By Amy Jackson
I see Alexandria in two lights: the past and the future.
In the past, Alexandria has always been very good to me. I grew up in this community, on the West End, and it supported me. It gave me family and friends that I will always cherish. It provided the public education I needed to excel and prosper in other areas of my life. It allowed me engagement in a community that was multi-faceted. It afforded
me the opportunities to question, learn and flourish. It gave me a place to become me. Alexandria is home.
The future is not that different in comparison, and yet, it has to be. These more modern times include technology like nothing we had back then. It includes friends we’ve never met, but chat with regularly on social media. The future has always allowed us to improve ourselves with experiences that were not as good as we intended them to be at the time. It makes us hopeful for what can be. The future is today. The future is our children. The future is our people and our programs. The future is you. And you are why I am running for Alexandria City Council: to make an already caring, vibrant community an even better one.
Simply, I’m running to serve. I’m running to make a difference in our children’s future. In Alexandria’s future. I’m running because I care. I’m running for office to ensure that Alexandria will be what it has always been – and much more.
I am running for city council because I believe it is our city’s role to help make people’s lives a little better and so all children will have opportunities to succeed. To make this happen we need to reprioritize our investment in Alexandria’s children. The current council has focused on new school infrastructure, and that is desperately needed, but as a former teacher I can tell you that, while important, buildings are not all that make a school. I believe that Alexandria needs to better balance the resource allocation between buildings and programs. The achievement gap does not wait until later grades, it begins in kindergarten, and that’s why I think we should make pre-k programs more universally available.
We also need to revitalize our economy. I intend to review our options and find ways to create a rejuvenated atmosphere surrounding our small business structure, West End’s Landmark Mall, Old Town and Potomac Yard. Our city needs additional revenue. Encouraging the prospering of renewal projects and increasing jobs is key to the thriving economy Alexandria needs.
Recommitting to our community – our people and our programs – is needed now more than ever. We need to minimize budget cuts to the most vulnerable. We need pay increases for our teachers and first responders. We need to increase education and support for those with heroin and opioid addiction. And the list goes on.
Alexandria has always been home. Growing up here, coming back here from college, my mom always being here … and here I am. Some leave and fly, while some stay and perch. Some fly home eventually. I’m the latter.
I have always been proud of being from Alexandria, and of our community, our diversity, our ingenuity and our grace. We are a community that relies on each other, because we can.
The writer is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Alexandria City Council.