Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Building a ‘People’s Coalition’

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Building a ‘People’s Coalition’

I was fortunate enough to attend Mayor Allison Silberberg’s announcement on Sunday, Feb 11 at Los Tios Restaurant in Del Ray of the start of her campaign for reelection as mayor of Alexandria. It was truly a memorable event.

There were several things that made the event memorable. First was the atmosphere in that room: joyous and electric! The room was packed, her announcement was greeted with cheers and applause, and the crowd was joyous about the priorities for her time and policies in her second term that Mayor Silberberg announced.

And these were not just her supporters who attend political events across the city. The crowd — packed in as they were — was made up of some politicos and political activists, to be sure. But when I looked around that rainy afternoon, it was clear that this was a crowd of the people, who were proud to be part of a people’s campaign, in line with Mayor Silberberg’s declaration that she sees herself as “The People’s Mayor.” And her announcement speech wasn’t just a rehash of statements. Instead, in an unrehearsed speech, she developed a cadence of call and response that brought the crowd to full-throated yells of approval. When she followed up every announcement of her policy priorities — priorities ranging from continuing to fight for thoughtful, appropriate development that fits in, is to scale and protects our neighborhoods and communities to continuing to fight for more affordable housing — with a rhetorical question, “Are you with me on this?”, the crowd yelled out a resounding “Yes!” time and time again.

Supporters left the restaurant, as did I, with arms full of message cards and lawn signs, and with an animated discussion among them that left us all clear that we had participated in a truly historic event: the announcement by only the second woman mayor in Alexandria’s history, that she was standing for reelection, determined to spend another three-year term building a “People’s Coalition” to construct a more livable Alexandria. I am proud to be wholeheartedly supporting her.

Helen R. Desfosses