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Video: What Do Arlington’s Newest County Board Members Hope to Achieve?

by ARLnow.com — February 23, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

What do Arlington’s newest County Board members hope to accomplish in their new positions, why did they run and how do they plan to increase Millennial and minority participation in county government?

Those are a few of the questions Sarah Fraser asked Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey at our February ARLnow Presents event in Clarendon earlier this month.

The full video from the event, via Arlington Independent Media, is above. Below are some of insights from the evening’s program, which included an audience question-and-answer session at the end.

Why did you want to run for County Board?

Cristol: “I decided to run because I thought Arlington could use some new perspectives. Everyone deserves representation.”

What are you hoping to accomplish year one?

Dorsey: “We’ve got a nearly 20 percent [office] vacancy rate, so I’m trying to get it down to 10 percent. We need to see some progress, each percent we can get rid of means $3 million in tax revenue that doesn’t have to be raised. That’s an extreme focus in this first year.”

How do you better include the input of Millennials and minorities in county government?

Cistol: “You start by listening to them, hearing what they have to say the obstacles are. When you talk to folks in the communities, people are generally willing to talk about them.”

Thoughts on the widening of I-66?

Cristol: “We are disappointed, I think widening is bad for the communities. We have tons of data that shows that widening is not wise. We are going to look very closely at environmental research that is required as a pre-requisite before the construction begins.”

What can you do to serve communities along Columbia Pike that have felt neglected since the cancellation of the streetcar project?

Dorsey: “These equity issues are decades long. I don’t see any Board preference in North Arlington. If we get the economic engines humming we have have a lot of potential. There’s also things that we can do to make South Arlington neighborhoods more appealing to investors.”

There are a lot of examples of local restaurants and businesses closing, even as many open. Is there anything the county can do about that?

Dorsey: “It’s our responsibility to make sure small businesses are able to thrive, instead of just recruiting the big ones. Going back to affordability, a reason small businesses aren’t able to thrive is because [owners] don’t have the money to.”

Thank you to our participants and to Mad Rose Tavern for hosting us. Details about the March ARLnow Presents event, which will be held in Crystal City and will focus on Arlington’s burgeoning tech scene, will be released soon.

Quotes compiled by Justin Funkhouser.

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