My View with Sarah Bagley: Why I’m running for council

My View with Sarah Bagley: Why I’m running for council
Sarah Bagley

I have a proven commitment to community service and a personal and professional track record that makes me uniquely positioned to add value to City Council.

I was born and raised in Virginia Beach and after graduating from The College of William & Mary and working in Hampton Roads, I moved to Washington, D.C. for law school where I stayed for 13 years and practiced law. In 2015, after making partner, I decided to leave the practice of law and began working for an affordable housing nonprofit, where my responsibilities include building social service programs for the residents of low-income housing communities.

My proven commitment to community service in Alexandria has been demonstrated as a precinct captain, and going door to door, knocking on hundreds of doors each election for our Democratic candidates at all levels of offices, local, state and national.

My commitment to public service means that when I had an opportunity to join Moms Demand Action, a gun violence prevention organization, and then become the local event lead in Alexandria, I committed myself fully. I hosted farmers markets tables talking to Alexandrians about the issue, attended advocacy sessions in Richmond, Capitol Hill and spoke before our own City Council. I connected with dozens of local Alexandria businesses to partner and promote the national Wear Orange campaign to raise awareness about the impacts of gun violence on communities.

That proven commitment to putting in the work on issues I am passionate about is a value I would bring to City Council.

My professional experiences further prepare me for a council position. My education in law and years of experience as a trial lawyer prepare me to ask critical questions of our city staff, look for voting positions based in fact and advocate for those who need strong voices to represent their interests. My legal experience also includes negotiation and getting the necessary players to a table where they can hash out solutions to complex problems.

In my current role in a housing nonprofit, I apply those same skills toward larger community goals versus that of an individual client. I have helped create programs in low-income housing communities around the country, serving a diverse range of populations. I listen to and address problems, including food insecurity, workforce development, transportation barriers, language and technology challenges and childcare needs. Crafting solutions to those challenges requires broad, creative and inclusive solutions. I have also had a first-row seat to the valuable role that preservation and rehabilitation can play in maintaining affordable housing options.

The insight and experiences I’ve gained from these personal and professional experiences, along with my affection for Alexandria as my chosen home make me an ideal candidate for our City Council. I will prioritize housing affordability, investment in infrastructure including school funding, expanding transportation options, water and sewer management, small business recovery from COVID-19 and ensuring Alexandria remains a safe, inclusive and desirable place to live for generations for our entire population.

I will continue my advocacy for gun violence prevention in our community as well as through education, engagement with law enforcement and funding of safety training and de-escalation programs. We must elect a council who sees that these issues are related, how environmentalism must be tied to social justice, how housing must be tied to our workforce needs and retention challenges and how government must listen to citizens in all corners of our city when it makes funding and planning choices.

The writer is a candidate for City Council in the June 8 Democratic primary.