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Karina Lipsman, the Republican nominee for the 8th Congressional District (via Fairfax County Republican Committee/Facebook)

Earlier this week, we invited the candidates running in Tuesday’s general election to write a post about why our readers should vote for them. Find information here on how and where to vote in Arlington on Nov. 8.

Below is the response from the Republican nominee for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, Karina Lipsman. It has been edited at the end to remove sentences that brought the submission above the 750 word limit.

Northern Virginia has been setting records.

Record high crime, record high cost of living, record high gas prices, record high inflation, record high lowering of standards in our schools, record high lack of transparency into what is happening in the hallways and what is taught in the classroom.

These are records brought on by Don Beyer and that is why I’m running for Congress.

I was born in Odesa, Ukraine when it was still under the Soviet regime and fled to the U.S. with my single mother and elderly grandparents when I was 8 years old. We did not speak English, lived in low-income housing, and survived on food stamps. On my first day of Baltimore public school, my fellow classmates stood up in unison and recited the Pledge of Allegiance and while I did not understand a single word, I felt that it was something I wanted to be a part of. So as soon as I turned 18, I became a U.S. citizen by choice and recited the most meaningful Pledge of Allegiance knowing how fortunate I was to have this opportunity that many around the world can only dream of.

I put myself through college in three-years with a bachelor’s in economics, earned a master’s in engineering from Johns Hopkins while working in the defense and intelligence communities and resigned my 14-year career to run for Congress full time.

I’m working for you because I am you. When I am in the community, I hear your concerns, and I feel them too. I feel the higher cost of living, I pump my own gas, which I am now afraid to do at night with rising crime. I talk to struggling parents across the district who are disenfranchised that they can’t afford private schools. Even with the high taxes we pay, the public schools are failing our children.

I could not watch the American Dream I lived slip away, and I promise I will be your voice in Washington to protect this Dream for all. I will never vote 100% with any party, and I promise to never embrace polarizing politics.

Sadly, my opponent is the opposite. He inherited a legacy business; making him the top 5 wealthiest members of Congress. He doesn’t feel the high cost of living, or the pain at the pump. He says we need to ban stock trades by members of Congress, yet he has made 102% returns on semiconductor stock trades after helping write and pass the CHIPS Act — a bill regulating and setting policy for this exact industry. While he claims the number one issue he hears about from constituents is “airplane noise,” I’m in the community hearing what really matters to residents: rising crime, rising cost of living, and crumbling schools.

My opponent is just another out-of-touch career politician who is in it for himself and not the people of Northern Virginia. Just look at the recent scandal in his office: he represents the Pentagon and the CIA and had to fire a staffer working for the Chinese Embassy! My opponent is compromised.

New leadership is needed now more than ever. It is time for someone who understands the struggle of the almost 47% minority or immigrants that now make up this district and the average person — not the political elite.

As your Congresswoman, I will be a strong and powerful voice in the incoming majority that will represent Northern Virginia. I will be the first female ever elected in this district, the first Republican since Ronald Reagan, the first refugee Ukrainian immigrant in Congress, and the largest political flip in the country. I will use this platform and my strong voice to bring common-sense and not partisan politics to the national spotlight.

I will prioritize positive solutions and will work across the aisle. I will advocate for common-sense policies that fight crime, reduce inflation, and improve our educational standards. I will keep Northern Virginia and America safe.

I am tired of the broken promises made by my opponent. If I break any of my promises to you, I ask you to vote me out of office.

You deserve better. Vote for me for the change we need, the fresh voice we deserve, and a new age in Congress. I would be humbled and honored to represent you.

Karina Lipsman is the nominee for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. Lipsman’s story is the American Dream. She is a refugee immigrant from Odesa, Ukraine.

Editor’s note: Candidates for local races are invited in advance to submit candidate essays, via contact information ARLnow has on file or publicly-listed contact information on the candidate’s website. Reminders are sent to those who do not submit an essay by the evening before the deadline.

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Independent congressional candidate Teddy Fikre (courtesy photo)

Earlier this week, we invited the candidates running in Tuesday’s general election to write a post about why our readers should vote for them. Find information here on how and where to vote in Arlington on Nov. 8.

Below is the unedited response from the independent candidate for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District, Teddy Fikre.

