman of the Arlington County Board. Harrison Godfrey is a former White House legislative aide who works on clean-tech policy at the state and Federal levels.

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