Local Commentary

Guest Commentary: Coming Together to Uplift F.C. City is Focus After Election

By Debbie Hiscott

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Falls Church City for electing me as your newest city council member. I can’t wait to get started.

It takes a village. As a mom of three, I know no truer words were ever spoken. One of the greatest things about living in the City of Falls Church is our village. Whatever happens, we look out for each other and we show up for each other. As a city council member, I look forward to showing up for each and every one of you. And I offer my profound thanks to all of those who showed up for me.

Thank you to everyone who offered financial, emotional, and operational support. Major thanks to my family, friends and neighbors, and all those who endorsed me, including Marybeth Connelly, Jody Acosta, Phil Duncan, Marcus Simon, Tom Clinton, and the Falls Church News Press. Thank you for hosting porch parties, helping with mailings, attending forums, passing out door hangers, wearing my T-shirts, posting yard signs, and taking to social media to get out the vote. This effort truly took a village and I could not be more grateful.

Special thanks to the State Theater and Kim Deering for hosting a terrific watch party Tuesday night. And to Joshua Sharif Shokoor and Simone Pass Tucker for joining me in this campaign. A contested election is good for our community and our democracy. At a time when our country has never been more divided, I am confident that our community will continue to come together. I look forward to working with Josh and Simone to address our shared priorities.

I also look forward to working with the other city council members, city staff, boards and commissions, and, of course, our schools, teachers, and administrators. I am ready for the task ahead. And, whether you voted for me or not, you are part of my village. We are all in this together.

When I am sworn in on Monday, I will immediately get to work on the actions I highlighted throughout my campaign. With the annual joint budget session of the city council and school board coming up November 16, I am set to tackle our FY22 budget. This includes ensuring that we keep our schools and businesses strong. After decades of participating in the city’s budgeting process from the citizen side, I am eager to lead this process. But I’m also counting on my fellow FCC residents to stay engaged and ensure we all put in the work needed to meet all of our community’s needs.

As the parent of a George Mason High School student — and two GMHS alumni — as well as a long-time volunteer for our schools, I am excited to see our hard work come to fruition as we open the new building in early 2021, giving our excellent teachers and students new opportunities for exemplary exploration, learning, growth, and fun.

The potential offered by the new high school extends to the commercial development happening on the site of the former school property and the possibilities it brings to further enhance our community. Here, too, I encourage everyone to show up and be part of the process as we work to balance new development with the interests of all our residents and put a premium on strengthening our quality of life with smart business and growth decisions.

In addition to focusing on the physical changes on our horizon, I am committed to pushing for social changes. As the racial justice re-awakening continues throughout the country, we have made progress with criminal justice and police reform, but there is still quite a bit we can do to ensure Falls Church City is a place everyone is proud to call home. As I work with the other city council members to set our priorities for the year ahead, I will do so with an eye toward ensuring equal opportunity for housing, education, health care, and employment. For starters, I will push to make stemming the affordable housing crisis in the city central to our work ahead.

We must also take action to keep our city livable by protecting our environment. This includes balancing smart development with open spaces that promote clean air and give us a place to enjoy nature. As the master planning process for the Fellows Property gets underway this week, this is an excellent opportunity for city leaders and the community to come together and determine how best to leverage this asset.

Friends, we have a lot of work ahead. But I am excited for this opportunity. As we face tremendous uncertainty in our nation, it will take a village to see us through this crisis. Here in Falls Church City, I am certain we will rise to this occasion together.