To The Editor:
Over the last year, President Obama and his administration have taken aggressive, and in many cases, unprecedented actions to revive our economy and restore prosperity to our nation. A key component of those efforts was the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009–the so-called “Stimulus” legislation.
While reasonable people can disagree as to whether this legislation was the most appropriate way to revive our economy, once it was adopted, it is prudent for each state to take full advantage of these funds to improve their communities.
We have seen Republican Governors from around the country that have put politics ahead of their states. welfare, and rejected some of these stimulus funds. Fortunately, in Alexandria, our planning has paid off, and we have been very successful at receiving millions of dollars of stimulus funds to benefit our residents.
Yet during City Council’s November Public Hearing, Republican Councilwoman Alicia Hughes was the only member of the City Council to vote to reject Alexandria’s allocations of Stimulus funds. As a teacher of over 33 years I know first hand the value of and need for early childhood education. Unfortunately, Councilwoman Hughes voted against accepting Stimulus funds to expand Head Start to cover an additional 57 children, to provide job training to displaced workers, to provide emergency rent relief to residents in immediate danger of becoming homeless, to provide meals to home-bound seniors through the Meals on Wheels program and for critical equipment for our Police Department.
While Alexandria is fortunate that the other six members of the City Council did not share her extreme partisan views, it is disconcerting to see our leaders putting partisan politics ahead of the welfare of our community. If she had prevailed, those funds would have been utilized to benefit other cities and counties, not ours.
That’s not what I expect out of Alexandria’s elected officials.
Jane Stevens, M.Ed.