Patch Profile: Arlington Board Candidate Audrey Clement
Candidate promises to bring aggressive posture to board on issues like affordable housing, mass transit, recycling.
If there’s one thing Audrey Clement isn’t afraid to do, it’s fight for what she believes is right.
The 63-year-old IT professional took on the state and federal transportation departments in federal court in an attempt to stop the widening of Interstate 66 without an environmental assessment.
The courts dismissed her claim, but she sees hope, at least, in the state’s willingness to study ways to improve transportation along that corridor through other modes of transportation, from buses to bicycles.
Clement said if she’s elected to the Arlington County Board, she will exact a commitment from the Virginia Department of Transportation to not undertake any other road-widening projects unless they have a transit component.
“I would demand that,” she said. “I would be very aggressive about that.”
The election is Tuesday.
Clement, like Kelly, sees the all-Democrat board as “out-of-touch” with Arlington County’s voters and values. She believes the board needs a minority voice in order to ground it in reality.
“A lot of what county board says I agree with – I just don't think they're aggressive enough about it,” Clement said. “So, as a minority member of the county board, I would add an aggressive component when it comes to things like affordable housing, mass transit, recycling, that sort of thing – issues that are generally identified as environmental.”
In an interview, Clement listed her top three priorities as:
- Fiscal responsibility, which includes pulling tax dollars away from major projects like the Artisphere, a proposed Columbia Pike trolley, and a planned aquatic facility at Long Bridge Park;
- Increasing investment in basic services likes schools, libraries, streets, public safety and social programs;
- Investing in economic and environmental sustainability by increasing the county’s recycling rate, installing solar panels on all public buildings and retrofitting the county’s existing winter shelter for the homeless into a year-round center, rather than paying millions for a building about a block away.
Clement also wants to create a housing authority as an arm of the government that would corral the various nonprofits in Arlington that work on affordable housing under one umbrella. She wants to hire an inspector general to audit the county’s finances.
In this year’s budget discussion, Clement said she would “settle” for the proposed plan to restore library hours to what they were in 2009. Next year, she would begin pushing for all libraries to be open seven days a week.
Clement said she could work with Democratic elected officials, particularly praising Board Member Chris Zimmerman and U.S. Rep. Jim Moran for being willing to stand up to Richmond. She called Chairwoman Mary Hynes and Vice Chairman Walter Tejada, both of whom she ran against in November, “gracious,” and said she appreciated their civility during last year’s campaign.
“I'm prepared to recognize the contributions that the Democrats on the county board have made,” Clement said.
Clement is a native Philadelphian who has lived in the Washington metro area for about 22 years. She’s an eight-year resident of Arlington County.
Clement lives in Westover and said she hasn’t owned a car her entire adult life. She uses her bicycle or public transportation to get around the metro area and rents a car when she needs one for recreational use.
Clement enjoys kayaking and skiing. She’s not married and doesn’t have any children.