ARLNow 6/8/23: Why You Should Vote For Me

Jun 17, 2023 | Campaign News, Featured1

My name is Susan Cunningham. I am a common-sense problem-solver who will reconnect our community and young people, get housing right, and get the basics right.

I am running for County Board because I think Arlington’s best days are ahead and we need elected leaders with experience and common sense to bring us together to get there.

The recent missing middle housing debates and challenges facing our youth highlight that we have a lot of work to do to bring our community back together. I am ready to represent each of you on the county board to do just that. I’ve worked with many of you through professional and volunteer roles since I first moved to Arlington in 1994 (“back in the 1900s” as my daughters remind me) as an:

  • Experienced Problem-solver: Trained as an engineer, I am first and foremost a creative problem-solver. I know how to frame a problem, bring everyone to the table, and deliver solutions, including infrastructure investments and progressive environmental goals. Whether serving as a founding member of the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission, refurbishing a Donaldson Run rambler for a gigantic Afghani refugee family, serving as a founding member of the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission, or leading a divided community through the Dorothy Hamm Middle School project, I get things done for and with this community.
  • Common Sense Leader: I combine executive experience and common sense to solve complex problems and create a stronger, inclusive Arlington. As turn-around CEO of housing provider AHC, I know the many tools we need to get housing and planning right for our community. As a seasoned executive at U.S. Treasury and McKinsey, I know how to manage billion-dollar budgets and large organizations through challenges and change.
  • Long-time Neighbor: My husband, Philip, and I started our adult lives in Arlington right out of college. Arlington has been our home for over 25 years. Along with our two school-aged daughters, we are active members at Saint Mary’s Episcopal. As the Executive Director at Arlington Thrive (formerly AMEN), I know the challenges many in our community face and the strengths and challenges in our social services delivery.

As a County Board member I will prioritize:

  • Smart growth and planning that gets housing right – with diverse options for ownerships and rental across life stages and incomes. This includes monitoring and revising the newly adopted Expanded Housing Options policy to create a comprehensive, common sense housing plan.
  • Reconnecting our community – especially our young people, whose formative years  have been disrupted by the pandemic, political unrest, and climate anxiety. This means investing in out-of-school programming, expanding recreation center hours, and improving our bus network for all users.
  • Transparent, good government that gets the basics right – creating a vibrant and desirable community for residents and businesses and responding quickly when something needs attention. This includes a defined response time to resident inquiries, expanded data access, and improvements to permitting and site review processes.

So why should you make Susan your #1 vote? I will bring tested and proven leadership, with a healthy dose of problem-solving and common sense.

  • I have led Arlington through tough challenges before, from delivering the Stratford Junior High Historic interpretation plan and art installation to steadying our biggest nonprofit affordable housing provider, AHC.
  • I am the only candidate (and only board member come 2024) raising school-aged kids. My girls are both in Arlington Public Schools, and I understand first-hand the new challenges our young people are facing. Our future depends on reconnecting our entire community after the COVID emergency.
  • I am an experienced leader and problem-solver. As I did when adaptively reusing public buildings and driving innovation at the U.S. Treasury Department, I bring stakeholders together to develop and deliver lasting solutions in a transparent and collaborative way that gets great results while strengthening communities.

I hope my experience and priorities will inspire your support. You can learn more at I look forward to what we can achieve together and humbly ask for your #1 vote on or before Tuesday, June 20th. Thank you.

As published in ARLNow on June 8th.

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