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Two announce Democratic bids for Libby Garvey’s Arlington County Board seat

Arlington County Board candidates Julie Farnam, left (via Julie Farnam/Facebook) and Natalie Roy, right (file photo)

Two women have already announced they are vying for the Arlington County Board seat currently occupied by Vice-Chair Libby Garvey, who faces re-election next year.

First-time candidate Julie Farnam and second-time candidate Natalie Roy announced today (Monday) that they have joined the Democratic primary race, set to culminate next June.

Meanwhile, both Garvey and former County Board candidate Julius “JD” Spain, Sr. tell ARLnow they are biding their time before making a decision about whether to run next year.

Farnam and Roy’s announcements come less than a month after voters picked Susan Cunningham and Maureen Coffey to replace outgoing Board Chair Christian Dorsey and former member Katie Cristol.

Farnam, a current Arlington Ridge Civic Association board member, is campaigning on a platform of improving public safety and taking what she calls a “smart” approach to planning and growth.

“I am proud and excited to announce my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Arlington County Board,” Farnam said in a statement. “I believe in a community where residents feel safe, where the needs of our community are placed above the desires of developers, and where no resident must wonder if they are being heard.”

Farnam has held leadership positions in both the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and the U.S. Capitol Police and has a forthcoming book on her account of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“As a woman who has spent her career in security and law enforcement, I know what it takes to address the unique safety challenges Arlington faces in years and decades ahead,” she said.

On social media, she has decried the Arlington County Board’s “dreadful” handling of the Missing Middle zoning ordinances, calling for more targeted policies to address affordability and racial inequities.

She has also waded into the local discourse about whether crime is rising, pointing to carjacking stats for proof it is on the rise. Farnam also criticized the County Board for spending money on new Metro entrances, saying it should instead direct more to police.

More from her statement:

I am a small business owner and a single mother of students in Arlington. I know just how difficult it is to afford to live and support a family in Arlington, and what needs to be done to ensure Arlington is a place where people of diverse backgrounds can thrive. I am running to ensure our community flourishes into the future for my daughters and for generations to come.

Reprising similar campaign messaging from this year, Roy and Farnam highlight transparency as a key campaign issue.

“I strongly believe that the Arlington County Board needs a voice like mine advocating for more transparency and responsiveness,” Roy said in a statement.

During the 2023 Democratic primary, Roy ran a targeted County Board campaign focused on criticizing the Missing Middle ordinances, which allowed 2-6 unit homes to be built in districts once zoned exclusively for single-family homes.

The ordinances gave rise to community and candidate discussions about transparency this election cycle, whether candidates relitigated the zoning changes or criticized how the county fulfills Freedom of Information Act requests and publishes information.

As for potential competition Farnam and Roy face, ARLnow asked Vice-Chair Garvey and former County Board candidate Spain about their plans.

Garvey said she is “planning to decide by January or early February whether I will run again.”

Spain told ARLnow that he is undecided at this time.

Farnam will be holding a campaign kick-off event next Monday at The Freshman (2011 Crystal Drive) at 6:30 p.m. Other forthcoming events, including one held in English and Arabic, are posted on her website.

Roy will host a pre-holiday campaign launch the day before, on Sunday, from 4-6 p.m., with more details forthcoming.

Photo 1 via Julie Farnam/Facebook

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