Last week, we asked the four candidates seeking a seat on the Arlington County Board to write a 750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the Nov. 5 general election.
Here is the unedited response from the Arlington County Board Chair and Democratic incumbent Christian Dorsey.
At a Glance
Since being elected in 2015, I have been an effective leader for Arlington and a recognized leader on transit, housing and other issues in the National Capital region.
- County Board Chair in 2019
- County Board Vice Chair in 2018
- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board Vice Chair
- COG Smart Region Task Force Chair
- National Association of Regional Councils Board Member
I have influenced the Council of Governments to adopt Housing Affordability and Equity as regional priorities.
- WMATA (Metro) Principal Board Member
- Northern Virginia Transportation Commissioner
- Transportation Planning Board Member (2018)
I am the first WMATA Board Member chosen to represent all Northern Virginia Metro jurisdictions.
Four years ago, I promised progressive, principled and inclusive leadership. I seek your support for reelection with the confidence that I have delivered on that promise.
At that time, Arlington’s economic engine was stalled, and high commercial vacancy rates created significant budget pressures and shifted a larger share of tax responsibility on residential taxpayers.The rate has since fallen to 16.6% from over 21% and is poised to move even lower.
I have worked to control costs of our capital projects, and our operating budgets now grow less than the regional average. This has allowed us, even during times of fiscal stress, to invest in our community and in our people.
I am proud to have created a consumer protection office that helps our residents and businesses fight back against fraud and unfair business practices. And, Arlington was the first Northern Virginia jurisdiction to fund legal services to immigrants threatened by the Trump administration’s policies.
To address our most persistent policy challenge, I am proud that during my tenure we have preserved and improved Arlington’s stock of existing affordable units, and that among the many hundreds of units approved over the last four years, several hundred will be within walking distance of Metrorail. We have also identified areas that require a distinct focus like the approved development to serve the needs of our military veterans.
I was honored to be the first individual selected by other Northern Virginia jurisdictions to represent all our interests as a voting member on the WMATA Board. Helping Metro along the path to being safe, reliable, and useful has been critical in meeting our comprehensive goals.
I am proud of the progress we have made, but I am by no means satisfied. My passion for guiding Arlington to become even stronger remains. This year, I introduced equity as a lens through which decisions are to be made. Arlington should not continue, unwittingly, through systemic discrimination, to negatively influence the outcomes of its residents based on their social characteristics.
Arlington, as part of an increasingly interconnected region, cannot pursue policy and investments in a vacuum if we are to achieve the best possible outcomes. I have earned the trust of our neighbors in leading on coordinated policy approaches to transportation and housing, while ensuring that anticipated economic growth is equitable and inclusive.
Under my leadership, in conjunction with Mayor Justin Wilson, Arlington and the City of Alexandria have developed principles to guide a coordinated effort to reduce the involuntary displacement of vulnerable residents and businesses in our communities and to connect traditionally marginalized groups to business and employment opportunities resulting from new investment.
As we were reminded this summer, no greater imperative exists than making Arlington more resilient in the face of climate change. Our immediate focus should be to accelerate investments in stormwater mitigation projects and to develop land use policies that induce infill redevelopment with more pervious surfaces and less intensive water runoff. For the long term, our recently adopted Community Energy Plan provides a blueprint for Arlington to achieve a carbon-free future.
I am confident that my experience, leadership, and willingness to implement innovative solutions over these four years will help Arlingtonians successfully persevere through our immediate and long-term challenges. And, together, we will make substantial progress toward our shared vision of a community that is climate-resilient, environmentally and economically sustainable, and with suitable housing affordable to all earners. And together, we can work to see each person has the tools and the opportunity to thrive.
I have been humbled by the opportunity to serve and am grateful to engage in the practice of public service. I hope to earn your support and trust with one of your two votes for Arlington County Board.