Remarks Delivered by Gary Aiken
September 29, 2019
Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Alexandria/Falls Church, VA
My name is Gary Aiken. I’m a Candidate for Mason District Supervisor. The election is on November 5.
I’m honored and humbled to join you all today in your house of worship. In this historic church, to pray with you to our Almighty God.
Before I begin, I must give thanks to God for Reverend Johnson. You have a good man and a good Shepherd here. He met with me. He talked to me honestly and openly and we listened to each other. I learned something about him and you that day. He is a Pastor and you are a church that gets things done. Your ministries feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, teach those who yearn for knowledge, give comfort to the sick. When banks failed you, you started your own credit union. This is Reverend, a church, and a community that gets things done.
My wife, Brooke, and I raise our two boys Emmett and Tyler here in Mason District. We moved to our home because it was walking distance to the Jewish Community Center and our synagogue, Olam Tikvah. The Jewish Community Center was hit in 2017 with swastikas and antisemitic graffiti. In June 2018, the Bethlehem Lutheran Church was ransacked. A man broke the stained glass windows, tore up the pews, turned over the alter and wrote the vilest racial epithets on the walls – because their pastor was African American. When the JCC was attacked a second time in October, I decided I could not stand idly by.
I decided I needed to do something. The thing I decided to do was run for office.
You see, like you, I want to get things done.
On July 13, I was canvassing in Sleepy Hollow. I was looking for votes. I found two blocks of houses destroyed by the surging streams from that terrible storm five days earlier. I told them who I was and they asked if I was from the County. I said, no, I’m only running for office. They said, well, you’re the first person who’s come down here. I gave them my cell phone number for access. Then I went to work for them. I found them resources at the County. I kept them informed about FEMA and disaster relief. I returned to see how they were getting along. I found out that the County hadn’t done anything in 20 years and that they had a similar event only a few years earlier. One of the residents remarked that they were lucky no one was killed.
I wasn’t their Supervisor. I wasn’t a government official. Yes, I wanted to earn their vote and their trust. I only know one way to earn trust: to get something done.
The local level is where we can accomplish things for our community. I know I can get it done, because I’ve got a track record. I want to revitalize Annandale, Bailey’s Crossroads, Seven Corners, and Lincolnia. I was involved in reviving the Hecht Warehouse, Seventh Street, and the Waterfront in DC. I want to ensure that we have physical and environmental safety. I secured lights across the campus at the University of Maryland College Park that lit dark areas where women felt unsafe walking at night. I want to control the county’s spending, because the most consistent threat to affordability for seniors and renters is rising taxes. I’ve built businesses and managed money and risk for 18 years.
I don’t know how many of you have my cell phone number, but here it is: 703 829 7879. I’ll give you my business card, it’s got my email and my cell phone on it. You want access? Call me directly. Life’s too short to play phone tag and there’s too much to do. Let’s get it done.
I know there are incredibly successful people in this church today. You know nothing worthwhile is easy. You also know that management is decision making with limited information. You know that you have to take calculated risks. I want to do good for our community. I want to work with Reverend Johnson, with you, to shake the stagnation and decline from Mason District and bring positive change that will benefit our community. I need your help and your support. I will earn your trust. Supporting me is a risk worth taking. Let’s get it done.