As the new President continues his efforts to limit access to America's democracy, I stand with the County Board and School Board in their commitment to ensuring Arlington remains "an inclusive, welcoming community where everyone is valued and respected and has the opportunity to live out their dreams, regardless of their legal status" and where "all students should experience freedom from harassment, judgment or prejudice."
One of qualities that attracted Renee and me to Arlington more than 20 years ago was the diversity of people who lived in this community. As the child of an Air Force family, I traveled our country and the world and grew up with folks from everywhere. My own mother came to the United States as an immigrant and became a citizen when I was seven years old. I knew, as I settled down and started my family, that I wanted my children to have similar experiences. Arlington, once called the "World in a ZIP code" by the census bureau, has provided those opportunities. My three daughters attend Drew and Gunston schools in South Arlington and on a daily basis work side-by-side with children from around the world. It's a tremendous foundation for living in a multi-cultural world.
As I've built my business, I've seen first-hand the contributions that hardworking immigrants make to our local economy. Often first to arrive and last to go home, my employees exemplify the generations of new Americans living the American Dream. Over the years, I've helped friends navigate through the legalization process, ultimately becoming full citizens. Like generations before them, these new immigrant families contribute to the fabric of Arlington.
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.