PREFACE: Mr. Williams declined a second, current interview. ACTivist
As the election season heats up and candidates stake out their positions , it is important to hear directly from the candidates themselves on those issues they deem important for 2011 and beyond.
Q: Why did you decide to run?
A: First, thanks for the chance to go on record. Let me tell you three reasons I am running: Aria, Marcus and Reagan, my three children. As many know, I have not been deeply involved in politics before. However, I have been concerned with the debt, both nationally and locally, and if we don’t change something soon there will be consequences. We have about $1.3b worth of debt as a County and of our $1.6b annual budget 18% of that budget goes to pay the debt service. This trend needs to stop as it will increasingly restrict our ability to pay for core government services. I think I represent a large portion of the Broad Run District when I say I’ve also been concerned with the rising property tax burden. These tax rates, along with the down economy, are financially stifling families throughout the county and the district. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize, but instead I decided to put my political convictions in practice and run for Supervisor. My chief motivation for running is to have the chance to take a more critical look at the budget and be a responsive advocate for the taxpayers of Broad Run.
Q: I know you said you have not been too involved in politics, but tell me about some of your experience.
A: My time in the military was probably my most formative experience; it gave me the discipline and the drive to be successful in my future endeavors. I was proud to serve active duty Marine Corps for four years, as well as additional years in the reserves. I enjoyed the fact that I was serving others and would be proud to once again serve the public on the Board.
I feel that I’ll bring a sensible perspective and fresh look at the county budget. Currently I work as the Federal Counsel for Sprint in Reston, dealing mainly with government contracts negotiation. In this role I am quite often mediating issues that require compromise and diplomacy. I am skilled at finding the middle ground and arriving at solutions that are mutually agreeable for both parties, while also being careful to work within or obtain specific financial objectives. I believe I can leverage this type experience when it comes to issues like school system’s current land acquisition process. It is both costly and cumbersome and those tax payer dollars could be better utilized in other areas such as funding quality education and quality teachers.
For the last year and a half I have had the opportunity to serve as the Secretary on the Southern Walk HOA. I have enjoyed the opportunity to work for and with my neighbors on what is a long term, exclusive contract with OpenBand (OB). I have been active in these duties by meeting with fellow Board members and engaging in constant communications. The fight has been a difficult one and is ongoing. Although this volunteer position has been a challenge, I have had the opportunity to work with passionate, smart people. I think collectively we have made strides in pressuring OB to improve their service. This however, is not good enough and there is much work to do. The exclusive nature and term of this contract needs to be significantly modified or the contract overturned altogether.
Q: What are some of your other campaign priorities?
A: Like many of my neighbors in Broad Run, I spend far too much time sitting in traffic every day. As an Ashburn commuter, I am fed up with spending more time in my car than with my kids. For most of us who live in Ashburn there are only two ways to get to or from Rt. 28, and one of them costs more than $5 each way! There is an initiative to introduce distance pricing to the Greenway which would prorate fares. I am a strong advocate of this idea and will do whatever possible to make it happen.
If you want a frustrating exercise, take a look at Google Maps and see how many key road links need just another mile or two to be completed. The completions of Gloucester, Claiborne, and Loudoun County Parkways need to be done now. Traffic congestion not a theoretical discussion, this is something that hurts the quality of life in Broad Run. We need fresh and energized leadership to get some of these key infrastructure links completed.
I believe the Metro expansion will ease the congestion problem, but its completion is years away. Furthermore, while the Metro will be very beneficial it needs to be completed in a fiscally responsible manner. The recent MWAA decision to build the underground station was infuriating; it’s just another example of unresponsive government bureaucrats having no regard for the taxpayers and Dulles Toll Road users. Additionally, the tunnel could take up to a year longer to complete and we need this infrastructure as soon as possible.
I’m also very interested in economic development. I want to be an advocate to bring more business to the Route 28 corridor so we can have our offices and jobs closer to home. If we can increase the number of Loudoun residents who both live and work within the county, we will see less traffic congestion, less pollution and the commercial tax base will be increased. The more we increase the commercial tax base, the lower the property tax burden on homeowners.
One of the ways I see this happening is by making it easier for businesses to open up shop in Loudoun. We need to review the permitting procedures to ensure there is no unnecessary regulation. One huge example of unnecessary regulation is the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance (CBPO). This ordinance would have negative and costly effects on everyone, from the agribusinesses of west like wineries to a family in Ashburn Village that wants to build a swing set. As a parent of young children, I am all for commonsense environmental regulation, but it needs to have sound reasoning and science behind it. If the CBPO passes, I vote to repeal if elected.
Q: How has your experience as a candidate been so far?
A: So far my experience has been positive. I have really enjoyed calling around the new district and introducing myself and I believe those I have spoken with are ready for a change. I think I bring a business acumen that the current board is lacking. While I may not be the most experienced candidate, I guarantee I am the most dedicated and when I discuss my core values and beliefs with voters it’s resonating. From my experience, people want lower taxes and a government that listens, understands and works for them. People are tired of finger pointing and petty politics and just want to see results. I am committed to rolling up my sleeves and putting in the work to get those results.
Right now we’re gearing up for my kickoff event which will be held on May 6th. For anyone who is interested in getting to know me in person, this is a great opportunity and I encourage them to attend. Or, feel free to shoot me an email or give me a call, I want to be as accessible as possible.
I know this campaign is going to be challenging and I am committed to working hard enough to win. I plan to knock as many doors as possible in the district to personally share my message with voters, as well as listen to their concerns. It’s a marathon, but I believe if I take my message directly to the voters they will propel me to a win in November.
Thanks again for having me on and I look forward to keeping you updated as the campaign progresses.
(For more information about Williams’ campaign visit www.williamsforsupervisor.com)