Not a single member of the House of Delegates from Arlington received an endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the nation’s largest organization of small businesses. To be fair, not a single Democrat in Virginia received one of NFIB’s 53 endorsements.
While NFIB’s legislative priorities of lower taxes and a common sense regulatory environment does not regularly line up with the Democratic policy agenda, it makes one think, how are Democrats doing when they can implement their own agenda?
While the General Assembly is controlled by Republicans, Democrats in Arlington have a 4-1 majority on the County Board. This is not new. As Arlington has become more urban, its voting patterns have increasingly trended toward the Democrats. The Democrats have controlled the Board since the 1980s and have spent most of the time since holding all five of the seats.
Erik Gutshall, the Democrats’ current nominee for County Board, is almost certainly going to maintain that 4-1 split this November. To his credit, he has posted a number of issue statements on his website. In one of them, Gutshall repeats the line that many Democrat candidates have used when he says, “it is more important than ever for Arlingtonians to embrace the shared progressive values that have always united us.”
When I hear a Democrat make such a statement, it makes me wonder do they spend much time talking to people outside of their own bubble? While “progressive values” do unite about one-third of Arlingtonians, one in four Arlingtonians typically vote Republican. The remainder are left of center and generally vote for Democrats, but they are open to a common sense message that paved the way for the election of Republican-backed Independent John Vihstadt to win a seat.
But year after year Democrats in Arlington run on a similar set of so-called “progressive” issues. After three decades of controlling Arlington, maybe it’s time to ask how have their results stacked up against their own agenda? Here are three issues to start the conversation:
Commercial Vacancy Rate: This issue has come to the forefront in recent years, but it boils down to a simple question: do Arlington’s policies as they relate to owning and operating a business attract new businesses to our county?
Housing Affordability: For all of the efforts to address this issue and talk year after year from Democrat candidates, has the all-Democrat county leadership made housing in Arlington more affordable or less affordable?
The State of Metro: Arlington is not alone in this one, but the WMATA Board has almost exclusively been made up of Democrats. Under that leadership, is Metro structured and operated in a way that is safe and fiscally sustainable?
Democrats may have a virtual lock on electoral politics for the foreseeable future here in Arlington. They also benefit from Arlington’s location directly across the Potomac River from the greatest concentration of power and wealth on Earth which protects are tax base and gives our elected leaders a big margin for error in how they manage our resources. They should be held accountable for how they measure up to their own “progressive” standards.