City of Alexandria Candidate Questionaires
http://www.alexan...">Willie F. Bailey Sr.
http://www.alexan...">John Taylor Chapman
http://www.alexan...">Redella S. "Del" Pepper
http://www.alexan...">Paul C. Smedburg
http://www.alexan...">Townsend "Van" Van Fleet
http://www.alexan...">John R. "Bob" Wood
Family: Son, Willie Bailey Jr. and Daughter, Melondey Giron
Education including degrees and institutions: T.C Williams High School
Offices held, dates:
Occupation and relevant experience: Firefighter, Retired military, Community Outreach
Community involvement: Founder of Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue, coached Basketball and Baseball for Alexandria Youth Sports Program, serves on the board of Good Shepherd Housing, Volunteer Alexandria, First Night Alexandria, and Coats for Kids.
Email address: email@example.com
Name three favorite endorsements: Firefighters (Local 2141), Teachers (Educational Association of Alexandria) Alexandria Committee of Police (Local 5)
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
Having grown up in public and affordable housing, I have experienced the full range of housing services Alexandria can provide. My family didn’t stay in public housing for long, but it did give us the chance to save up enough to eventually purchase a home. This opportunity to join the middle class is no longer possible for many in our city. The council is doing much to help promote affordable housing but I believe my experience makes me an especially strong advocate for promoting economic diversity in our city.
What distinguishes you from your opponents and why should voters choose you?
I have been a community leader in Alexandria for many years, having coached several sports with the recreation department and having started my non-profit, Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue. For over 15 years I have organized events that donate schools supplies, new coats, new shoes, backpacks, and winter coats to local disadvantaged youth. Working with Alexandria’s recreation centers and the school system has given me a unique view of the struggle that too many of our families face financially. If blessed enough to serve on council, I would always fight to ensure the city works for all Alexandrians.
Beyond funding, how else can city government help the school system?
Working with Alexandria’s less fortunate children has taught me the impact that a caring adult can have on a child’s life. Alexandria is blessed with an abundance of great nonprofits that can do a lot for our schools. Bringing in programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the National Capital Area will put more of our children on a path to success. The city government is uniquely positioned to bring ACPS and local nonprofits together to improve the student experience in and out of the classroom.
How do you convince citizens that you are truly listening to them even when you have to disagree with them?
Being available outside of traditional City Council hours and events goes a long way towards building trust an understanding between our elected officials and public. As a firefighter, military veteran, and sports coach, I know that most issues are not issues of Democratic or Republican ideas but just a matter of listening to the community and reaching appropriately.
Any number of economic hiccups beyond the city's control (federal government, economic downturn, etc.) could force re-ordering of city budget priorities. For reductions, which three areas would you turn to first?
If elected, I will be in a better position to speak to programs that are either inefficient or redundant and will target them for reductions. Sequestration and pay freezes by the federal government have shown that despite our efforts, Alexandria remains economically tied to the ups-and-downs of government spending. We need to diversify our revenue base so that a city like Alexandria does not need to cut vital services during tough times.
If you were given $1 million to spend any way you would like for the betterment of the city, how would you spend it?
Reducing or eliminating city fees for use of recreation centers, sports leagues, and pools. Getting our kids involved in activities year-round gets them civically involved, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and keeps them out of trouble.