This week we asked the two candidates for Arlington County Board to write a sub-750 word essay describing why Arlington residents should vote for them on Election Day (Nov. 5).
Here is the unedited response from Jay Fisette (D):
Dear Fellow Arlingtonians –
Arlington has evolved into a vibrant urban community that has retained our traditional sense of caring and connectedness. We boast top-notch services, outstanding public schools, a robust transportation system, low crime and the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia.
Many thoughtful people are responsible for today’s Arlington, and I am excited to continue to do my part to move our community forward. I am especially proud of my past efforts to maintain sound fiscal policies and support our public schools, and my leadership in developing our Community Energy Plan, Capital Bikeshare program, pedestrian safety improvements, affordable housing programs and e-government enhancements.
We face several challenges, including housing affordability, growing student enrollments, and the job losses resulting from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission and from dysfunction in Congress. With the first two of these, we are victims of our own success – as Arlington is a desirable community to many, including more families with young children. I am prepared to tackle these issues and find creative, smart solutions that build on our assets. I am committed to thoughtful long-term planning and collaborative problem solving.
Protecting our Triple AAA bond rating and fiscal integrity is a priority. As a former auditor with the Government Accountability Office, I hate waste and will seek value for every dollar spent. I will balance the short-term budget decisions with the long-term capital infrastructure investments that will ensure our vitality and competitiveness in the future.
I am driven to create a sustainable community on all fronts, thus will work to implement Arlington’s energy reduction strategy. In 2010, I established a Community Energy & Sustainability Task Force, to take up the challenge of developing goals and concrete targets for reducing our energy use. Arlington now has an aggressive and achievable energy reduction strategy that will advance our economic competitiveness, enhance energy reliability and protect our environment. We will save residents and businesses money while enhancing our community’s sustainability.
Arlington should have a strong voice in regional policy making. I recently served as Chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and Chair of the region’s Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee. Through these efforts, I have sought to continue Arlington’s role as a regional leader in developing solutions to the transportation and environmental challenges that our community cannot solve alone. Closer to home, I was voted Arlington’s Best Elected Official by the readers of the Arlington Magazine for 2013.
I will ensure that Arlington remains a welcoming community that respects the differences among us and that values civic engagement in our decision making. We have seen tremendous progress towards the achievement of full equality, at a pace that seemed unimaginable when I was first elected to office. I am proud that Arlington is a community that fervently believes in equal rights and diversity and that treats everyone with dignity and compassion. And the way we do our work is essential to the long term success of our policies. I have sought to build community coalitions and tap into the diversity and talent of our residents to address the challenges that we face.
I ask for your vote on November 5. Please help me to keep Arlington the effective, civil and progressive community that it is. Let’s work together to help make our very special community even better!
BTW – Please support the statewide Democratic ticket of Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam and Mark Herring. There is a stark choice on the ballot, and who wins these offices will have a tangible impact on our community through their energy policy choices, public education funding, and support for transit and local transportation planning. Only the Democratic ticket will bring these Arlington values and priorities to Richmond.