Hello fellow residents of the 8th Congressional District, for many of you, most likely, this is the first time you have been made aware of my campaign and heard of my name. That is to be expected as I’ve been running a campaign that is far from conventional. Whereas the typical political playbook demands raising fortunes in order to blanket the airwaves and roadways with ads and inundate mailboxes with flyers, I made a decision to try something different when I was contemplating running for Congress.

After witnessing one politician after another promising to deliver change only to become part and parcel of the very status quo they ran against, I realized that the only way we can restore representative government in DC is by running an authentically organic campaign as an independent and not taking a penny from corporations and special interests. I did this so I could focus my campaign on overcoming social and political divides instead of pitting people against each other the way both political parties have and continue to do.

Though there are many issues facing our country and many problems we need to confront, there are two concerns in particular that compelled me to run for Congress and are the basis of my campaign. The first issue is the state of our economy and the way wealth is being transferred to a fraction of society while poverty is being socialized for the rest of us. Martin Luther King Jr once noted that social justice is not possible without economic justice; this is an immutable fact because the root cause of many social ills can be traced to the pervasive poverty or financial uncertainty that are the realities facing most Americans.

While we are conditioned to fight over our differences and bash other powerless people, the harsh truth is that 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and the net savings of the average worker is zero. Almost all of us, irrespective of our skin tone, gender, orientation or belief systems, are but one or two missed paychecks away from calamity. This is precisely what happened to me in 2015 as I went from being a high-priced consultant to homelessness.

As hard as that two-and-a-half-year journey through homelessness was, in hindsight, I am grateful for the hardships I endured. Before experiencing a life of destitution and despair, I viewed life through the lens of partisanship and fought for justice through the prism of tribe. Living in shelters and witnessing a sea of humanity broken by hopelessness and penury taught me this valuable and undeniable lesson: pain transcends all our political and social differences.

This gets to the second and even more important reason why I decided to run for Congress. The number one issue facing us is the way we have become so polarized as a country. As long as we remain divided, we will never be able to galvanize a critical mass of people needed to compel change that will benefit all. While it is critical to acknowledge historical injustices and address inequalities that are impacting the lives of so many, we must do so without reverting to collective judgement and assigning blame to others who are struggling to make ends meet.

Far from turning us away from divisive rhetoric and antagonism that is Balkanizing society, Democrats and Republicans in DC are leading us towards more factionalism and antipathy. That is because the bedrock of our politics and the calling card of both parties is the toxic tribalism of “us versus them” that has replaced our common purpose and eroded our common humanity in the process.

I am running as an independent for this very reason, we cannot depend on politicians who are thriving through our disunion to bring us together. It is time for authentic change in DC. As a full-time IT Project Manager who drives Uber part-time to make ends meet, I ask for your vote so that we can have a representative in DC who doesn’t have to feel your pain because I live your reality.

Editor’s note: Candidates for local races are invited in advance to submit candidate essays, via contact information ARLnow has on file or publicly-listed contact information on the candidate’s website. Reminders are sent to those who do not submit an essay by the evening before the deadline.

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Rep. Don Beyer (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Earlier this week, we invited the candidates running in Tuesday’s general election to write a post about why our readers should vote for them. Find information here on how and where to vote in Arlington on Nov. 8.

Below is the unedited response from Rep. Don Beyer, who is running for re-election in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.

My name is Don Beyer, and I have served as your representative in Congress for Northern Virginia, including Arlington, since 2015. I am seeking reelection, and your vote, in the 2022 midterm election on November 8th.

This election is one of the most important of our lives, with so much hanging in the balance, and huge implications for our economy, American democracy, and the future of the planet.

Today Northern Virginians are struggling with higher costs, and as Chair of the Joint Economic Committee I am working to help bring down prices to help families. This year we enacted the Inflation Reduction Act, which will lower health care costs and prescription drug prices, and make energy cleaner and more affordable.

We also passed the Chips and Science Act, which will create jobs in our region through investments in scientific research and development, support American manufacturing, and strengthen our supply chains. And we enacted the American Rescue Plan, which has helped fuel one of the fastest economic recoveries in history, with a record 10 million jobs added since President Biden took office.

House Republicans opposed these bills to help Americans, and while they talk a lot about inflation, their plans would actually make things worse. They’ve called for more tax cuts for the wealthy, making prescription drug prices more expensive, and threatening to wreck the economy unless they get cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Led by Kevin McCarthy, they have also given total allegiance to Donald Trump, echoing the “stolen election” lie and voting to overrule Americans’ voice at the ballot box by rejecting election results.

