2024 Voter Guide: Steven Peterson (Mayor)

2024 Voter Guide: Steven Peterson (Mayor)
Steven Peterson is one of the Democratic primary candidates for mayor. (Graphic/Jessica Kim)

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Age: 58

Occupation: Semi-retired real estate developer

Bio: I’ve lived in Alexandria over 30 years. I’m married to Martha with seven children in a blended marriage. I was president of The Peterson Companies, a large real estate company, built National Harbor and have been on several boards which gives vast experience.

Rank the following issues from most to least important:

  1. Ethics
  2. Other –Bottom up management
  3. Affordable housing
  4. Crime and safety
  5. Historic preservation
  6. Economy
  7. Commercial tax diversity
  8. Increasing density
  9. Environmental protection
  10. Equity

What’s the biggest problem facing Alexandria right now?

Poor governance. Top down management style versus bottom up, no citizen input/transparency.

What’s your top policy priority?

Affordable housing.

What qualifies you to be elected?

Past executive business experience allows for the ability to identify problems and create solutions.

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

Inability to fund future annual budgets and 10-year capital improvement program budget with increased future demands. 

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

We are a great diverse “boutique” city of 170,000 that still emulates a small town historic vibe. At all costs, preserve the historic nature of the city and always keep this in mind through expansion.

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

Quit rezoning commercial properties to residential without mixed-use components like the ordinance stipulates. Market hospitality sector to create more visitation, and increase tax rates on rooms. Mandate that the Airbnbs get taxed like hotels like they are supposed to be taxed per city ordinance.

What policies would make Alexandria safer?

Concentrate on developing Potomac Yard into a modern 8 million square feet mixed-use community, with a 5,000 person convention center that will act as an anchor without overwhelming the neighborhood. In addition, develop it into an open-air lifestyle center similar to The Mosaic District in Fairfax, that has movie theaters, restaurants, shops, hotels, a bowling alley, five-story Target, et cetera. Help market Potomac Yard as a major tech district that compliments Amazon and Virginia Tech.

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

Not enough.

What should go into Potomac Yard now that the arena plan was pulled?
Did not answer.