( – promoted by lowkell)
Young professionals make up over a third of Arlingtonians, and the voices and votes of our young people are central to the future of our community. As the largest Young Democrat chapter in Virginia, the Arlington Young Democrats represent much of that young and politically engaged public. There is only one candidate for Arlington County Board who best represents the interests and values of our young people. We are proud to support Alan Howze.
On April 8, Arlington’s young professionals will play a major role in electing our next County Board member. For more than two decades, forward-thinking leadership on the Arlington County Board has driven our community’s transformation into a world-class place to live, work and play.
Alan’s civic engagement, as President of the Overlee Knolls Civic Association, Vice-Chair of the Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission, and Board member for the the Alliance for Housing Solutions, gives him the perspective necessary to act on the priorities of young professionals. Alan brings pragmatism to important issues like affordable housing and transportation, and represents the broader Arlington values of inclusivity, fairness, and equality for all under the law.
We are enthusiastic about Alan’s record of supporting improvements to mass transit and his understanding that transit directly correlates to economic opportunity and increasing standards of living for Arlingtonians. Alan expressed a broad view of this in his position paper on Smart Growth. “Those without means should not be sentenced to living in a transportation desert, where buses or cars are the only option to reach jobs, or access health care, or even buy groceries.”
On affordable housing, Alan expresses a clear position. Arlington spends approximately 6% of its budget on affordable housing, providing rental support through the Housing Grants program and funds for construction of affordable units. Alan has repeatedly committed to preserving and expanding the Housing Grants program and the construction fund, and is open to alternative solutions for increasing the supply of affordable housing.
We also have serious concerns about Alan’s opponent, John Vihstadt. These concerns are rooted in our core Arlington values of leadership and transparency, and stand in stark contrast to the long-term vision proposed by Alan Howze.
Mr. Vihstadt, a Republican, has chosen to run as an independent to mask a decades-long history of financial and organizational support for hard-line Republican candidates Arlingtonians have repeatedly rejected. Mr. Vihstadt’s lack of transparency about his own history brings into question how effectively he would represent our community’s values.
Mr. Vihstadt is also strongly opposed to the Columbia Pike streetcar project without offering a viable alternative. While we respect the debate surrounding the streetcar, Mr. Vihstadt’s position represents a brand of short-term policymaking that Arlington has successfully avoided. Studies have found that a Bus Rapid Transit system on the Pike – Vihstadt’s alternative – is not feasible because his proposal requires construction of a dedicated bus lane along the Pike.
Mr. Vihstadt’s single-issue campaign overlooks other serious policy issues likely to face the County Board in the future. Arlington faces questions about the sustainable growth of our mixed-use spaces, corporate vacancy rates and a booming population of school-aged children who require quality education for their futures. As a bike and transit commuter, businessman, and father of young children, Alan has the experience and perspective to meet these emerging challenges and to create a more prosperous future for our community.
Addressing these long-term issues cannot be ignored; forward-thinking leadership and the courage to make tough decisions is necessary to developing lasting solutions and policies that maintain our community’s values. When Arlingtonians vote on April 8, they can be sure Alan Howze is the best candidate for the tough work ahead.