Home Local Politics Elected Officials Joint Statement on the Importance of Policy Debate in the...

Elected Officials Joint Statement on the Importance of Policy Debate in the Arlington County Board Democratic Primary Campaign


With just  10 days to go until  the Arlington County Board Democratic primary, things are heating up between challenger Erik Gutshall and incumbent Libby Garvey. I just wanted to make everyone aware of the following three items this Saturday afternoon:

1. First, check out Washington Post reporter Patricia Sullivan’s excellent story, in which Sullivan explains that Gutshall’s supposed “attacks” on Garvey, specifically on “threatening the ability of our most vulnerable seniors to live in Arlington,” are actually based in fact (e.g., Garvey DID suggest “earlier this year that the county look into eliminating real estate tax exemptions for certain middle-to-low-income senior homeowners”). Sullivan also reports that Garvey “did not address the second point in the mailing, that she twice tried to cut the amount of money devoted to Arlington’s Affordable Housing Investment Fund, a revolving loan fund that helps nonprofits build low-cost housing, often for those on low or fixed incomes.” Hmmmm.

2. As for the whole charge of Erik Gutshall being uniquely “negative,” which is absurd on its face, it’s also important to note that Libby Garvey has been highly negative and divisive for years. Examples? How about: Arlington board publicly rejects conflict-of-interest charge by fellow member (“The three board members declared themselves ‘dismayed’ by Garvey’s decision to release her e-mails on the topic to the news media. Zimmerman consults for a company that is working on Arlington transportation projects, including portions of the Columbia Pike streetcar system.”)? How about this classic, in which Libby Garvey attacked Rob Krupicka as a homophobe and an ageist? How about this LTE from Karen Gautney, “Garvey Attack on Krupicka Misfires, Insults Gays?” How about Sen. Adam Ebbin’s scathing comments about Garvey (“I don’t appreciate Libby speaking for me;” “Let’s just say, Libby is not going to win any awards for diplomacy”) in response to her attack on Rob Krupicka?

3. Finally, check out the following statement released a few minutes ago by numerous Arlington elected officials and former elected officials, stressing the importance of policy debate and noting, correctly, that Erik Gutshall’s “well-documented discussion of the issues in the County Board race falls well within the bounds of robust healthy democratic debate.”

Elected Officials Joint Statement on the Importance of Policy Debate in the Democratic County Board Primary Campaign

We write today as elected officials who support Erik Gutshall in the June 14 Democratic Primary for County Board. Collectively, we have weathered dozens of campaigns and watched candidates at every level raise legitimate policy differences with their opponents. Our democracy depends on voters actively evaluating the candidates’ positions, leadership, and trustworthiness in preparation for voting.

We believe that Erik’s well-documented discussion of the issues in the County Board race falls well within the bounds of robust healthy democratic debate. Proactively sharing ones positions AND highlighting ones opponent’s record, words or actions – when backed by documentation the public can access and evaluate – leads to the healthy debate that is so necessary to our democracy. Raising questions about an elected official’s votes, words or actions – the work we are elected to do – is not a personal attack. We all expect to explain and defend our voting records and the leadership we have provided each time we run.

The County Board race is competitive. We urge voters in the Democratic Primary to examine the positions of the candidates and make their choice based on their positions on the issues that matter – school crowding, housing affordability, economic sustainability and how we move forward together in the future.


Karen Darner, Former State Delegate (D-49)
Adam Ebbin, State Senator (D-30)
Paul Ferguson, Clerk of the Circuit Court
Jay Fisette, Arlington County Board Vice-Chair
Elaine Furlow, Former Arlington School Board Member
Reid Goldstein, Arlington School Board
Mary Hynes, Former Arlington County Board Member
James Lander, Arlington School Board Member
Alfonso Lopez, State Delegate (D-49)
Rip Sullivan, State Delegate (D-48)
Mary Margaret Whipple, Former State Senator (D-31)


Sign up for the Blue Virginia weekly newsletter

Previous articleSaturday News: RIP Muhammad Ali; GOP Has Unabashed Racist as Its Presidential Nominee
Next articleSunday News: Tinfoil-Hat Trump; Time to Resurrect the Film “Idiocracy”