Tim Lovain reflects on eight years on city council

Tim Lovain reflects on eight years on city council
Tim Lovain walks in the George Washington Birthday Parade on Feb. 20, 2017 (File photo)

By Alexa Epitropoulos | aepitropoulos@alextimes.com 

Councilor Tim Lovain, who is in the midst of his third city council term, said he won’t seek reelection in 2018.

Lovain made the announcement on Sept. 6, citing family as the reason for not running for a fourth council term. He said the early notice is meant to give others with council aspirations plenty of time to consider running.

Lovain with his family.

“There’s obviously a balancing that goes on every time in deciding whether to run or not. I’ve had a good run and I’ve accomplished a lot of things. I really do want to spend more time with my family. Two of my kids are in college and my last kid is in high school. I’d like to spend more time with my wife,” Lovain told the Times. “I have another full-time job. This is my second job.” 

“I also wanted to give other people who may be thinking of running for city council a chance to think about it,” Lovain said.
“The names I’m hearing, the ones that people are talking about, they will be strong candidates. I am replaceable.”

Lovain won his first term on council more than a decade ago in May 2006, after spending years as an involved member of Alexandria’s political scene, running the campaigns of former Mayor Bill Euille and serving as a member of multiple city boards.

He was unseated, along with now Vice Mayor Justin Wilson, when he sought re-election in 2009, as Independent candidate Alicia Hughes and Republican Frank Fannon were voted in to replace them on council. Before stepping down in June 2009, Lovain and Wilson joined their council members in voting to move Alexandria’s local elections from May to November. Both ran again in 2012 under the revised election rules and easily won seats on council.

“We served together during my first term. We both lost together and we both came back [to council] together in 2012, so he’s been there the whole time I’ve been on council,” Wilson said.

Wilson said, during their years serving together on council, Lovain’s willingness to dive deep into an issue has stood out for him.

“Tim is a great member of the council. He’s always been very studious. He really digs into issues. There are some members of council who kind of touch a lot of different issues and don’t become experts in one particular thing, but Tim is someone who takes an issue and takes an expertise in it,” Wilson said.

For Lovain, those issues have been transportation and land use. His long track record as a transportation lobbyist has fueled his expertise on transportation issues. He’s currently executive vice president of Capitol Strategies in D.C.

When asked about some of the highlights of his service on council, he cited the development of long-term transportation plans for the area as a major accomplishment.

“I’ve had the honor of serving on the board of the [Transportation Planning Board of the National Capitol Region]. I looked forward to that and I was able to focus on developing a long-range plan for the area,” Lovain said. “Last year, I led the effort to get more funding for a neighborhood health clinic for the uninsured in Alexandria … Back in my earlier years, I spent a lot of time getting the city to fund nonprofits. Throughout my career, funding has been very important to me.”

He’s also been an advocate throughout his career of Alexandria City Public Schools, which all three of his daughters have attended.

“As a parent of three public school students, he’s been a champion of our schools and helping schools address enrollment,” Wilson said.

As he reflects on the issue that he’s worked on the most during his career and during his city council service, he is pleased with the progress in the community so far.

“I think it’s come a long way,” Lovain said. “There are more walkable areas that are attractive transit options.
We’ve come a long way in focusing development around
our metro stations. There’s the new Potomac Yard, Metro bus route and the West End coming online. Transportation has been a real part of my time on council … It used to be that development in the area was way ahead of us, and now I think we’re caught up.”