By Carla Branch, Katie Smythe and Ellen Jones
alexandrianews.org

There is a General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Polls in Alexandria will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here are ways voters can prepare for Election Day.

Consider Absentee Voting
Don’t let a long commute, business trip, vacation, disability or illness put your right to vote at risk. Your absentee ballot will be counted after polls close on Election Day and included in the results reported that night.

The deadline to vote in-person absentee is Saturday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. There will be two absentee locations open in Alexandria on Saturday:

        Voter Registration Office (132 North Royal Street), from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
        Beatley Central Library (5005 Duke Street), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Find Your Polling Place
On Election Day, you must vote at your designated polling place, so please confirm its location before you go, at https://vote.virginia.gov. You may also call the Voter Registration Office at 703.746.4050 or view the City’s current precinct map.

Bring Your Valid Photo ID
Virginia voters must show photo identification when voting in person.  Examples of acceptable ID include a Virginia Driver’s License, U.S. Passport, Military ID, Employee photo-ID and Student photo-ID. You can review the complete list of acceptable identification at the Virginia Department of Elections web site.

Voters who do not have acceptable ID can get receive a free Voter Photo ID from Alexandria’s Voter Registration Office. The Office is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voters who do not bring a photo ID when voting may still vote a provisional ballot and have until noon on Monday, Nov. 12 to deliver a copy of their photo ID to the Voter Registration Office or appear in-person to apply for a free Voter Photo ID Card.

Don’t Be Late
If you are planning to vote late in the day or after work, please remember that you must be in line at your polling place by 7 p.m. or you won’t be able to vote. Traffic and parking around poll locations may be very busy especially during peak commute hours. If possible, avoid the lines and vote mid-day. If you are using public transportation, Metro’s Trip Planner provides itineraries for trips on Metrorail, Metrobus, and DASH systems including fare information and travel times.

View the Unofficial Results
After the polls close on Election Night, Alexandria election officials will begin posting unofficial results on the Virginia Department of Elections web site. These results will show the total number of votes cast for each candidate listed on the ballot. During the weeks following the election, state and local Electoral Boards will canvass the results and make them official.

On The Ballot

On Nov. 6, Alexandrians may vote for a United States Senator from Virginia; a member of the House of Representative form Virginia 8th Congressional District; Mayor; six members of City Council; and three members of the Alexandria City School Board.  Democratic Incumbent Senator Tim Kaine is running for a second term. He is being challenged by Republican Corey Stewart and Libertarian Matt Waters. Democratic Incumbent Congressman Don Beyer is running for a third term. He is being challenged by Republican Thomas Oh.

Election 2018: U.S. Senate and House Candidates

 

There are two Proposed Virginia State Constitutional Amendments

Question 1: Should a county, city, or town be authorized to provide a partial tax exemption for real property that is subject to recurrent flooding, if flooding resiliency improvements have been made on the property? 

Question 2: Shall the real property tax exemption for a primary residence that is currently provided to the surviving spouses of veterans who had a one hundred percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability be amended to allow the surviving spouse to move to a different primary residence and still claim the exemption?

Justin Wilson, Democratic nominee for mayor (courtesy photo)

Alexandria City Council

There are seven members of the Alexandria City Council, including the mayor. All are selected “At Large” and all current members are Democrats. In June, Vice Mayor Justin Wilson defeated Mayor Allison Silberberg in the Democratic Primary to become the Democratic nominee for mayor. Wilson is unopposed in the Nov. 6 General Election.

There are nine candidates for the six City Council seats: six Democrats; two Republicans; and one Independent. While there were a limited number of candidate forums this election season, the candidates were asked to complete a questionnaire from the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, which was published on Oct. 23.

Canek Aguirre – Democratic Council Candidate

  • Born and raised in Los Angeles
  • Son of Mexican immigrants
  • Community advocate appointed to the Virginia Board of Social Work by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
  • Chair of the City of Alexandria’s Economic Opportunities Commission
  • President of the Tenants and Workers United Board of Directors
  • Vice Chairman of the Health Systems Agency of Northern Virginia
  • On the Leadership Council for the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy and the Steering Committee for the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria

Platform:

  • Committed to increasing housing opportunities for all Alexandrians.
  • Every child deserves access to an excellent public school education. Alexandria must invest in the school infrastructure and address teacher retention.
  • Improve health outcomes for all Alexandrians. Shared responsibility to support efforts that eliminate health inequities that exist within our community.

