Great event for Arlington County Board Democratic candidate Erik Gutshall last night, with about 50 or so people raising a lot of money to help elect him and boot out incumbent board member Libby Garvey (D? I? R? other?). Attendees included former Arlington County Board member Mary Hynes; former School Board member Elaine Furlow; current Arlington County Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette; State Sen. Adam Ebbin; Delegates Alfonso Lopez and Rip Sullivan.
Here’s some video, starting with Del. Lopez, who talked about affordable housing, transit and — very pointedly — about “being a Democrat.” On affordable housing, Lopez said it’s “incredibly important that we embrace that and make all of Arlington a priority.” On transit, Lopez (referring to Gavey) said “playing fast and loose with the truth on investment and on the needs of all of Arlington is not how should we be running the county government, and the fact is that my district…has been getting fast and loose with the truth from a couple members of the County Board [Garvey and Republican John Vihstadt]” Finally, on being a Democrat, Lopez ripped into Garvey and praised Gutshall, saying:
If you run as a Democrat, and we give you money as a Democrat, and when you turn around and give that money that we gave you to an individual [Republican John Vihstadt] who has given money to U.S. Senators who are anti-LGBT, who are anti-new American and immigrant, and who are pro-gun…well I don’t like that...And then when you say that, you know well I’m really a Democrat, well I question that…and the way you go about how you do things, in a very non-Arlington way, it just seals the deal. We need a member of the County Board like Erik who will look out for all of Arlington…and not just one part of Arlington…He’s about as qualified as they come, and he gets it...that investment is important…are going to pay dividends…for decades to come, but we’ve got to make the right decisions and we’ve got to be thinking about every corner of the county.
Next, here’s Sen. Adam Ebbin, talking about “how progressive Arlington is and how progressive Erik is.” According to Ebbin, Gutshall meets all the criteria for County Board (“experienced,” “share progressive values with this community,” “vision,” “play well with others”), making it an “easy decision to support him” over Garvey.
Now, here’s Del. Rip Sullivan, arguing that incumbents often don’t want to get involved in primaries because it’s the “safe thing to do,” but Sullivan decided that Gutshall would “make one hell of a County Board member…he’s the perfect guy for the job.”
And here’s Erik Gutshall himself, who reviews his impressive background and hits Garvey on transit, neglect of Columbia Pike, and pointedly on how it’s completely unacceptable to have a “divisive” leader like Garvey who “play[s] politics with issues” and pushes “what’s in it for me.”
We have to rebuild trust that people have in how we do local government. And you don’t rebuild trust by taking the year and a half-long work of the community facilities study, 200+ volunteers, a very widely, well-received blueprint for how to move forward, and Ms. Garvey has pushed that aside, came out with this ‘gang of six’ so-called ‘blue-ribbon panel,’ with no public input, left aside the School Board completely…we can’t have that, that’s not acceptable and we shouldn’t stand for that…Arlington is ready to turn the page…Arlington is at a crossroads…We have two new Board members…that were elected last year; I think it’s time for another new one…[and to] turn the page on the divisive politics of the past…We have to be willing to make [crucial] investments…and [stop] the budget games that we’ve seen…