Opinion Your Views — 12 March 2009

To the editor,

I am pleased to tell you that I am running for the City Council as an Independent. I look forward to coming to know you better over the coming months and sharing with you who I am and what I believe. More importantly, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on what we can do to make government work better for you.

As Alexandria continues to face unprecedented difficult challenges, I am convinced that we need leadership with a wider range of diverse expertise to keep all anchors in our sail moving in the right direction, and with all deliberate speed that is required. Further, we need a government that makes its business transparent and gives an open ear to all points of view. We do not have that now, but if you elect me as a member of City Council, I submit to you that I will be that strong and independent, but inclusive voice coming to the table with a new dimension of expertise, encouraging open dialogue.

This, in essence, is why Im running for City Council.

We are at a nearly unprecedented time in our history. The City of Alexandria has a remarkable and telling history. Today, we stand on the backs of so many whove come before us to build it. They, like us, had many voices but yet, a common purpose the best interest of Alexandria. Unfortunately, many who helped to build Alexandria can no longer afford to live here. And as these anchors leave us, so too does a part of our rich history that may never be fully reclaimed. While our historic buildings stand and even as our communities change and expand, it is our people who weave the fabric of our existence and those whove worked so hard to build this great place are needed here to continue to tell our story. To make matters worse, many people who love our city and work here cannot afford to live here. I strongly believe that those who have built Alexandria and who work today to ensure our comfortable living deserve to live here.

And to boot, we have lost more than 10,000 affordable housing units over the past five years but have a projected population growth of more than 20,000 over the next ten years. And this all comes amidst staggering highs in the unemployment rate.

I come to you with a skill set that includes a background in land use, which includes an understanding of legal standards applied when making decisions about the best way to safeguard municipal interests. I come to you with a background of advocating for the development of stronger communities fashioned around smart growth and affordable housing. I come to you as a former educator currently involved in mentoring and literacy in our City. And I come to you with a background in public policy at the local and federal level. I want to put these skills to work to represent you on our City Council.

The issues Ive raised are not rich or poor issues, Black or White issues, West End or Del Ray issues, Republican or Democratic issues. They are Alexandrias issues, because from our many parts, we form one. Ours is not a monolithic city. We have a common goal of living in a community that we can all be proud of. I am grateful for the privilege to run for elected office in such a fine City.

Alicia Hughes
Candidate for Alexandria City Council

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