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County Board hopefuls emerge for 2022 election

Independent County Board candidate Adam Theo (courtesy photo)

(Updated at 3:45 p.m.) The race is on for incumbent Matt de Ferranti’s County Board seat.

Independent Adam Theo announced Thursday morning he’s running for County Board, and another familiar independent candidate, Audrey Clement, intends to run. But de Ferranti doesn’t plan to let go of his seat.

This is Theo’s second time running for the County Board in as many years. Last year, he joined Clement and another independent candidates in what became a crowded County Board race for the spot that Democrat Takis Karantonis occupies. Although his bid was unsuccessful, Theo previously told ARLnow that his campaign would set the groundwork for a full run in 2022 or 2023.

In his second run, his announcement has come out strong against the current board.

“The COVID crisis exposed a disastrous lack of leadership on the board that’s been hiding in plain sight for years,” he said. “They are rubber-stamping each other’s bad ideas, spending big on band-aids instead of investing in smarter long-term solutions, and merely copy-catting ideas from neighboring cities and counties instead of making Arlington the regional leader it should be.”

He’s running on a platform of expanding government accountability, prioritizing public safety and making housing affordable.

Incumbent Matt de Ferranti, who was elected as a Democrat in 2018 to the seat, has not officially announced his run for re-election — yet. He tells ARLnow an announcement is coming.

“I’ve focused on COVID response, racial equity and the priorities I identified when I ran in 2018–affordable housing, hunger, funding our schools to support educational opportunity for all students, fighting climate change, and inclusive economic growth,” he said. “Next week, I will officially announce my intention to seek re-election. I take nothing for granted and look forward to listening to our residents’ concerns and working to earn each and every vote.”

Theo describes himself as “a fierce non-partisan free-thinking ‘progressive libertarian.'” He said he was in the Air Force Reserves as a civil engineer and deployed to eastern Afghanistan. He has also worked as a consultant within the Department of Homeland Security.

He’s the vice president of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association, a voting delegate to the Arlington County Civic Federation and co-founder of a regional housing advocacy group.

His campaign website says he is opposed to deals the Arlington County Board has given to Amazon, steep increases in property taxes and the “county’s slow progress on housing affordability.”

The experiences he could bring to the county board are unique, he said. He was incarcerated for four months as a young adult in his home state of Florida, has experienced homelessness and has been a longtime renter in search of a home in Arlington County.

“It is these formative life experiences that make me uniquely suited to empathize with and serve all Arlingtonians, and why I will work so hard to be your next independent member on the Arlington County Board,” his website reads.

In his announcement, Theo invited people to attend a virtual open house at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday).

Audrey Clement tells ARLnow she plans to run for County Board this year as well but will announce later. She wants to reduce taxes, stop up-zoning, and preserve parks, trees and historic places. The Westover resident has been a perennial candidate over the last decade and says she believes once people realize the missing middle housing push will rezone some neighborhoods, they will support a candidate like her.

The primary election will be held June 21 and general election on Nov. 8.

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