Editor’s Note — Tysons Reporter is running Q&As with the candidates running for the Dranesville and Providence District seats on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week. The stories have been lightly condensed and edited for clarity.
Featured here is Democrat Dalia Palchik, who is running against Republican Eric Jones for the Providence District seat.
Dalia Palchik currently serves as the Providence District Representative on the Fairfax County School Board. But next week, she’s hoping voters will choose her to represent the district on the Board of Supervisors.
Palchik grew up in the area after immigrating with her family to the United States at an early age from Argentina. She was elected to the school board in 2015 and currently chairs the Public Engagement Committee and is a liaison to the Planning Commission Schools Committee and the Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee.
Just days after current Providence District Supervisor Linda Smyth announced in December that she wouldn’t seek election, Palchik jumped into the race.
She won the Democratic nomination back in June, promising “progressive leadership” for the entire community.
Tysons Reporter sat down with Palchik at Caboose Commons to speak with her about her priorities if she is elected.
Tysons Reporter: What would you do to tackle affordable housing?
Dalia Palchik: This is key. To me, this is the number one challenge we have here especially in the Tysons area.
We are at the point where it is not just non-profits and the government that want to tackle it, but the private sector knows that people like us can’t move here and afford to live here. Our workforce is having a hard time living close as well as those who are hoping to retire in place.
So yes, we are hoping to continue and grow the good work that is happening in the county. The county is starting to do affordable housing and we need to increase that. I really want us to have a master plan the way Arlington has a master plan to tackle that. But more specifically I think we really need to figure out how to work together with the government, the private sector and the non-profits to really expand.
We are not going to get the units we need in the region, we need over 300,000 units in our area. We absolutely have to work together. You are not going to get all those to unite just through public funding and government programs.
For me, it’s really listening and bringing different stakeholders to the table. I would form a working group or task force to tackle the issue from different aspects.
TR: What are the three ways you’re hoping to tackle climate change?
Palchik: Number one, we are starting with this joint environmental taskforce. I sit on that committee now and that’s really looking to lead by example. This task force is looking at what the schools in the county can do.
The big area is looking at how we help incentivize and remove barriers on the private side for homeowners and businesses. One of those is C-PACE. C-PACE is a program that helps incentivize privately owned buildings to get some upfront funding to help increase their efficiency and the emissions that are going to be produced by their buildings.
Virginia, unfortunately, requires some changes at the General Assembly level. So that’s going to be the other thing, helping to get some of these bills through.
TR: What are your transportation project priorities?
Palchik: We need to figure out the last mile challenge, how do we help people of different abilities, income levels, have access to getting to public transit. I was just talking to a friend last night she said, “I am one mile to the Metro one way and a mile to the Metro another way and I don’t feel safe enough to bike.”
Number two is continuing to support and establish the Metro system that’s there, the expansions, working with WMATA to make sure our systems funded and that we increase ridership.
Tysons has been doing really well with the Silver Line and we want to see that across the board. I used to take it every day. Finally, figuring out that balance. Just the other day I was at a meeting for Route 50. You wanna make sure that people have alternative solutions.
TR: What is your plan for the budget?
Palchik: Schools are number one. We need to continue to support and fund our schools. I also think we need to find ways to, first of all, fill some of our empty office space, diversify our economy, support small local businesses.
We need to make sure we are a county that supports and attracts larger businesses but also homegrown ones to increase our tax base. In the next couple of years, the Providence District is going to be more commercial than residential real-estate.
Number one beyond that is making sure we are leaders that our employees are paid well enough that they are able to live here, that they are supported and that we are not growing programs at the expense of those who work for us.
TR: The county is currently looking at adding a new school to Tysons. Is that enough to address capacity issues? What should be done for all the incoming students?
Palchik: You bring up the word boundary changes, and it becomes a very contested and political challenge. I’ve had people ask me to redo a boundary around their home.
As a community, we need to make the best dest decision about what’s best for the kids. One of the challenges we’ve had, in the county we can no longer afford to buy new land to build schools.
We have to address capacity. As a supervisor, and Supervisor [John] Foust has done this, I would be dedicated to knowing where we need more capacity for schools.
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