The top seven elected posts in Alexandria are open — and whatever the result, the city’s leadership will see at least a handful of new faces next year.

Alexandria Mayor Justin M. Wilson (D) is seeking a second term leading the Northern Virginia locality and is being challenged by flight attendant Annetta M. Catchings (R). The winner of that race will preside over a transformed city council and grapple with weighty questions of development, safety and history as the city attempts to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Alexandria recently hired its first “flooding czar” to deal with an outdated storm water system, and the city is piloting a guaranteed-income program to give no-strings attached checks to some low-income residents.

The future of the city’s school resource officer program is also in question. After the council voted to pull armed police out of school hallways earlier this year — over objections from the school board and superintendent — lawmakers reversed the decision following several fights and incidents involving students and weapons.

After Democrats winnowed down a crowded June primary, their slate of six candidates is facing off against one Republican and two independents. Democrats have held every council seat in the deep-blue city since 2013, and no Republican has won a mayoral race since Reconstruction.

The Washington Post contacted both candidates for mayor and all nine candidates for city council to ask about their backgrounds, campaigns and priorities if elected to office. The following profiles are based on candidates’ answers and have been edited for space and clarity.

MAYOR

Annetta M. Catchings (R)

Catchings, 52, is a flight attendant who moved to Alexandria last year. She said high-profile killings of Black people last year — as well as the ensuing push to defund the police — inspired her to run for office and represent the voice of her community. She has focused on school choice and the SRO issue, and she lives in Carlyle.

Why are you running for mayor?

I’m a citizen-centric candidate looking to bring citizens’ voices back to the table. I want to restore law and order by supporting our first responders and hope to advocate for citizen democracy.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

First, I would re-fund the police and institute competitive salaries. Then, addressing short-term fixes to bring relief to neighborhoods severely affected by flooding. Finally, looking at the city’s comprehensive master plan and beginning a path to restore affordable housing units.

Do school resource officers belong in ACPS schools?

Yes! Crime increased immediately after their removal.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponent?

Schools, law enforcement, supporting small businesses, destructive zoning that creates inequalities, obtrusive bike and scooter lanes. I say “No” to guaranteed income!

Justin M. Wilson (D)

Wilson, 42, is seeking his second term as mayor of Alexandria. A senior director at Amtrak, he previously served on the city council for eight years and has gained a reputation for pushing a data-driven approach on topics like stream restoration and flooding. He has embraced growth and economic development, touting efforts to attract Virginia Tech’s new innovation campus and move a hospital into the empty Landmark mall site. He lives in Del Ray.

Why are you running for mayor?

Leading the region’s recovery from the pandemic requires that we support our children, invest in our infrastructure and expand our economy.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

We cannot continue the cycle of infrastructure investment delay. Investing in infrastructure is good for Alexandria, good for our environment and good for our economy.

Do school resource officers belong in ACPS schools?

I support our well-trained school resource officers as one of many supports for our students.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponent?

We have faced daunting obstacles together with a shared vision for a community that works for all of our residents. The health, human and economic challenges we face will require our ideas and collaboration. I am proud of how we have weathered this storm, but we must now lead the recovery.

CITY COUNCIL

Canek Aguirre (D)

Aguirre, 36, is an incumbent seeking his second term on the council. The former president of the Tenants and Workers United board, he cites his work in the local school system, health sector, advocating for housing and social justice, and serving Northern Virginia’s most vulnerable for the last decade.

Why are you running for city council?

To continue delivering results for Alexandria’s residents and businesses to thrive: equitable COVID-19 recovery, inclusive engagement, increased housing and improved infrastructure and transportation.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

The most pressing issue is an equitable recovery from the pandemic, while longer term it is how to pay for and address decades of underinvestment in our aging infrastructure, including housing, schools, health and transportation.

Do school resource officers belong in ACPS schools?

I believe we can create safe environments for our children and staff without armed officers in our buildings through wraparound services and properly trained unarmed security.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponents?

My hands-on approach translating the reality on the ground into effective policy to meet the needs of our diverse community through coalition building and inclusion of voices often unheard. I led Alexandria’s successful U.S. Census efforts and made language access and inclusive engagement a city priority.

Sarah R. Bagley (D)

Bagley, 44, is a lawyer who works as the executive director of an affordable housing nonprofit. She cites her experiences as a gun-control activist and volunteer for the Democratic Party. She lives in North Old Town.

Why are you running for city council?

I will work to continue Alexandria’s reputation as a desirable place to live and to visit. Advancing equity and addressing our climate crisis will improve the quality of life for all Alexandrians.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

Creating safer and more affordable communities means addressing aging infrastructure including schools, sewage and storm water and transit, and recognizing that our climate crisis must be connected to these issues and incorporated into our solutions.

Do school resource officers belong in ACPS schools?

I share every Alexandrian’s commitment to safety in ACPS schools. While armed police should not have a permanent role in our schools, a transitional process and evaluation is necessary to provide the range of resources needed to ensure school safety.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponents?

By centering equity and climate solutions in our policies, Alexandria will work better for everyone. Absent that, we will leave people behind, and our public health will suffer. I view gun violence as a mental and public health crisis and will respond accordingly with practical policy solutions.

John Taylor Chapman (D)

John Taylor Chapman, 40, is an incumbent seeking his fourth term on the council. He works as a community-use specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools and also runs a tour business focusing on the city’s African American history. He cites his experience leading the local NAACP chapter and his small business, in addition to policy expertise on flooding, transportation, economic development and housing matters. He lives in Taylor Run.

Why are you running for city council?

