Voting in the 2020 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 2 through April 3. Featured here is Mike Collins, who is running against Jennifer Sunshine Jushchuk for the apartment owners’ seat, which has a three-year term.
With the exception of minor formatting edits, the Q&A candidate profiles are published in an 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 and I have lived here since 2008. We moved here for a job opportunity and to be near my wife’s family.
What inspired you to run for the board?
I served on the board from 2010 to 2013 as the North Point representative. I ran in order to serve my community and bring some civility to an environment that had become somewhat antagonistic at the time. My main priorities were serving constituents, modernizing RA operations, holding staff accountable, and engaging in development issues. I ran again in 2016 based on the same priorities. This might sound weird, but I’m running again because I actually miss working on those things!
What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?
Overall, of course, the issue on everyone’s mind is development and we’re all concerned about traffic and the character of our community. A less-discussed issue is the impact gentrification could have on lower income people and the cost of living in Reston. Not everyone here is well off and, believe it or not, there is some older housing that remains very affordable. That was part of Bob Simon’s vision and we need to be vigilant about it. Second is bike/pedestrian access. Most of the paved paths in Reston were built for recreation – not commuting, shopping, etc. That needs to change as we grow. Third is the need for additional recreational facilities. Just visit Baron Cameron or any other park on a weekend! New facilities don’t necessarily have to be provided by RA, but we can advocate for them and partner with others to make them happen.
What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?
First and foremost, I hope to bring a unique perspective to the board. My prior experience can provide insights on subjects RA is dealing with now – many of which have been issues for several years. Second, I hope to use the role of the apartment owners representative to help make sure RA is serving apartment dwellers. They are members too, but we don’t hear much from them at the board level. Finally, I hope to work on the revisions to the Reston Deed (our “Constitution”) particularly in the area of how we set assessments.
How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?
I am a lawyer with professional experience in litigation, risk management, and regulatory compliance. I’ve also served as a legislative aide and outreach director for members of Congress, including Congressman Gerry Connolly. Most recently, I was a board member for the Fellowship Square Foundation, which provides housing for very low-income seniors in Reston (at Lake Anne and Hunters Woods, and elsewhere in the region.
Photo via Reston Association