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Video: Arlington County Board Defeats Republican for Vice Chair, Elects Democrat Katie Cristol

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Great news from the Arlington County Board last night. A few notes after the video.

First, lifelong Republican (er, “Independent”) John Vihstadt whined about how he’s had the word “Republican” “stamped on their foreheads and sorted and stereotyped forever as a result.” Vihstadt claims that it’s “partisan politics alone” that is the basis for rejecting him as Vice Chair. Which is largely true, and also totally justified in a county which is overwhelmingly Democratic.

Second, Democrat Christian Dorsey says that a major issue is that either he or Katie Cristol will likely seek the County Board Chair position over the next couple years, and that it would greatly benefit Arlington if at least one of those years they had the experience of Vice Chair “to better serve the community.”

Third, Democrat Katie Cristol said that the longstanding tradition of the County Board is to elect leadership from majority membership. Cristol also talked about how she made Arlington her home in large part because of its progressive values, and that those values ARE partisan (e.g., Democrats are progressives, Republicans aren’t). “Leadership is about who speaks for the Board…and it’s about who stands in representation of those values that drew me to the County in the first place and that make me – and the majority of this county – Democrats.”

Fourth, new County Board Chair Jay Fisette (D) said he’d be supporting Katie Cristol for Vice Chair, as our representative form of government gives leadership to the majority (with respect for the view of the minority “as a high value”). Jay emphasized the importance of inclusivity, but also that the vast majority of Arlingtonians – even many Independents and Republicans voted for the Democratic presidential nominee on November 8. Fisette explained that there’s a big difference between serving on the County Board and being in LEADERSHIP on the Board – which should “not equivocate on the fundamental Democratic values that have made Arlington such a great community,” and which is the “public face” of the County. Also, Fisette correctly noted that County Board positions “are partisan,” unlike the nonpartisan School Board. As for Katie Cristol, Fisette argued the importance of cultivating the next generation of leadership, especially in a community with such a high percentage of Millennials.

Fifth, Vihstadt’s nomination for Vice Chair was then defeated 2-3, with Vihstadt and his close ally Libby Garvey voting for him.

Sixth, Christian Dorsey heaped praised on Katie Cristol as having “extremely impressive” capabilities. “Katie is a skilled, concise and effective communicator,” also has “the process gene…cognizant of making sure problems are accurately described…roles and responsibilities are clearly articulately…Her heart is exactly where it needs to be in terms of moving this community forward.”

Seventh, Cristol was elected Vice Chair unanimously (5-0). Congratulations; great news for Arlington!