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by Kalina Newman — June 14, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Audrey Clement isn’t going anywhere. This year, Clement is running for Arlington County Board for the sixth time.

Since 2011, Clement has aimed to break through the County Board’s Democratic majority to win a seat as either an independent or Green Party candidate. Since 2011, Clement has always lost. In 2014, she also ran for a position on the Arlington County School Board but lost by 18,327 votes to Barbara Kanninen.

So why does Clement keep coming back?

Clement said she is returning again because she cares. She’s been in the D.C. area since 1989 and has a Ph.D from Temple University in Political Science. Since 2005, Clement has been an environmental activist in Arlington County. She runs under a platform that calls for immediate environmental, housing and tax reforms.

Clement also refuses to give up on her goal of undoing the local Democratic Party’s traditional dominance of the County Board, with challenges from local Republicans fleeting at best. Current Board member John Vihstadt (I) was the most recent to break local Democrats’ dominance when he won in 2014, the first non-Democrat to win a County Board seat in a general election since 1983.

“I think that the two-party system is not serving the vast majority of the Arlington people. I have to make the case that there is the alternative and I have to make this case to the public,” Clement said in an interview this week. She said breaking through the system was what motivated her to run in 2011, and continues to motivate her each year.

If elected, Clement said she wants to redirect the Affordable Housing Investment Fund from its current system of apartment subsidies to a system that provides rental assistance for those who need it.

“I’m concerned with the affordable housing investment fund because the county has been putting its year-end surpluses into that fund,” she said. “I do not believe that the current affordable housing program is economical and sustainable, I would start cutting there. They’re spending way too much on each new unit of so-called affordable housing that they construct. They need to evaluate that program.”

In addition, Clement is determined to resolve what she sees as an impending budget crisis in Arlington.

“The biggest crisis is the anticipated budget cuts coming down from the Trump administration that will impact county residents,” Clement said. “It could be as many as 15,000 people get laid off and this will impact the county tax revenue. If I’m elected I will take a proactive position with regards to retaining businesses and trying to counteract the impact of the anticipated Trump administration budget cuts.”

As to why she hasn’t won a seat after six years of running, Clement blames the limits that come with a small campaign budget.

“Some of my opponents have spent in the range of $100,000 apiece in their elections,” she said. “They weren’t incumbents, so they came into the election with that as their handicap. In that regard, they overcame their handicap by spending a ton of money. I have rarely been able to muster more than $10,000 a race.”

To combat her lack of funding, Clement uses social media. She currently runs a Facebook page with 393 likes and 373 followers. She also runs Facebook advertisements for anyone who does not follow her page to see.

For anyone unfamiliar with Clement, she wants the one thing people to know most about her to be her credentials.

“I have a lot of untraditional political experience,” said Clement. She spent a year as a Congressional Fellow and is currently a government contractor. She also hopes that her time spent as an environmental activist will set her apart from her opponents as she approaches her seventh campaign for a seat on the County Board.

After all of these years, she still remains determined.

“Most political commentators would say, if you haven’t made it the first or second time then quit,” said Clement. “I’m not going to quit.”

by ARLnow.com — June 14, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

A record number of votes were cast Tuesday in Arlington in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, according to the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam defeated Tom Perriello 56-44 statewide and 62-38 in Arlington. According to the committee, a record 28,167 votes were cast in Arlington.

Northam will face Republican Ed Gillespie in November’s general election.

In a press release, excerpted below, ACDC said the turnout record “is proof that Democrats across Virginia — and especially in Arlington — will vote for progressive, Democratic candidates in November.”

The Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) congratulates the winners of the Democratic Primaries across the Commonwealth of Virginia, and in particular Ralph Northam, who has secured the nomination for Governor and Justin Fairfax, who has secured the nomination for Lieutenant Governor.

Arlingtonians came out again in record numbers to participate in the Democratic primary this year: 28,167 votes strong is the highest gubernatorial primary turnout in Arlington’s history, and 25,717 votes strong is historically high turnout for the lieutenant gubernatorial primary. The surge of enthusiasm in our party is proof that Democrats across Virginia — and especially in Arlington — will vote for progressive, Democratic candidates in November.

