Last month we asked the three candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why the county’s residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 6).
Here is the unedited response from incumbent Libby Garvey (D):
I am a proven collaborative leader and have helped lead change in Arlington for over 15 years, first on the School Board and now on the County Board. I’ve helped make our schools among the best in the nation. I know how to do the work of a board member and have already established important relationships around the region and across the state. The relationships and networks I’ve built will continue to serve Arlington well as we work on issues like transit, affordable housing and development.
I believe my priorities fit Arlington’s needs at this time very well. I will continue to focus on:
1. Setting Strategic Priorities: I am concentrating on core services: infrastructure; public safety; transit; education; a strong social safety net. We cannot do everything, but we need to support our most important services and values well.
2. Effective Citizen Involvement: Citizen involvement has made Arlington what it is. As we set our priorities and tackle difficult challenges, we need effective and inclusive citizen involvement more than ever. The County Board is known to change recommendations at the last minute, despite months–or even years–of having committees and our staff working together on finding the best solutions for everyone. Interest groups and committed citizens feel they must come and speak for hours at a meeting: either to try to sway the Board at the last minute or to prevent the Board from making a last minute change. Last minute changes need to become very rare. I will work to see that the current PLACE initiative not only sets up good processes for citizen involvement, but also that the Board commits to those processes itself
3. Sensible Transit: I questioned the decision to build a streetcar from the beginning of my campaign in the special election last spring. In July, as my doubts grew, I abstained on the votes supporting a streetcar and set out my concerns . My major concern is that a real cost benefit analysis of the streetcar project has not been done. On October 9, the County Board received a cost benefit analysis done by Peter Rousselot. That analysis showed clearly that a streetcar makes no sense for Arlington financially, and is likely an inferior vehicle for Arlington to use in the modern transit system we have been designing for some time. There is no question that we need to move forward with a modern transit system for the County. However, the citizens of Arlington need to be fully informed about the relative costs and performance of a streetcar compared to a modern bus rapid transit system (BRT), and the County needs to take a close look at the comparison. I will advocate hard for a robust and informed community dialog about what vehicle to use in our next transit system and am confident that my colleagues will agree that this is needed after they’ve had time to look at the new information we’ve received.
Finally, I believe ArlNow’s readers should vote for me because of some key differences between me and my opponents. I have a much greater depth and quality of experience. I have lived in Arlington for 35 years and served as an elected official for 15 years. I will work independently as I always have to serve this community where I settled in 1977 and raised my children. Arlington is my home.
It has been a true honor and privilege to serve this community as an elected official for 16 years. Please vote for me on November 6. To learn more, please visit my campaign website at www.libbygarvey.com