Port City Politics: Catching up with the state senate candidates



Its no secret Libby Garvey, candidate for the District 30 state senate seat and Arlington School Board member, wants to make the fallout from the Washington Headquarters Services buildings a central issue in the Democratic primary.

Shes blasted rival Rob Krupicka and his fellow Alexandria City Council members for failing to foresee the expected traffic crunch in the citys West End when the buildings open in September. Garvey also has backed calls for a lawsuit against the federal government a move legal officials in Alexandria and Fairfax County have warned against. 

The question is whether it will stick.  

Among Alexandrians, the BRAC debacle is nothing new. While residents have held their elected officials feet to the fire, DoD is quickly emerging as the villain, particularly in light of the recently released Inspector Generals report criticizing the federal departments planning process.

And if Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) can convince the House Armed Services committee to delay WHS opening the BRAC attack suddenly loses steam.

Krupicka thinks its a weak argument against him.

I was against the Mark Center location at the beginning and Im against it now. I spent the last three years working to find solutions to it, he said. Libbys spent the last two months discovering BRAC exists.

Garvey does expose a potential pitfall for Krupicka: his political record. Before voters head to the primary polls, Krupicka likely will have two divisive issues weighing him down the controversial, and now dead, proposal for a commercial add-on tax to pay for transportation improvements and an impending vote on the waterfront plan.

For Garvey, there are definite parallels between the WHS buildings and the proposed waterfront plan.

People are feeling like theyve not been heard. Theyre feeling that its going to benefit developers not the city, she said. Alexandria is a wonderful place to live and we all want to keep it that way.

Home team advantage

If Krupicka were worried about his city council record bogging down his candidacy and hes not he could take solace in name recognition within the city. 

Though Garvey has long been a Northern Virginia resident, shes less familiar to Alexandrians than either Krupicka or Del. Adam Ebbin (D-49). Only a portion of Alexandria is covered in the newly redrawn senate district, which stretches from Arlington into Fairfax, but Garvey will need to let city voters know she stands for them as well as their next-door neighbors.

While Garvey points out she lives on the Alexandria-Arlington line and even sent her children to preschool in the city, she admits theres work to be done.

This is my home too and I have a number of friends and people here and Ive been enjoying getting to know more people, Garvey said. Im out walking and knocking on doors.

Still, Krupickas presence on city council, state board of education and deep roots in the community put him on par with Ebbin, who has a wealth of connections within the region. With previous experience representing Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria in the House, Ebbin may be the best positioned to draw on support at home and in Richmond.

Though laws banning fundraising on the part of delegates during the legislative session have put Ebbin behind Krupicka and Garvey in fundraising, dont expect that disparity to last for long. Theres no doubt Ebbin has a network of potential supporters at home and in the capital to draw on for his campaign.