Last week, we invited the four candidates running in the general election for a seat on the County Board to write a post about why our readers should vote for them next Tuesday (Nov. 2).
Here is the unedited response from Mike Cantwell:
I am running for the Arlington County Board as a moderate Independent. As a retired naval officer, federal government employee, community leader, and parent, I have the skills and experience needed to bring the people of Arlington together and to solve our most challenging problems. As I knock on doors throughout the county and talk to voters, they tell me about their growing frustration with our current County Board members. The voters are frustrated with One Party Rule and the Arlington Way and they want local elected officials who will listen — really listen — to their issues and concerns.
Arlington voters want a candidate who will:
- Bring an independent voice to the County Board. Arlingtonians are exhausted with divisive partisan politics. They are looking for a candidate who will think and act moderately and independently. They know instinctively that more political competition will lead to better outcomes. They want an independent voice who will challenge the County Board’s “group think” and bring new ideas to the civic square. The county government was more efficient, more effective, and more inclusive when we had political diversity on the County Board. It is time to bring an Independent back to the County Board.
- Focus on core government services. Public safety, streets, parks, recreation facilities, utilities, libraries, and schools are the core government services Arlingtonians expect from their local government. Current County Board members spend much of their time and energies on issues that are unrelated to the services citizens expect from their local government. After I join the County Board, I will seek out and uncover inefficient and ineffective programs and take actions to improve or eliminate them.
- Curb Rapid Urbanization.The current county board members continue to encourage rapid population growth and more high-rise construction. I will resist the “upzoning” of residential communities while encouraging moderate density increases along major transit corridors. Over the last two decades, the county government failed to adequately plan and budget for the repair or replacement of our aging infrastructure. Schools, parks, recreation facilities, and utilities are already inadequate and overburdened. The county staff and the County Board must ensure the needed infrastructure is in place before large-scale development projects are approved. Government-run affordable housing programs are inefficient and ineffective and have had little positive impact on housing affordability. The millions of dollars of grants and loans given to affordable housing “nonprofit” developers and backroom “bonus density” deals have opened the door to corruption. The County Board should do more to incentivize the retention of market-rate affordable housing, including single-family homes.
- Support small businesses by lowering taxes. Now, more than ever, the County Board needs to prioritize Arlington’s workers and small businesses. If elected, I will work to reduce the tax burden on Arlington small businesses by ending the business tangible property tax. The business tangible property tax is an inefficient tax and an administrative burden for Arlington small business owners and the Commissioner of Revenue’s office and only brings in 4% of the total revenue for the county. Eliminating the business tangible property tax will spur economic activity, reduce the commercial real estate vacancy rate, and create new jobs.
- Expand the County Auditor’s office. As a federal government employee in the intelligence community and as a former naval officer, I take pride in the fact that I have always conducted myself in an ethical manner. Currently, the County Auditor’s office is both underfunded and understaffed. I support expanding the County Auditor’s office to ensure the residents of Arlington benefit from an efficient, effective, and fair local government. The county needs more fiscal oversight for its 1.5 billion dollar budget.
Honor, Courage, Commitment, and Respect are my core values. My core values will guide me as I serve the people of Arlington. I hope that you will join me my mission to bring better government to Arlington. Please visit the Mike Cantwell for Arlington County Board website. Donate. Volunteer. Vote. Thank You!
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