2021 Reston Association Board Election: Meet Timothy Dowling

Voting in the 2021 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 1 through April 2. This week, we will begin posting profiles on each of the candidates. The complete election schedule is available online.

Featured here is Timothy Dowling who is running against three other people for one of two at-large seats. 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 wife, Ricarda, and I moved to Reston in 1982.  Our first home was a townhouse across the street from Hunters Woods Village Center.  As our family grew, we moved to a new home in the Tall Oaks area.  In 1992 we returned to Hunters Woods on Paddock Lane, where we have lived ever since.

We were first drawn to Reston by its trees, lakes, and beautiful natural resources.  As we learned more about Reston’s emphasis on environmental stewardship, racial and economic diversity, the arts, and recreational amenities, we knew we had found our home.  We are thankful that Bob Simon was such a visionary, and that he worked so hard to establish Reston’s core values.   After nearly forty years, my family and I understand that Reston’s ideals are not mere words, but our daily experience.

For more information on my background, visit https://www.tim4reston.com/.

What inspired you to run for the board?

It is vital to promote democracy at every level.  Apathy kills democracy.  I’m concerned so few Restonians vote in our Board elections, and I’m especially worried that candidates sometimes run unopposed.  With so many people still struggling with the pandemic and economic hardship, I decided to run this year to ensure Restonians have a clear choice.  I commend all the other candidates for their willingness to serve.

I also was inspired to run by a sense of gratitude to those who served before me. They provided my family with this wonderful community.  Although I don’t agree with every Board decision, I greatly respect the current Board Members’ commitment to Reston, their exceptional abilities, and their thoughtfulness.  I’d like to pay Reston back by offering my time, talents, and expertise.

Over the years, I’ve been impressed during my interactions with the volunteers on RA committees, as well as with RA staff.  I want to serve on the Board to support their work and provide ideas on how they can improve Reston even more.

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

First, the biggest issue facing Reston is harmful growth.  We must preserve our existing open space, including our two golf courses.  Dysfunctional growth imposes unfair burdens on our crowded schools and roads, and undermines our core values of environmental stewardship and aesthetic harmony.  I support “Smart Growth” where appropriate, but sacrificing our open space on the altar of increased revenue would be decidedly unsmart.  The RA Board also must ensure that the county’s revisions to its zoning (zMOD) does not increase our density or threaten our core values.

Second, our pools, tennis courts, and other amenities are aging.  Every dollar of our $718 assessment must be spent wisely and efficiently so we have the funds necessary to maintain our recreational resources and other common property

Third, we must increase the trust of our RA membership.  We should improve communication and transparency.  RA’s Information Technology must fully protect our sensitive data and RA financial transactions.  We need a Code of Ethics for RA that prohibits financial conflicts, improper gifts, and other misconduct.  We should be more creative in responding to new concerns, such as solar panels and EV charging stations to address the threat of climate change.

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

I’m a strong believer in Servant Leadership.  I want to serve on the Board to preserve what makes Reston so special.  My primary goal is to provide the next generation with the vibrant, diverse, and healthy community we all cherish.

I’d like to build on the work RA already has done to increase transparency and accountability through social media, and to give our CEO the resources needed to improve our quality of life.  I will make myself available to everyone to listen to their concerns and work to address them.

My top priorities will be:

  • Preserving our open space, including our two golf courses;
  • Ensuring that the county’s revision of its zoning does not increase our density or undermine our core values;
  • Addressing our aging infrastructure, and eliminating waste to ensure the efficient use of RA assessments;
  • Promoting measures to address the threat of climate change, such as solar panels, vehicle charging stations, and updating RA’s vehicle fleet;
  • Improving RA’s Information Technology to achieve full protection of sensitive data and financial transactions;
  • and Establishing an enforceable Code of Ethics for RA that prohibits financial conflicts, improper gifts, and other misconduct.

How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

I’m an attorney with extensive experience relevant to the work of the Board.  For ten years, I served as Chief Counsel of a public interest law firm that defended local communities in challenges to their land use laws.  I worked closely with groups like the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, and the American Planning Association.  I’ve written books and articles on how to defend community protections.  I co-taught a class at Georgetown on how local communities can advance their values, consistent with the Constitution.  I was a Judicial Officer at U.S. EPA, and a policy advisor at the Justice Department’s Environment Division.  My expertise and experience will serve Reston well as it seeks to protect its core values.

For ten years, I was a supervisor in the office charged with ensuring that FBI personnel meet the highest standards of ethics and integrity.  I know the importance of transparency and avoiding of conflicts of interest.

My recent volunteer work includes teaching a weekly class at Reston Library to help immigrants pass their citizenship exam.  My students’ commitment to Reston and our country is so inspiring.  They taught me anew the vitality of Reston’s founding principle of diversity.

Photo via Reston Association

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