by Shira E. and Louise K.
On May 13, 2021, Grassroots Alexandria partnered with Tenants and Workers United to host a City Council candidate forum. The COVID-safe event took place outdoors at the Tenants and Workers parking lot and was streamed online; the forum was simultaneously translated into Spanish. Thirteen out of fifteen candidates running for City Council attended: Canek Aguirre (D), Sarah Bagley (D), William E. Campbell (D), John Taylor Chapman (D), Alyia Gaskins (D), Kevin Harris (D), Florence King (I), James C. Lewis Jr. (D), Kirk McPike (D), Patrick Moran (D), Bill Rossello (D), Mark Shiffer (D), and Meronne Teklu (D). Early voting is currently underway for the June 8th primary. For a full rundown of the short answer and lightning round questions, please refer to this document.
Candidates were given the opportunity to make opening statements and answer four open-ended questions on the topics of healthcare, affordable housing, dismantling white supremacy, and reimagining public safety. An eight question lightning round followed, in which candidates answered yes or no using hand-held signs; candidates were asked to answer “no” if they could not answer affirmatively without reservations. Lightning round topics included affordable housing, access to preschool, school resource officers, mass transit, and waterway health. Candidates also made closing statements in which they highlighted their top legislative agenda item should they be elected to Council.
Our thanks go out to all who help organize and run this event. Thanks also to members of NAACP Alexandria and Racial Justice Alexandria for assistance with the questions.