As a member of the County Board, I will work hard to keep Arlington safe, diverse, and forward thinking.
Keeping Arlington Safe
I have served our community as a volunteer EMT, and currently serve as chair of the Emergency Preparedness Advisory Commission. In these roles I work with County staff and the public to ensure that our community is prepared for whatever comes our way; that community policing is a priority, and when you or a loved one dials 911, the right resources arrive to help you in four minutes or less.
I will make sure that the police, fire department , or medic unit arrives within four minutes whenever someone dials 911 in Arlington. Everyday we run out of medic units in some part of the county and risk exceeding the four-minute response time, with potentially dire consequences. Arlington County is currently piloting the Advanced Paramedic Program, which redirects some patients to urgent care centers or their doctor’s office, lessening some of the daily medic unit needs. However, this single approach is not adequate for a growing community. The County will need to:
- Continue to work with our assisted living and long term care facilities to minimize unnecessary medic transports;
- Consider staffing more medic units during peak hours; and
- Truly take a step back and evaluate our current EMS needs and services, in order reduce unsafe over-time/hold-overs for paramedics, and continue to provide essential care for the community
As your County Board member, I will work to ensure that the salaries and work hours for our first responders are competitive as compared to those of all of our regional partners, including Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Loudoun Counties. In addition, we need to incentivize trained and experienced fire fighters, EMTs, and paramedics to come to Arlington County. Currently, there is little incentive for an individual to come to Arlington with an existing paramedic certification and/or maintain their certification.
Over the course of the next 15 years, we are projected to gain 63,000 Arlingtonians, straining our vital public safety resources further. As your County Board member, I will plan ahead in our budgeting process so we will be able to continue to meet the growing public safety needs of our community.
We need to plan now to ensure that our community continues to be prepared to address any emergency and to ensure our health and safety. Therefore, as fire, police, sheriff, and ECC resources leave and retire, we must to continue to backfill positions. We must also plan for the projections in the safe staffing studies, and set aside budget for recruiting and retention.
Keeping Arlington Diverse
I love our community’s diversity in all of its forms, but our diversity is at risk. The rising cost of living in Arlington is pushing out families and young professionals who can no longer afford to rent apartments or to buy homes. In addition, some Arlingtonians have expressed to me that even when they can afford to make a rent or mortgage payment, they cannot afford the costs childcare or to pay for household maintenance. If we truly value and promote diversity in our community and our schools, we will need to expand how we look at housing availability and and the affordability of living in Arlington.
As your County Board member, I will facilitate policy and zoning changes, such as the options that the Lee Highway Alliance is currently discussing. These options include housing choices such as townhomes, multi-story condos and apartments that would be set along Lee Highway and gradually taper into the community. These choices would be more affordable to those in the 80% to 100% of the average median income (AMI) and would assist in retaining our young families, young professionals, our intellectual capital, and our meaningful middle.
As we continue to plan for development along Columbia Pike and the Four Mile Run corridors, we need to be vigilant about our commitment to tapering, and retaining the community feel and affordability.
In addition, I will work on the following housing priorities:
- Reinstating the Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program (MIPAP) for first time homebuyers; and
- Making funding for “Live Where You Work” for our public servants, such as teachers and firefighters, a true priority.
Keeping Arlington Forward Thinking
We are at a crossroads – we can no longer assume that our past successes will continue indefinitely. Although Arlington County has made customer service a priority, our neighbors and our local businesses still need to navigate around and between multiple departments to do their business with our government. These extra hurdles make it harder to live and work here, and they make Arlington less competitive. We must make government more efficient for all Arlingtonians if are going to remain successful in the next 10, 20, 30 years (and beyond).
As your County Board member, I will focus on the following areas to keep Arlington competitive for the future:
- I will challenge County staff to further improve delivery of County services by developing measurable efficiency goals. These goals will be specific to demonstrating effective collaboration and communication across departments, as well as with the public. I will hold the County Manager and staff accountable to meeting these goals.
- Strengthen collaboration between all parts of County government, including our schools. I will challenge the schools and the county to engage the departments of transportation and environmental services earlier in the planning process, so that that new facilities can be developed and supported with the appropriate infrastructure improvements.
- Enhance the roles of our County ombudsmen and our Deputy County managers to deliver better service to Arlingtonians. I will request that each civic association be assigned a county staff liaison, who can assist in answering questions and navigating County government for their issue/inquiry. In addition, communities and businesses should receive a regular summary of the upcoming changes, questions, and issues impacting their area.
Create meaningful regional partnerships in areas such as transportation and public safety. Having shared regional goals can help create needed cost savings at a time of increased budget constraints for local governments.