Vienna in 2015: Community Leaders Share Their Outlook

Vienna in 2015: Community Leaders Share Their Outlook

Political and business representatives address issues facing community in new year.

What’s on the horizon for the Vienna-Oakton community in 2015? What issues will local officials and business people address in the new year? Community leaders share their outlook for Vienna-Oakton in 2015.


Laurie DiRocco, Mayor, Town of Vienna

Laurie DiRocco, Mayor, Town of Vienna:

“I have four main focuses/initiatives for 2015.

First is the Town's renovation and expansion of the community center. In 2015, the Town wants to successfully bid out the project and relocate programs to other venues while staying on schedule and on budget. The renovation will continue into 2016.

second is continued investment in the Town's infrastructure. The Town wants to regularly invest in roads, parks and water and sewer lines.

Third is a focus on transportation. Improving roads, adding sidewalks and bicycle routes, and synchronizing traffic signals will alleviate some traffic and provide alternative types of transportation. Fourth is the Town's budget. It is always important to efficiently use taxpayers' dollars and continue to deliver high quality services at the lowest possible tax rate.

I look forward to 2015 and the Town's 125th anniversary celebrations. The first one is on Saturday, Feb. 28.”


State Senator Chap Petersen, [D-34]

State Senator Chap Petersen, [D-34]:

“The biggest issue in Northern Virginia is diversifying our economy in the aftermath of sequestration. I've seen so many clients and constituents who have struggled with the cut-backs in federal spending. Those restrictions will continue indefinitely. Therefore, our number one task must be attracting and sustaining employers in Northern Virginia, especially those who provide professional and high-paying jobs.

In Richmond, we have a long-overdue obligation to change the culture of the Assembly by updating our ethics laws. I have filed legislation to ban gifts over $100 to lawmakers and I expect that bill, or a similar version, to become law in 2015.”


Peggy James, Executive Director, Vienna Business Association

Peggy James, executive director, Vienna Business Association:

“We are just entering our third year as an organization.

The VBA will continue to partner with the Town of Vienna for our three ‘signature’ events: Oktoberfest, Halloween Parade and First Night Vienna.

Two years ago, the VBA took ownership of these events.The VBA is made up of local Vienna businesses, citizens, and civic organizations who have a strong investment in the success of the community. Because we are such a down-home organization, we are able to talk to the community members and find out exactly what it is they want from events, what will make them come, and how we can improve the events for the next year.

In addition to our three major events, the VBA also participates in events hosted by other organizations in town, such as the Taste of Vienna.

We will continue to partner with the Town Business Liaison Committee to promote Vienna Business Saturday, as well as partnering with local elementary school PTAs to help promote Walk, Bike, Shop Vienna.

The VBA is working with the 2015 World Police & Fire Games to raise awareness and business sponsorships for the ‘first responder’ games being held in Fairfax County in the summer of 2015. We will continue to work with other local community chambers to present the Regional Women's Circle of Influence meetings, a huge hit in 2014.

In addition to special events, the VBA hosts monthly member-meetings on the second Friday of every month. We also hold member-sponsored evening mixers on the third Tuesday of every month.

In 2015, we will be rolling out a series of member training classes, and are establishing a benefits committee. In 2014, we started our first Lead Share Group.

The Vienna Business Association has a great mix of local business, community and non-profit members that belong to our organization. Although, at times, the VBA feels more like a social club, our main goal is to promote and grow the local businesses in Vienna. Vienna has friendly, community-minded people, and we have found that some of the best marketing in Vienna is word-of-mouth referrals. In 2015, the VBA plans to nurture and grow our community connections and outreach.”


U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, [D-11]

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, [D-11]:

“The first job of this new Congress must be to foster and promote a strong economy that creates jobs and spreads the wealth in our region.

We don’t want to see another government shutdown. We don’t want a government that is bigger than it needs to be, but, we don’t want mindless slashing of investments that matter to our future.

Advocating on behalf of federal employees and federal contractors is a very important part of my job..

Championing the tech industry is closely related to those two advocacies. We are a high-tech district, the 11th . We’re the ‘Silicon Valley’ of the east coast. That industry is closely tied to government contracting. When you look at the emerging technological issues that matter to government – cybersecurity, Cloud computing, the internet – the expertise is here in Northern Virginia. We can compete with Silicon Valley toe-to-toe.

Many, many companies that do government contracting have moved to our area. Amazon web services opened its headquarters in Herndon. The government is a big client.

Most technological expertise is in the private sector and that’s why fostering private/public partnerships is so important. That’s what creates jobs and wealth, and, that is what creates the quality of life we have in Northern Virginia.

Another big job the new Congress should address is infrastructure investment. It’s very important in Northern Virginia which is why I was one of the primary champions of the Silver Line. In Congress, we have not passed a long-term transportation bill and that is our future. Our bridges and roads are crumbling nation-wide. Our ports, airports and our transit systems definitely need new investment. We used to spend six percent of our GDP on infrastructure. Currently, it’s down to 2.8 percent. The Chinese are spending 9 percent. A great country does not stay great without investing in its infrastructure.That’s why I knew the Silver Line was so important to our future locally. Congress needs to do, nation-wide, what we did locally --- invest in our future.

Those are two big things but there are many more issues Congress must tackle. We’ve got to address immigration reform, tax reform, and, make student loans more affordable.

These are some of my initial thoughts that we should be doing in this new Congress.”