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: Wife, Son (10) & Daughter (8)
Education including degrees and institutions: Bachelor of Science, Information Systems, Virginia Commonwealth University
Offices held, dates: Alexandria City Council July 2007 – July 2009; January 2013 - Present
Occupation and relevant experience: Director Infrastructure Program Management, National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)
Community involvement: Virginia Board of Juvenile Justice; Virginia Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice; President, Del Ray Citizens Association; Chairman Alexandria Transit Company (DASH Bus); Alexandria Budget & Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee
Email address: email@example.com
Twitter handle: @justindotnet
Name three favorite endorsements: Sierra Club; Education Association of Alexandria; Alexandria Committee of Policy, Local 5
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
Ensuring every child has the opportunity to succeed is a central focus of my campaign, and my service on the City Council. During my tenure on Council, I have successfully worked to restore painful Federal cuts to Head Start, reduce the waiting list for early childhood education, and tackle growing student enrollment.
Far too many children start Kindergarten with no preschool experience. For many of our kids in need, we waste after-school and out-of-school time opportunities. Our education infrastructure is aged and in need of new investments, and our play-spaces are too scarce and not well maintained.
What distinguishes you from your opponents and why should voters choose you?
As a current member of the Alexandria City Council, an ACPS parent, a statewide leader in Juvenile Justice, champion of early childhood education and experienced civic activist, I believe I bring a unique perspective and collection of experiences to the City Council.
More than experiences, I bring a record of success on the City Council.
Instead of talking about how Alexandria grows and diversifies its economy, I’ve spent my tenure on Council doing just that, working to attract thousands of good jobs to our City, strengthening the City’s municipal balance sheet, and removing the red-tape the can inhibit job growth.
Instead of just talking about the success of our children, I’ve worked to expand early childhood education, identify funding for school capacity needs and shepherd a plan to handle school capacity growth long into our future.
Instead of just talking about easing congestion, I’ve worked to revive the dream of a Metro Rail station at Potomac Yard, pushed for modern parking standards, and advocated for the first new transit on the West End in decades.
Beyond funding, how else can city government help the school system?
With the highest poverty level of any school system in Northern Virginia, Alexandria’s schools have a unique challenge in ensuring the success of our kids. But we cannot make excuses, we must make results.
Yet in a tad more than 32 hours per week, our schools cannot ameliorate every challenge that faces our children outside of the schoolhouse. This is where the City must be an essential partner with our schools to create an environment where every child has the opportunity to succeed.
Whether it’s pre-school, after-school, or out-of-school time, we have an opportunity to improve the coordination, rigor and results of how our kids are served.
How do you convince citizens that you are truly listening to them even when you have to disagree with them?
Throughout my tenure on the City Council, I have worked to provide the kind of accessible and responsive government that the residents of this City deserve.
We are not always going to agree on every issue, but I work to ensure that every resident is heard, respected, and their concerns are addressed in some form.
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?
Every budget tells a different story, with different emergent needs and priorities. I’ve served on Council during one of the most difficult fiscal environments our City has ever seen. Every year I’ve served, I’ve identified efficiencies and reductions to City spending to help our City adopt budgets that respect our wallets and reflect our values.
All of those proposals are available online in detail at www.alexandriava.gov/budget
If you were given $1 million to spend any way you would like for the betterment of the city, how would you spend it?
I believe there is no better investment that City government can make than in the future of our children. I would use an additional million to continue my efforts to clear the waiting list for pre-school services in our City and finally bring universal pre-school to Alexandria.