From the Town of Occoquan to Yates Ford, the Occoquan District is one of the most dynamic and diverse communities in Prince William County. Our district is a vibrant mix of history and progress, with roots in Native American tribes and Freedmen entrepreneurs while also home to people from all walks of life and from all parts of the world.
The Occoquan District is the gateway to Prince William County and our community, but our current county elected leaders are not showing true leadership. We have some of the oldest schools in Northern Virginia, with the highest classroom sizes and lowest teacher pay. We sport the highest traffic congestion in the nation; and we do not have nearly enough high-paying jobs or county services to support our growing population.
We deserve better.
In my candidacy for Occoquan supervisor, I want to give a voice to the segments of our community which haven't been properly represented. That's why I want to focus on four key issues: school funding, traffic congestion (especially on Old Bridge Road), job growth and county services. Getting these four issues right will mean uplifting every single person in our community, regardless of their race, income level, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.
These issues are related to one another. Investing in our schools will provide equitable outcomes for our students at the same time as providing a highly educated workforce. A highly-educated workforce spurs economic development and more jobs. More jobs means less traffic traveling out of the county every day and less need for low-income assistance. Better services ensure we uplift our most vulnerable friends and neighbors, ensuring a healthy community to live, work and play in.
These issues are also highly personal to me.
I grew up in a low-income family in an area where gang violence was prevalent and opportunities were limited. Despite that start, I was blessed with mentors who showed me a world outside of the one I was from, and I eventually graduated from Georgetown. I now have a job that grants me mobility that I never knew as a child. An education with the right mentors provided that opportunity.
Despite the opportunities I was given, I was not able to save my mother from passing on two years ago to chronic homelessness and substance abuse. I can, however, use my life experience to make sure no one else is left behind like my mother was.
As a descendant of Virginian slaves, I have ties to Prince William County that has made it both my home of choice and a place where I have historical roots. That's why I will fight to ensure every single resident has what they need to build a brighter future.
The writer is a Democratic candidate for the Prince William Board of Supervisors in the Occoquan District.