On June 19, Colombia elected Gustavo Petro as its new president and Francia Marquez as its vice president in an unprecedented victory: for the first time, after more than 200 years of right-wing governments, Colombia has the opportunity to be governed by a progressive movement with a historical vote of 11.3 million voters and a voter turnout of of 58.09 percent.
As we reflect on the last two years and the path forward, we are so grateful for the community of Falls Church, the collaboration and support, and the resilience of the schools, teachers and staff. The last opportunity we had to share about the Falls Church Education Foundation (FCEF) and our mission in the Falls Church News Press, in spring 2020, we wrote about missing out on many City of Falls Church festivities due to this “new” thing called Covid.
The first celebration of Earth Day, two generations ago on April 22, 1970, was a global mobilization to demand environmental protections for the planet’s air, soils, waters, and threatened species.
Falls Church’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) has for many years been responsible for working with City Council, City staff, the business community, the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce and many of our Boards and Commissions to maximize responsible economic development in the city. The most significant goal has been to greatly increase the commercial proportion of the tax base. The City Council, the EDA, and other boards have worked together over the last decade to make great progress in this endeavor.
The City of Falls Church grew impressively in recent years. Consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan, almost all that growth is concentrated along the major commercial corridors of Broad and Washington Streets. It’s resulted in significant economic returns, promoted business growth, and breathed life and vitality into a slumping city.
Can selling cookies help girls make the world a better place? As a new Troop Leader in the Nation’s Capital Girl Scout Council, I already understand how it can. Cookie business season is one of the most anticipated times of the year. The Cookie Program is the world’s largest girl-lead entrepreneurial program with teaching skills including goal setting, money management, people skills, decision-making, and business ethics. In addition, the girls earn individual rewards, and vote on how they want to use their earnings. Last year, our Troop earned enough for a trip to horse stables for rides (the Cookie Season mascot in 2021 also happened to be Hope the Horse) and donated a portion of the proceeds to a local animal shelter where they received a virtual tour (due to Covid precautions) of the facility and animals.
It’s a new year, and business is moving forward. We have been forced to adapt, innovate and grow as of late, learning a great deal about ourselves and our businesses. We can be thankful for resilience and a strong community that supports the business community, which together makes Falls Church the best Little City. This is how we are moving forward, set on a course for a great year in business.
In the second “winter of our discontent,” the Falls Church City Public Schools has great news to share. This year’s budget looks really good. For those of you who were in The Little City two years ago, you will remember I proposed “the best budget I’ve had a chance to build” since my arrival in the Spring of 2017.
“Leave it better than you found it.” That was my answer when I had the opportunity to join a Boy Scouts’ meeting a few weeks ago and they asked what good citizenship means to me. Helping kids understand local government and the outsized role it has on our daily lives — and more importantly, our collective responsibility to make the good happen -— has been one of the most rewarding parts of this job. As your new Vice Mayor, I am honored to continue to serve and do my part in “leaving it better.”
Having served as a teacher in the Falls Church City Public Schools for fourteen years, and having lived in the city for five, I know how much our community values service and collective action. Our nickname, “The Little City,” highlights the value we place on community and on maintaining a small town feel with global amenities and perspective.