By Jay Falk, student representative to the Alexandria School Board, TC Williams Class of 2018
I knew she was exceptional when I got that first Facebook message asking me (a high school student) if I wanted to chat about how she could help with a activism project over coffee. I knew she was exceptional when I searched her campaign website and found a list of concrete priorities with schools right at the top. I knew she was exceptional when she told me about how she managed to make empowering women at Fruitcycle and Together We Bake a full time job. Elizabeth Bennett-Parker is an exceptional city council candidate. She has the astute and analytical mind, the service-minded values, and the young progressive passion we need serving on our council.
Serving in a local public office is hard. Meetings are long and boring - sometimes going into the wee hours of the morning to discuss city tree planting policy, or that one stop sign, or something equally as seemingly inconsequential. It takes a savvy city council member who does their research to cut through the dithering, read through the exhaustive reports, and get to the hard work of making decisions that will genuinely help Alexandrians. There is no question that Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, with a Cornell degree and Fulbright fellowship behind her, has the research chops and common sense smarts to get things done our council.
When Elizabeth Bennett-Parker talks, people (citizens and council members alike) listen. Whether she is weighing in with remarkable nuance about the challenge of implementing sustainable building practices, or reflecting on how we can work on innovative ways to improve community policing, she always speaks with thoughtful purpose and never speaks just to hear the sound of her own voice. Elizabeth has shown a clear life-long commitment to community service, from founding Fruitcycle, a small business dedicated to fighting food waste and helping those who struggle with food insecurity, to helping merge and run Together We Bake, a job training and development program that helps women in need. She has small-business budgeting experience and knows what it means to make hard decisions to meet a bottom line. Ultimately Elizabeth Bennett-Parker is in this city council race for the right reasons. She wants to help people. I will always vote for a candidate who truly considers the job to be public service and not politics.
I was first excited by Elizabeth Bennett-Parker for city council because as a young female professional she looks a lot like what I hope to be in 10 or so years. Forty percent of Alexandria's population is under 25 years old, and our median age is just 35 years old. Yet in an incredibly liberal, progressive city, a large majority of our city council is male, and few, if any, of our current council members could qualify as millenials. Elizabeth Bennett-Parker will help us break this trend. We need a city council that does not just fight for the future of Alexandria, but also represents that future, and brings a mindset of long-term investment, technological integration, and smart growth that is sorely needed in the citywide conversation.
It's time for a new young progressive voice on our city council. Vote Elizabeth Bennett-Parker on June 12 in the Democratic Primary.