And now there are three candidates for mayor of Alexandria.
Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet made it official at the Rocky Versace Memorial on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. He joins Vice Mayor William Cleveland and Councilman William D. Euille, who made their own announcements earlier this year.
“I chose the Rocky Versace and Alexandria Vietnam Memorial to announce my candidacy for mayor of Alexandria because I knew Rocky when we were cadets at West Point,” Van Fleet said. “Some 40 years later, my relationship with this American hero reached closure when I was privileged to have worked in a small way with the Friends of Rocky Versace in making this memorial possible.”
Van Fleet spoke in the rain to a gathering of his friends. “I intend to run for mayor as an Independent Republican,” he said. “While I always evaluate each candidate on his or her own merits, I intend to lean Republican at the national level and in fact worked the polls for the Republicans during last Tuesday’s elections.
“However in the City of Alexandria, the agenda of the Alexandria Republican City Committee does not reflect the values and beliefs of the more than 10,000 voting Alexandria Republicans; therefore, my designation as an Independent Republican."
Van Fleet said it was time for a change in the city. "I believe that as your new mayor in 2003, with a mandate from the citizens and a committed City Council, that I can make Alexandria a better place to live for all citizens,” he said.
“For too long our city’s leadership and public officials have failed to maintain the public’s trust and a code of ethics that is above reproach. Integrity will be the cornerstone and pillar of all my efforts — a quality that Alexandrians have deserved but not always received in the past several years.”
The newly announced candidate said his agenda for Alexandria was simple yet expansive, encompassing a myriad of services and programs.
"For instance, the well-being and education of children, our nation’s next generation of citizens, must be a top priority," Van Fleet said. "Recent research confirms that quality teaching trumps all other factors — poverty, race, curriculum reform, reducing class size, pursuing standards - in influencing student achievement.
“We need only smart development. In the past, development has occurred without consideration of supporting infrastructure or the preservation of our city’s unique history.
“Development for development’s sake or for tax-base revenues is just plain wrong. Alexandria is now the ninth-most densely populated city in the nation. One hundred sixty-five people a day move to Northern Virginia, and by the year 2020 our population will have grown by 1.2 million people. That equates to at least a half million houses and an even greater number of cars.
"I am calling for a short-term building moratorium that will allow city planners to incorporate our infrastructure needs into future development decisions."
Van Fleet ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2000. The mayoral election will be held in May, 2003.