On February 28, I emailed all four candidates for Fairfax County Board Chair – Alicia Plerhoples, Jeff McKay, Ryan McElveen and Tim Chapman – regarding the Fairfax County Strategic Plan Survey. This is a short questionnaire by Fairfax County, about what residents want the county’s strategic plan to focus on. I thought it would be interesting to see how the four candidates for Fairfax County Board Chair would respond to these same questions. As I wrote to them, “I’d love to post your responses on Blue Virginia, as I think this would help readers understand what your priorities are for Fairfax County and what your focus would be if you’re elected Chair.”
The first response I received was from Jeff McKay; you can see that here. The second response I received was from Alicia Plerhoples; you can see that here. Now, I’ve received Tim Chapman’s response, which you can see below. That leaves just Ryan McElveen, who we’ll hopefully hear from soon. With that, here are Tim Chapman’s responses…
What do you believe are the most important issues and opportunities that Fairfax County will need to address in the next 10-20 years?
I believe the county must act boldly to invest in our community’s future. The Board of Supervisors has relegated itself to a land use board. We need leadership that will shift the focus away from developers, the wealthy and well-connected and towards the hardworking families of Fairfax County. It’s time for commercial real estate developers to start paying their fair share. For far too long, commercial developers have used the tax appeals process and sophisticated devaluation process and left hardworking homeowners paying more than their fair share.
Fairfax County is one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, and yet our schools are so overcrowded that nearly 22,000 children are attending classes in trailers. We must expand school facilities while at the same time reducing class sizes. Further, too many of our school teachers cannot afford to live in the county and only receive meaningful raises when it’s an election year.
Instead of ignoring our county’s affordable housing crisis, we must invest in affordable housing projects so our public employees can actually afford to live in the county they serve. From Centerville to Vienna to the Rt. 1 Corridor, the cost of living has continued to skyrocket. The next Chair of the Board of Supervisors must be willing to tackle the deep-rooted inequality in our county.
Every day, Fairfax County residents sit in some of the nation’s worst traffic. We need to shift our focus to moving people, not just cars. We do this by creating opportunities to safely move people to the places they want and need to go. Improving transportation system, road conditions and parking availability are essential to our quality of life in Fairfax County.
Our county must also address the role we play in climate change. While a global crisis, actions taken at the local level can create positive change. Fairfax County must become a leader in utilizing clean, renewable energy sources. Our children and grandchildren are poised to inherit a massive environmental crisis, and for their sake, we need to take concrete action on climate change now.
Please share your vision for Fairfax County by completing the following statement: Ten years from now, I hope Fairfax County will be a place where_________________.
Ten years from now, I hope Fairfax County will be a place where our teachers, first responders and other public employees are no longer fleeing to alternative counties in search of higher paying jobs and more affordable housing. Ten years from now, my hope is that we live a county that is economically diverse and livable for everyone, a county where all children can receive an education in modern school facilities and where transportation infrastructure and environmental security are top priorities for local elected officials.
What are three things you believe Fairfax County Government does well?
- Fairfax County manages its resources very well. We are rated “triple A” by all three major rating agencies.
- Once it gets around to actually starting a new project, the county is very good at keeping construction projects on-time and within the allotted budget.
- Our public employees, teachers and first responders are selflessly dedicated to our county.
What are three areas in which you believe Fairfax County Government could improve?
- We need to alleviate the overcrowding in our public schools, get rid of the over 800 classroom trailers currently in service, and pay our teachers living wages.
- We need to address the affordable housing shortage that plagues our county, and make Fairfax County a more accessible place to live for the working class.
- We need to improve our mass transit infrastructure and accessibility so fewer people are driving during rush hour, and so everyone can get home to their families in a timelier manner.
What would you choose as the top 3 priorities for the County over the next 3-5 years?
- Implement a plan to eliminate classroom trailers and reduce class sizes in public schools.
- Lay the groundwork for a major investment in mass transit infrastructure, including three Metro expansions.
- Develop a plan to create more affordable housing in Fairfax County, focused on reducing the unbearable cost of living currently imposed on our county’s residents.