Activist Boyd Walker will run in the Democratic primary for city council, the lifelong Alexandrian announced Monday at a local Democratic Party meeting.
The 43-year-old joins a ballooning slate of Democrats hoping to clinch one of six available slots to oppose Republicans: Donna Fossum, Sean Holihan, Tim Lovain, Charles Sumpter Jr. and Justin Wilson, and incumbent council members Del Pepper and Paul Smedberg.
“I definitely think there’s an undercurrent that people are not entirely happy with a lot of decisions our council has made recently,” Walker said. “So I think there will be an urge for people to participate [in the election].”
Walker, perhaps best known for co-founding Citizens for an Alternative Alexandria Waterfront Plan, has made development his go-to issue. He adamantly opposed the waterfront redevelopment approved by city council last month, citing stifled resident input, excessive commercial growth and lacking preservation.
Walker, who ran for council in a 2007 special election, is not against development outright — he’s a real estate investor — but condemns the planning process. He believes city officials cater to developers’ interests rather than Alexandrians’, he said, pointing to recently approved construction in Arlandria, the waterfront plan and the BRAC debacle at Mark Center.
“I think [development] is my main issue, but I’m not against all development,” Walker said. “I just want smart development, and I think to do that, we need a different planning process.”
Walker’s campaign will focus on maintaining and creating affordable housing and focus on helping current residents and businesses succeed, he said.
“I think too often groups like the Alexandria Convention and Visitors [Association] and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership are looking to bring people in from outside our city,” Walker said. “We should be doing more to help the people who live here now and the businesses that are here now succeed. That’s where we need to put our emphasis.”
Walker is divorced and has a daughter who lives abroad. He lives on King Street with his partner, Tessa Reid.
If he wins a spot on the ballot, Walker would face incumbent Republican candidates Frank Fannon and Alicia Hughes, and Del Ray resident Scott Gordon, a challenger.
The Democratic primary is scheduled for June 12.