To the Editor:
I’ve been a lifelong Democrat. I am a Democrat because of my values, not the other way around. So my values have to come first in Alexandria’s mayor’s race.
Folks know schools and education are my top priority. We have a growing student population as more families choose our improving public schools. Mayor Euille has been rock solid in his support for funding to build new schools, to fund teacher raises and is proposing to expand pre-k services so more kids are ready to learn when they get to kindergarten. Silberberg supported a lower amount of school construction funding than any of her colleagues on council and has shown little real interest or made any effort related to our schools. The quality of life and future of any city starts with its schools and families. Euille gets that.
I care about the diversity of our city and I know we have to provide housing for people of all income levels. My donut shop pays a living wage, but in our region, my employees and many like them struggle to find housing. I want a mayor that will support affordable housing and the hard choices that go with it. Euille is steadfast on affordable housing. Silberberg has repeatedly voted against opportunities for the preservation or addition of affordable housing.
The environment has always been a key issue for me. The mayor has helped transform Alexandria into a green building leader and has led the fight on climate change as well as efforts to acquire new parks. By contrast, Allison tried to de-fund Capital Bikeshare and tried to de-fund Alexandria’s popular composting program. She has also voted against plans to create new parks. I want our city to lead on the environment, not move backwards.
For our city to thrive, we need to compete for commercial tenants. They bring in money and put less strain on homeowner taxes. Mayor Euille has helped bring new commercial tenants to Alexandria and has worked to keep our local economy stable, even during tough times. With a weak world economy, Alexandria needs to send a clear message that it will work to attract business to help offset residential taxes. Allison has not shown that leadership. I know Bill Euille will do the proactive work that is needed.
Mayor Euille, with his accounting background, keeps a close eye on the city budget. I worry when Silberberg repeatedly says things about the city budget that demonstrate a lack of understanding for how it works. I also worry that her budget rhetoric implies we should significantly reduce our city infrastructure plans to fix aging sewers, roads and forgo work to make school classrooms less crowded.
I generally like the idea of “new ideas” in politics, but not all ideas are good ones. Alexandria would be a very different place if Allison’s “no” votes won the day. We’d have less diversity, less successful small businesses, fewer parks, more crowded classrooms, less funding for basic infrastructure and would abandon our environmental work. Under Euille’s leadership Alexandria has survived economic downturns and won countless accolades as a great place to live, with low crime, wonderful arts, improving schools, increased parkland and more.
I won’t compromise my my values in this upcoming mayoral election. For any political party to stay healthy, its values have come first, not the organization. My values are not platitudes or empty promises. They are things I’ve worked on for my entire public career. There is only one candidate in this race that represents those values. I’m writing in Bill Euille for mayor.