PAT TROY, INDEPENDENT
From immigrant to business owner to candidate for City Council, Pat Troy has done it all as an independent.
Most Alexandrians know him because of Ireland’s Own, Pat Troy’s Restaurant and Pub and the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. But what is his political vision for the city?
“As everyone knows, it’s hard to get into politics in the city because the incumbents are always in there running and not much changes,” Troy said. “This year, though, is a good year to get in because there are three open seats on Council and even the three incumbents who are running can’t count their chickens. Before, a newcomer didn’t have a ghost of a chance, but now, there are a lot of issues, the voters are more educated and people are more aware that there is a city election.
“I wanted to run as an independent because I want to represent the people. While I believe in the two party system, there are a lot of things with both parties that I just don’t agree with and I just want to run as an independent,” he said.
TROY IS THE FIRST naturalized citizen to run for City Council. “I am certainly the first naturalized citizen from Ireland to run for elected office but not the first to hold such an office,” he said. “That honor would go to Colonel John Fitzgerald who was appointed mayor of Alexandria a long time ago. We have a very diverse city with a lot of cultures and I do believe that I have some understanding of what it is like to be a new arrival in this country and I think that is important in representing all of the people here.”
Troy was born in a small town in Ireland. He left school early to work and got an opportunity to know kings and presidents while he was employed in one of Ireland’s most important castles. He came to the United States as a young man and settled first in Detroit. He moved to Washington, D.C., and planned and supervised parties for the nation’s political elite. He has lived in Alexandria for 34 years, first working as an insurance salesman and then as the owner of Ireland’s Own and now his current restaurant.
Twenty-three years ago he organized Alexandria’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade and is still organizing that event today. He supports a camp for Irish children in Ireland and holds fund-raisers in his restaurant for a number of local charities. Troy’s two children attended parochial school, at St. Mary’s for elementary school and one at Bishop Ireton and the other at Bishop O’Connell for high school.
“First, on all of our minds is taxes,” Troy said, prioritizing the issues that will confront the next Council. “If we don’t do something about the taxes going up every year, people aren’t going to be able to afford to live here. Sure it’s great to get an assessment that your house went up $100,000 in value, but how are the working people going to be able to pay the taxes on that? We need to overhaul our whole tax structure. The people at City Council need to apply more pressure on Richmond.
“We can’t continue to place the burden for all of our services on homeowners. It’s great to be able to stand up and say we want this service and the other but we can’t just tax, tax, tax. We may just have to cut back on certain things and lower taxes,” he said.
TROY ALSO FEELS strongly about affordable housing. “This is a huge issue,” he said. “I hate to see us knocking down communities and building up these $500,000 and $600,000 townhouses for only people who have massive incomes. The city can look at that and say that it will bring in more taxes but what is more important, people or taxes? I would say that 90 percent of our firemen and police officers don’t live in this city because they can’t afford it. That is a shame that our public safety employees are buying homes and paying taxes in some other jurisdiction. This has gone on way too long and I can’t believe that these people at City Hall haven’t done more about affordable housing.”
Education is also a priority for Troy. “The mothers and fathers in this city are very well educated,” he said. “We want to make sure that all of our children are just as well educated if not more well educated. All of our schools need to be updated with computer systems and anything else that they need to help children learn.
“T. C. Williams needs to be built into one of the great high schools in our country. We have great students and great teachers there and they should not have to teach and learn in the conditions that they have now,” he said. “We could make this a great facility up there with Chinquapin Park. We could have a beautiful swimming pool, auditoriums for music and facilities for art. We could make this a real center for the community. This is one community and if these facilities are planned together, it will be much more advantageous to all of the people in this community who want to use these facilities.”
IT HAS BEEN RUMORED that Troy has not invited the bands at the city’s public schools to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. “This is not the case,” he said. “We have invited the band at T. C. Williams and at George Washington Middle School. I believe that the kids at GW came a couple of times but the band at T. C. has never participated. We would love to have our own bands participate. We don’t want to have to bring in bands from somewhere else. I would love it if they would come.”
With so many choices for City Council, why should voters chose Pat Troy?
“These people talk about their degrees and such but to be effective on Council, you have to be able to get people together and I’ve proven that I can do that,” he said. “I’ve got a degree that is the most wonderful degree of them all – a CS degree, a common sense degree. You have to be able to listen to people and respect them and get everybody to work together. Each person only has one vote on Council no matter how many degrees they have. Communicating and working together is much more important and through running the parade and the Irish festival, I have shown that I can bring lots of different people together. The voters should look at that and decide what’s important to them.”