By Alicia Hughes, Alexandria City Councilor
To the editor:
My public service to you remains a privilege. I am running for re-election to the Alexandria City Council and have served thus far with the motto of keeping people first to perfect One Alexandria.
I have been pleased to successfully lead the charge to keep the tax rate flat; provide hot food to seniors on Sundays through Meals on Wheels; extend the Old Town farmer’s market’s hours; secure funding to reduce the pre-K backlog; and preserve the integrity of neighborhoods while honoring our history, including securing funding that led to the revelation of graves in Fort Ward Park.
I am also proud to be credited with helping bring about a year-long study on how we use consultants and can curtail spending on them locally. I am proud as well for my efforts to save municipalities across Virginia millions of dollars through my work on the Task Force on Local Mandates Review as the governor’s liaison to the Commission on Government Reform.
At our last city council meeting, we adopted a legislative package for the upcoming General Assembly session. It included a request to eliminate the local aid to state mandate that generates roughly $60 million annually for Richmond. It is funded through payments from local governments, which becomes a bill that is passed to the local taxpayer.
In my state-appointed position, I specifically requested the reduction or elimination of this burdensome mandate, and — as it was confirmed during our city council meeting — our contribution has been reduced by $10 million this year with a promise of a $15 million reduction next year.
I have learned that One Alexandria is so much more than a slogan. Perfecting it is a way of life. We are dynamic because, just as we’ve collectively supported Democratic President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, you’ve supported me as well as Republican City Councilor Frank Fannon.
This party dynamism speaks to what makes us so special as a place and as a people. In Alexandria, home of our first president, we see what our nation’s founders intended: the inherent good nature of people and public service.
I hope that when you cast your vote Tuesday you’ll remember what our collective behavior says about who we are. Make your vote and your voice count by selecting people, regardless of party, who have the best ideas and records of service to move Alexandria forward.