These nihilistic positions are dangerous for the country. I will continue to oppose them, and to protect our elections and Americans’ right to vote. I will also continue working to deliver real results that change things for the better.

This term saw enactment of my hate crime prevention bill, and major suicide prevention initiatives I helped fund. I helped enact an expanded Child Tax Credit, which saw poverty in the United States hit an all-time low. I helped craft provisions of the biggest climate bill ever enacted, and a key measure in the first major gun violence prevention legislation in nearly 30 years. I voted for the bipartisan infrastructure law, which is already funding transportation improvements in our region. I helped thousands of constituents get assistance from federal agencies, and secured millions in federal funding for local projects.

But we still have so much more work to do.

My top priorities start with continuing our very important work to address inflation and strengthen the economy. I will keep pushing for more legislation to prevent gun violence, and seek to advance bills that will enact universal paid leave, support affordable housing, bring down the cost of health care and child care, protect union rights, and raise the minimum wage.

One of the most important things I will work for in the next Congress is federal legislation to protect abortion access in the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

I humbly ask for your vote on Tuesday, November 8th, to continue the progress we have made. If you have questions please visit www.friendsofdonbeyer.com. Regardless of who you support, I encourage everyone to vote in the midterm election, and send my thanks to all who are doing their civic duty by participating in our democracy.

Editor’s note: Candidates for local races are invited in advance to submit candidate essays, via contact information ARLnow has on file or publicly-listed contact information on the candidate’s website. Reminders are sent to those who do not submit an essay by the evening before the deadline.

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School Board candidate Bethany Sutton (via Arlington Democrats)

Earlier this week, we invited the candidates running in Tuesday’s general election to write a post about why our readers should vote for them. Find information here on how and where to vote in Arlington on Nov. 8.

Below is the unedited response from Democrat-endorsed School Board candidate Bethany Sutton.

I am Bethany Sutton and as a 21-year Arlingtonian and engaged community leader, I have the depth and breadth of experience in our schools and community to serve effectively as a member of the School Board.

My children currently attend Jefferson Middle School and the HB Woodlawn secondary program. I began my journey with APS in 2011 when my older child started kindergarten at Randolph Elementary School. I served on the Randolph PTA board for seven years, including three years as president. As PTA president, I held listening sessions with teachers to learn about their needs and priorities, advocated for facilities improvements for an aging school building, and supported getting books into the hands of students in a Title I school where nearly 65 percent of the children are English language learners and nearly 75 percent come from socioeconomically disadvantaged families.

For the past two and a half years, I have served as the coordinator for the Randolph Food Pantry. Our all-volunteer effort centered on providing a one-stop-shop model in which families could access not only groceries to feed their children, but also talk with school leaders, check out library books, access pandemic relief resources, and even get vaccines.

Since 2021, I have served on the Arlington County Food Security Task Force, working on how to address hunger in our community in systemic ways. I also serve on the Columbia Pike Partnership’s Community Advisory Council and I was a member of a large APS task force in 2015 to explore options for locating a new elementary school in the county.

I am Chair of the Advisory Council on Teaching & Learning (ACTL), which I joined in 2018. We work to engage parents and community members across Arlington in conversations about our academic priorities and what students need to support their learning. ACTL includes 14 subcommittees focused on particular content areas-such as Math, Science, and English Language Arts-and on particular student groups such as English language learners and students with disabilities.

My professional background is in higher education and leadership development. The perspective I have gained from working with college and university leaders is a unique lens that I bring to my thinking about K-12 education.

In terms of my priorities for our schools, I would like to highlight three:

I seek to elevate student learning as the fundamental purpose and focus of our school system. Advancing student achievement and digging into the inequities in academic outcomes in our system are high priorities for me. This is a moment for our school system to renew our expectations for student learning and recognize that teachers are critical to our success in helping students achieve measurable progress.

I also care deeply about addressing the health and well-being of our school community. We need to provide a supportive environment in our schools that focuses on helping everyone feel a strong sense of belonging — especially those who often are marginalized, including students of color, students with disabilities, and students who are LGBTQ+. If we want to make meaningful progress on student learning, we must support students’ social and emotional development. It’s also important to balance academics with the other activities that students love and that contribute to their engagement in school, such as sports, theater, music, internships, and community service.

In the next four years, we have an opportunity to rebuild a sense of community around education in Arlington. I believe that the School Board has a responsibility to foster an environment of trust, transparency, and clear communication. I’m not running for School Board because I’m mad about something or because I think something is broken that needs to be fixed. I’m running because I genuinely believe in attentive leadership and good governance. Trust, transparency, and communication are essential components of effective leadership.

