Welcome, neighbor! My name is Matthew Hurtt, and you’ve stumbled upon Hurtt Locker, a biweekly column about fiscal responsibility and good governance in Arlington. I’m grateful to the ARLnow team for giving me some space here to have this conversation with you.
Arlington is a vibrant and thriving community with a rich history of civic engagement, where decisions are debated and discussed at the neighborhood level. From time to time, however, county leaders appear to make decisions before seeking community input; and the process looks more like a formality rather than a genuine effort to engage the wide array of interest groups that exist and organize here.
If we are to pursue the “Arlington Way,” we must continue to engage interest groups, neighborhoods, and individuals in robust conversation about the issues that impact our lives – from traffic and infrastructure to education to financial incentives that attract businesses and jobs to Arlington.
I hope to explore these issues with you, neighbor, in a thought-provoking way. And I will draw on my community experience and engagement at the local level. Over the past several years, I have been at the table to discuss short-term rental regulations, food truck restrictions, and most recently, e-scooter and dockless bike regulations. In each of these conversations, I have pushed to break down barriers, encouraging county leaders to empower citizens to embrace expanded opportunity and prosperity.
And when it comes to budgeting for our future, I hope to reinvigorate the conversation around bond issues — questioning the trend by county leaders of lumping “must have” projects with premium projects. Voters should have a clear choice when it comes to funding necessary projects over vanity projects.
Perhaps most importantly, I want to connect with you and find opportunities to collaborate and converse about these important issues. Beyond this column, I hope you will engage with me in person and at community events, or on social media. I strongly believe that cross-partisan discourse is possible here in Arlington. Let’s lead the way.
Matthew Hurtt is a 10-year Arlington resident who is passionate about localism and government transparency and accountability. Hurtt is a member of the Arlington Heights Civic Association and was previously the chairman of the Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans. Hurtt prides himself on his ability to bring people of diverse perspectives together to break down barriers that stand in the way of people realizing their potential. He is originally from outside Nashville.