Arlington, VA – Erik Gutshall will announce his candidacy for the Arlington County Board at tonight’s Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) meeting at Arlington’s Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. Gutshall’s announcement comes after longtime County Board Member Jay Fisette announced he would not seek re-election. Gutshall is seeking the Democratic Party’s endorsement in a caucus to be held on Thursday, May 11, at Drew Model School (3500 23rd St S) and Saturday, May 13, at Washington-Lee High School (1301 N Stafford St). Gutshall ran in the Democratic primary for County Board in 2016, earning more than 6,800 votes.
Alluding to last year’s campaign, Gutshall will note that he, “listened carefully to Arlingtonians’ concerns, hopes and ideas and what I learned reinforced my passion to serve this community.” He will also thank County Board Member Libby Garvey for her graciousness in the aftermath of the campaign, and pledge to work closely with her if elected to the County Board.
Gutshall will further note, “I’ve learned from my volunteer experience over the years that we should honor the legacy of past leaders while looking ahead with fresh eyes at our current challenges.... we either innovate or we stagnate. There is no such thing as the status quo.”
Gutshall declared he is “focused on the future” and his campaign will be for innovative solutions to Arlington’s most urgent challenges, which he will identify as finding the right balance between schools, smarter growth, and economic development.
Specifically, Gutshall will promise to:
Work with the new Joint Facilities Advisory Commission (JFAC), which he successfully lobbied to create, to use vacant office buildings and to build up—not out—to increase the inventory of facilities for joint use by schools and the public, while also preserving park land.
Champion the “Missing Middle” policy that makes neighborhood-scale housing on transportation corridors affordable for young families and seniors aging in place.
Accelerate the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem with targeted investments in public-private partnerships, expand the higher education presence in the county, and enhance our high livability standard to attract the talent that employers need.
“Arlington’s progressive success story depends on sound fiscal management,” Gutshall will say. “Our success yields rising property values, but they are not a blank check for frivolous spending. As a small business owner who has to make payroll, I understand the value of our triple-triple-A bond rating and, as a careful steward, I pledge to you that I will make sure every dollar counts.”
Gutshall will end his remarks on a personal note, sharing his concern that the quality of life in Arlington and opportunities for his daughters are threatened by the White House’s efforts to target immigrants, refugees, human and civil rights, the environment, education and health care.
“Here in Arlington we have something worth fighting for. We must resist, we must persist, and come together as never before to meet the challenges we face. I am focused on the future,” Gutshall will conclude.
Gutshall is holding a campaign kick-off event on Friday, March 10, at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N Fillmore St), beginning at 7:00 pm. Children welcome at this family-friend event.
Erik Gutshall is a longtime community activist in Arlington, a lifelong progressive, and an award-winning small business owner. He also serves as chair of the Planning Commission and liaison to the Economic Development Commission. His volunteer experience over the past 15 years includes several neighborhood-planning projects, president of the Lyon Park Citizens Association, and non-profit board member. Erik and his wife Renee settled in central Arlington 21 years ago and their three daughters attend Arlington public schools.