I think Arlingtonians will find me to be a thoughtful leader who is focused on listening, learning, and making meaningful contributions to our community.

Editor’s note: Candidates for local races are invited in advance to submit candidate essays, via contact information ARLnow has on file or publicly-listed contact information on the candidate’s website. Reminders are sent to those who do not submit an essay by the evening before the deadline.

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Independent School Board candidate James ‘Vell’ Rives IV (courtesy photo)

Earlier this week, we invited the candidates running in Tuesday’s general election to write a post about why our readers should vote for them. Find information here on how and where to vote in Arlington on Nov. 8.

Below is the unedited response from independent School Board candidate James “Vell” Rives IV.

I have lived in Arlington 23 years. My wife Carmen and I have 2 children attending Wakefield High School and Gunston Middle School. They previously attended Abingdon, Claremont, and Hoffman-Boston Elementary Schools.

My undergraduate degree is in music, and I have directed church choirs for the past 20 years.

I’m a physician. After medical school at the University of Alabama, I completed an internship in internal medicine and then moved to Baltimore for a residency in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I then moved to Arlington and began practicing adolescent and adult psychiatry.

I’m a member of the APS School Health Advisory Board, serving as Co-Chair last year, and I’ve proudly served as a County Election Officer for 6 years.

But this year, I am running for School Board, because this is a crucial time for Arlington Public Schools: We have to get back on track.

My top priority is to keep our students and staff physically safe. I want to bring our resource officers (school-based police) back into schools where needed. Second, I want us to keep classrooms open for in-person instruction, safely, whatever it takes. Third, we have to finish making up lost learning. Our graduates need to be competitive for careers and college. I want us to eliminate our achievement gaps without lowering our standards or expectations.

We’ve lost too many good teachers in the past two years. Classroom teachers and other student-facing positions must be a budget priority. I also want every student to get the help they need to reach their full potential – tutoring, math and literacy coaching, homework proctoring, transportation, and family support. These too should be budget priorities.

It’s going to be hard. My experience as a parent, physician, and mental health professional will bring the perspective we need on the board to meet these challenges.

The Sun Gazette has endorsed me, saying “Rives has been more aggressive in delineating the school system’s leadership and operational flaws as he sees them, and his campaign has put the focus squarely on improving the academic outcomes on a student-by-student basis…. [M]uch more than Sutton, Rives has called out the school leadership for its pandemic-era mistakes, a key step in ensuring those mistakes are never, ever repeated.”

As an independent, I am not indebted to any political party or interest group. There has not been a non-Democrat on the School Board in 15 years. They could be so much more effective if they had someone — just one person! — from outside their circle. We could all have more confidence in the governing process: When there is agreement, I will bring credibility; when there is disagreement, I will make sure different viewpoints and concerns are brought to the table and into the decision-making.

I am the candidate who will work for teachers and every student and all of our citizens. I am your candidate, and I respectfully ask for your vote.

You can find additional information about me and my platform on my website, rives4sb.com. My website links to my Facebook page, Rives for School Board, where you can read my responses to questionnaires from the League of Women Voters, the Arlington Special Education PTA, and Arlington Patch.

Editor’s note: Candidates for local races are invited in advance to submit candidate essays, via contact information ARLnow has on file or publicly-listed contact information on the candidate’s website. Reminders are sent to those who do not submit an essay by the evening before the deadline.

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Adam Theo at the June 2022 County Board meeting (courtesy photo)

Earlier this week, we invited the candidates running in Tuesday’s general election to write a post about why our readers should vote for them. Find information here on how and where to vote in Arlington on Nov. 8.

Below is the unedited response from independent County Board candidate Adam Theo.

As Vice-President of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association, a voting delegate to the Arlington County Civic Federation, and co-founder of the grassroots housing advocacy group YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, my heart is in Arlington’s future prosperity and security.

I am a veteran of the Air Force Reserves as a structural civil engineer with a deployment to eastern Afghanistan. The military taught me the incredibly useful skills of carpentry, welding, masonry, and even some plumbing and electrical work – all very handy for the “civilian world,” too.

I’ve lived both sides of law enforcement: not only as a video producer working alongside local, state, and federal law enforcement officers in their important work towards public safety and homeland security — but also incarcerated in county jail back down in Florida after some troubled teenage years. That was the start of my awakening to the desperate need for criminal justice reform, which became a passion of mine for the rest of my life.

