Opinion

Endorsements for Alexandria City Council & Local Races

Vote

Voters in Alexandria, Virginia and across the Commonwealth go to the polls this morning (Tuesday, November 3, 2015) to elect folks to a variety of offices (e.g. state senators, state delegates, etc).  In Alexandria, Virginia, this includes Alexandria Mayor as well as Alexandria City Council and Alexandria City School Board,

Polling hours are from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM. To find your polling place, go to this link and enter your information. To view the candidates on the ballot here in Alexandria, view the sample ballots at this link.

I can’t tell you what to do but, I will tell you who I am voting for. Regardless of what I or others (see this link and this link) tell you, do your civic duty and get OUT and VOTE.

As  I stated in my selection for Mayor, many in Alexandria are upset with the status quo. While I am choosing to stick with Mayor Euille, partly because of these choices below and partly as I said, Mayor Euille will be the best candidate of the two as it pertains to attracting business.

Like I stated in the Mayoral piece, I have gone back and forth with these selections over the last few days. These are not easy selections and all 11 candidates deserve a seat on the dais.

So here we go. Here’s who I am voting for and who I think you should vote for in the City Council race and in School Board and Delegate races as well as State Senate.

City Council (Vote for 6)

For City Council, there are six at-large seats with the top vote getter being named ‘Vice Mayor’. For Council, for me it’s the following choices…

  • Justin Wilson (D) – Justin’s an incumbent and I don’t agree with everyone of Justin’s votes on City Council but, Justin listens, is extremely knowledgable on all issues that come before Council, and is one of the most responsive City Councilors.
  • John Chapman (D) – Like Mr. Wilson, Mr. Chapman is an incumbent and also one of the most knowledgeable City Councilors on a range of issues that come before council. He appeared on our podcast, which you can hear at this link.
  • Phil Cefaratti (I) – As the only independent candidate in the race, Mr Cefaratti’s business background will well serve the City. He is a listener who has advocated for a strong school system and made the youth of Alexandria a top issue.
  • Paul Smedberg (D) – Like Ms. Silberberg, Mr. Smedberg has not backed down from certain issues facing City Council Most notably, he went against his fellow City Councilors in voting no on the Ramsey demolition. He is clear, concise, and a good listener.
  • Bob Wood (R) – A 36 year veteran of  the military, who is in his second go at a seat on Council (Mr. Wood ran in 2012). For City Council, Mr. Wood now is very impressive on the issues facing Alexandria.
  • Willie Bailey (D) – Mr. Bailey struggled early in the debate season but, has a great grasp of the issues and has come on strong late in the campaign season.

This leaves out Monique Miles, Del Pepper, Fernando Torrrez, Tim Lovain, and Townsend Van Fleet – all really great candidates. If there were more seats on the dais, many of them would certainly grab my vote.

Ms. Miles has raised the ire of local Democrats this go round which is not necessarily a bad thing. She has played a little fast and loose with the facts and needs to tighten up her grasp on all of the issues to grab my vote. Del Pepper, while a tireless advocate for West End issues, has been in office too long. Fernando Torrez is an extremely impressive candidate who has struggled on some issues facing the City this go round. Like Bob Wood, getting stronger on the issues will CERTAINLY help him the next election season in 2018. Tim Lovain  is very impressive and a tireless advocate for our schools. He is also a tireless advocate for more public transit and complete streets. Simply by the fact I believe Council needs new blood and more than one party on the dais is why he’s here. If only there were more seats on Council. Mr. Van Fleet is very knowledgeable on issues facing Old Town but, appeared to be weak on issues outside of Old Town. Like Ms. Miles, he played a little fast and loose with some of the facts, particularly some of his statements on the debt the City holds.

School Board (9 total)

I live in District B (if you need to know which school board district you live in, visit this link to view the map.

District A

All three candidates in District A, Hal Cardwell, Bill Campbell, and School Board chair Karen Graf are unopposed.

District B

Here, Kelly Carmichael Booz is the only incumbent among five candidates. She has led the way on redistricting and is very impressive when you hear her talk. In District B, the other two very impressive candidates are Margaret Lorber and Veronica Nolan. Both have an impressive knowledge of the issues facing the school system.

District C

In District C – three out of the five candidates running are incumbents. Ronnie Campbell, Pat Hennig and board vice chairman Chris Lewis are running again. If I had a vote in that District, I would re-elect all three. Out of the three, Lewis is the most impressive.

State Delegate

45th district – Mark Levine is not my favorite candidate nor was he the one I voted for in the primary. That said, when you talk to Mr. Levine, you quickly get to realize there is no better candidate.

46th district – I like Sean Lenahan but, Ms. Herring’s seniority and leadership in Richmond will do the district well. If I had a vote in that district, Ms. Herring would grab my vote simply on this reason.

State Senate

30th district – Adam Ebbin is running again and has been a tireless advocate for transportation dollars for our area. He’s a very impressive candidate and has my vote as I live in his district.

35th district – By virtue of Mr. Saslaw’s long tenure in Richmond (39 years), I would say vote for the other guy if there was an impressive candidate running against him. However, in this case, due to the lack of a strong candidate, Mr. Saslaw’s seniority wins out here if I had a vote in this district.

39th district – Joe Murray runs up against George Barker here. While I hear from many folks how Mr. Barker is very responsive to constituents, Joe Murray is equally impressive and having heard both candidates at various events this election cycle I came away more impressed with Mr. Murray and if I had a vote here, that’s who I would go with.

Like the Mayoral decision, these decisions, especially for City Council were tough ones and ones I went back and forth on.

I have made my voice heard to our thousands of daily readers. Now, as residents of Alexandria, you should get OUT make your voice heard today as well and VOTE.

Lee Hernly, Editor
the authorLee Hernly, Editor
Founder & Editor
Lee Hernly is the Founder and Editor of Port City Wire, Alexandria, Virginia's best source for hyper-local news, opinion, and events. I live in the Old Town Alexandria area with my fantastic wife and son Sam. Oh, there’s Serena & Bea too. I’m so excited to meet new readers and see where you are from! Please be sure to leave a comment with a link to your blog so I can check it out!

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Note sure by what criterion other than a residual loyalty to the GOP that Wood is a better choice than Lovain.

I also do not quite get the total gestalt of your endorsements. We have issues in this election. If Wilson is right on those issues, as I believe he is, than Wood is certainly wrong on them.