City Council-Alexandria: Redella S. “Del” Pepper
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City Council-Alexandria: Redella S. “Del” Pepper

Question & Answer

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Redella S. “Del” Pepper



Democrat

Family: Husband: F. Jay Pepper, M.D. ; Son: Murphy Pepper (Soo) and 5 grandchildren

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College and graduate work at the University of Wisconsin

Offices Held: I am currently a member of the City Council and in that role have represented the City on nine Council-related boards and commissions during this term. I chair the City’s Facilities Naming Committee and represent the Council on the Alexandria Commission on Aging. I co-chair Alexandria Works! and until recently co-chaired the Potomac River Generating Station Monitoring Group. I serve as the Mayor’s alternate to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, (COG). Previously, I served as the COG President. I currently represent the Council on COG’s Climate, Energy, and Environment Policy Committee and on their Air Quality Committee (MWAQC), where I earlier served as its chair. Presently, I serve as the Treasurer of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and chair of its Operations Committee.

Occupation and relevant experience: Long time civic activist/Member City Council/Homemaker

Community involvement: At the present time, I am a board member of the Senior Services of Alexandria and a member of the Optimist Club of Alexandria, the West End Business Association, and the Del Ray Business Association. I am a member of the Board of Trustees of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association, (Friendship Firehouse). I am a Life Member of the Urban League and the NAACP. I am a former First Vice President of the NAACP.

Website: www.delpepper.com

Email address: delpepper@aol.com

Name three favorite endorsements: Alexandria Committee of Police, Local 5; Alexandria Political Action Committee for Education (Teachers Association); Securing Alexandria’s Future

QUESTIONS:

What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?

I am concerned that the needs of our at risk population (seniors, youth, disabled, unemployed, etc.) be addressed. Helping this group matters if the members are going to thrive and live healthy, productive lives. Housing, jobs, and support services are fundamental. I work to meet these needs by supporting programs that aim at maintaining and securing affordable housing units wherever possible. I represent the Council on the Workforce Development Center Group (Alexandria Works!) whose goal is job training. I work to ensure that needed support services are provided.

What distinguishes you from your opponents and why should voters choose you?

My years of service on Council — two times serving as Vice Mayor — gives me unique experience, perspective, expertise, and vision, which I believe will be helpful to the next Council and to the community.

Beyond funding, how else can city government help the school system?

It is important for the School system and the City to work together to look for joint economies. The government (staff and Council) need to ensure that the whole community hears about all the good things that are happening in the school system. The City should continue to help with finding space wherever possible for pre-school and after school programs. The City, along with the schools, should also be encouraging parents to get involved with the schools and their children’s homework. The City needs to promote volunteers to become mentors/tutors for the children.

How do you convince citizens that you are truly listening to them even when you have to disagree with them?

I find the most effective way to show that you are really listening to a constituent is to TRULY BE listening. I carefully read the person’s e-mail/letter to the editor/or any other correspondence. I listen to a presentation made at a Council meeting or during a conversation. I try to understand what that person is seeing or experiencing . If this is a development issue, I will visit the site in question, attend a community meeting if possible, and seriously consider both sides of any issue. There are very few black and white issues. There are some worthy points on both sides of an issue. In the end, if I have to disagree with the citizen, I will explain why that is so.

Any number of economic hiccups beyond the city’s control (federal government, economic downturn etc.) could force re-ordering of city budget priorities. For reductions, which areas would you turn to first?

(1) I would look for efficiencies (doing more with existing or reduced funding) in all departments. (2) If at all possible, I would look for capital projects that could be deferred without harming the essential services our residents expect. (3) I would ask all departments to look for possible service reductions for Council to consider if that becomes absolutely necessary.

If you were given $1 million to spend any way you would like for the betterment of the city. How would you spend it?

I would give it to the Alexandria Food Center for future expansion, for the purchase of a walk-in freezer, and for food when needed. This is a food storage center whose activities are coordinated by ALIVE! The Center is made available to other non-profits who need a place to store food before distributing it to needy recipients.

In addition to helping the Center, I would share the funds with other food programs in the City. What could be more important than making it possible for food to be available for those in need?