Happy May to you and yours. It's been an especially busy spring for the Arlington County Board. From a challenging but highly participatory Fiscal Year 2018 Budget process to hosting important events on climate action and women's health, it's an exciting time to be engaging with residents and regional partners on important issues.
And we never have a dull moment politically here in Arlington... it's already time for another County Board election. With our much-valued colleague, Jay Fisette, stepping down at the end of 2017, voting begins for his successor next week.
While Arlington is fortunate to have four strong candidates, I am proud to endorse my friend, Vivek Patil for County Board, and I hope he will earn your support, as well. Vivek is an uncommonly innovative thinker with a compelling vision for Arlington's future, and he has a remarkable gift for listening, especially to those who feel underrepresented in our community. I know he will be a uniquely responsive and inclusive County Board member. I hope you will get to know Vivek, and help him earn the Democratic nomination with your vote.
This year, Arlington Democrats are voting in a caucus, not a primary, so please come cast your ballot at one of the following dates and locations:
- Tuesday, May 9th, 7:00 to 9:00 pm at Key Elementary School
- Thursday, May 11th, 7:00 to 9:00 pm at Drew Model School
- Saturday, May 13th, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at Washington-Lee High School
Childcare Agenda Moves Forward
After a year of dialogue and planning, I am thrilled to have advanced new action on expanding the supply of childcare in Arlington County during the FY18 budget process. We've added a team member in our Planning Department with a clear charge to identify zoning changes that will make it easier to locate a childcare center or home daycare in Arlington, and scoped out a more detailed study of the gaps and opportunities in childcare supply - by geography and by age - in the County.
This childcare agenda is also a hallmark of how we can tackle community challenges without big additions to our operating budget. With enormous budget pressures from Schools and Metro not only shaping FY18, but also looming for FY19, FY20, etc., we'll have limited capacity for major new spending on other priorities for the foreseeable future. That doesn't mean we'll back off these commitments, however: The childcare initiative demonstrates how we can use policy levers other than the budget (like land use and regulatory strategies) to meet the needs of Arlington residents and families.
A big thank you to County staff and the many residents, parents and childcare providers who have helped shaped these early policy steps: This is only the beginning.
Vigil for Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Amid the uncertainty and aggressive rhetoric stoked by the Trump Administration, we have been working hard in Arlington - across law enforcement, human services, and other divisions of County government - to communicate clear information and reassure our residents however we can. We launched a coordinated, comprehensive website last month (in English and Spanish) and are now working on grants to providers of legal services to immigrant residents.
Local government has such an important role in advancing a different, welcoming vision for our communities - and so do residents themselves. I'm so glad to see local leaders in Fairlington step up to organize an Advocacy and Vigil event this Saturday to demonstrate that immigrants and refugees are and will continue to be welcomed and valued by their neighbors in Arlington and Alexandria. Please join us at Fairlington Presbyterian Church at 7 pm to add your voice.
P.S. The Bake-Off is back! Stayed tuned to this newsletter and social media for an announcement of details for the Second Annual Great Arlington Bake-Off in July.