Before moving to Arlington a decade ago, I had been homeless — twice! — including during DC’s Snowmageddon winter 13 years ago, which I spent doing day labor at construction sites, moving furniture, and shoveling snow for various towns and businesses around the region while living out of my car. Today, I do what I can to help others in even worse situations by volunteering with Bridges to Independence — an excellent organization full of great people.

It’s these experiences — unlike any other County Board candidate in our lifetimes — that have made me into the strong-willed and optimistic champion for our future that will always fight for those most in need.

I’m always willing to get my hands dirty. My volunteer and advocacy work extends to organizing trash cleanups and county park adoptions, helping improve the Mount Vernon and W&OD trails, consistently speaking for affordable housing, and being a champion of the controversial “Missing Middle” housing reform — taking hold of that lightning rod despite fierce opposition.

But enough about myself, it’s Arlington that is the most important topic. We deserve an Arlington that is safe, affordable, and accountable. With your help, we will:

  • Prioritize Public Safety in our county budget to finally deal with our dangerous roads, flooding, and insufficient mental health programs.
  • End the Housing Crisis with an “all of the above” solution that includes lowering property tax rates from historic highs, more townhomes and garden condos with “Missing Middle” housing reform, and doubling our affordable housing investments.
  • Bring True Accountability and Reform to our county operations by fully funding the County Auditor’s office, implementing Ranked Choice Voting in local elections, and prying open full transparency from the county government.

I want to earn your support to be your challenger to the establishment and move Arlington forward. My supporters are not the party insiders trying to preserve the status quo, nor are they the selfish interest groups fanning fear about change. My supporters are the activists and outsiders who have a clear vision for our future and the dedication to see it through.

I am endorsed by Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County, both former Young Democrat and former Young Republican leaders, fierce public safety activists, and highly respected advocates for governance reform.

My name is Adam Theo, the independent candidate for Arlington County Board. Find out more about the campaign at the website, donate, and sign up to be a volunteer on election day. Thank you.

Editor’s note: Candidates for local races are invited in advance to submit candidate essays, via contact information ARLnow has on file or publicly-listed contact information on the candidate’s website. Reminders are sent to those who do not submit an essay by the evening before the deadline.

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Democratic County Board candidate Matt de Ferranti (courtesy photo)

Earlier this week, we invited the candidates running in Tuesday’s general election to write a post about why our readers should vote for them. Find information here on how and where to vote in Arlington on Nov. 8.

Below is the unedited response from the Democratic nominee for the County Board, Matt de Ferranti.

Working with all Arlingtonians to address our biggest challenges–growing our economy to expand opportunity for all, combatting climate change and protecting our environment, investing in our schools to foster educational excellence for all, and increasing housing affordability–motivates me to run for re-election to the County Board.

Fighting the Coronavirus

Last year during the height of the pandemic, as County Board Chair I used the bully pulpit to successfully advocate for more vaccines–especially for those most vulnerable to COVID. I worked to provide you with the information you needed to stay safe, and, at my urging, the County made significant efforts to provide rent and food assistance.

Growing our Economy to Benefit All Arlingtonians

Good-paying jobs and a strong commercial sector are critical to a thriving economy. As Chair of the Board, I worked with labor to pass our collective bargaining ordinance and prevailing wage ordinance. Each will help make sure County employees and those who work on County projects are paid a fair wage.

Arlington’s strong commercial sector has historically helped balance homeowner and commercial real estate tax burdens while allowing us to provide good County services. Keeping that balance is why I supported the Amazon agreement.

Combatting Climate Change and Protecting our Environment

I pushed for high goals in Arlington’s revised Community Energy Plan in 2019 and strongly supported the solar farm that will help County government get to 100% renewable electricity in County operations by 2025. I also led on increasing the proportion of county vehicles that are electric and in establishing our office of climate coordination. If re-elected, I will focus on getting Arlington as a whole community to 100% renewable electricity by 2035, continuing to address our stormwater challenges, investing in sustainable mobility and transportation, and protecting our trees and natural resources.

Excellent Public Schools for All Students

I began my career as a teacher, so I know that teachers are the backbone of educational excellence and equity. That’s why in this year’s budget I worked with my County and School Board colleagues to provide a significant salary increase for our teachers and school staff. Continuing to strengthen our schools has and will always be a priority for me. The County Board has a responsibility to work with APS to make sure we have enough appropriate space for learning and the resources needed to deliver a world-class education.

Addressing our Housing Challenges

During my Chairmanship we were able to preserve over 1330 affordable apartments at the Barcroft Apartments AND guarantee that none of the 1100 households living there at the time of sale will be involuntarily displaced. If a private developer had bought the complex, it would have been demolished to become market rate apartments, causing thousands of Barcroft residents to lose their homes. I also led in addressing the conditions at the Serrano apartments, strengthening the County’s oversight of AHIF projects, and in reducing homelessness.

Our housing market does not have enough private market options at various price points for Arlington residents who want to buy or rent here. Over the last 20 years the price of homes in Arlington has skyrocketed. We must act to address that reality, but how we do so is critical. That’s why, on missing middle, I have and will continue to listen to every point of view and do not support the full staff framework that was proposed in late April.

Instead, I support thoughtful, tiered changes to our zoning policies to increase the supply of housing that is available for homeownership and rental units for young families and seniors who wish to downsize. I believe we should allow duplexes on our smallest lots and tier additional units based on the size of lots. I do not support eightplexes, since I believe the costs are not worth the benefits. I am committed to thoughtful policies, a balanced approach, and the significant work still ahead on this issue.

The Choice You Have on Tuesday

Over the past four years, I have worked my heart out, listening to your concerns and engaging to address them. To learn more about me, go to mattforarlington.com, here. For my views on the issues, go here. For a list of the organizations and individuals who support me, go here. Then, once you have considered all of the issues, hire the County Board Member you believe is the best leader to serve you on all of these important issues over the next four years.
I humbly and respectfully ask for your vote.

Editor’s note: Candidates for local races are invited in advance to submit candidate essays, via contact information ARLnow has on file or publicly-listed contact information on the candidate’s website. Reminders are sent to those who do not submit an essay by the evening before the deadline.

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Independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement (2015 file photo)

Earlier this week, we invited the candidates running in Tuesday’s general election to write a post about why our readers should vote for them. Find information here on how and where to vote in Arlington on Nov. 8.

Below is the unedited response from independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement.

I’m Audrey Clement, Independent candidate for Arlington County Board. As an 18-year Westover resident, long time civic activist, current member of the  Neighborhoods Advisory Committee, and past member of the Transportation Commission, I’m running for County Board because it has pushed harmful policies resulting in:

  • overcrowded schools
  • gentrification
  • loss of green space and
  • excessive taxation

Now the County is pushing “Missing Middle” up-zoning–multi-family dwellings in single family home neighborhoods. Contrary to what the County says, Missing Middle will not make housing more affordable. Instead it will inflate land values, resulting in higher housing prices, overcrowded schools, more traffic congestion, loss of tree canopy, increased runoff and more air pollution.

The County’s own data indicates that an income of $108,000 per year will be needed to afford a low-end 1 bedroom condo. In 2019 the County reported Black and Latino median household income at a fraction of that. Furthermore the County projects that 90 percent of new units built will be 1-2 bedrooms already in good supply, not the 3 bedroom units that are needed. 80% will likely be rentals, not owner occupied.

Let’s face it. The only beneficiaries of Missing Middle are the developers who are already making a killing by flipping properties in your neighborhood.

Another issue that concerns me is tax gouging.

The Board recently adopted a $1.5 billion budget that includes a 5.3 percent effective real estate tax rate increase. Nothing new here. Between 2012 and 2021 Arlington’s ten-year average annual effective real estate tax rate increase was double the rate of inflation (FY 2023 Online Budget, p. 95 [108]).

Are these over-the-top annual tax rate increases actually needed to fund the budget?

Neighboring jurisdictions have lowered real estate tax rates in the wake of rising assessments. Fairfax County recently reduced its real estate tax by 3 cents per $100 of assessed value.

If elected, I pledge to:

  • Seek immediate tax relief for residents and businesses.
  • Say YES to affordable housing and NO to “Missing Middle” up-zoning.
  • Preserve Arlington’s cultural heritage. Stop permitting the destruction of historic structures like the Rouse estate that was demolished in March, 2021.
  • Save our parks, streams and tree canopy. Stop clearcutting wooded areas along Potomac River tributaries in the name of stream resilience.
  • Say YES to real social justice reforms and NO to symbolic gestures.

If you share my agenda, then:

  • Visit my website at www.AudreyClement.com
  • Spread the word about my candidacy.
  • Donate to my campaign.
  • Help make the “Arlington Way” more than an empty phrase.

Editor’s note: Candidates for local races are invited in advance to submit candidate essays, via contact information ARLnow has on file or publicly-listed contact information on the candidate’s website. Reminders are sent to those who do not submit an essay by the evening before the deadline.

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Rep. Don Beyer (staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Last week, we invited the two candidates running in the Democratic primary for Congress in Virginia’s 8th District to write a post about why our readers should vote for them on Tuesday (June 21). Find information on how and where to vote in Arlington here.

Here is the unedited response from Rep. Don Beyer:

My name is Don Beyer, and I represent much of Northern Virginia, including Arlington, in the U.S. House of Representatives. I am seeking re-election – and your vote – because I am determined to fight for a strong and equitable economy, protect our democracy from those who threaten it, and act with the speed and scope we need to address the climate crisis.

I am focused on delivering results for our district. Since I was first elected eight years ago, my office has completed over 13,000 cases to help constituents with federal agencies and other matters, and recovered over $10 million dollars on their behalf. This year I secured millions in federal funding for local projects, which include addressing flooding in Northern Virginia, expanding electric vehicle infrastructure, and funding Arlington’s mental health services.

I am a forceful advocate for our region’s transportation infrastructure. I voted for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will benefit Northern Virginia enormously and put Metro on a stronger fiscal footing with added oversight. I helped secure grants to renovate Arlington Memorial Bridge and passed legislation that achieved safety improvements and structural repairs on the G.W. Parkway. I am constantly working to reduce noise from airplanes and helicopters in our skies.

As your Congressman, I helped craft and enact landmark legislation, including Covid relief measures like the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan, which funded the national vaccine strategy, direct economic impact payments for most Americans, and the enhanced Child Tax Credit.

Last year, President Biden signed my hate crime prevention legislation, the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, into law. I helped write legislation to launch the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 9-8-8 next month.

As Chair of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I am pressing hard to make health care, child care, and housing more affordable, and to reduce the price of lifesaving medicines like insulin. I am a leader in the House in the fight for universal, paid medical and family leave. I am a strong supporter of workers, as a proponent of legislation to raise the minimum wage, protect union rights, and support America’s civil servants and contractors.

As a leader on the House Science Committee, I am committed to being an effective advocate for a tough response to the climate crisis. I have authored climate-friendly provisions to promote direct air capture, green hydrogen, and electric vehicle credits. I’ve had legislation signed into law to boost climate resilience funding and “blue carbon” research, and founded the bipartisan Fusion Energy Caucus. Last year, I represented the House at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

Halting gun violence has been another focus of my work in Congress. I voted for universal background checks, led the fight for red flag laws, and strongly support the Assault Weapons Ban. I recently introduced legislation to restrict the purchase of assault weapons and high capacity magazines, which could bypass the filibuster and win Senate passage with 50 votes.

Finally, like many of you, I am deeply concerned about threats to our democracy. I voted for the For the People Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect our elections and secure Americans’ right to vote. I was a vocal critic of Donald Trump, voting to impeach him twice, and am a strong supporter of the January 6th Committee’s investigation.

Northern Virginians are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the work of the federal government, and representing you effectively requires capable, experienced leadership. As our district’s Representative, I work hard every day to make progress that improves your lives.

Thank you for placing your trust in me. I humbly ask for your support and vote on Tuesday, June 21st to continue to build on the progress we have made. For more information please visit www.friendsofdonbeyer.com.

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Victoria Virasingh (via Victoria Virasingh/Facebook)

Last week, we invited the two candidates running in the Democratic primary for Congress in Virginia’s 8th District to write a post about why our readers should vote for them on Tuesday (June 21). Find information on how and where to vote in Arlington here.

Here is the unedited response from Victoria Virasingh:

Our democracy is fragile. The only way we can build our democracy back is by ensuring the right to vote, reaching out to every single voter in our community, and bringing new people into the electorate. My campaign has contacted communities all across Virginia’s 8th district to ensure that their priorities, their hopes, and their struggles, many of which I have lived, are represented in Congress. Using my fluency in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian, and my beginning level Amharic and American Sign Language (ASL), I’ve been able to connect with voters directly who have otherwise never been invited to participate in the political process.

