Walter Alcorn, the Democratic candidate for Hunter Mill Supervisor, held an event over the weekend where Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Rep. Gerry Connolly also joined as the guests of honor. Kate Hanley, who served on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors from 1986 to 2003 (including eight years as chair) and as Secretary of the Commonwealth from 2006 to 2010, was also in attendance.
Since Hudgins, Hanley, and Connolly had all served on the Board of Supervisors, they were able to draw on their personal experience to highlight how local government officials are truly held accountable for the work they’re doing. As Rep. Connolly pointed out, for example, voters know whether or not the potholes are fixed.
To help illustrate how Walter has the experience necessary to be an effective supervisor, Gerry told the crowd a story about some of the first interactions he had with the soon to be board member. Back when Gerry was the president of the Mantua Civic Association, there was a huge petroleum leak from the Pickett Road Tank Farm. Residents were obviously worried about both the immediate and long term impact the situation would have on the community.
As the discussion moved forward, Connolly described how things moved from a handful of people attending civic association meetings every month to having to hold “weekly meetings” where “hundreds of people” would show up. Since Kate Hanley represented the neighborhood on the Board of Supervisors at the time, she had a staff member heavily involved with the discussions taking place and making sure her office did everything possible to help the community. That staffer was Walter Alcorn, who Gerry said was extremely helpful and engaged.
For his part, Walter said that his involvement with the leak was “something that brought into focus the importance of working together with the community” and making sure to listen to what residents are concerned about. This tied into his larger belief that having “good government” is an important part of ensuring the county government serves the community well.
“When I first started in Kate’s office as a 20 year old intern,” Alcorn said, “the whole purpose of service was to provide good government.” He went on to highlight how this “is not something we can take for granted” because that hasn’t always been the case here in Fairfax. Members of the planning commission and the Board of Supervisors were apparently arrested back in the 1960s, for instance, after abusing their powers to benefit themselves personally.
Walter mentioned a few other issues such as education and continuing to promote a welcoming community as issues he’ll work on once in office. He also mentioned how he realizes affordable housing “is a long term struggle” in Fairfax and we need “continue to push forward with opportunities, wherever and whenever we see the opportunity.” His service on the planning commission gives him the background and knowledge that could prove beneficial when it comes to addressing the affordable housing crisis.
He finished by drawing attention to the One Fairfax policy, which he believes is an important policy that will help ensure the county is making decisions that will be in the best interests of the entire community.
“It really should go without saying, but it had to be said and formulated into a policy, that every time we have a government decision, we have to think proactively about the impact that has on different communities,” Walter said. “That’s one way we can help avoid unintended consequences of our decisions.”
He went on to say “it’s another step towards really good government” and “taking everyone into consideration” even if their schedules don’t allow them to come out to community meetings or if they can’t find the childcare or transportation needed for them to attend. In other words, it’s not the evil conspiracy intended to “really change the entire structure of Fairfax County” as Republicans like Elizabeth Schultz want people to believe.
Based on conversations I’ve had with him and speeches I’ve heard him give, I strongly believe Walter Alcorn is going to serve the Hunter Mill community well on the Board of Supervisors. This event over the weekend was simply another reminder of that.