EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of a continuing series of profiles of candidates seeking seats on City Council. Elections will be May 6. The Gazette will profile one candidate from each part in alphabetical order each week. Mayoral candidates will follow Council candidates, and School Board candidates will then be profiled. Last week: Republican Keith Burner and Democrat Ludwig Gaines.
ALLISON CRYOR, REPUBLICAN
Allison Cryor hopes that her message of budget restraint, controlled growth and keeping an eye on the public schools will win her a seat on the next Alexandria City Council.
Cryor is running on the Republican ticket. She has lived in the city off and on since 1983, most recently moving back from Charlottesville in 1997. She runs a business in Old Town, Kinkton Management, which she started with Mark Kinkton, and she owns a home in Rosemont.
She has both a bachelor's degree and an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia.
"I think I am qualified to be a member of City Council because I have chosen to live in the city on more than one occasion, because I own a business in the city, and because I have an understanding of, and an appreciation for many different parts of the city," Cryor said. "Alexandria is on the cusp of the future, and the next Council must take care to protect the very things that made me and many others choose to live here."
The budget is an area in which Cryor feels she has some experience. "I have an M.B.A. and I am responsible for running a business," she said. "Alexandria is fortunate that our revenue from real estate has continued to grow over the past few years. However, our assessments have increased at a rate that is much higher than the rate of salary increases that most people have gotten during that same time. We must be aware that we cannot continue to rely solely on real estate as our main source of revenue."
SHE BELIEVES THAT there are hard choices ahead for the next Council. "We must protect our triple A bond rating," she said. "In our businesses and in our personal lives, we have all had to make hard choices about how to spend money. The city must do the same thing. Maybe it's not always about what to fund, but at what level we should fund things."
As to development she said, "I believe that we must control growth, not stop it altogether. Alexandria does not exist in a vacuum. We must work with other jurisdictions throughout the region to look at where we build roads and at traffic and transportation issues. We have a limited amount of land, and we must be very careful about making decisions about where we allow what types of development," she said.
The schools are another interest to Cryor. "While I understand that the School Board makes decisions about our schools, City Council should do more than just pass a budget. It is Council's responsibility to make sure that our schools are performing as they should be and that every student is receiving the kind of education that they deserve. The school budget is quite large, and some of our schools should be doing better. We need to do what we can — not just in terms of money — that's not always the answer."
Cryor does not have children but has been involved in a discussion about where her niece and nephew will attend school. "We live in the Maury neighborhood," she said. "I think the superintendent is going in the right direction with Maury, but we are not there yet," she said.
She believes that hers is a voice that has not necessarily been represented on Council. "I am a single female head of household," she said. "There are many of us living in the city, and I believe that I can bring that added perspective."
ROB KRUPICKA, DEMOCRAT
Rob Krupicka believes that his knowledge of technology and his view of life from the vantage point of being the parent of a young child give him a voice that is not always heard on Council.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Krupicka moved to Alexandria in 1993. He worked at Signet Bank, then AOL and now at Priva Technology, a small business in Arlington. He met his wife at the Old Town Safeway. The couple lives in Del Ray with their 10-month-old daughter.
"I was approached and asked to run for Council over a year ago," he said. "I decided to run when the extent of the state budget cuts became clearer and I became very concerned about the extent of the effect on the programs in social services," Kupricka said. He served as a member of Alexandria's Community Services Board (CSB) and was instrumental in brokering an agreement to bring a CSB group home to Del Ray, which has worked out well, according to him.
"Also, I was very concerned about the lack of information on emergency preparedness that was being disseminated. We organized our own effort in Del Ray, but nothing was being done, citywide, until very recently. People need to know what they can do to be better prepared in case of an emergency, and until the threat levels were increased, no one really had a very good idea about that," he said.
Also, he chose Alexandria as a place to live because of its diversity. "We chose this community for our daughter to grow up in because of its diversity," he said. "It's economic, cultural and racial diversity. It concerns me greatly that the Alexandria of today may not be the Alexandria of the future if we don't do something about affordable housing and other issues to protect that diversity."
HIS FIRST PRIORITY is to be a champion for the public schools. "We have organized an effort in Del Ray to inform parents of young children about the city's public school system. In the past, many families have moved when their children became school age. We would like to change that and make our schools ones that parents chose. I have talked to several people who are willing to give our neighborhood schools a chance because of our efforts.
Council members can play an important role here by talking to these parents and by taking the steps that we need to take to make the schools even better than they are.
"The top 10 percent of graduates at T.C. Williams are some of the most sought after students in the country," he said. "That is not necessarily true of all of our graduates. We must work hard to close that gap."
Krupicka is also concerned about environmentally responsible development.
"We are lagging far behind Arlington in this area," he said. "We have an opportunity at PTO, at Potomac Yard and in Eisenhower East to promote environmentally responsible development. Perhaps, like Arlington, we could offer incentives to developers who choose environmentally responsible construction over more traditional development,"
Krupicka said he would propose a city staff position that would work with developers to this end. "Arlington has such a position, and they have won awards for their environmentally responsible buildings," he said.
The Krupicka's have been involved in promoting a "green" T.C. Williams. "We have to start somewhere, and this school could serve as a model," he said. "I would certainly like to say that my daughter will attend a school that is environmentally responsible."
He is also focused on small-business development. "Many small businesses are moving to Fairfax and other jurisdictions because the city is not always seen as a place that is friendly to small businesses," he said. "These small businesses are essential to maintaining the character of Alexandria.”
Krupicka believes that his technology background will bring an important perspective to City Council. "As we rely more and more on technology, we need to have someone on City Council with a technology background," he said. "If I am elected to Council, I will be one of the youngest members ever. I can't tell you how many young parents think that this is important. We are committed to living here for a long time and raising our children here. We are also committed to seeing that Alexandria has a bright future."