Home 2023 Elections Blue Virginia Endorsement: Maureen Coffey for Arlington County Board

Blue Virginia Endorsement: Maureen Coffey for Arlington County Board

Coffey is smart, has her priorities straight - and has a positive VISION for Arlington's future

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Virginia’s primaries are just around the corner (on 6/20), so it’s time to really start focusing on who we’re supporting and why.  In Arlington County, there are primaries for not one but TWO open County Board seats, due to the decisions by incumbents Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey not to seek reelection. There are six candidates running for the Democratic nominations for those two seats – Maureen Coffey, Susan Cunningham, Jonathan Dromgoole, Natalie Roy, JD Spain and Tony Weaver. Today, I’m endorsing Maureen Coffey for one of those endorsments, for the following reasons.

First off, let’s just stipulate that the departures of Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey from the Arlington County Board will leave *HUGE* shoes to fill. These two County Board members are super-smart, effective, knowledgeable about local government (and Arlington specifically, of course), progressive, environmentalist, you name it. And none of the candidates running for the Democratic nominations is going to be even close to Cristol’s or Dorsey’s level on day #1…or evn day #100, for that matter. But, having said that, we can and should nominate candidates who are smart, who have upside/growth potential, and who share our progressive, environmentalist values. I believe strongly that Maureen Coffey fits those criteria.

First, who is Maureen Coffey? From her website’s “Meet Maureen” section:

  • “Maureen Coffey is a public policy expert, a proud union member, and lifelong Northern Virginian who is proud to call Arlington her home. She is running for County Board to fight for progressive policies that unify our community, address institutional bias and discrimination, and ensure that all Arlingtonians are able to thrive.”
  • “Maureen currently works as a policy analyst on the Early Childhood Policy team at the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan policy think tank dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans. Her work is centered around designing public policy that understands and supports the real needs of families with an emphasis on gender and racial equity.  Previously, she worked at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, participated in a research partnership with the American Public Human Services Association, and worked to reduce discrimination in home mortgage lending.”
  • “In 2021, Maureen was appointed by Governor Ralph Northam to serve on Virginia’s Family and Children’s Trust, a group focused on the prevention and treatment of family violence, including child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse and neglect. Maureen is a trained volunteer with a shelter for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and has policy expertise in the prevention of child maltreatment.”
  • “Maureen is an active community organizer and member of the Democratic Party. She has held executive positions in the Young Democrats at the national, state, and local levels. As President of the Virginia Young Democrats for two years, she navigated the organization through the pandemic and 2020 election. She served on the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Steering Committee, was a member of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Committee, and was an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2020. Maureen is currently the chair of the Women’s Caucus of the Young Democrats of America.”
  • “Maureen is the daughter of a school teacher and software engineer and in her free time enjoys biking the W&OD trail, playing field hockey, and kayaking. She received her degree in Economics from Oberlin College and her Masters of Public Policy and Leadership from the University of Virginia. She is a current union member of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU), which is IFPTE Local 70.”

VERY impressive – wow!

With regard to sharing our values, here’s what Maureen Coffey has to say:

  • “Maureen will fight for progressive policies that unify our community, address inequality, bias, and discrimination, and ensure that no matter what stage of life you’re in, you can find a place here in Arlington County.”
  • “Racial, economic, and social justice issues are at the core of the work that she does. We must engage with the people who will be impacted by our decisions throughout the process – and be aware of who is not participating in the conversation and why.”
  • “Everyone deserves safe, reliable housing. As Arlington’s population continues to grow, we need to ensure that housing is accessible for all by supporting both new affordable housing units and preserving existing affordable housing…Arlingtonians need a long-term vision that lays out how we will work to solve the housing crisis. We need a plan that helps people whether you are looking for a first home or seeking to remain in our community after many years.”
  • “Our schools are one of our greatest assets. The County should continue to support Arlington Public Schools as they support our children and families and work toward holistic, equitable education.”
  • “We need to support those who are essential to our day-to-day lives, from people who build our buildings and roads to those who are in the service industry. Everyone deserves a living wage and a voice in their workplace.”
  • “Arlington is a leader in building a sustainable future and we need to continue creating a community that protects our environment and resources. This includes making sustainable choices, such as walking, biking, and public transit, available to everyone in Arlington. Our goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 is an important challenge for us to meet. Investing in renewable energy sources, working with the public utility companies, and enforcing high standards for new construction projects are critical parts of preparing for our future. Everyone benefits from having green space. Protecting and expanding our green spaces, including parks, open space, and our tree canopy, is a critical part of smart growth.”

All great stuff, and evidence that Coffey both has her priorities straight and has a positive VISION for Arlington’s future. For more detail on Coffey’s policy positions, see here for GreaterGreater Washington’s questionnaire responses and endorsements (including of Coffey). Here’s what “GGW” had to say:

“We need more voices like Maureen Coffey on the County Board. A renter in her 20s, Coffey described her frustrations in looking for an affordable home in the Washington Post last fall, a problem that many Arlingtonians can relate to. Her answers displayed a deep and thorough understanding of Arlington’s affordable housing issues, and a willingness to be proactive in growing its housing supply. Noting that the County usually negotiates for affordable housing units one project at a time, she proposes developing a ‘housing pipeline that includes developing future prospects similarly to how our economic development team has business prospects.’”

As for her questionnaire responses, on one important question – whether or not the candidate supports “recently passed Expanded Housing Options (or Missing Middle) zoning changes [that] will allow four homes, and in some places six, on lots where previously just one house could be built,” Coffey answered “yes,” which is good, because we clearly need to move in this direction and not go backwards…even if the process and results of the “Missing Middle” debate were far from perfect. On this topic, I’d note that of the six candidates running for the two open Arlington County Board slots, only three – Maureen Coffey, Jonathan Dromgoole and JD Spain – have clearly stated their support for “Missing Middle,” while one – Tony Weaver – has tried to straddle the “missing middle” of “Missing Middle,” and two candidates – Natalie Roy and Susan Cunningham (a close ally of “independent” John Vihstadt, Cunningham in 2020 actually ran as an independent against the Democratic nominee, Takis Karantonis, stating that “Arlington needs to move away from one-party control,” and that “As an Independent, I will challenge the status quo, probe assumptions, and prioritize critical infrastructure and fiscal discipline over gold-plated projects” – ugh, NO, THANKS!) both strongly oppose “Missing Middle.”

Bottom line: I believe that everyone should pick Maureen Coffey as their #1 choice in the June 20th primary, for the reasons mentioned above, and most importantly to keep Arlington moving in the right direction in coming years.

P.S. It’s also worth noting that Maureen Coffey’s been endorsed by three current Arlington County Board members – Katie Cristol, Takis Karantonis and Matt de Ferranti, plus the Sierra Club, NoVA Labor, the Arlington Education Association, Rep. Jennifer McClellan, former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, etc.

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