See below for video from Erik Gutshall’s kickoff speech for his Arlington County Board campaign. There were probably 100+ people there tonight, including Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette (who recently announced his decision to retire after his current term ends in December, and who is supporting Gutshall to succeed him; see Fisette’s speech below), State Senator Barbara Favola, former Arlington County Board member Mary Hynes, Arlington/Falls Church Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson, etc.
In Fisette’s speech, he emphasized that Gutshall has the qualities – experience (e.g., Gutshall has been a civic association president, business owner, head of the Planning Commission, parent) valuable for a County Board member to have; temperament (“Arlington earnest”); values (“a core set of fundamental progressive values that will guide him well”); ability to listen and to facilitate a conversation among people with different points of view; etc. In sum, according to Fisette, “the best person for this Board is Erik Gutshall….and nothing would give me…greater confidence and comfort in the future of our community than knowing that Erik Gutshall was sitting on the County Board in 2018.”
In his speech (video below), Gutshall thanked a long list of people supporting him, talked about his decision to “put down roots” in Arlington (and what a great – welcoming, diverse, inclusive, prosperous, sustainable – community it is), said he’s a big believer that there’s “no such thing as the status quo – you either innovate or you stagnate.” He listed a few things he wants to work for on the County Board: 1) getting out in front of the school capacity crisis by doing things like taking a vacant office building and turning it into a school on the lower floors with a senior center above; 2) creating neighborhood-scale “missing middle” housing to create walkable communities that are affordable to young people just starting out, seniors, and everyone in between; 3) making sure that Arlington remains affordable to all income levels; and 4) being fiscally responsible and being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. Gutshall referred to Donald Trump as the “elephant across the river, or in this case maybe it’s the horse’s ass,” and how it means that we cannot take for granted our progressive values — a welcoming/inclusive community, environmental protection, immigrants rights, LGBTQ equality, etc.
P.S. The other candidates running for the Democratic nomination for Arlington County Board are Kim Klingler, Vivek Patil and Peter Fallon. The “firehouse primary” will be held on three days – May 9, May 11, May 13 – using Instant Runoff Voting. I’m very much looking forward to hearing from all the candidates in debates and other forums before then; stay tuned!