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Arlington voters appear set to reelect Garvey to County Board

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With 90 percent of the vote in, incumbent Libby Garvey (D) appeared to win reelection to the Arlington County Board, as voters also seemed set to approve all four bond questions on the ballot.

Garvey, who was elected in March to fill the unexpired term of now-state Sen. Barbara A. Favola (D), was decisively leading Republican Matt Wavro and Green Party candidate Audrey Clement.

“Obviously, in Arlington, it’s helpful to be a Democrat, particularly in a presidential year,” Garvey said.

The bond issues, which would allow the county to finance $153.4 million in capital improvements, also appeared on the route to approval.

Most voters questioned at the polls Tuesday did not display strong opinions on the County Board race, but Mark Loughney was an exception.

Loughney, a supporter of building a streetcar line along Columbia Pike, said that because he didn’t have the opportunity to vote on that issue, he scrutinized the stance of board candidates.

“There were some who were wishy-washy, which I don’t like. I don’t like the one who was riding the fence,” he said, referring to Garvey, who abstained from a July vote and later said she thought a modern, rapid-bus transit system would be better. “Pfft — she’s out of here.”

Arlington, a strongly Democratic county, has not rejected a bond request in 33 years.

The county asked voters to support requests that would allow the county to finance $153.4 million in capital improvements. Tim Walthall, who has been voting in Arlington for 30 years, said he thought those questions should not have gone to voters.

“That’s not really a voter’s decision,” he said. “You elect somebody, and they should manage the economical issues.”

The largest request sought $50.5 million for parks and recreation, 80 percent of which would fund an indoor aquatics center at the year-old Long Bridge Park. An additional $20 million would come from selling development rights to builders constructing complexes elsewhere in the county.

Voters Kim Finan and Rod Johnson said they voted reluctantly for that bond question.

“Although we’re unhappy about the expenditures on capital expenses, we will vote for the swimming pool,” Kim Finan said as Rod Johnson nodded in agreement Tuesday. “I stopped swimming at the high school pools because they were too crowded.”

Voters were also asked to approve a $42.6 million bond to fund the design and construction of elementary schools, additions and other school projects.

The next-largest bond proposal sought $31.9 million for Metro and other transportation needs. The final proposal sought $28.3 million for community infrastructure.

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