Four years ago in the Commonwealth, women’s reproductive rights, the right to marriage equality, and progress on renewable energy were all at risk. But in the four years since we regained the Governor’s mansion, our Governor has stood up for Planned Parenthood, supported marriage equality, expanded access to voter registration and absentee voting, and strengthened protection for victims of domestic violence. The ACDC is committed to building upon these achievements by electing a Democratic ticket and helping elect more Democrats to the House of Delegates.

by Chris Teale — June 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

(Updated 5:55 p.m.) With statewide primary elections just days away, late last week numerous local residents reported receiving text messages encouraging them to vote, but with incorrect information including their name and polling place.

Multiple readers reported receiving texts this weekend from a group identifying itself as “NextGen Virginia.” The texts use what they say is publicly available information on voters’ names, addresses and polling place, and reminds them to vote on Tuesday in the primary elections for Governor and Lt. Governor.

But for many, the information was incorrect.

Some, who live in the Fairlington area, were to vote at Abingdon Elementary School, which is under construction and so not a designated polling place this year. More received texts intended for someone else, sometimes containing that individual’s address; one, for instance, was sent to the mobile phone number of the intended recipient’s sister.

Linda Lindberg, the county’s director of elections, said she had no details on the group involved but said voters should check all their information before going to the polls. The county has been tweaking its precincts and voting locations since last year, when two new voting districts were added.

“We encourage all voters to check their voting locations at vote.virginia.gov before they go to the polls,” Lindberg said. “This is especially important because we’re had some changes since the last election. All affected voters were sent notices in April, but some may have overlooked the notices.”

A representative of the state chapter of NextGen Climate, which advocates for political action to prevent what it calls “climate disaster,” said it has been sending text messages to potential voters, and may have received incorrect data to help it do so.

“NextGen volunteers are sending text messages to a list of young people from numbers we get from a reputable political data firm,” a NextGen spokeswoman said. “No list is perfect, which may occasionally lead to people getting text messages intended for other people. Our text messages inform people that if they live at the address that we assume they live at based on publicly available data, then they vote at a particular voting location. Again, this is based on the best publicly available election data.

“Our goal is to increase turnout in the gubernatorial primaries, and we believe text messages will help us do that. Texting can provide the electorate with critical information on how to participate in the voting process.”

by Katherine Berko — June 1, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

Minutes after President Trump announced his decision to abandon the Paris Climate Agreement, Virginia elected officials began to share their disapproval.

Trump said his decision to withdraw from the pact, signed by 195 nations, would help preserve American jobs and avoid placing heavy burdens on the country’s taxpayers.

Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in the House of Representatives, highlighted how Trump’s decision to withdraw will negatively impact the United States’ foreign relationships.

“Trump’s decision will be a self-inflicted wound on our allies’ trust in American leadership,” Beyer wrote in a statement alongside fellow members of the House Safe Climate Caucus. “The Paris Agreement was a vision reflecting decisive action, hope, ingenuity, and the ideals with which we would define our country’s place in the world. Withdrawal from that agreement represents a triumph of ignorance, nativism and political pandering, and the message it sends to other countries will be disastrous for the relationships which have built and sustained our prosperity.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) released a statement condemning the president’s decision. He wrote that despite the withdrawal, Virginia will continue to do its part to fight climate change.

“The President’s dangerous action today will have a devastating impact on our environment, our economy, and our health,” McAuliffe said. “The United States economy is dependent on leadership in the world, yet the President seems inclined to sit back and let other nations pass us by. Climate change is a threat to our way of life. If President Trump refuses to lead the response, Virginia will.”

McAuliffe also detailed how his own actions have differed from Trump’s. He wrote how in early May, he signed an order to reduce carbon emissions in the Commonwealth.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said the president’s choice goes against the country’s history of scientific innovation.

“The President seems to think that the U.S. commitment to cut about [one quarter] of our carbon pollution by 2025 is beyond the grasp of the country that won World War II and put men on the moon,” Kaine said in a statement.

Kaine added that he wants to be able to tell his future grandchildren that the US met the environmental challenge “head-on and triumphed over it, not shrank and cowered from it.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called the president’s announcement a “rejection of settled science.” He also highlighted how this historical decision will impact Virginians in the future.

“It poses a direct threat to Virginia’s environment, economy and way of life,” Warner wrote in a statement.

But Kaine managed a few optimistic words amid the swirl of pessimism and condemnation.

“I am confident that our nation’s optimistic, can-do spirit will eventually prevail over this short-sighted dereliction of America’s leadership role,” he said.

by ARLnow.com — May 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm 0

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is weighing in on the widening scandal over fired FBI director James Comey’s memo, which alleged that President Trump asked him to end the bureau’s investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Beyer, who represents Arlington in Congress, is calling for a special prosecutor in the larger investigation into Trump and his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia.

He issued the following statement this afternoon.

Congress must seek answers and all available evidence of reports that Donald Trump dissuaded former FBI Director James Comey from pursuing an investigation into Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials. We also urgently need a special prosecutor to find the truth of the larger Trump-Russia story.

What tapes of the exchange detailed in the Comey memo exist? Who at the Department of Justice, including AG Sessions, knew of the memo and possible obstruction attempt? What are the contents of the conversations with Donald Trump detailed in the other Comey memos which are reported to exist? These are questions we must ask, and the public has a right to the answers.

If Donald Trump did indeed ask James Comey to “let” the Flynn investigation “go,” that would be a clear case of obstruction of justice. The FBI is not the President’s personal police force, and his reported request that the FBI “lock up” journalists should underscore the deep peril facing our democracy if he is allowed to treat it as such.

Comey has been invited to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next week.

by Chris Teale — May 13, 2017 at 9:50 pm 0

(Updated 10:25 p.m.) Erik Gutshall and Monique O’Grady were victorious at the Arlington County Democratic Committee caucus, winning the County Board nominee and School Board endorsement, respectively.

The final turnout of 5,972 votes is a record for a Democratic caucus held in the county, beating the previous high of 4,951 in the 1993 caucus for County Board. Voters cast ballots across three days at Francis Scott Key Elementary School on Tuesday, Drew Model School on Thursday and Washington-Lee High School Saturday.

Gutshall earned 3,209 votes to finish ahead of Kim Klingler with 1,416, Vivek Patil with 1,189 and Peter Fallon with 945. O’Grady got 3,441 votes, ahead of seven-year incumbent School Board member James Lander’s 2,336 votes and Maura McMahon’s 965.

“I think Arlington is definitely ready to move forward and make sure that we’re focused on the future,” Gutshall said. “That’s what I ran on, and I look forward to fulfilling everything that we’ve talked about in this campaign.”

O’Grady said she wants to repay her supporters’ faith in the November general election and beyond, if she wins a seat on the School Board.

“I want them to know I’m going to work very hard to follow everything that I’ve laid out in this campaign,” she said. “I’ve heard them, I will continue to listen to them and will continue to work so hard for our students. I will listen to them, I will listen to our students, I will listen to our parents as we continue to try to figure out how to handle some of the issues we’re dealing with in Arlington.”

For Gutshall, who came into the three-day caucus with a slew of endorsements from current and former elected officials, it represents a redemption of sorts after he lost the 2016 primary to Libby Garvey.

Gutshall said despite the defeat, he was determined for his vision to be heard at the highest levels of county government.

“It’s knowing that the future of Arlington matters, and that we are this great progressive success story that I want to see continue,” he said. “I have roots here. I’ve got my business here, I’ve got my family here, this is where I’m meant to be and it’s a great place to be and a great community and I want to make sure we keep moving forward into the future.”

Defeated County Board candidates Klingler and Patil congratulated Gutshall on a positive campaign, and said they were positive about the county’s future direction.

“Hopefully some of my messaging and priorities resonated throughout the campaign, because that’s what’s important to me,” Klingler said. “I hope we will carry those messages forward.”

“What I’m really happy about is the amazing campaign we ran,” Patil said. “I’m very proud of the ideas we brought to the race, the stories we told. I’m going to do this. I said on my first day, if I’m going to lose, it doesn’t matter, because I have actually won a lot of faith and support in the community for our ideas and our vision.”

The high turnout, albeit lower than for primary elections in the past, gave Democratic leaders cause for optimism ahead of June’s primary elections and November’s votes for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and the House of Delegates.

“Turnout is high and people are excited, so it’s a win for the Democrats,” said School Board vice chair Barbara Kanninen.

by ARLnow.com — May 10, 2017 at 1:05 pm 0

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is “outrageous” and comparable to President Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” firing of a special prosecutor during Watergate.

Eschewing the usual written statement and press release, Beyer released a video statement (above) via social media Wednesday morning, followed by additional tweets expressing his misgivings about the timing of the firing. The FBI is currently investigating Russian ties among key Trump campaign and administration figures.

Beyer, who represents Arlington in the House of Representatives, acknowledged that many Democrats disapproved of Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails during the presidential campaign, but said that Trump’s explanation of the firing was “flimsy.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Last week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from Monique O’Grady:

Arlington Public Schools is at a crossroads. APS is short on seats, short on money, and short on the time to fix these problems before they reach a crisis level.  It’s time to bring new ideas with a fresh perspective built on years of experience.

