Why I’m running for Council

Why I’m running for Council

By Jonathan Huskey

I love living in Alexandria. My wife and I moved here 12 years ago, from Arlington, to raise our family. From then on, life has been pretty sweet – and it helps that I have the Dairy Godmother down The Avenue in Del Ray.

Pretty normal life. Wife, two kids, right down to the extremely cute dog. I didn’t plan to seek a seat on the City Council. Ultimately, I joined the race because I felt the Potomac Yard arena was a threat to our city.

While I am the only City Council candidate who actively opposed the arena, I wasn’t alone. With thousands of others, I organized and stood up for Alexandria.

The arena is dead, whew. So why am I still running for City Council? Because it’s time to make a change.

Alexandrians deserve more choices in this election and a new voice on City Council. I have a more than 20-year record fighting for progressive causes, electing Virginia Democrats and supporting working families on the front lines. I’ve fought alongside tens of thousands of people as they formed their unions and bargained for a better future. I have helped communities win billions of dollars in additional tax revenue for education, healthcare and affordable housing.My professional experience as a tax policy advocate, and personal experience as an opponent of the Potomac Yard arena, leads me to conclude that the arena proposal and the process that delivered it to us represents an imbalance of power between big corporations and everyone else in our city’s economic development decisions.

How do I know? Because Alexandria’s elected leaders were willing to help pay for a $2 billion arena complex but we only have only one independent hardware store and zero hotels where workers have been able to form a union.

To be clear, one decision doesn’t define anyone – even a bad one. I respect our Council and mayor. Attracting big projects, and the revenue they generate, is important for Alexandria; however, I’ll be a Council member who bets on our people, our entrepreneurs and neighborhoods before I look to billionaires or development corporations to save us.

I’m not afraid to take on the powerful – I kind of enjoy it, to be honest. I’ve done it my whole career and if you elect me, I will stand up for Alexandria, from the West End to the Waterfront and everywhere in between.

There will be tough budgetary decisions for our city over the next few years. This is a direct result of our state’s tax code – which favors the wealthiest over the rest of us – and what I spend my days fighting to change.

We don’t have to accept the status quo. If we must raise property taxes, as this Council is likely to do, I will fight to make our tax system more progressive by instituting a rebate program that extends to long-time homeowners and low-or moderate-income households who are struggling to stay in their homes.

My campaign offers a clear choice from other candidates. My plan is called “UNITE ALX.” It’s about the priorities that unite us: our values, our people and our future and focused on local business, transparency, working families and neighborhoods. You can check it out at HuskeyforCouncil.com.

Alexandrians are proud of our city and want to make sure we invest in our neighborhoods, schools, parks, transit, housing and other services.

I’m running for City Council to show that we can fund a bright future for Alexandria by fighting for what’s right.

Please join me to put our people and our future first. I’m asking for your consideration and your vote in the Democratic Primary.

The writer is running in the June 18 Democratic primary for City Council.