Voting in the 2018 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 5 through April 2. This week, we will continue posting profiles on each of the candidates.
Featured here is Travis Johnson, who is facing six other candidates for two at-large seats for a three-year term. The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words.
How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?
My family has been part of the Reston Association for just under four years. We’ve had a Reston address for longer than that, though, as, prior to this, we lived in Deepwood for about four years.
What inspired you to run for the board?
I love my home and my community, and I want to serve them as best I can. I moved here because I want this place, with its historic beautiful open spaces, its diverse and friendly population, and its safe and sustainable lifestyle, to be a place my two daughters will always be happy to call home. I want to preserve those elements for my daughters and their children. I see serving on the Board as a vehicle for doing that, not just for my family, but for the community at large.
What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?
- Mismanagement. I’m sorry to say that I think the Reston Association has, until the relatively recent past, with the Board new majority, been poor stewards of our Association’s resources. We purchased Tetra in 2015 at close to twice its market value without a real plan for its use. We’ve seen project cost overruns that careful oversight and having the necessary controls in place could have prevented.
- “Cash Cow” vs a Community. Fairfax County government doesn’t think of Reston as the thriving community filled with people who live and work according to a sense of shared values like you and I do. Fairfax County sees Reston as a pot from which they can draw resources to pay for activities in the rest of the County. It’s why they want to increase our population density. Not because it will help our community in any way. It’s wrong.
- Losing the family feeling. One thing I’ve heard from long-time residents of Reston is how the community felt like a big family. I know my family feels that when we go to festivals in and around town or when the kids are playing soccer or participating in local theater. But, it doesn’t feel like that for all of us. Large segments of our community have grown detached from one another. We don’t know our neighbors anymore. We don’t look out for each other. In the not too distant past, Board members would shout and yell and insult each other. This atmosphere contributed to all sorts of problems. We need to bring back the community feeling in Reston.
What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?
- I hope to bring oversight and prudent management to the Association. Before any project is considered for approval, we need to see a plan that includes a detailed mission statement, frequent milestones during which the Association staff can report progress back to the Board, so the Board can subsequently report back to the membership. I will request community impact assessments for any large-scale project to ensure member needs are met. I will help the Board avoid the mistakes past and pay attention to Members’ needs. And I will work hard to help the Board make the best possible decisions using the best possible information.
- I will work with other members of the Board and other members of the community to make our community’s voice heard to the County government and, if necessary, to the Commonwealth government. Specifically, I will encourage the Board to work closely with other Reston-based community groups to firmly assert that we do not want the population cap increase forced on us. We will say it as often as we need to and to as many people as we need in the hopes that we can make that point.
- I will work with the Board of Directors to engage Reston in activities that will bring us closer together and make our community safer. I’ll work with the clusters to encourage more year-round activities so neighbors have more opportunities to get to know each other. We’ll also work to step up our Neighborhood Watch programs which will enable our neighbors to look out for each other ‘s safety. We’ll work with community organizations to utilize more of our empty spaces like the parking lot at Hunter’s Woods or the soon-to-be redeveloped spaces at Tall Oaks for year-round community activities. I will encourage the Board to reach out to community groups throughout Reston so our currently underserved members can be included.
I will also act as an example of the kind of behavior I want to foster. I will not engage in the inappropriate behavior I’ve seen some Board Members exhibit in earlier years. I will attempt to build strong working relationships with my colleagues and act as an intermediary between them. We are adults who care about our community and we should act that way.
How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?
I have over almost two decades of experience in project management. I know how to make projects work on time and within their budgets. I have served on my condominium board and served as the Neighborhood Watch coordinator in Deepwood. I work to finance and coordinate social justice activities at my church. Bringing diverse populations together in the interest of safety and community is my passion. I will bring this experience and this energy to my tenure on the Board of Directors.
Photo by Reston Association