As a former PTA president, community volunteer, schools advocate, and parent of three children who attended five public schools in Arlington, I will bring my 19 years of experience advocating for our schools to bear on the challenges facing Arlington Public Schools.

I firmly believe our children should not just like school, but develop a lifelong love of learning.  Our kids go through the school system only once; they only get one shot at success.  We owe it to them to fight for our schools–and all too often our School Board hasn’t been up to the task. We can and must do better, by focusing on the ABCs:

Academics

We need a renewed focus on academics, putting as much emphasis on school instruction as we do on school construction, and a real strategic plan that ensures our teachers have the training and resources needed to help all children succeed.

We must balance using technology to foster innovative ways of learning with tried-and-true teacher-student personal interaction.  Finally, we can’t keep “teaching to the test” and expect our students to learn and grow; rather, we must ensure each child receives the comprehensive education she deserves.

Boundaries

School boundary decisions should respect communities while also embracing diversity.  Our students won’t take an SOL in multiculturalism; that test will come in life and those who learn in diverse settings will be best prepared to succeed in a multicultural world.

Our schools must be open and welcoming to all students, and it is imperative that we ensure that every child under our care feels safe and secure.

Capacity & Communication

Arlington is growing fast, and our public schools are facing a capacity crisis.  For too long, the School Board and APS have failed to get in front of this challenge, resulting in overcrowded schools and a series of band-aids when we really need solutions.

The answer is not, however, to create a “mega high school” that crams 4,000+ students into Washington-Lee, as some on the School Board have suggested.

Rather, we need a fourth comprehensive high school, whose students can enjoy the same amenities and opportunities to learn as those enrolled in the other three. We need creative solutions that don’t overburden neighborhoods or existing schools.

But we can’t stop there. We must find innovative ways to make use of our community’s limited resources and space while still maintaining the high educational standards Arlington families expect and deserve.

As a leader on the South Arlington Working Group to site a new elementary school, I did just that: my creative proposal, adopted by APS, leveraged the building of a new elementary school while also addressing several other capacity challenges.  It is just this new, outside-the-box thinking that we need if we are to finally get in front of the capacity crisis.

Lastly, we must rebuild trust between the School Board and parents, students and teachers.  We must communicate better, with data and enrollment projections we can rely on, an open door policy for constructive criticism, and commitments kept when made.

Arlington Public Schools is indeed at a crossroads, but our challenges are not insurmountable.  I will fight every day to meet them head on, and to ensure a love of learning for all Arlington children.  I hope I will earn your vote for Arlington School Board on May 9th, 11th or 13th.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

Last week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from Maura McMahon:

My husband, Michael, and I chose to live in Arlington largely due to the reputation and quality of Arlington schools. We have a daughter in the 4th grade at Barcroft Elementary and a son in the 6th grade at Jefferson Middle School.

My school and community involvement has grown over the past seven years and has fueled my passion for education in Arlington – particularly for the future of Arlington Public Schools.  We have much to be proud of, from our awarding-winning schools to our innovative instructional programs. But we are also facing considerable challenges.

I have served as PTA Vice President, as Odyssey of the Mind Coordinator and in other volunteer roles, and as representative to the County Council of PTAs – for which I currently serve on the executive board.  I also have had the privilege to be part of both the Thomas Jefferson and South Arlington Working Groups.  These experiences have given me a deep appreciation for the diverse needs of our community, the strength of collaboration, and the need for fresh, innovative solutions and long-range planning.

I am the only candidate or board member with the point of view of a current elementary school parent – a valuable perspective absent from the Board and missing in its decision-making.  I know our problems first-hand. I am focused on the future and how we can maintain the quality of all of our schools as we continue to grow.

I will bring focus to the broader issues challenging our schools today: educational equality and opportunity, ways to foster diversity beyond “choice” and boundaries, and County policies as they impact APS’ needs and ability to serve its students–housing, transportation, development.  My advocacy efforts in our community are evident in the County’s Affordable Housing Master Plan and in a number of policy recommendations currently being considered as the School Board revises APS’ admissions and transfer policies.

I will provide the leadership APS needs to:

  • implement a vision for instruction, but focus on managing the infrastructure, resources, and tools our teachers need to engage students in the joys of learning;
  • solve our capacity crisis cost-effectively through long-range planning, including a 4th comprehensive high school, and thoughtful growth of option programs to maintain students’ access to opportunities;
  • develop a network with County departments, community groups, and businesses to increase available resources and streamline services in ways that mutually benefit APS and the broader community;
  • establish an Academic Partner School program that brings students of different backgrounds and abilities together to understand the benefits of diversity firsthand rather than learn about diversity from books and special presentations;
  • foster PTA collaborations for joint-programming, fundraising, and advocacy efforts.

I will be a strong advocate for our school system by:

  • making sure our County leaders understand how their decisions impact APS;
  • ensuring schools are an integral component of the community’s overall planning;
  • pushing the County to resolve existing traffic and student safety problems along Carlin Springs Road and in other places to enable the most efficient use of APS properties;
  • working with the County now to plan for the additional facilities we expect to need and how we are going to pay for them.

As our school system continues to grow and evolve, our leadership needs to adapt to our changing needs.  Our past ways of thinking and problem-solving no longer fit APS today.  We need a new voice, a fresh perspective, and a different approach.

I have stepped outside my comfort zone as a parent and advocate to run for school board because I feel so passionately about the critical issues our schools face today.

I appreciate the contributions each of my fellow candidates has made to our community over the years.  But I will bring the fresh perspective, proactive thinking, and the voice our schools need today.

Please join me by making me your first-choice candidate in next week’s caucus.  For more information, visit mauramcmahon.org and follow me at facebook.com/mcmahonforarlington.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Last week we asked the three Arlington School Board candidates who are seeking the Democratic endorsement to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from incumbent James Lander:

I’ve been honored to serve as your Arlington School Board member for the past seven years. I am seeking reelection to ensure that Arlington Public Schools will continue to provide a world-class education that empowers every child to succeed, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, language, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Arlington Public Schools needs an experienced, seasoned leader. I am that leader. It’s no secret that our schools are growing. We have averaged 1000 new students a year during my seven years on the School Board. The challenges in meeting the needs of this rapidly expanding school system are many, including: changing the landscape of instruction to meet the needs of all students; implementing plans to address our enrollment growth; and continued successful collaboration with the County Board on a long-term strategy to ensure every student has a seat to learn while maximizing our limited resources in ways that benefit the whole community.

I am passionate about educating our children; it is the key to everything. My work on the school board has prioritized quality instruction, high expectations for all students, and educating the whole child. Working with you to provide our children with the resources and tools they need to be successful in life will continue to be my sole focus.

As your School Board member, I have successfully completed eight budget cycles to fully fund the school system, implemented the 2011-2017 APS Strategic Plan, and oversaw more than $600M in Capital Improvement Projects, including award winning designs for sustainability. While serving as Chair, I lowered the cost per pupil spending by hundreds of dollars, redesigned the School/County revenue sharing agreement, and provided salary increases for teachers and staff in each of the past seven years. I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the AEA-PAC representing Arlington’s educators, for my work on the school board.

I offer to you my School Board service as evidence that I am best situated to lead continued Arlington Public School progress. Finally, I have been a responsive, engaged, thoughtful voice on the school board. This is the type of leadership that has made Arlington Public Schools an outstanding school system that attracts diverse families and remains a foundational driver of our local economy.

You have honored me with your trust on two previous occasions and I thank you for your support and encouragement along this journey. I ask you now for your support and your vote to continue my elected service to our wonderful community.

Voting begins, Tuesday, May 9th from 7p-9p at Key Elementary School, Thursday, May 11th from 7p-9p at Drew Elementary School, and Saturday, May 13th from 11a-7p at Washington-Lee High School.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Last week we asked the four Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from Vivek Patil:

My name is Vivek Patil and I am an engineer, entrepreneur, and community builder. As a leader at a global life science company and founder of two biotech startups, I have consistently faced seemingly impossible ideas requiring innovative thinking and persistence to make a reality. I’ve put this perspective into practice since my appointment to Arlington’s Economic Development commission, where I lead an advisory group exploring innovative and disruptive economic development ideas with the potential to transform Arlington.

