‘A Model’: Despite Political Differences, Arlington Board Remains Harmonious

Steve Burns
WMAL.com

ARLINGTON – (WMAL) By most accounts, things are going smoothly at the five-member Arlington County Board.

“I would say this board is really clicking. I think we’re all getting along with each other pretty well,” Board member John Vistadt, an independent, told WMAL. “We all, I think, complement each other even though we have a diverse set of backgrounds, some diverse opinions.”

The news of a recent endorsement Vihstadt received in his re-election campaign may be a sign of that harmony: Democrat Libby Garvey’s.

“He’s a man of his word. He’s somebody you can trust,” Garvey told WMAL. “He works hard at making the county a better place for everyone.”

Garvey said she and Vihstadt have known each other around 40 years, going back to their time working together in parent-teacher associations. But in his time on the board, Garvey said Vihstadt’s different perspectives are welcome and useful.

“He’s got a great, insightful perspective on issues, he brings a different look at things, which is helpful,” she said. “He brings people to the table that might not always be there, and I think Arlington’s a better place with John on the board.”

Vihstadt said he relishes his role in providing “balance” to the board.

“We now have true debate and open discussion, whereas the old board, it was pretty much a lockstep unanimity most of the time,” he said.

While both said partisanship is minimized thanks to the on-the-ground nature of local politics – “There’s not a Democrat or Republican way to fill potholes,” Garvey said – other, more gridlocked political bodies may be able to look in Arlington’s direction.

“I think it’s a healthy thing. I actually think we could be a model for the country,” Garvey said. “Let’s just get the best people elected who do the work that needs to get done.”

Copyright 2018 by WMAL.com. All Rights Reserved. (PHOTO: John Vihstadt/youtube)

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