Elizabeth Bennett-Parker – Democratic Council Candidate

  • Alexandria native
  • Leads Together We Bake, a nonprofit job training and personal development program for women in need
  • Founder of Fruitcycle, a business fighting food-insecurity: one in six Americans experience on a daily basis
  • Worked for the National Governors Association; served as governors' liaison to Congress, federal agencies, and the White House on issues related to transportation, economic development, and health
  • Appointed by the Alexandria City Council to serve on the Community Criminal Justice Board
  • Serves on the boards of Agenda:Alexandria, the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, and the Alexandria Regional Council for the United Way
  • Member of the Junior Friends of the Campagna Center, and the Alexandria Kiwanis Club. Graduate of Emerge Virginia and the Alexandria City Academy.
  • Fulbright Fellow, graduated from Cornell University, and received a Master's from the University of London

Platform:

  • Supports small businesses and expanding employment opportunities for Alexandrians
  • Environmental sustainability 
  • Increase school capacity, modernize facilities, and empower teachers with the resources they need 
  • Seniors, first responders, teachers, and all Alexandrians can access affordable housing

John Taylor Chapman – Democratic Incumbent Councilman

  • Fourth-generation Alexandria native
  • First elected to City Council 2012
  • Sits on the Alexandria Public School Board’s Budget Advisory Committee and the Alexandria City Public Schools’ Special Education Advisory Committee
  • Small-business owner founder of the Manumission Tour Company
  • Attended Saint Olaf College in Minnesota, obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education (2003)
  • In 2006, began and continues to work for the Fairfax County Public School System
  • Past President of the Alexandria Branch of the NAACP

Platform:

  • Expand access to Pre-K education and out of school education opportunities
  • Increase communication and collaboration between City Council and School Board to better the public schools.
  • Support partnerships with local leaders in higher education improve academic outcomes, promote college access and prepare students for the future workforce.
  • Explore public-private partnerships to address growing capacity and infrastructure needs so all children can learn in a safe, quality environment
  • One-stop shop for permitting, licensing and business tax payments
  • Invest in infrastructure such as municipal broadband, roads, and public transit
  • Develop economic activity centers in the West End
  • Ensure affordable housing options for current and future residents of all income levels
  • Support Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority efforts to increase the number of sustainable and affordable housing units
  • More public/private partnerships to increase long-term housing capacity
  • Establish an Economic Sustainability Task Force to evaluate city policies
  • Establish an Innovation District in the Eisenhower Valley and advance the Landmark Mall redevelopment
  • Strengthen Engage Alexandria to connect residents to opportunities.
  • Develop City Council Internship Program to engage young people

Michael Clinkscale – Republican Council Candidate

  • To see those in poverty gain the skills needed to succeed and is currently working on several projects to accomplish this
  • Former attorney and world traveler.
  • Received undergraduate degree from Youngstown University; J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School in New York City.

Platform:

  • Expand paid street parking while preserving residential parking at the rates suggested by the various homeowners' associations, or in lieu of this, the prevailing City determined fees
  • Pay police and fire officers on par with what surrounding communities pay their employees.
  • Eliminate housing vouchers, increase the affordability of housing to retired home owners by reducing the real & personal property tax rates and continue to with each increase in assessed value.
  • Reduce spending on poverty and related programs. The city currently spends $93 million on programs. Cuts should include: low-income housing & homelessness-related services.
  • Introduce charter schools in Alexandria: reduces class size in public schools and increases learning opportunities for all students, including low-income students.
  • Encourage the construction of parking facilities in or about the major arteries of the city. Should be privately held lots to encourage business opportunities in the city

Kevin Dunne – Republican Council Candidate

  • Making Alexandria friendlier to homeowners and businesses
  • Improve public engagement and open deliberation
  • Make technology improve city government
  • Build consensus around growth
  • Champion financial responsibility
  • Make Alexandria a trendsetter for innovation
  • Pragmatic over idealistic infrastructure development
  • Streamline permitting for new businesses
  • Consider incorporating local area plans into the City charter on three-year cycles
  • Restructure development to make it more conducive to growth and accountability
  • Improve small businesses representation
  • Establish a year-round public atrium space to boost tourism and community all-season
  • Maximize the appeal of our waterfront attractions
  • Improve public/regional engagement and deliberative processes
  • Convert city administration from being staff-led to staff-guided
  • Provide adequate support to maturing technologies that improve the efficiency of City government
  • Expand career opportunities for staff in the City’s IT department
  • Promote data exchange between care providers and law enforcement while respecting privacy concerns
  • Empower a new city manager in the role as Chief Innovation Officer to promote a culture of dynamic evolution in our bureaucracy