In my experience, an equitable economy cannot be built without buy-in from all stakeholders. That is one of the reasons why I co-founded Building Bridges, a community outreach group that has built meaningful relationships with communities across Arlington. Our mission has been to reintegrate the diverse voices and visions of community stakeholders into our political and community processes through persistent outreach, listening, and engagement. In conversation, I have heard wonderful things about our progressive values, our inclusive and welcoming community, and Arlington’s remarkable livability. However, I have also heard stories of fading economic opportunity and housing affordability, a growing divide in incomes as well as our community issues and interests. I felt compelled to run for County Board to incorporate these voices into our ‘Arlington Way,’ and facilitate civic engagement that seeks out our community’s broad range of perspectives and collectively addresses school capacity, housing affordability, transportation infrastructure, and the fostering of economic opportunity.

This campaign is about re-imagining a bold, new economic vision for Arlington; one that transforms our community by creating a green and clean tech innovation economy. While nurturing our current business infrastructure, Arlington possesses the ingredients to build a green energy innovation hub rivaling Boston’s biotech space or Silicon Valley’s information technology economy. This new economy emphasizes our region’s talent, expertise, geography, and financial and strategic resources and it speaks to our progressive values of compassionate capitalism, equitable economic opportunity, and environmental protection.

Constructing this economy will require a regional DMV-area partnership that leverages our globally competitive green tech anchor companies and federal energy expertise to attract new entrepreneurs and startups. It will require strengthening of our university consortium along Fairfax drive and creating high-tech incubators to house and nurture new technologies and innovators. Older buildings in Crystal City and the metro corridors could be redeveloped through creative financing and cooperative investment models to house new companies as well as future entrepreneurs, employees, and families.

The green and clean tech sector is unique in that it requires an innovate-build-manufacture economy, utilizing both skilled and unskilled labor at each step of the way. A skilled workforce of engineers can design the next generation batteries or solar panels and trained workers can build them in facilities in Arlington or across the Commonwealth. It creates an economic opportunity continuum, bridging divisions between Virginia’s counties by advancing prosperous yet equitable growth.

Our schools and universities are indispensable to this economic transformation. I propose stronger collaboration between the County and School Board focused on preparing our children to be globally competitive in this innovation economy. Programs like Arlington Tech that offer project-based learning can partner with universities and employers, providing an applied learning construct with career opportunities for our high-school, career center, community college, and four-year university graduates. After all, Arlington only succeeds when all Arlingtonians succeed.

If elected to the County Board, I will act expeditiously and decisively to facilitate this bold new vision, well aware that it will require strategic collaboration, community engagement, and patience. A more sustainable, equitable, and diversified economy will help us generate the wealth necessary to fund our 21st century multi-modal transportation system, develop globally competitive schools, nurture our burgeoning arts infrastructure, and create a more biophilic and energy-efficient urban infrastructure. Arlington is uniquely qualified to lead this sector and I stand ready to lead our community in meeting this challenge. I hope you join me in achieving this innovative vision and I ask for your vote at the Democratic caucus on May 9th, 11th or 13th.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

Last week we asked the four Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Editor’s Note: A county employee listed as someone who endorsed Klingler has requested that his name and job title be removed from this post. ARLnow.com has honored that request. Below is the otherwise unedited response from Kim Klingler.

Arlington is a great place to live, and that is why I have grown roots here and have been a volunteer and leader in our community for the past 15 years.

Arlington is experiencing a time of transition, growth, and constrained budgets. We can no longer rely upon many of the things we have relied on in the past: from being able to live in an affordable manner, to Metro reliability and sustained funding, and having enough seats and qualified teachers in our schools.

Yes, Arlington is changing, but our values continue to remain the same.

And that is why I am running to ensure we keep Arlington safe, diverse, and forward thinking.

Having served as a volunteer firefighter/EMT and as the current Chair of Arlington’s Emergency Preparedness Advisory Commission (EPAC), I know first-hand that Arlington needs more highly trained paramedics and emergency radios that work in all County buildings and schools. We must ensure our county has the technology and resources so that when you or a loved one dials 911, emergency services arrive and are ready to respond in 4 minutes or less.  As our density and our population continue to grow, our public safety needs grow too and we must keep up.

The Arlington chapter of the International Association of Firefighters (Local 2800) have honored me with their endorsement in recognition of my boots-on-the-ground experience and policy leadership. My background also gives me with a unique perspective to understand the community’s needs. I will use this perspective as I examine and develop future policies that address public safety and also inform how we plan for density, how we protect our school children, and how we enable our seniors to age in place.

I have stayed in Arlington because I love our diversity in all of its forms.  However, our diversity is at risk.  We have schools in Arlington where 2% of students receive free or reduced lunch and we have schools where almost 80% do.  These statistics keenly demonstrate that we are not distributing affordable housing around the county, which is essential if we truly value our diversity.  We are also struggling to maintain and develop housing that meets the needs of those who make more than 60% of area median income, and don’t qualify for committed affordable housing, but not enough to afford Arlington’s market rate housing.

This isn’t just about housing, it is about attracting and maintaining residents who are professionals, young families, seniors on fixed incomes, or public servants.  As a member of the Lee Highway Alliance, I support taking action to reinstate and deploy the Middle Income Purchasing Assistance Program (MIPAP), putting more emphasis on “Live Where you Work” programs, and updating and balancing our zoning decisions to allow for mid-range housing options, e.g. – townhomes, duplexes, multiplexes, etc. along Lee Highway, Columbia Pike, and other non-Metro thoroughfares. This is my challenge, too, because I went into a business partnership with friends to buy a townhome so we could afford to live in Arlington. We are now looking to go our separate ways, and like many Arlingtonians, I seek more options to remain in the community I love.

I am incredibly proud to have received the endorsements of Ingrid Morroy (Commissioner of the Revenue), Theo Stamos (Commonwealth’s Attorney), Cord Thomas (local entrepreneur and small business owner), and [redacted]. These leaders have endorsed me because of my community and civic leadership and my proven professional background in strategic planning, organizational and change management. I am committed to listening, understanding everyone’s needs, and then working collaboratively on forward-thinking solutions. I will build partnerships in Arlington and across our region to meet shared goals.

As a member of the County Board, I will continue my mission of keeping Arlington safe, diverse and forward-thinking. I will work to keep us safe by making sure our first responders have the resources they need. I will prioritize keeping Arlington economically and culturally diverse through smart zoning decisions. I will advocate for creative, forward-thinking business solutions so Arlington can be more competitive in attracting entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes to set up shop here. I ask you to help me on this mission, starting with your vote in the caucus on May 9th, 11th or 13th! For more information about my campaign, and where to vote, please visit www.kim4arlington.com

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm 0

Last week we asked the four Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from Erik Gutshall:

I’m Erik Gutshall, I’m focused on the future, and I’m asking for your support to be the next member of the Arlington County Board.  There are four strong Democrats running for the board, but I believe that I have the perspective and experience that uniquely qualify me to get the job done.  When my wife and I moved to Lyon Park in 1995, we didn’t expect to stay long, but like many of you, we quickly fell in love with our new community.  Impressed by what Arlington and its schools had to offer, we put down roots, and are raising our three wonderful daughters here.  We learned that Arlington’s success story was written by ordinary citizens, with shared values, working together to tackle the challenges of their day.  Wanting to give back, I volunteered with my civic association, a local family shelter, and eventually our planning and transportation commissions.  I have met so many great people that I know we can tackle the challenges of tomorrow if we work together.

In 2003, I saw an opportunity, and took a risk to start my own business with only a supportive wife, a savings account, and my own determination to rely on.  Fourteen years later, I’m proud to say that with hard work, great employees, and more than a few sleepless nights, I’ve built an award winning small business that clients can depend on, and provides for my family and employees.  This experience is why I know down to my very core that if you don’t innovate, you stagnate.  Our values haven’t changed, but our solutions have to.

While my perspective will be unique on the board, my story is not.  It is shared by thousands in our County and if we are going to build an economy that works for all, we must empower our innovators and entrepreneurs to grow and thrive.  I will demand a “Get to Yes” customer service culture so that our small businesses – the heart and soul of our community – can spend more time on their customers and less time dealing with frustrating bureaucracy.  I know our county government can do this, but they need a leader on the board who will make it a priority.  I will be that leader.

As a parent of three APS students, I know how important solving the capacity crisis is to Arlington’s future.  Last year I lobbied for the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JAFC) because the School Board and County Board must work together to squeeze the most out of our limited space and dollars.  On the board, I will champion the JFAC’s work to develop creative solutions that consider every opportunity, whether school, county, or commercially-owned, to build the schools and multi-purpose facilities we need.

I also know the anxiety of a parent who wonders if his daughters will be able to afford to start their families here.  I will use my experience as Chair of the Planning Commission to create neighborhood-scale “Missing Middle” housing along our transportation corridors.  Modernizing our old-fashioned zoning code will allow private investors to create this housing without taxpayer money to help young families starting out, empty nesters, and everyone in between from being priced out of Arlington.

