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BREAKING: Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey to retire at the end of year

Arlington County Board Vice-Chair Libby Garvey speaks at a press conference in 2023 (courtesy photo)

Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey is retiring at the end of her term in 2024.

She announced her decision near the top of a County Board meeting today (Tuesday).

“When my term ends in December, it will be 28 years of elected public service and about 17 primaries and general campaigns,” she said. “I’m loving this work. I love working with the staff, my colleagues and the residents. I mean, that’s the best part of this job, in many ways, but at this point, both my head and my heart are telling me it’s time I passed the baton.”

Garvey was first elected to the County Board in 2012, after previously serving on the Arlington School Board.

Continuing the relay analogy, Garvey says she intends “to sprint to the finish” and looks forward to accomplishing more for Arlington in the next 11 months, including leading the newly unveiled 2050 visioning process — a sweeping public engagement opportunity to envision what the county should look like in 26 years — and making Arlington more energy resilient.

“There will be time for more proper thank-yous and acknowledgments in the future,” she added in a statement to people who subscribe to her monthly newsletter, issued shortly after her announcement. “Please know that my friends and supporters have made it possible for me to do this work, which I love. And I look forward, as always, to your thoughts and suggestions as I continue to work for Arlington throughout this year.”

The acknowledgements have already started, however.

“We would like to thank Libby Garvey for her years of service on the County Board,” the Arlington County Democratic Committee said, in a statement posted on social media. “We know she’ll keep working for Arlington the rest of her term and beyond.”

So far, there are three candidates who have stepped up to fill her place, all vying to be the Democratic nominee selected in a primary this June.

Natalie Roy, who made her debut last election cycle on an anti-Missing Middle platform and received an endorsement from Garvey, is running for the second time. First-time candidate Julie Farnam, an Arlington Ridge Civic Association board member, is campaigning on improving public safety and taking what she calls a “smart” approach to planning and growth.

James DeVita, who ran for State Senate last election cycle, has also thrown his hat into the ring, according to Virginia Public Access Project.

Garvey’s decision follows that of fellow former County Board colleagues Christian Dorsey and Katie Cristol, who both announced last year they would not seek re-election. Cristol made her exit before her term ended while Dorsey saw out the end of his term.

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