Amy Jackson – Democratic Council Candidate

  • Raised in Alexandria, attended ACPS
  • B.A. in Communication Studies at Virginia Tech
  • Former teacher
  • Activist, involved in The Alexandria Commission for Women, Commissioner; The Fund for Alexandria’s Child, Chair of the Advisory Council; Alexandria Human Trafficking Initiative, Chair; The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria, Committee Member; Senior Services of Alexandria, Board Member; Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (Mortar & Pestle Society), Board Member; The John Alexander Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Chapter Member; Alexandria Democratic Committee, Deputy Precinct Captain; Alexandria Human Rights Commission, Community Activist; Alexandria Landlord and Tenant Relations Board, Former Commissioner

Platform:

  • Affordable housing initiatives
  • Provide resources to meet children’s educational needs; funding for Pre-K programs and school infrastructure
  • Revitalization of Alexandria economy to grow, strengthen, and diminish the burden put on our taxpayers
  • Safe and inclusive community – sustain the resources needed for continued or initial implementation of social programs and safety initiatives
  • Increase pay and benefits for teachers and First Responders
  • Have dialogues concerning issuing body cameras, address heroin and opioid addiction, human trafficking concerns, gang prevention initiatives, pedestrian fatalities (VisionZero), and domestic violence and sexual assault cases

Del Pepper – Democratic Incumbent Councilwoman

  • Omaha, Nebraska, native
  • First elected City Council 1985
  • Chairs Alexandria’s Facilities Naming Committee; represents the Council on the Alexandria Commission on Aging.Co-chairs the Alexandria Works! Coalition and the Eco-City Alexandria Environmental Action Plan Steering Committee. Former President of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Corporation, represents the City Council on COG’s Air Quality Committee; serves as the Council’s representative on COG’s Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee; represents the Council on Northern Virginia Regional Commission

Platform:

  • Equal opportunity for everyone
  • Open, accessible government
  • Maintaining/expanding our supply of affordable housing
  • Supporting and expanding our public schools
  • Preserving, enhancing, and maintaining our open spaces
  • Promoting safe and clean neighborhoods
  • Expanding mass transit services
  • Economic development
  • Building pedestrian and bike friendly communities
  • Expanding recreation facilities
  • Continuing the Eco-City agenda
  • Preventing crashes/deaths through the Vision Zero initiative
  • Preserving/increasing programs for seniors and youth,

Mo Seifeldein – Democratic Council Candidate

  • Sudanese immigrant worked as a court-appointed lawyer for those who could not afford their own attorney
  • Community Criminal Justice Board appointee
  • Product of Virginia public schools

Platform:

  • Education, business growth, transportation
  • Inclusive city that supports its residents by facilitating responsible economic development and improving critical city service
  • Green development of the City and business growth
  • Opportunities to reduce congestion and promote environmentally-friendly policies
  • Education starts with robust preschool and afterschool programming
  • Community welfare through strong inclusive programs
  • Supports efforts to work with Virginia leaders to modernize the energy grid through investments in renewable energy

Mark Shiffer – Independent Council Candidate

  • Tech executive and former professor with over 20 years of software and management experience
  • Recently moved to Alexandria from Somerville, MA
  • Studied mathematics at Cornell University, computer science

Platform:

  • Traffic: short term solutions (such as turn restrictions with residential exemptions) and longer term solutions implemented that actually address and fix the problems that we as residents are facing
  • Affordable Housing: Not enough is being done about this problem and it is also getting worse. Focus more on long term solutions that actually make headway
  • Development – Overdevelopment is making traffic and affordable housing worse
  • ACPS is a good system but there is room for investment and improvement. It should be the best Virginia has to offer
  • Alexandria’s budget is three quarters of a billion dollars. Funded in part by high taxes on high property values the money needs to be used efficiently.  Spending a lot of money with little headway made in solving Alexandria’s problems.
  • Ensure every tax dollar spent by the city is done in a way that maximizes productivity while minimizing wasted effort and expense.
  • Development should reflect the existing character and desires of the current neighborhood and it should be a sustainable, positive driver for the City. New developments bring economic activity and associated revenue along with costs and new demands on city infrastructure.  Any new development should and must be economically healthy and sustainable for the City
  • Starting conditions is Universal Pre-K
  • There are already programs in the city serving the working poor such as The Child & Family Network Centers. These centers provide pre-K to at risk children with a rate of producing Kindergarten ready children of 93%.  Doing this for all of Alexandria’s children, it would have a great impact

Election 2018: Alexandria City Council Candidates

 

Alexandria Precinct Map

Alexandria City School Board 

There are nine members of the Alexandria City School Board. Three members are elected from each of three districts. Here is a map showing the boundaries of each district. School Board members are nonpartisan.

