When I ran for Virginia House of Delegates in 2009, Alan Howze was one of my Democratic primary opponents and I told campaign volunteers at the time that if I hadn’t been running, I’d have voted for Alan. Considering the winner of that primary, Patrick Hope, has been a great delegate and one of Virginia’s most progressive state legislators, that’s saying something.
Since then, Alan has worked as a certified home energy auditor providing residential energy audits & efficiency improvements, served as president of the Highland Park-Overlee Knolls Civic Association, and has been active in the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Plus – and totally seriously most importantly – he was a supporter of Westover Beer Garden in its battle to protect fun from overzealous county regulators.
The proposed Columbia Pike Streetcar has become a key issue in this race and Alan understands that this issue isn’t just about whether the project can pass some economist’s dry cost-benefit analysis – Columbia Pike needs and deserves this investment. Throwing some new buses the Pike’s way would save money, but it wouldn’t provide the redevelopment spark of a permanent investment in streetcars, sending a clear message to prospective residents and businesses that pinching pennies mattered more than making life on the Pike better. Also, it’s odd that one urban streetcar project would get such scrutiny when suburban road projects get truckloads of money dumped into them without the austerity crowd blinking an eye.
So if you’re in Arlington, go vote for Alan in this weekend’s Democratic caucus and in the special election in early April (date TBD). And even if you’re not in Arlington, go like Alan’s Facebook page, because conservation candidates everywhere deserve your support.