Your View: Kerry Donley is the perfect candidate for Alexandria mayor

Your View: Kerry Donley is the perfect candidate for Alexandria mayor
Vice Mayor Kerry Donley

By Diane Charles, Donna Fossum, Kevin Grim, Dak Hardwick, Sally and Steven Krahn,
Jim McIntyre, Sandy Murphy, Gayle Reuter, Judy and Michael Stack, Christa Watters, Alexandria (File photo)

To the editor:
The current primary race for mayor of Alexandria does indeed offer us a choice, as many have pointed out in these opinion pages. Our choice is Kerry Donley.

He is a proven leader who knows this city inside out. He grew up here and then came back after college to live, work and raise his family. But beyond that, he has always participated in Alexandria’s civic life. He knows our school system, our demographic statistics, our tax base and our financial situation. He does not speak in vague generalities. He talks about real, concrete ways to improve our city. He acknowledges problems and actively seeks solutions. Kerry Donley believes long-range planning is the best way to ensure that we achieve our goals.

Some say that Alexandria should never change. But cities are not static entities that can be crystalized in a historic amber glow. One thing that has always made the Port City a great place to live and work is that we are a city with a sense of place, not a sprawling suburb. We started as a seaport trading center based on the waterfront, and our historic heart remains there. But we were never an enclave of wealthy people who fought off commerce. Our founders were merchants and tradespeople. They filled in the riverfront to make more land and never hesitated to build commercial structures on that waterfront.

Our history is a source of pride, but it is not all that defines Alexandria. Today’s city has multiple focus points. More than half of our population lives west of Quaker Lane. We have growing centers of population and commerce in Potomac Yard and the Eisenhower Valley. Del Ray has become a hub of creativity, and is filled with young families and enterprising businesses. The West End is undergoing renewal. We need to continue to grow and change with the times.

Kerry Donley believes growth and development should be encouraged near Metro stations and other convenient transit options, and he knows how to make that happen, having served a total of 18 years as an Alexandria city councilor, vice mayor and mayor. In those positions he represented the city on the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, including time as chair, and on the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. He also served for years on the board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Kerry Donley is hands on. He does not shy away from digging into an issue and learning all the facts. When he speaks to the public or to his peers as a representative of the city, he has a firm grasp of the details, and is eloquent, thoughtful and smart.

His years of participation in community nonprofits and commerce have also given him skills for building consensus. Alexandria is filled with well-educated people with a wide range of knowledge and skills, and Donley knows how to leverage their expertise and advice. He knows how to compromise, but he also sticks to his principles when faced with a critical issue.

Vote for Kerry Donley on June 9. The city needs him.