Five Democrats are running for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor after Cathy Hudgins, the current supervisor, announced plans to retire earlier this year. This week, Reston Now will publish candidate statements for each of the candidates. This is the last profile.
Statements, which are in question-and-answer format, are published in the order in which they are received. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had the opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words.
What inspired you to run for this seat?
I’ve always welcomed an opportunity to serve. I thrive on learning, meeting new people, and learning from a broad range of voices. I learned early on that one must consider many perspectives in order to develop a personal viewpoint. I’ve learned that life experiences impact viewpoints, and that thought process is evolutionary. Humans, hopefully, evolve as they age and engage.
I was compelled to run for Hunter Mill Supervisor when it became a vacant seat, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins having announced retirement after 20 years of bold and noble service to Hunter Mill. I am honored to be a candidate; it is privilege.
Inspiration comes from varied places; I was most fortunate to grow up in a family that was committed to serve. Both my mom and dad were elected officials in my hometown; my two brothers have served their local jurisdictions and my little sister chairs the Board of Education in a town with a school system that rivals that of Fairfax County. My other sister has chaired noble community efforts in California and is a perennial elections officer in her small town. One might say service runs in the family.
What are the three biggest concerns you have for Reston? What do you plan to do address them?
I’m concerned about:
- Responsible economic growth: Appropriate development in the right places and making sure that our approved development applications are delivered in the highest quality and are integrated with our community. Whether in Reston or Vienna or Herndon, we must make sure that we welcome the new, engage our new residents and business workers, and integrate all with open arms. Reston is a New Town studied by a world-wide audience; as we enter into the ‘next fifty years’ it’s imperative that we be true to the founding tenants.
- Improved transportation options: Our community needs to respect the fact that we have and will continue to grow, and additional asphalt lanes are a ready solution to congestion. As soon as a lane is built, it is congested, adding exponentially to our carbon footprint. We need to provide safe and connected pedestrian and bicycle pathways, provide overpasses or underpasses across or beneath some of our wide thoroughfares. We need to adapt our suburban-built thoroughfares into a more urban street grid; often slowing traffic results in better throughput through intersections and community centers.
- Quality of Life for All – Equity in Housing Options: We have a shortage of housing options — running the range from low-income for-sale and for-rent inventory, through housing options for our service workforce, and onto aging in place and/or affordable senior alternatives. We have thought leaders and industry leaders in our community; we can find solutions.
How can the county improve how it manages growth and development in this growing community, especially as it relates to infrastructure needs, transportation, and affordable housing?
The County is doing a good job of working to plan for our future. Like anything, it can always do better. Current attention can to transportation and infrastructure financing options needs to remain a priority, and efforts to evaluate options for means to provide housing diversity are imperative. Solutions come through many avenues, such as developer commitments to provide work force housing programs in new multifamily buildings, developers paying a fee per square foot per commercial development added and convening industry experts to review national best practices for finding and funding diverse housing types. We will need to review zoning code; we can find solutions.
What do you hope to accomplish in this position?
I hope to provide excellent customer service to all of the Hunter Mill constituents, to enable transparent and inclusive conversation about pressing issues and to ably represent the voice of Hunter Mill on a board of ten. I hope to make the voice of Hunter Mill influence the continued success of Fairfax County, and be recognized as the key driver in the County’s prominence.
Photo via Maggie Comstock