Being a part of Arlington’s civic dialog has been an honor and a privilege, and facilitating that conversation is a deep expression of my progressive values.  Ensuring that all parties have a seat at the table isn’t a box-checking exercise; it is the antidote to divisive issues that can pit neighbors against each other.  That consensus-building process is the only way we can hammer out a plan that balances the needs of schools, parks and open space, and community facilities while redeveloping our transportation corridors to provide “missing middle” housing.  I know we can stop bouncing from one ad-hoc decision to the next because I’ve been working with you to solve complex challenges for the last 15 years.  With your support, I’ll be honored to do it for the next four as your board member.  To learn more about what I’m focused on for the future of Arlington, visit Erik4Arlington.com and please vote on May 9, 11, or 13.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Last week we asked the four Democratic candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay on why our readers should vote for them in the May 9, 11 and 13 caucus.

Here is the unedited response from Peter Fallon:

I am running to get things done for the people of Arlington, just as I have for 25 years as an active member of my community. I am running because in this crucial time for our county, we need someone with the knowledge, experience and reputation for action to meet this moment.

There are many things I believe that make me different. First of which, I am a parent of two children in APS. My daughter Alexandra is finishing up second grade this year, and my son Andrew will be starting kindergarten in the fall. With more than a decade of schooling ahead of us, you bet that the future of our school system weighs heavily on my mind. I share the concerns of many of my fellow parents about overcrowding and maintaining a high quality learning experience with small class sizes. That’s why I am so committed to working with our School Board to build new schools, including a fourth comprehensive high school, which I think is needed urgently.

The second thing that makes me different is that sense of urgency. Arlington is beset by two large, seemingly intractable problems that threaten our prosperity and great quality of life. Those issues are Metro and the rising price of housing. Arlington staked its future on Metro decades ago and it has paid off tremendously. Our unique blend of walkability, city and suburban feel, and attractiveness to employers depends on Metro. However, Metro is no longer safe and reliable. This is a regional issue that affects Arlington directly. We need to take the lead on solving this problem. We need more people on the board who will work with our regional bodies to get Metro fixed and back on track.

It is Arlington’s attractiveness that is pushing the cost of living higher every day. We need County Board members who are committed to protecting and growing our affordable housing stock. As the Planning Commission’s liaison to the Housing Commission, I was able to make this happen. I played a significant role in creating over 1,000 units of affordable housing for our residents. How do you did I do it? You have to stand I stood firm in negotiations with developers. As well, my background in accounting helped me get the maximum return for every tax dollar. I believe we have to aid our citizens at every stage of life deal with this affordability issue. That means helping families get affordable childcare as well as helping our seniors age-in-place. These are citizens who contribute so much to our community, and it is wrong for them to be priced out of the home they love. As a County Board member I will fight to expand programs that help our seniors, families, first-time home buyers and young people stay in this great community.

The final thing I believe makes me different is my way of doing things. I am a “listen, engage, decide, get it done” type of person. If you and I talk, you’ll see. You’ll get 100% of my attention because I want to hear you. I want to understand your issue, and once I do, I make it mine. I ask a lot of questions, but that just means I care enough to fully grasp what’s going on. Once I’ve decided to support your cause, rest assured I am with you until the end. My parents ingrained in me at a young age the importance of speaking up for the little guy and sticking your neck out there to do the right thing. As your County Board member, you’ll always have a friendly ear on the board, no matter who you are or where you live. I do this because I believe in action and getting results for the people of Arlington.

For more information about my campaign you can visit my website, FallonforCountyBoard.org. I would be honored to be your first choice vote on May 9th, 11th or 13th.

by ARLnow.com — May 2, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

President Donald Trump tweeted this morning that the government needs “a good ‘shutdown'” in September.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who counts some 77,000 federal employees among his Northern Virginia constituents, wasted no time in responding. Beyer issued the following statement shortly after the president’s tweet.

There is nothing ‘good’ about a government shutdown that would furlough 800,000 federal employees indefinitely, including nearly 70,000 in Northern Virginia. The federal government does not turn on and off like a light switch. Critical medical and scientific research is put on hold; shipping container inspections at our ports are halted; Social Security and Medicare benefits are delayed and mortgages are missed.

I can think of no worse example of leadership than to call and hope for such an unmitigated disaster. President Trump might think this is the art of the deal, but it is not how government functions, not what the American people demand of their political leaders, and not what this country asked for in November.

Beyer represents more federal workers than any other member of Congress, according to his office.

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