Last week, we invited the candidates running in competitive races in the June 20 Democratic primary to write a post about why Arlington residents should vote for them. Find information on how and where to vote here.
Below is the unedited response from Tony Weaver, candidate for Arlington County Board.
I’m running for Arlington County Board because I want to make sure our county has the financial stability and resources needed so that all residents – regardless of the circumstances they were born into – can thrive.
I’m committed to the progressive ideals of promoting education, equity, and environmental sustainability. What sets me apart is that I have a record of service that has given me a ground-level understanding of our community’s challenges, and the business experience and policy know-how to actually implement effective solutions and ensure responsible financial stewardship.
As president emeritus of the Arlington Rotary Club I’ve seen how hard economic pressures have hit many residents. At the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC), with which we regularly partner, we’ve been seeing ever longer lines of people coming in for help. It’s unacceptable that people in a county as affluent as ours must struggle with such a basic need.
In partnership with Arlington Community High School – the county’s alternative school – I’ve worked to get college scholarships to young people whose families are scraping by on incomes of $30,000 per year. For many of the students I’ve gotten to know, our scholarships are what’s making it possible to pursue higher education. But the impact Rotary is having only underscores how much more must be done for the students who are falling through the cracks.
The answer lies in a wholesale reinvestment in education. Ensuring, for instance, that Arlington has strong funding streams for teachers – as well as often-overlooked guidance counselors, who currently must serve about 100 students each.
Yet the resources needed for these investments are now under threat from unprecedented economic change. The work-from-home revolution brought on by the pandemic is here to stay. Anyone who has recently walked through Rosslyn and Crystal City can see the empty buildings as Arlington’s office vacancy rate has reached a record 23 percent. The long term impact on the county’s tax base – and therefore on county revenues – could be severe.
As a member of the county’s Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission, I’ve been tracking the concerning budget cuts that have already been introduced as revenues have fallen relative to inflation. This includes the elimination of a vacant assistant director position at Arlington Economic Development – the very department whose mission is to attract the businesses that could expand county revenues.
That’s why it is my top priority to stabilize Arlington’s revenues. It’s imperative that we bring in new businesses to fill as much of the vacant office space as possible, while adapting remaining buildings to new uses. And to accomplish this we’re going to need county leaders who are well versed in the needs of both Big Tech and Main Street operations.
In contrast to every other candidate, I have this business experience and knowledge. I’ve worked at a technology firm in Silicon Valley. I’ve founded a venture capital-backed startup. And since returning to my Northern Virginia roots and starting my Arlington-based small business nearly a decade ago, I’ve tripled our revenues.
As a member of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Political Leaders program, I’ve also been criss-crossing the state over the past year speaking to economic policy experts and government officials of other localities. And I’ve been encouraged by what I’m finding when it comes to the potential for helping innovative businesses find a home in our county.
But it’s clear that to make that possible Arlington will need a coordinated strategy. This includes overhauling the zoning ordinance – specifying the activities that are not permitted rather than limiting businesses to the current predetermined list of what is allowed. At the same time, there are a range of incentives the county can provide for the re-purposing of office buildings into residential housing, educational use, and government space.
It’s also crucial that we lead the county to a more environmentally sustainable future. For instance, getting a jump on building electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout Arlington — before the inevitable nationwide demand renders that process far more costly.
Lastly, none of these policies will work without a compassionate, consultative approach. As a board member of the Committee of 100, I’ve been committed to finding and building on common ground.
In short, Arlington needs leaders whose commitment to the progressive vision is matched with the pragmatic skills and depth of experience to deliver that vision. I am that leader. And that’s why I’m asking for your vote.
Learn more at TonyForArlington.com
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Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!
This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.
100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to
2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin
Saturday, December 2
Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.