District A

William Campbell currently serves on the Alexandria City School board and is seeking re-election for a third term. He has served on a number of committees, including as the board liaison to the committee that established the ACPS Strategic Plan 2020.

Jacinta Greene. Born into a family of educators, Jacinta Greene is a product of the Virginia Public School System, a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, and is a passionate advocate who has served in the Alexandria community since moving to the area in 2002. The mission of Jacinta’s 4C campaign platform is to ensure a quality education for ALL children in Alexandria.

W. Christopher Harris is a fourth generation Alexandrian, graduate of T.C. Williams and father of three ACPS graduates. He is in his second three-year term on the Alexandria Human Rights Commission and was recently elected President of the Alexandria Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 2017 for a two-year term.

Michelle Rief is college professor, former education non-profit executive, and parent of three ACPS children. She has been active in the ACPS community for the past six years, as an officer of the Mount Vernon Community School PTA, an officer of the Alexandria PTA Council, a member of the Mount Vernon Playground Revitalization Committee, and has lobbied the city council and state legislature on education issues.

Marc Solomon grew up outside of Buffalo, NY, moved to the DC area in 2004 and in 2014 put down roots in the Parker-Gray neighborhood of Alexandria with his wife, two year-old son and hound dog. He is currently the president of the newly reformed Braddock Station Civic Association, the President of Hopkins House Helen Day Preschool Academy Parents Council and the Democratic Precinct Captain for the Durant Center.

Christopher Suarez is an Alexandria parent, former middle school teacher, and a fierce advocate for educational equity with over a decade of experience in the education sector. Chris is an education non-profit leader focused on school diversity and equitable access to educational opportunities, and a lawyer who represents special education and other disadvantaged students.

District B

Cindy Anderson, a T.C. Williams graduate, has been an active volunteer for the past 22 years in the Alexandria education community at all grade levels including Board President at Beverley Hills Church Preschool, PTA Council President, and more recently as Chairperson of the Board of the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria.  She is currently serving her first term on the Alexandria City School Board where she is in her second year as Vice-Chair.

Jewelyn Cosgrove is a working parent, a product of public schools, life-long advocate, and veteran policy professional. With decades of policy experience under her belt, she is dedicated to building a bright future for all of Alexandria’s children in a fully-funded, fully-operational and future-focused school system.

Margaret Lorber, a 38-year resident of Alexandria and parent of two T.C. Williams graduates, is currently completing her first term on the school board. She brings to the board a strong background in special education and nine years of experience working as the Bilingual (Spanish/English) Parent Liaison for ACPS.

Veronica Nolan has been involved in education for over 20 years and it’s been my privilege to utilize both my instructional and management experience to serve my community as a school board member. She has served in the classroom as a teacher and an adjunct professor, been a non-profit CEO, and has been a proud ACPS parent for the past ten years (ten more to go!).

Abigail Downs Wacek is an environmental consultant with a B.A. in history and environmental studies from Gettysburg College. She went to grade school and high school in Alexandria and has lived here since graduating. She believes that ACPS is capable of greatness if we more effectively invest in our students.

District C

Meagan Alderton is a special education consultant with 15 years of experience in the field of education. As a former Alexandria City Public School teacher who worked in three of the city’s schools, she is passionate about effectively using data (including behavior and discipline data) to fully inform strategies for improving academic and social-emotional outcomes for our most vulnerable student populations.

Ramee Gentry served as PTA president for Tucker Elementary, as well as Chair of both School Board advisory and superintendent advisory committees before serving on the Alexandria City School Board. Ramee now serves as the Chair of the School Board, and is the proud parent of two TC Williams students.

John Lennon is an experienced ACPS strategic planner, tutor, PTA/PTAC/PTSA officer, and member of advisory committees on Budget, Long-range Facilities Planning, and the Health Sciences Academy. His views on the importance of education in a diverse environment are shaped by a career as a writer and editor, manager of international journalists, and SES Executive.

Dianara Saget, daughter to Dominican immigrants and a Boston native, moved to Alexandria in the early nineties where she attended T.C. Williams High School. Today she is a dedicated mother to three children, a licensed insurance agent and parent advocate.

Heather Thornton, with a B.A. from University of Richmond and an M.A. from American University in International Politics, has some of the most globally diverse experiences in supporting education from developing community outreach curriculum at the University of Richmond, to teaching English in Mexico, to creating lesson plans in rural India. Her public school foundation combined with her professional service as a U.S. diplomat means Heather will work collaboratively with the other board members to get results for Alexandria City Public Schools.

Election 2018: Alexandria City School Board Candidates