To the Editor:
Historically Alexandria has always been a City at Crossroads. However, rather than talk about polar bears, icebergs and trips to exotic places, as independent mayoral candidate Andrew Macdonald likes to do, we'd rather talk about how Alexandria has actually been guided through its crossroads by our current Democratic mayor, Bill Euille, and why Mayor Euille has the experience, vision and commitment to continue leading Alexandria forward.
Mayor Euille has dedicated his life to Alexandria. He attended and excelled in both segregated and desegregated public schools and received an academic scholarship from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Upon earning his accounting degree, Mayor Euille returned to Alexandria, joined a local construction company, learned the business from the ground up and rose to be vice president and comptroller. In 1987, he founded his own company, an Alexandria-based construction services firm and, in 1994, established a foundation where he and his firm contribute continuously to local causes.
We have known Bill Euille's background and accomplishments since 1966. We moved into Old Town in 1974 and when Bill entered Alexandria politics, we became strong supporters through his 10 years on the School Board, nine years on City Council and nine years as Alexandria's first African-American Mayor. Contrast that with Mr. Macdonald's background, which saw his first election to City Council in 2003 and then his election as Vice Mayor in 2006, only to see him step away from his commitment to Alexandria and abruptly resign from that post midway through his term. Only recently has Mr. Macdonald reappeared on the Alexandria political scene.
As we observe the recent discussions on issues like the Waterfront and the Beauregard Small Area Plan, the "elephant in the room" is Mr. Macdonald's desire to be Mayor. It was always thinly veiled at best, but Mr. Macdonald needed a new "platform" from which to base a campaign. In order to "reintroduce" himself to the Alexandria community through the Waterfront debate, Mr. Macdonald engaged in mudslinging in order to discredit the extensive work of the Planning Commission, Waterfront Work Group, Mayor Euille and the entire Alexandria City Council. This is Andrew Macdonald's version of "consensus."
Mr. Macdonald is fond of saying that the City isn't listening to the citizens and he makes this charge on a regular basis. But Mr. Macdonald is wrong. It is our experience that our elected City leadership will listen to all its citizens.
Mr. Macdonald has displayed a divisive form of leadership and does not deserve the honor and privilege of serving as Alexandria's Mayor.
Alexandria's history is that of a divided city — rich and poor, black and white, east and west. As the only true consensus builder running for Mayor, Bill Euille has worked his entire life to create "One Alexandria." Mayor Euille has seen the divisions in our City. He grew up with those divisions and always had an eye to bringing all sides together. Mayor Euille knows Alexandria. He governs with intelligence, dignity, grace, patience, poise and often with a sense of humor. He listens, and he gets it. Bill Euille has a proven track record of leadership and experience to keep moving Alexandria forward. He knows of our City's past and its potential for the future.
For the first time ever, Alexandria's first African-American Mayor and our Country's first African-American President will be on the ballot together. What a truly historic time for our City and our Nation — and both Bill Euille and Barack Obama have earned our support in this critical election year.
Hazel and Ron Rigby