I have served on the Board of Supervisors, representing the Braddock District, since March 17, 2009. During that time, I have become a voice for community engagement, fiscal restraint, forward-looking policies, problem-solving, and responsive constituent services.
My first priority has always been our Braddock District neighborhoods. We have trained well over a hundred current and future community leaders through my neighborhood colleges. These colleges teach and inspire our leaders to galvanize their neighborhoods to pursue their vision for improvement. I regularly communicate with the presidents of civic and homeowners associations to keep them up to date on important information. Every year I hold a meeting with leaders of community pools, to share good news and bad, exchange best practices, and look for ways to improve service in the future. My office vigorously pursues reported zoning violations, including illegal boarding houses, parking violations, noise complaints, and illegal businesses. We work with communities to establish parking districts to maintain streets for residents’ use first, over students and commercial vehicles.
I believe strongly in community involvement in decision-making. Residents are kept informed through my monthly “Braddock Beacon” and regular “Cook Advisories.” Town Hall meetings solicit resident views on the County budget, schools, environmental issues, transportation projects, and more. I established a citizen land use committee to review and advise me on the citizen perspective for every development application filed in the district. Additional citizen committees oversaw design of Mason’s Campus Drive Connector Road and are reviewing plans for the widening of Braddock Road from Guinea to the Beltway. Citizen committees designed improvements to Burke Centre Parkway to allow pedestrian crossings at Terra Centre Elementary and at the Wakefield-Braddock-Danbury intersection.
On the Board I am a recognized voice for fiscal restraint and good governance and known for being able to work with my colleagues to accomplish difficult tasks. As Co-Chair of the Joint Supervisors-School Board Infrastructure Financing Committee, I drafted and passed a plan to add over $20 million per year to school renovation funds, without raising taxes, by giving schools priority at the year-end “carry-over” review. I served on a Board sub-committee that successfully drafted a new county employee compensation plan that is fiscally responsible and still encourages the best employees to join and remain with the county.
As Supervisor, I have also work diligently to serve some of our most vulnerable community members. I sit on the Domestic Violence Prevention Policy Coordinating Council and have been actively involved in raising awareness and supporting legislation that helps protect domestic violence victims and their families. Promoting a greater awareness of and understanding towards those who suffer with mental health issues has also been a steadfast effort of mine. In recognition of my efforts in this area, I was honored to be named Shelter House, Inc.’s Community Champion in 2014. Also in 2014 I was recognized by the Fairfax branch of the NAACP, receiving its President’s Award.
As students face greater competition and stress, as our neighbors return home from active duty service posts and as we learn, in general, just how many of our friends and family struggle with a variety mental health issues, it has become vitally important to engender greater acceptance and to seek more effective ways of treating those who suffer. I also continue to listen to the ID/DD community and address the needs of these families. In the fall of 2014, I hosted a IEP seminar. The program assisted parents with the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process and helped identify additional resources for their students here in our community.
This year, Chairman Bulova nominated me to chair the Operations Board of the VRE (Virginia Railway Express), which is a premier commuter rail operation. We are implementing a new 2040 System Plan that will expand service and maximize existing operations, all within fiscally-responsible parameters. I also serve as Chair of the Legislative Committee of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and as a member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission. Furthermore, I am vice-chair of the Board’s “50+” Committee which is implementing new initiatives to help our seniors find options to remain in their homes and take greater part in community affairs.
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