FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE:
Arlington is a great Progressive success story, but we're at a turning point. It's time to remake our vision for the next generation. Our values shouldn't change, but our solutions have to. As your County Board member, I will champion innovative solutions that address school capacity, keep Arlington affordable, and ensure our long-term prosperity.
Planning for School and Community Needs
Schools, Parks and Facilities: Building Blocks for Community [full issue statement]
Where did you first really feel part of Arlington? Like this was your home - the place you wanted to put down roots? For my wife, Renee, and I it was our first holiday party at the Lyon Park Community Center. It's my guess most of you have a similar story - of a county-sponsored event or hanging out in a park or school playground, attending a community meeting in a gym or fire station or browsing at a branch library where you realized that you had chosen Arlington. These great places exist because the County did good long-range planning with an eye on bringing county facilities, schools and nature to neighborhoods in ways that could build "Community".
On Building a 4th High School [Full statement]
Arlington VA – Erik Gutshall issued the following statement: I'd like to be very clear on my support for excellent schools in Arlington, including a possible 4th High School: With three daughters who will be in high school from 2018 - 2027, I am 100% committed to finding the space that our students need and working together with the School Board and the JFAC to find the right solutions. I have repeatedly acknowledged that it is highly likely that the School Board will determine a 4th comprehensive high school is needed and I will be their fully engaged partner prepared to explore every county property, every school property, every land deal, every commercial property, every possible opportunity to make that a reality. Collaboration with the School Board as a County Board member means letting the School Board decide what is best for students.
Renewed Commitment to Civic Engagement [full issue statement]
As we face national uncertainty, it is more important than ever for Arlingtonians to embrace the shared progressive values that have always united us. Arlingtonians must work together to develop a road map to a shared future. Our government has to be a learning organization, one that is not afraid to recognize error and pursue constant improvement. The Board must demand that, in every process, County officials include all who may be impacted by a proposal from day one. Successful collaboration is based on a genuine desire to listen and learn from all those concerned.
Focusing on the Future of Columbia Pike [full issue statement]
We must unlock the potential of each of our commercial corridors, and Columbia Pike represents enormous untapped potential. Reinvigorating the Columbia Pike Plan will be a top priority. The community vision of Columbia Pike as Arlington’s “Main Street” is languishing for lack of action. We need leadership on the Board to bring the focus and resources needed to make the future of the Pike a priority.
Creating Neighborhood-Scale Missing Middle Housing
Arlington's Missing Middle [full issue statement]
It's often hard for those who have lived here a long time to find an affordable smaller alternative when they no longer want the responsibility of a single family home. And it's hard for others to find affordable homes when they want to move from a high-rise to a more neighborhood-oriented home with more room. The good news is that there is ample opportunity in Arlington for to create new neighborhood-scale housing and retail areas, often called the “Missing Middle.” The Missing Middle framework uses market forces to diversify our housing supply and responds to modern day needs of citizens young and old.
Liveability for All Ages, Especially Older Adults [full issue statement]
Creating a healthy community calls for an Arlington that is more livable for all ages. We need to be especially responsive to the evolving needs of older adults. After many years, my mom and many of her friends had to ask themselves: “Must I leave my home in order to make ends meet?” Watching my mom struggle to stay in her home inspired me to launch my home maintenance business.
Housing affordability was key to my own story. As an employer, I've seen the challenge that housing affordability presents to my employees. As a member of the Doorways for Women and Families board, I know that finding affordable housing is the critical first step for victims of domestic violence to restart their lives. As a son watching his mother struggle to find single-floor living, I understand the challenges seniors face with a limited supply of aging-friendly homes and apartments. And, as a father, I hope my daughters will have the option of calling Arlington home when they put down roots.
Investing in Our Shared Prosperity
Strong local economies don't just happen - it takes deliberate actions by government in concert with the private sector to ensure a community thrives. Our quality of life today is the result of leaders who took stock of what they had - location, federal government jobs, lovely neighbor-hoods - and created modern Arlington through strategic investments in public transportation and public education. Those investments - commitments - were key to my decision in 1995 to settle here, have kids and start a local small business.
Transportation: Metro and Beyond [full issue statement]
While Metro has been a major catalyst for growth and prosperity, decades of underfunding and mismanagement have left the system in crisis. Our transportation priority MUST be to fix Metro. Standing by and watching the cycle of service cuts, fare hikes, and declining ridership is unacceptable. To stop a Metro “death spiral” I support a renegotiated WMATA Compact, new dedicated funding and a well-thought out plan that clearly shows that our investment dollars are being used wisely. Therefore, I will call for a Metro Summit of regional partners to construct a way forward.
Reflecting on Important Issues
Our Immigrant Neighbors [full issue statement]
Our diversity has helped make Arlington the great place it is today. We're going to have to continue to work on keeping Arlington affordable, on smarter growth, and on economic opportunity to ensure our community remains vibrant. Our immigrant neighbors have a vital role to play in our future success. I'm proud to stand with them.
Rebuilding Trust in Local Government [full issue statement]
I want to focus on the shared progressive values that unite us. I believe that if our leaders have the foresight and the courage to redesign County governance and draw up a clear road map to a future that engages all of Arlington’s citizens, we will have a County government that is more responsive and accountable. Our disagreements need not polarize us; rather, they can improve our collaborative culture.
Access to nature is a priority for me -- it is essential for our health and welfare and a significant contributor to our quality of life.
The fair and equitable sharing of Arlington’s parks should be a key component of our planning for Arlington’s future.
Cycling [full issue statement]
Arlington has been a leader in this region at making cycling a transportation option for so many. Encouraging cycling can help Arlington face many of its current challenges--Metro closures, growing population without additional space for roads, growing school population, need to attract business, and constrained County budgets. It is time for Arlington to make this investment.