November 8, 2016
US House of Representatives, VA 8th District
Arlington County Board
On School Board, we focused strategically on ensuring every child succeeds, and we closed our achievement gap by half and cut the drop out rate by more than half. We renovated and expanded almost every school in the county and built several new, creating thousands more seats.
On County Board, I focus on making Arlington government more responsive, transparent and fiscally responsible. Since I became Chair in January, we:
* Hired a new County Manager and independent auditor
* Made it clear that we need modern quality bus service, but we have to follow through to make it happen
* Began video streaming work sessions so residents can follow them without having to sit in long meetings, but we need more ways for people to participate
* Welcomed the Governor here several times to bring financial support to new tech companies, but we still have more to do to reenergize our commercial sector and bring down our vacancy rate, and
* Started online building permits and an open data system to help residents to know what is happening in our community, but both these new systems need work and follow through.
We also must follow through on ongoing projects. Last fall, we adopted the Affordable Housing Master Plan. We must now implement cost effective ways to make housing more affordable for more people including young people, immigrants, middle income families with children, and older residents who want to age in the community they helped build. We must also implement last year’s Community Facilities Study recommendations. We have already started on many, but there are more to go and I will continue to work for them.
We need to work more collaboratively around the region and in Richmond, especially to solve our transportation issues. The crisis with Metro is focusing everyone. I’ve held bipartisan meetings to build a network of leaders ready, willing and able to work together for improvements to Metro and regional bus. I will continue these relationships to improve our transportation.
This is the kind of leadership I have brought to Arlington for almost 20 years. I ask for your support and your vote on June 14.
Arlington County School Board
When the opportunity came about I got actively involved in our schools. I used my experiences in advocating for my education and the education of others to work for equal access to quality education for every student. I have spent the last 5 years pushing for improvements in our ELL instruction, discussing solutions for our capacity issues, and advocating for programs that help close our achievement gap. I now look to use my experience on the ESOL/HILT CAC, Advisory Council of Instruction, and the Facilities Study Committee among others to represent every community in Arlington on the Board.
It is important to ensure we give a voice to every student, regardless of their background, economic status, gender, race or ethnicity. By thinking of every student in our community while making our policy decisions, I know each one of our students will reach their full potential. We have the resources to address major issues in our schools, including a lack of mental health education and services, the effect demographics play on student achievement, and how we provide a seat to every child. I look forward to working towards these goals and more, once elected. I hope I can count on your vote on May 19 and 21.
Last summer, my Board colleagues elected me to serve as Vice Chair. In this leadership role, I’ve maintained my focus on instruction and educational excellence. My primary goal is to prepare every student to be successful in our 21st century economy. To this end, I have ensured an increase in specialized interventions for struggling readers, expanded opportunities for students with disabilities to succeed alongside non-disabled peers, ensured high expectations for English language learners, and supported the expansion of foreign language classes at all elementary schools. I continue to support APS’ digital learning initiative, which provides all students with access to technology to strengthen their learning. I fully support the launch of Arlington Tech, a new STEM-centered high school program that includes hands-on learning, industry credentialing, and dual enrollment classes for college credit.
To meet APS’ growing capacity needs, I supported the internal renovation project at Washington-Lee High School that added 300 seats. I will support similar projects at Wakefield and Yorktown High Schools. I voted for additions and renovations at Stratford, Abingdon and McKinley Schools as well as for a new secondary school in Rosslyn and elementary school in South Arlington to be built and opened by fall 2019. I served as the School Board liaison to the APS/County Community Facilities Study, which developed recommendations to better coordinate County and School facility resources. I strongly support funding in APS’ 2016 Capital Improvement Plan to complete current projects on time and within budget. I will advocate for funds to increase high school and elementary school capacity as soon as possible, so APS can meet the needs of what will be a 30,000 student school system by 2022.
Today, my priorities remain clear: build a strong infrastructure to meet the needs of our expanding school system while maintaining a keen focus on educational excellence for all our students.