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The Right Note: You Get What You Vote For

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Tolls are reported to have reached as high as $40 on I-66 this week. A Republican bill to block those tolls failed last year after Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) expressed his strong opposition. The Governor dismissed concerns the tolls would ever reach close to $20.

Maybe you are happy with the Governor’s decision because people who drive through Arlington to get to DC should be taken to the cleaners by the tolls. Maybe you have had to pay one yourself.

One thing is for sure – elections have consequences.

In Arlington, Democrats have completely dominated county government for the past three decades. A Republican or Independent has been elected, but never more than one at a time.

Every action taken by the Arlington County government is 100 percent owned by the Democratic Party here in Arlington. Sure, they occasionally try to blame Richmond or Washington, particularly when they can preface those statements with the words “Republicans in.”

And once in a while Richmond does take a direct swipe at Arlington, see the hotel tax or the recent towing ordinance (which Democratic state Sen. Barbara Favola helped overturn along with Governor McAuliffe).  But those are the exceptions, not the rule.

At no time did we ever see that elections had consequences here in Arlington more than 2014. After John Vihstadt won the special election early in the year, largely on the issue that the Columbia Pike Streetcar represented a big county boondoggle, Democrats claimed it was a low turnout fluke. The County Board continued to march forward with the plan. Within days of Vihstadt winning handily again in November, the County Board canceled the controversial project.

Voters should understand that the Board did not do a 180 degree turn on the project. Both Jay Fisette and Mary Hynes still wanted it to go forward. However, they recognized political realities. If they insisted on moving forward, they could lose additional seats on the Board.

Outside of the aquatics center, the issues before the Board now do not rise to the same level of “shiny object” as the streetcar. However, over the long term, they matter just as much.

How will we manage school enrollment? What will we do with metro? Will we continue to favor anti-car transportation policies which create more congestion on our streets? How will we invest in infrastructure? Will our budget process be transparent and will the Board continue to favor a budgeting process that requires annual tax increases? How will the county improve its permitting processes?

No level of government impacts your everyday life more than your local government. It was encouraging to see the voters be willing to set partisanship aside in 2014 and put an independent voice on the Arlington County Board. The need for that voice has not gone away just because the streetcar is in the rear view mirror.

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St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.

Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.

We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at or call (703) 527-0608.

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If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.

Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.

The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom:

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