I want to continue to bring solutions to the issues facing our city. If reelected, I would be the longest-serving council member and would provide policymaking experience to a young city council.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

My top priority for this term is to have high quality city services, by ensuring we have competitive pay and career advancement for our amazing city government workforce.

Do school resource officers belong in ACPS schools?

No, SROs should not be a permanent fixture in ACPS. I look forward to working with incoming council and school board members to implement student safety coaches — an unarmed, non-law enforcement model that districts like Charlottesville schools have.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponents?

As many of my returning colleagues are in their first term and other candidates would be just starting out, most policy stances and issue areas where we could possibly differ have not come forward yet.

Alyia Smith-Parker Gaskins (D)

Gaskins, 32, works on housing and homelessness issues at a national philanthropy. She touts a professional background in public health and urban planning and her work serving on the city’s transportation commission and the Virginia Fair Housing Board. She lives in Cameron Station.

Why are you running for city council?

I am running to provide a needed public health perspective when so many Alexandrians are struggling with the devastating effects of the pandemic and to center residents’ health in future decisions.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

Ensure an equitable recovery from the pandemic and accelerate infrastructure investments to address flooding, Internet access and reliability, and affordable housing and child-care needs.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponents?

I have been the only candidate to consistently raise the need for affordable child care. Even if a family can afford the current high cost — which many in Alexandria cannot — they may have difficulty finding a seat. I am committed to increasing the number of child-care seats for children ages 0-3.

Amy B. Jackson (D)

Jackson, 50, is an incumbent seeking her second term on the council. An Alexandria native and former teacher with young children in the public school system, she said her focus is on listening to, advocating for and engaging with the Alexandria residents. She lives in Seminary Hill.

Why are you running for city council?

I am committed to Alexandria: focusing on creating solutions to mitigate our education and economic crisis. Our city will be stronger because of how we reacted to the pandemic challenge constructively.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

Pandemic recovery is top of mind, ensuring equitable access and distribution of vaccinations and creating successful solutions that encompass our environmental, education and infrastructure initiatives for Alexandria’s return to a robust economy.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponents?

In listening to the community and analyzing all perspectives, I am a “practical progressive” in my vision for Alexandria. I believe in modernizing but also preserving and protecting our cherished city and its history with reasonable planning and progress.

Florence King (I)

King, 74, is a business owner who has served city commissions related to employment and historic resources, worked as an elections officer, and coached residents in financial literacy. She lives in Old Town.

Why are you running for city council?

I want to lessen high density projects and advocate on behalf of affordable housing for our emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters and police officers who no longer live in our city.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

Advocate on behalf of affordable housing, the older adult citizen, women and children, and small businesses.

Do school resource officers belong in ACPS schools?

Public safety is key and it should include our students in the classrooms. SROs should remain in the schools until every teacher and student feels safe.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponents?

I feel that if we had ward representation, as opposed to at-large seats, a city council member will have to take ownership and find a way to help their constituents when a crisis such as flooding arises in their district — or get voted out of office.

R. Kirk McPike (D)

McPike, 43, works as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.). He said he would bring both local and Capitol Hill experience to the council, having served on city commissions related to housing affordability and the city budget. He lives in the Seminary Hill neighborhood.

Why are you running for city council?

I am running for council to take my progressive values, legislative skills and knowledge of the city budget and put them to use to help us recover from the pandemic and tackle long-term challenges.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

My top priority would be ensuring that, as Alexandria moves beyond the effects of the pandemic, we use our recovery as a means to improve our schools and address long-standing problems regarding flooding, housing affordability and equity.

Do school resource officers belong in ACPS schools?

Our city council, school board, ACPS administration, teachers, parents and students must work together to find a security solution for our schools that ensures every student is safe and feels safe while learning, without the need for armed officers.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponents?

I am very interested in addressing two long-term issues in Alexandria by establishing an affordable assisted-living facility for Alexandria’s seniors and creating competition for broadband Internet service to lower prices and improve service.

Darryl Nirenberg (R)

Nirenberg, 62, is an attorney who said he has a reputation for reaching across the aisle to find common ground and produce results. He has worked as a staffer for two U.S. Senate committees and then in private practice. He lives in Northridge.

Why are you running for city council?

I am running for city council to focus city government on quality of life of residents: Fix our storm drains. Create safe schools and community. Get traffic moving. Manage growth. Preserve our green space. Give neighborhoods a voice.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

I want to bring balance to the council, focus on local issues and push for bipartisan consensus decision-making. Having both Democrat and GOP perspectives in the room will lead to better decisions. Potholes are not red or blue — they just need to be filled.

Do school resource officers belong in ACPS schools?

Yes. The council was wrong to overrule the school board and force out SROs without giving parents a say. Parents need to be assured SROs will be fully funded going forward. Let’s bring parents and other stakeholders together to improve the program.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponents?

I’m focused on local issues. Having knocked on more than 1,350 doors, I find residents love our city, but sense something is amiss — that they are not being heard and their concerns about the city are not being addressed. It is time City Hall lines up its priorities with residents’ and gets the job done.

Glenda Gail Parker (I)

Parker, 74, is a retired civil servant and Air Force officer who says she has spent the past 15 years advocating for cleaner air, cleaner water, more trains and less traffic. She works as a government contractor and lives in Hunting Creek.

Why are you running for city council?

I am running for city council to address environmental concerns.

What would be your top priority in elected office?

I would focus on environmental concerns, creating safer streets that are walkable and bikeable and adding more mixed use zoning and more affordable housing.

Do school resource officers belong in ACPS schools?

Probably in the short term. In the long term, we need smaller schools and safer streets so that children can walk to school.

What policy stances distinguish you from your opponents?

I support positive solutions to mitigate climate extremes, with a car-free, carless Alexandria.