Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Endorsing Creative, Clear-eyed Leadership in Alexandria

The past year has tested Alexandria. In the face of an era-defining global health crisis, our city came together to keep each other safe. We have been a leader in administering tests and vaccinations. We have fought to keep businesses and child care centers open. We have helped non-profits continue their valuable work. We have done all this equitably in support of all Alexandrians. As former elected officials, business leaders, and community activists we have seen these efforts up close and we have been impressed.

We are convinced that Alexandria is meeting this moment because of creative, clear-eyed leadership that can collaborate, make tough choices, and deliver results.

There is no greater challenge or higher priority facing Alexandria than our full and equitable recovery from Covid-19. We must get our hotels, restaurants, and iconic local stores fully open and thriving. We must address gaps in access to affordable housing and economic opportunity that only widened during the pandemic. We need to rebuild and reinvest in the city’s infrastructure. We must get our students safely back in school five days a week and make up for lost learning. We need to ensure childcare is up and running. We must protect community health.

Our backgrounds and viewpoints are varied and we don’t always agree. But our city faces stark challenges. The decisions to be made are tough and require bold, consensus-building leadership. We are encouraged by the number of candidates stepping forward to run for City Council and Mayor this year. We think there are some in particular that stand out as ready to lead us through the recovery.

That is why we enthusiastically endorse Mayor Justin Wilson for re-election as Mayor. For Council we strongly endorse Councilman John Taylor Chapman, Councilman Canek Aguirre, Alyia Gaskins, and Kirk McPike.

These candidates have demonstrated the characteristics of public service and leadership that are needed to pass the test still to come. They have a range of backgrounds and ideas, and are capable of consensus building and working together in ways that will continue to move Alexandria forward.

Kerry Donley, Former Mayor

Bill Euille, Former Mayor

Ludwig Gaines, Former Councilman

Rob Krupicka, Former Delegate and Councilman

Lonnie Rich, Former Councilman

Paul Smedberg, Former Councilman, Current Chair of WMATA

David Speck, Former Delegate and Councilman

Katya Ananieva, She's Unique

Mango Mike Anderson, HomeGrown Restaurant Group

Donna Anderson, HomeGrown Restaurant Group

Jen Atkins, Former Chair, Alexandria Park & Recreation Commission

Bill Blackburn, HomeGrown Restaurant Group

Marcia Call, Citizen Activist

Lynnwood Campbell, Community Activist

Kathy Dalby, Pacers Running

Teal Dye, Lotus Blooms

Amy Eggers, Small Business Owner and Chair of the DRBA Marketing Committee

Maria Elizabeth, Salon deZen

Charlotte Hall, Citizen Activist

Bradley Halsey, Building Momentum

Glenn Hopkins, Hopkins House - A Center for Children, Youth, and their Families

Julie N. Jakopic, iLead Strategies

Stephanie Kapsis, Former School Board Member

Jim Kapsis, Former Chair, Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission

Ally Kirkpatrick, Old Town Books

Ben Klein, Former Chair, Alexandria Budget & Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee

Mindy Lyle, Member, Alexandria Planning Commission

Nate Macek, Chair, Alexandria Planning Commission

Laurie MacNamara, Citizen Activist

Jody Manor, Citizen Activist

Nicole McGrew, Threadleaf

Michelle Millben, Citizen Activist

Pat Miller, Citizen Activist

Judy Noritake, Former Chair, Alexandria Park & Recreation Commission

Jesse O'Connell, Chair, Alexandria Budget & Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee

Danielle Romanetti, fibre space

Amy Rutherford, Red Barn Mercantile + Penny Post

Scott Shaw, Alexandria Restaurant Partners

Chad F. Sparrow, Common Plate Hospitality / Mason Social

Kalle Thompson, Stitch Sew Shop

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