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 Democratic incumbent County Board member Katie Cristol.
As you head to the polls this upcoming Tuesday, I ask that you consider casting one of your two votes to return me to the Arlington County Board. Over the past four years, I’ve sought to collaborate with residents and regional partners to find and implement smart, balanced solutions to hard problems and to position this community to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.
Together, we’ve made real progress for Arlingtonians:
- We adopted a comprehensive strategy to address child-care accessibility in Arlington that’s working: My colleagues and I approved hundreds more quality spots in the first year of the strategy, and within just a couple of months of new ordinance changes taking effect this July, nearly three dozen providers had submitted proposals to expand.
- We’ve made critical progress on our high rate of commercial vacancy with new and renewed office tenants. Arlington has made international headlines with Amazon, but we also welcomed tech start-ups, national nonprofits and renewable energy companies to fill or redevelop our empty office buildings.
- We’ve added over a thousand new committed affordable homes for our lower- and moderate-income neighbors, acted to preserve garden apartments, and expanded opportunities for new housing types. As a result, there are now more homes affordable to our neighbors making less than 60% of area median income than there were four years ago – even at a time of increasing rents.
- We’ve tackled what looked impossible for our regional transit system. As a leader in multiple regional transit bodies, I’m proud to have been part of the coalition that achieved the extraordinary milestone of dedicated capital funding for Metro: a first in the system’s many-decades history.
We’ve made Arlington a more compassionate, effective place for those who need support: creating a legal services fund for our immigrant neighbors – the first in Virginia – and expanding services for survivors of sexual violence, including a comprehensive medical, counseling and justice response.
Importantly, I’ve endeavored to achieve these and other breakthroughs for our community while exercising good fiscal stewardship. I’ve supported needed capital projects in the County, while significantly reducing their costs. We’ve reduced use permit conditions and duplicative community processes to help Schools keep their projects on time and on budget. During my chairmanship last year, the Board held the tax rate flat, though it meant difficult program cuts, to avoid shifting the burden of lost commercial revenues to residential payers.
And I’m running for reelection because we have many more big things to do, together. If I earn your support on November 5th, I will prioritize:
- Increasing moderately-sized ownership housing in neighborhoods throughout the County, through the study and legalization of alternative forms.
- Planning for community infrastructure, specifically:
- A long-term plan for siting future schools facilities beyond the ten-year horizon of our Capital Improvement Plan; and
- Collaborating with our Northern Virginia partners to realize a truly interconnected transit system across the greater DC region.
- Protecting our global and local environment by aggressively implementing public and private efforts in our updated Community Energy Plan; and prioritizing “Biophilic Cities” principles and practices for Arlington to prioritize natural spaces in our commercial corridors.
To learn more about these and other priorities ahead of the election, please visit www.katiecristol.com/issues. Thank you for the opportunity to serve this extraordinary community, and for your consideration on Tuesday, November 5th.