YOUR VIEWS | A Young Adult Summit Would Connect the City

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To the editor:

I want to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the voters who have provided me an opportunity to serve as a member of City Council for the current term. Now that the campaign season is over, it is time for us to all come together to ensure effective governance to move the city forward as One Alexandria.

I remain convinced that good governance only comes about through active civic engagement, most especially through leaders reaching out to unengaged and under-engaged populations in our community. At our recent City Council installation, I spoke candidly about issues that I look forward to working with my colleagues on. I also highlighted my interest, as the youngest member of Council, in reaching out to and mobilizing what I consider to be an extraordinary asset but underutilized resource: Alexandrias young adult population.

In keeping with this interest, I am pleased to announce that every fall of my term, I will host and chair an annual Young Adult Summit. More details will follow very soon on this years summit, which will be a weekend event.

I will continue to share that one of the things that I appreciate most about our city is that we are not a monolithic people. But from out of many parts and across many barriers, we gladly form One Alexandria. It makes a difference when we approach government this way. To this end, I invite every young adult in this city be you Democrat, Independent or Republican to take part, because we are Alexandrians first and hold the well-being of our city high in our hearts.

I do want to be clear that the objective of our summit is not the expenditure of limited government resources. I am convinced that in organizing this summit it is the dedication of our time and our talents, rather than the expenditure of additional tax dollars, that will enable us to make a difference.

The objective of the annual Young Adult Summit will be to focus on leadership development, camaraderie between actively involved and not-so-involved young adults and identification of ways that we can work together to make a difference in the city on three targeted issue areas.

One of our issue areas this year will be the well-being of our youth outside of, but complementary to, the education system. I am personally outraged that we have a 76.9 percent graduation rate in the 12th richest city in the nation boasting of an adult population where more than half of the citizens hold a graduate level education. Thus, I consider the organization of an aggressive Take Our Children Back Campaign a high priority and any excuse to not address it unacceptable.

Throughout the course of the Council campaign, I ran on the pledge of Keeping people first to perfect One Alexandria. This is foremost in my mind every day. I look forward to being in touch with you and invite you to stay in touch with me.

Alicia Hughes, Alexandria city councilwoman

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