Last week, we invited the two candidates running in the Democratic primary for Arlington County Board to write a post about why our readers should vote for them next Tuesday (June 8).
Here is the unedited response from incumbent Takis Karantonis:
Last year I ran for office not in spite of, but because of the extraordinary and demanding circumstances, in the middle of a pandemic that was ravaging our community and our economy. Fifteen years of civic engagement, community leadership and deep-rooted community relationships motivated and prepared me for assuming the responsibility to make difficult decisions while carefully listening to what Arlingtonians told me during the campaign and while in office.
Last year I pledged to remain rooted in civic engagement and to bring the voice of our diverse communities to the County Board. I kept and I continue to keep this promise. COVID-19 and our national reckoning on racial inequity in the wake of the murder of George Floyd revealed Arlington’s multifaceted and challenging disparities. My vision for Arlington, my action and my voting record are firmly centered on equity, inclusivity, transparency, fairness and responsiveness and the belief that we are a successful community when:
- We care for the Health and Safety of ALL, especially of those lacking access or coverage.
- We care for Economic Resilience, especially that of Small Businesses and working families
- We care for Social and Racial Justice and Fairness on all levels from Policing, to Housing, to Education, to equitable access to natural and recreational resources and beyond.
- We share the sense of urgency and common cause to confront the Climate Emergency.
In other words, I believe that we are successful when we work together and leave nobody behind.
As an immigrant I hold these core-beliefs very close to my heart as they guide my thinking, my politics and my work for an Arlington that works for ALL: A community of safe, and walkable neighborhoods, with excellent public schools, great public places and facilities, accountable, ethical and fiscally sound governance, ethnic, cultural and socio-economic diversity and an unwavering commitment to community involvement.
If elected, I will,
- use the lessons learned during the pandemic to address the inequalities that COVID has revealed; strengthen our local social safety net; eliminate food and housing insecurity; enhance access to health and mental health services and provide unfettered access to critical services such as broadband for all.
- deepen and accelerate our local response to the Climate Emergency; electrify our transportation; prioritize safe walking and biking; decarbonize new construction and retrofit legacy buildings; invest in stormwater infrastructure; protect and enhance our tree-canopy and our natural resources and most importantly: make Climate Resiliency and Sustainability a ‘Whole-of-Government’ policy.
- ensure that racial equity and accountability permeates all activities and policies of our government, and progress is transparently measured and reported.
- prioritize support for our Small Businesses; support them with a revolving micro-loan and technical assistance program; reduce costly red-tape and treat them as the job-creating, innovative community partners and stakeholders they are.
- address our housing crisis, which continues to displace Arlingtonians; invest in the Affordable Housing Investment Fund and enhance Housing Grant eligibility; focus on corridor development while continuing pursuing longer term policies aiming to enhance housing choices that fit the needs of all Arlingtonians.
I believe in democratic values, collaborative leadership and inclusive planning expressed in the four pillars of my platform: equitable governance; fiscal sustainability and resilience; environmental sustainability; and principled and inclusive long-term planning.
I am proud to have earned the endorsement of all my colleagues on the County Board and on the School Board, as well as the endorsement of most of Arlington’s elected constitutional officers and representatives in the General Assembly; professional organizations; citizen-led advocacy groups and community leaders (representing our Black Community; Latino and Immigrant communities; Senior and Young Democrats; supporting multi-modal, cycling and sustainable transportation; public education; affordable housing; environmental sustainability; and mental health services). These endorsements are the result of years of working on Arlington issues and a testament to my passion for good, responsive and responsible local governance.
I hope to earn your vote and the opportunity to serve you as a County Board member on June 8.