Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weekly Column: Route 1 Version 2.0: Improving Our Schools

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and Patch in the week of October 28, 2013.
Route 1 Version 2.0: Improving Our Schools
This is my second article on the U.S. 1 Multimodal Alternative Analysis Study, our transit choices and why extending the Metro subway Yellow Line is the best choice.
There is no question the Yellow Line would bring big changes to our community. The question is whether these changes would be beneficial. Extending the Yellow Line to Fort Belvoir would improve our area schools for two reasons.   First, the redevelopment required to support a Metro extension would alter our housing mix. Second, redevelopment would also generate increased tax revenue and other funds for local infrastructure.   
When the Virginia Board of Education announced accreditation results based on recent student testing two weeks ago, 13 Fairfax County schools received a warning. (One of the schools is designed to help learning disabled children.)  Even though the 44th District has only 7% of the county’s population, half of the county’s warned schools were in the 44th District: Bucknell, Hybla Valley, Mount Vernon Woods and Woodlawn Elementary Schools and Mount Vernon High School.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekly Column: Route 1 Version 2.0 - An Introduction

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and Patch in the week of October 21, 2013.
Route 1 Version 2.0 - An Introduction

In my first campaign in 2009 and since, the message I hear from Mount Vernon-area voters is clear -- the number one issue in our community is traffic and attracting high-quality economic development to U.S. 1.  People would like to have nearby a good restaurant, an interesting bookstore and quality department stores, for example.

While our local government officials have worked hard to generate redevelopment in our area, their ability to attract high-quality development is limited by the lack of infrastructure necessary to move high numbers of people in, out and through the U.S. 1 corridor. Since my first election, turning this around has been high on my list of priorities.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Reston Impact Inteview: Virginia Ethics Reform

Two weeks ago I was interviewed on Reston Impact by John Lovaas. The main topic was ethics reform. You can see my ethics reform plan here:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

League of Women Voters 2013 Candidate Forum

Here is a video of my appearance at the League of Women Voters Lee District Candidate Forum on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at the Franconia Government Center. Thank you to the League of Women Voters for putting these forums together!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Building Route 1, Version 2.0 - First Public Hearing For The U.S. 1 Transit Study

Last Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transit held the first public hearing on the U.S. 1 Multimodal Transit Study ("the U.S. 1 Transit Study").  The U.S. 1 Transit Study was funded by language that Senator Toddy Puller and I secured in the State Budget last session.

The purpose of The U.S. 1 Transit Study is to review all of the prior studies that have been done, examine projected population and job growth in the future, look at possible transit investments, consider all of the plusses and minuses of various investments and come up with a locally preferred alternative.  To do this, they consider a variety of factors explained in this presentation below.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mount Vernon Library Opening

One of the reasons it is an honor to represent the 44th District is that I get to represent part of the Mount Vernon Estate - the home of George Washington. 

Two weeks ago, I was fortunate to have been invited to attend the opening of the new $110 million Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.

In the last few years of his life, General George Washington expressed interest in building a library to house his books and letters.  He never got around to building it.  About 217 years later, he finally got his library.

Below are my three favorite speeches from the opening.  The prominent historian, David McCullough,  really makes you think. My favorite quote:
When we choose leaders, we should always take a careful look at how they've handled failure.  Because failure is part of life.  Failure is part of history.  It's those people who lapse into self-pity and blaming others, but get back up keep the faith and keep going.  And [George Washington is] the prime example of that.
I need to remember that one.  He goes on to talk about the importance of honor. 

Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine really make you think about this government shutdown which was about three days away when this event took place.

You can see all of the speeches and pictures from the entire ceremony here: