By Cody Mello-Klein | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Justin Wilson announced on Jan. 21 that he will be running for a second term. Wilson is currently the only mayoral candidate to have declared for the 2021 local election.
Wilson was first elected to City Council in a special election in 2007. Although Wilson was not reelected in 2009, he was voted back onto council in 2012, became vice mayor in 2015, and, in 2018, defeated then incumbent Mayor Allison Silberberg to become the city’s mayor.
Wilson’s term as mayor has been defined by the challenges of a global pandemic, national calls for racial justice and the damage caused by increased local flooding, as well as local controversy around issues like the Seminary Road diet, all of which led to his decision to run for reelection, Wilson said.
“I think in many ways, the experience in the last year has solidified my desire to come back for another term,” Wilson said. “There is so much important leadership that is required in order to protect the city’s future in this environment, and I feel like I have something to offer in that regard.”
In addition to the financial devastation caused by the pandemic, Wilson said his campaign will focus on updating and repairing the city’s infrastructure, particularly its stormwater system, which has drawn significant criticism from a community that has experienced several intense flooding events over the last year and a half.
“We started this term with the Metro shutdown and that was just a glaring headline example of what happens when you put off investments in infrastructure for a long period of time and have to deal with it all at once,” Wilson said. “… None of that is sexy, but when it fails, there’s no higher priority.”
Despite the challenges of his last term, Wilson noted that, during his time as mayor, council has made headway on several significant, long-standing items, including redevelopment of the Landmark Mall site, construction of the Potomac Yard Metro station, settlement of the T.C. lights lawsuit and the funding of five new or rebuilt Alexandria schools.
“I said at the beginning, two years ago, that I wanted us to be a small city that did big things, and we’ve got some big things ahead of us,” Wilson said. “I’m hopeful that with another term, we’re going to be able to make even more significant accomplishments.
”Leading into the democratic primary on June 8 and election day on Nov. 2, two council seats will be open, after Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker and Councilor Del Pepper announced they will not be running for reelection.