Opinion: Leveraging Development

Opinion: Leveraging Development

I’m writing to explain why I support Amy Jackson for City Council and would encourage voters to cast their ballot for her on the June 12 Democratic primary. Amy, a graduate of T.C. Williams High School, is a passionate advocate for her hometown and seeks to give a voice to the least fortunate as she fights for a caring city that welcomes all.

One of the things that has impressed me the most in watching Amy campaign is her understanding that complex issues can’t be reduced to simple solution. Similarly, Amy understands that leadership calls for rejecting false choices. Let me provide an example of this. As our city struggles to find income to invest in our priorities, it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that budgeting comes down to a binary choice of either cutting spending or increasing taxes. Amy understands that the city has an additional option in growing its revenue base. When Amy talks about the importance of initiatives like the redeveloping Landmark Mall, you can hear in her passion both pride in our city, but a commitment to leveraging smart development opportunities to increase the city’s budget. This type of strategic thinking could help shift the tax burden so that it falls more equitably between residents and businesses. At the same time, it can bring the city income that is needed to sustain the quality of life we presently enjoy. Amy also understands that development can be addressed in a smart way that is sensitive to resident’s concerns.

I have also been ecstatic to see how strongly Amy has supported increasing first-responder pay. We lag behind all neighboring jurisdictions and it hurts both recruitment and retention. It is not good fiscal policy to spend thousands of dollars training these employees, only to lose them to other cities and counties that are willing to pay a competitive wage. While providing law enforcement, firefighters and medics with an income sufficient to enable them to live in the community in which they work is a principle of basic economic fairness, Amy also understands the importance of this issue at a more fundamental level. Enabling city employees to live in the jurisdiction where they serve enhances their relationship with the community and creates a sense of partnership that can help in moments of crisis and need.

Lastly, as a former teacher, few can talk about education as forcefully and with as much passion as Amy. She understands that strong schools equal a strong community. All of us care deeply about the future of Alexandria and that future begins with investing in our children. Amy understands that we must address capacity issues and delayed infrastructure needs in our schools and will be ready from her first day on the job to partner with organizations ranging from the school board to PTAs to community groups to ensure that students continue to receive an exceptional education.

I hope that you will join me in supporting Amy Jackson for City Council in the June 12 Democratic primary.

David A. Lord