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Candidate Statements For F.C. City Council Special Election

Debbie Hiscott

I’m Debbie Hiscott and I’m asking for your vote for Falls Church City Council.

For more than two decades, I have been fortunate to call the Little City home. When I first moved to Falls Church City, I worked in business development and corporate finance for MCI/Verizon. Since that time, I have raised a family here while finding a variety of ways to tap into my business background to give back to and continue to improve this unique community.

This has included thousands of volunteer hours and, for the past eight years, serving as Executive Director of the Falls Church Education Foundation (FCEF), a non-profit organization focused on supporting Falls Church City Public Schools in the areas of equity of access, teacher training and innovation. My personal and professional lives are completely intertwined with the City of Falls Church. I approach my work and volunteer engagements with the belief that progress must be grounded in team building and compromise. Through these experiences, I have engaged with our school administration, business owners, policymakers, and a wide spectrum of the community to explore different interests and viewpoints to find common ground.

I have worked extensively with these leaders to support programs and grants that benefit both our public school system and the surrounding community. This experience has enabled me to become knowledgeable in the diverse needs of local homeowners, businesses, and residents of all ages while becoming adept at using collaboration to ensure all interests feel heard and progress is made.

These are challenging times. As we look to the future, Falls Church City needs experienced leaders who understand how to bring diverse opinions to the table to craft a shared vision for moving forward. Given the complexities of today’s difficult and urgent issues, including health concerns, racial disparities, and economic pressures, it is critically important that we elect someone able to immediately get to work on November 4th. There is no time for an extended learning curve. In leading the city forward, I will prioritize community safety and wellness, equity and accessibility, environmental well-being, strong city services and schools, and smart growth development – all balanced against the current fiscal realities.

As a member of the Falls Church City Council, I will tap into the skills, insights, and relationships I have gained through living and working here for the past 24 years to ensure we rise to the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities ahead while retaining the elements that make Falls Church City a special place we are all proud to call home. This must include reviewing our current programs and policies with an equity lens and doing all we can to foster an inclusive community that celebrates diversity, promotes a healthy environment, and ensures everyone has a voice.

Vote for me, Debbie Hiscott, on November 3rd (or before) and you will gain the benefit of an experienced, engaged, and committed addition to our City Council. For more information, please go to my website at www.debbiehiscott.org.

Simone Pass Tucker

I’m running for city council to help shape Falls Church into an affordable, cleaner and greener city filled with thriving local businesses. Anything is possible when we work together to make Falls Church better for all.

Affordable Living means working with developers, and standing up to them when necessary, to transform Falls Church into a “15 minute city” where we can all safely walk to the things we need, where traffic flows smoothly and parking isn’t your biggest daily hassle.

Clean Energy means new building standards to make Falls Church a national leader in sustainable living, while finding creative solutions to our storm water problems, such as green roofing and [semi]permeable walking surfaces.

Protecting Local Business means shaping development to favor the small, unique, locally-owned businesses we all love. It means centering small businesses in our development negotiations. In light of the hardships of the Covid-19 pandemic, the city needs to launch a small business concierge service to help our small businesses access unused federal funds.

My values of inclusivity and small-town strength have been shaped by years of political activism and a deep love for my hometown of Falls Church. After attending college, I decided to move back to Falls Church with a mission to make the Little City a warm and welcoming place for people of all backgrounds, identities, ethnicities, and income levels.

As an activist, community advocate, and seasoned campaign volunteer, I know how to fight for the values Falls Church residents hold dear. I am driven by the belief that each of our voices matter when it comes to creating the Falls Church we want to see today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.

While we can’t avoid development, it also doesn’t necessarily equate progress. True progress requires the input of all Falls Church residents and consideration for the environment. I know that we can make Falls Church more eco-friendly, more compassionate, more equitable, more just, and more livable — for everyone. We have the power together to change for the better.

I have fought for reproductive rights, Middle East peace, environmental justice, and progressive values. Now, it’s time to fight for Falls Church — and for you.

I want to bring a fresh perspective to the City Council. As a young, Jewish member of the LGBTQ+ community, I know what it feels like to be unrepresented. More than just a new point of view, I hope to be a voice for those in Falls Church who don’t yet have a seat at the table.

Together, I know we can work toward paving the way for what small cities should be like.

Joshua Sharif Shokoor

My Falls Church story is not so different than most who grow up here. I attended Mt. Daniel, Thomas Jefferson (TJ) Elementary, and George Mason Middle and High School. I participated in the Memorial Day Fun Runs, went to daycare and Summer Fun at TJ, coached basketball at the community center, and played baseball for Falls Church Kiwanis Little League. I understand how fortunate I was to live in this town. The people, environment, and the opportunities which make Falls Church great — unique citizen engagement and a wealth of public resources — directly influenced the pursuit of my Master’s in Public Policy and inspired my civic work. But as a second generation American, from a lower income background, raised by a single mother, I also know that others who share a similar story as me, often do not have access to the same opportunities I was provided.

By most measurements, Falls Church is still a segregated community, lacking economic and racial diversity. This is partially a result of decisions made in Falls Church City’s past to deliberately maintain practices of segregation. But the lack of diversity we observe today is due to unchecked economic barriers preventing entry to minorities and lower income households through current housing policies. I am running for City Council because I know we can do better, and I believe it is our civic duty to contribute to the change we want to see in our community. I have spent the last several years focusing my work on policy issues surrounding racial equity, accessibility, and affordability, both nationally and here in Falls Church. My local work began as an intern for the City’s Department of Housing and Human Services, and continues on as an author of the “Affordable Living Policy,” and a veteran of the Housing Commission.

Prior to the “Affordable Living Policy,” all affordable dwelling units (ADUs) in the City had covenants attached to them, allowing the units to expire, and become market rate after 15-20 years. The consequences of this policy will lead to the City losing almost all of its affordable housing stock. I pushed for a policy change, and contributed to writing the policy document, guaranteeing that in every new development, future ADUs will remain affordable in perpetuity or for the life of the building. Because of this accomplishment, Falls Church will never lose any future affordable housing. This was a great achievement, and I was proud to be a part of a substantial improvement to the social fabric of my community. But other children of this City are not as lucky as me. As it stands, Falls Church has become so exclusive that many who grow up here will never be able to invest in the place that has invested so heavily in them.

Falls Church is my home. I’ve lived here my entire life. On City Council, I will speak for all Falls Church families. I will ensure we rise to the expectations we set for ourselves. Together, we will turn words into action and promises into policy!