Below are Libby’s full remarks from the Jan 6 Arlington Democrats monthly meeting.
“Democrats believe that we’re greater together than we are on our own—that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.” Democrats don’t just hold the value of equality. We actively work to bring about a community, a nation, and a world, where everyone has the same chance for a good life. This is why I am a lifelong Democrat. This is why we work so hard, every year, to put good people with good values in office. And I know we all live our values in other ways as well…. from collecting food for AFAC, to tutoring children, to cleaning up streambeds, and much more.
Like pretty much everyone here, I have always tried to make government a force for a better world. Like so many of my generation, I demonstrated against wars pursued by Republican Presidents from Nixon to Bush. I taught with the Peace Corps in Africa for 2 ½ years. I’ve marched for the Equal Rights Amendment and helped put in place equal rights policies. And I’m here tonight to ask for your support for a second full term as a Democrat on the County Board.
Many of you know I was on the SB for 15 years. Thank you to those here who have helped me get elected and serve over those years. But some of you may not know that we did not always have the right to elect our school board. The State took away this right after Arlington dared to desegregate its schools during the time of massive resistance to desegregation. It was not until the early 90’s we got that right back. I was one of many collecting signatures so we could again elect our school board. Many of us parents at the time felt the appointed school board was not paying attention to what we cared about: equal and high quality education across the County. The voters agreed and when we parents worked hard to elect Mary Hynes to the school board, she won. It was, for Arlington, a big upset. We defeated the sitting appointed chair of the School Board.
That was a sea change for Arlington and it felt risky to run next. When no one else would run to join Mary on the School Board, I did. I lost, but people asked me to run again. I did and I won.
During my time on the school board, we started looking at the needs of every community and we built the first new school since the 60’s (Carlin Springs ES). We closed the achievement gap by about 50%. I’m proud of my 15 years on the school board and how they reflect our Democratic values. We worked to see that our schools perform well for all our students, not just some. We established anti bullying programs and supports for LGBT students. We supported our immigrant students and our Dreamers. Our schools have succeeded, in part, because we give every student a fair shot at success.
When I first joined the School Board in 1996, families tended to move to Fairfax as their children grew older. They wanted Fairfax schools and a house and yard. Now, families stay or even move here for our schools. This success, of course, brings its own problems and now we need much more school space, but this is a good problem to have.
In my time on the County Board, I have built on the experience and skills I gained on the School Board. My first few months on the CB, I successfully lobbied my colleagues to add more funding for the CSB, the Community Services Board, which supports our mental health, disability, and child and family service programs. The CSB helps our most vulnerable and their programs deserved more support. I am proud that this past year we approved the year-round Homeless Service Center and the Affordable Housing Master Plan. I have always focused my work as an elected official: to improve our government services so they work well for everyone; to find better ways for all Arlingtonians to participate in local government; and to ensure that people of all ages and interests, and from all income levels can thrive here. And I always will.
Making the world a better place where everyone has a chance to realize their potential has been my life’s work. I am sure most of you here can say the same. But as we see all too clearly with the Republican presidential field, this work is especially under attack today. We need strong leaders who have the experience and connections needed to protect and fight for our Democratic values. This is the kind of leadership I have brought to Arlington for almost 20 years. We in Arlington know that this nation succeeds, this County succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.” This is what the Democratic Party stands for. This is what I stand for.
I ask for your support and your vote in this June’s primary. I thank you for your support in the past and I look forward to working with everyone here to elect Democrats locally, statewide, and nationally in 2016. Thank you.