2024 Voter Guide: Charlotte Scherer (City Council)

2024 Voter Guide: Charlotte Scherer (City Council)
Charlotte Scherer is one of 11 Democratic primary candidates for City Council. (Graphic/Jessica Kim)

Want to read the 2024 Voter Guide in full? Click here to be taken to all of the Democratic primary candidates’ responses. 

Age: 51

Occupation: Attorney

Bio:  I am a very happily married 13-year resident of Alexandria’s East Side and have lived a life of service to others, first as an advocate (attorney ad litem) for children, then as an assistant public defender and lately as a magistrate for our city.

Rank the following issues from most to least important:

  1. Ethics
  2. Increasing density
  3. Historic preservation
  4. Crime/safety
  5. Affordable housing
  6. Equity
  7. Environmental protection
  8. Economy/inflation 
  9. Other

What’s the biggest problem facing Alexandria right now?

If it seems like there is construction everywhere, there is. But that’s a good thing, right? Hold on. Alexandria has exceeded its regional housing targets by 130%, but only 7% of that new construction is affordable. The city talks a good game on affordable housing, but delivers for the developers.

What’s your top policy priority?

Transparency and accountability.

What qualifies you to be elected?

As a city magistrate, I had to remain impartial and listen closely to what was being said before rendering a decision.

What’s the city’s biggest long-term challenge?

Balancing growth against the strains of growing.

What is Alexandria’s greatest strength and how would you utilize it?

Our city is a beautiful mosaic of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character – very much like a patchwork quilt. It’s so different from other cities with their stultifying sameness. I want to protect this. It is valuable in itself and too easily lost.

How should the city work to diversify the commercial tax base?

Alexandria could be the best location for small and medium-sized enterprises and startups, particularly in emerging industries like environmental technology and sustainable solutions. Providing incentives for these businesses to establish themselves in Alexandria could fill gaps in the market, encourage innovation and contribute to a more diverse commercial tax base.

What policies would make Alexandria safer?

During my time as a city magistrate, I worked closely with law enforcement to make our city safe at night. I want to provide more mobile cameras in high-crime areas to stop violence before it begins. I also want to reassign administrative duties to support staff so we can get our police back on the streets.

Do you think Alexandria has too much density, about the right amount, or not enough?

It’s less of a question of “how much” than “how much

What should go into Potomac Yard now that the arena plan was pulled?

It’s time to turn Alexandria into a national destination for the arts. As Mark Eaton suggested; a new home for the Birchmere, a dedicated rehearsal and concert venue for the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and performance spaces for MetroStage could turn Potomac Yard into a byword for artistic excellence and draw visitors from around the world to our shared home.