Holihan joins Democratic pack in city council race

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Sean Holihan

West End resident Sean Holihan has joined the herd of Democrats running for an Alexandria City Council seat.

A Long Island native, Holihan, 30, has lived in Alexandria for just over three years but has been active in Virginia politics for several. He’s worked for state Sen. George Barker, delegates Lynwood Lewis Jr., Bob Brink, and former Delegate Brian Moran.

Despite his experience Holihan said running for council is not a stepping-stone to a statewide seat. He believes he can best effect change at a local level.

“The less constituents you have, the more of a direct impact you have on those people,” Holihan said. “Nothing has more impact than being a city council member.”

The Democrat wants to create a more civically engaged city, where all backgrounds — income levels and race — feel like they have a voice in citywide decisions on issues like development and education, he said. Specifically, he’d like to see the International Baccalaureate program implemented throughout the public school system.

Holihan supports the City Hall-created waterfront plan that opponents say focuses too heavily on commercializing the Potomac shoreline.  He admits it “paints the same target on my back as it does on current council members’ ” but believes opponents have been irresponsible in disseminating false information about the size and scope of the plan.

Holihan, communications manager for NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, lives with his partner Danny Barefoot. He joins current council members Del Pepper and Paul Smedberg and challengers Tim Lovain, Justin Wilson and Charles Sumpter Jr. in the Democratic primary scheduled for June 12.