There are seismic shifts occurring in the electorate, some of which we saw in Virginia’s last governor’s race. I’ve met voters of all backgrounds and ages who are apathetic, unimpressed, or sorely disappointed by their current Representative. In order to keep Virginia blue, VA-8 needs a leader who people will vote for enthusiastically. They need a leader who listens and who makes them feel seen. My story as the daughter of immigrants is the story of thousands in our community. I am the second woman to ever make it onto the ballot for this race. If elected, I would be the first Latina, Asian American, and woman to ever represent VA-8 in Congress. At 30 years old, I would also be the youngest to do so. Feeling ready for change, people have come out to vote for me who have never voted before! Isn’t this what we want?

In addition to my diverse personal background, I bring professional experience from Congress, the tech industry, and education nonprofits to inform a robust, progressive, and pragmatic policy platform. My top priorities include passing Medicare for All to improve Americans’ access to outcome-driven healthcare and raising the minimum wage to $18/hour to give people working minimum wage jobs a chance at actually living out their American dreams. I am also eager to take bold action to mitigate and adapt to climate change while ensuring a just transition, as well as finally passing stronger legislation to reduce gun violence. I support creating a modernized immigration system that makes it easier for people to become U.S. citizens and making public college tuition 100% tax deductible to help students access college without worry of economic barriers. Our community has come a long way with accessibility, but we need to do even more to be inclusive of VA-8 residents with disabilities. Housing is another huge issue for us — rent control is needed to keep the district welcoming to those who aren’t ready to buy a home. I support women’s rights, LGBTQ+ equality, and increased attention on dismantling systemic racism to advance racial justice. Because of all these issues that matter to the people of VA-8, we also need to get big money out of politics. I haven’t accepted and will not accept any corporate PAC money — I’m running to serve the people.

I was born and raised in Arlington, and now I am ready to bring true leadership to Congress to represent VA-8 and AND FIGHT HARD to shape a future that works for everyone. My campaign is for our future. My campaign is for all of us. I humbly ask for your vote on Election Day, Tuesday, June 21. To learn more and support my campaign, visit victoriaforcongress.com.

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Mary Kadera poses with her family (Photo via Mary Kadera for School Board)

Right before the pandemic began, I had the chance to visit P.S. 172 in Brooklyn, New York. P.S. 172 is a public elementary school serving 540 students, 72% of whom are Latinx and 22% of whom are English learners. More than a third are students with disabilities and 81% of the student body receives free or reduced-price meals.

It was one of the most peaceful, purposeful and well-functioning schools I’d ever visited–and over my career in education I’ve visited many.  Among the things I liked:

  • There are no “resource rooms” for students with disabilities because of the school’s full inclusion model. Each class is co-taught and push-in services including OT and speech are provided in the regular classroom setting.
  • The school’s master schedule is intentionally designed to allow grade-level teams to meet for 90 minutes one morning each week for team-designed and -led professional learning (students attend specials during this block of time). This is above and beyond the common planning time that teachers enjoy 4-5 times each week.
  • The school’s Leadership Team is a group of families (50%) and staff (50%), with members rotating off every two years.
  • In the school climate survey, 100% of the teachers reported they trust the principal, 95% of teachers reported that they trust each other, and 97% of families responded that the school works hard to build relationships with them.
  • The school significantly outperforms more affluent schools on standard measures of academic achievement.

P.S. 172’s building won’t win any awards: on the day I visited with a colleague in December 2019, the old heating system warmed some rooms to 80+ degrees. The furniture was older and the rooms felt small.

But the state of that building mattered so much less than the important and exciting work happening inside it. This was an incredible school that was truly engaging its staff, students and families–and it has the results to show for it.

I’ve visited other places like P.S. 172 and have been really inspired and energized by the ways that many communities are improving their schools. As a member of the Arlington School Board, I’ll bring a fresh perspective, a creative mindset and examples of what’s working elsewhere to strengthen APS.

In Arlington, we’re doing the hard work of reopening our schools and recovering–but I want us to dream bigger and think about reimagining our schools. I want us to have pride of place and know that we are providing a truly transformative, highly relevant and appropriately challenging curriculum to every one of our students. The world doesn’t look like it did 50 years ago and neither should our schools. I’m calling for:

I’m an APS parent and a community volunteer with deep experience in K-12 education, including time as a classroom teacher and a leader with national education nonprofits. It would be my privilege to serve you as the newest member of Arlington’s School Board. To learn more about me and my campaign, please visit www.maryforschoolboard.org or email me at [email protected].

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