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Susan Cunningham: Why you should vote for me

Susan Cunningham (courtesy photo)

I am seeking election to the Arlington County Board — and your vote — because I believe Arlington’s best days are ahead and we need elected leaders with experience and common sense to get us there.

From the divisive missing middle housing debate to urgent challenges facing our youth, we clearly have important work to do to bring our community back together. My priorities include:

  • Smart growth and planning that gets housing right — with diverse options for ownership and rental across life stages and incomes. This includes revisiting lot coverage, closely monitoring and revising the Expanded Housing Options policy, and developing a comprehensive, common-sense housing plan that takes all Arlington residents into account.
  • Reconnecting our community — especially our young people, whose formative years have been disrupted by the pandemic, political unrest, and climate anxiety. This includes improving access for all and strengthening volunteerism and out-of-school programming.
  • Transparent, good government that gets the basics right and responds quickly when something needs attention. This includes careful spending analysis and long-term planning, improvements to permitting and site review processes, and transparent, easily accessible data to answer inquiries.

I know many of you through professional and volunteer roles. Trained as an engineer, I am a seasoned executive and mom to two teenagers in Arlington Public Schools, known as:

  • Problem-solver. Trained as an engineer, I bring stakeholders together with critical data to develop and deliver lasting solutions. Whether serving as a founding member of the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission, leading a divided community through the Dorothy Hamm Middle School project, or readying a Donaldson Run rambler for a refugee family, I get things done for and with this community.
  • Common Sense Leader: As an executive at U.S. Department of the Treasury and McKinsey, I managed billion dollar budgets and led large organizations through challenges and change. As CEO of AHC, our largest nonprofit affordable housing provider, and as an environmental sustainability leader at Gensler, I leveraged many of the finance, design, and land-use tools we need to mitigate climate change and get housing and planning right.
  • Engaged Long-time Resident: My husband, Philip, and I have lived in Arlington and participated in civic life for over 25 years, from young adulthood to raising teenagers. I led the Stratford Junior High historic interpretation project, St. Mary’s Episcopal Outreach, and Arlington Thrive.

Throughout this campaign, it has been a real privilege to talk with thousands of Arlingtonians about your hopes and concerns. I hear a nearly universal desire for a resilient Arlington that is connected, inclusive, and sustainable – both environmentally and financially. And, I hear deep concern that the accelerating global climate crisis, violence in the Middle East, and loneliness epidemic nationally raise the stakes for reconnecting our community, hearing each other, and building Arlington’s future together.

My experience and common-sense leadership will help move Arlington ahead into its best days. I look forward to what we can achieve together and ask for your vote on or before Tuesday, November 7th. Thank you.

To learn more, visit

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