Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Empower Alexandria

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Empower Alexandria

Earlier last month, I announced my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the Alexandria City Council in 2018. I’m running because Alexandria must address important challenges to ensure our community remains strong. To do that, we need bold leadership to Empower Alexandria.

Empowering Alexandria is about the type of leadership I want to bring to the city. That style is visionary, collaborative, community-based, results focused, transparent, and innovative. Those are essential qualities we need to address the issues we face today.

For almost 15 years, I’ve dedicated myself to giving back to Alexandria, living and supporting values I know we all share. I’ve worked to elect Democrats as the chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee. I successfully advocated for park and development improvements as a two-term president of the Cameron Station Civic Association. I’ve found ways to improve our city’s budget as chair of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee. I’ve supported our small business community and recognized the next generation of civic leaders as chair of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce. And I’ve helped to end veteran homelessness in Alexandria as board president of New Hope Housing, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness throughout Northern Virginia.

As a leader of these organizations, I’ve focused on taking on big challenges, looking to the future, and achieving results in pursuit of our shared values—the values of working together, and for one another, as a community. These values empower all of us.

The issues before us are great. After years of underinvestment in our city’s infrastructure, the bill has now come due. We have a growing school population that shows no signs of slowing, driving capacity constraints that must be met with urgency. Our transportation bill to Metro grows daily. We have lost competitive momentum to many of our neighboring jurisdictions as they open their doors to new businesses, losing out on vital tax revenues that could otherwise support investment in our community. We have cut our community services year after year, hoping nobody will notice. And like many cities across the country, we face the daunting task of providing affordable housing to all our residents. These are just a few of the many difficult challenges we must face together.

Over the next few months, I will reach out across the community to have a conversation about how we can take on big challenges together. We will talk about economic sustainability. We will talk about how to educate the next generation of Alexandrians. And we’ll talk about how to drive innovation in our government processes and civic discourse.

I believe in the future of this city and I’m ready to fight for it. Together, we will empower Alexandria — for ourselves, for our kids, and for the city we want to be. I hope you will join me in this important journey.

For more on my campaign, visit www.empoweralx.com and follow the campaign on Twitter @empoweralx and Facebook at fb.me/empoweralx.

Dak Hardwick

Candidate for Alexandria City Council