ARLINGTON, VA – Takis Karantonis is Senior Technical Advisor for Microcredit at the Ethiopian Community Development Council. He is also running to retain his seat on the Arlington County Board of Directors.
Spouse: Dr Lida Anestidou; 2 cats: Max and Koubaki
Does anyone in your family work in politics or in government?
Economist; Master in Urban and Regional Economics with a Focus on Inequalities in Urban Development from Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany
Senior Technical Advisor for Microcredit @ Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC). Economist and planner, environmentalist, urban planner, manager with more than 25 years of experience on three continents (Europe, North and South America)
Previous or current office elected or appointed
I am seeking re-election to my current position as a member of the Arlington County Board of Directors.
Why are you looking for an elective position?
I believe that good government can uplift everyone and leave no one behind. I further believe that my experience with a wide variety of local issues, both through civic engagement as a private citizen and more recently as a county council member, has informed me of the issues we face. and the range of possible responses. My ability to LISTEN to the concerns and ideas of Arlingtoners allows me to work on creative solutions that meet the needs and wishes of all of our residents. I want to help Arlington realize its potential to be a place of equity and inclusion, of environmental responsibility and of thriving local businesses – in short, that it is a great place to live and work.
The most pressing issue facing our county is COVID-19, and that’s what I intend to do about it.
One of my priorities for the county government over the coming year is to continue to fight the scourge of COVID-19 and keep Arlingtoners safe. We must continue to work on the public health front and also alleviate the economic consequences of the pandemic. I will continue to work to achieve the highest possible vaccination rate, maintain our testing program and secure funding, and implement a variety of cost-effective programs to help residents and businesses weather the COVID storm.
My second but equally important priority is to ensure that, despite the pandemic, we continue to come together to build a better Arlington. I have championed a wide range of innovative initiatives that prioritize our limited resources so as to meet Arlington’s strategic needs, including programs to urgently address the climate emergency, our crisis in the world. affordability of housing, sustainable growth, transportation, economic development, social and racial equity, and funding of our public school system.
This work needs to be done while maintaining the county’s AAA bond rating and overall fiscal resilience.
What are the critical differences between you and other candidates for this position?
I have the education, training and experience to effectively deal with the issues Arlington faces. In addition to my experience during the last year at Arlington County Council, I have a degree in Urban and Regional Economics. I have worked in municipal markets, public sanitation contracts, airport development and the energy sector. I have been active in a number of Arlington community projects in recent years, always advocating for long term planning and green solutions.
For everything I say, I can show the work and my contributions over many years. As a former executive director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (and also a past president of my civic association), I understand planning, neighborhood development, and civic engagement at the most granular level. As the past president of EcoAction Arlington, I have been at the forefront of environmental activism in our community. As a former vice-president of the Alliance for Housing Solutions, I deeply understand the challenge of housing affordability. I focus on solutions that work for ALL and have a passion for shaping our future.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.
We must face the climate emergency if we are to survive on this planet and we must start here at home. I support the Arlington County Government’s efforts to tackle climate change with any means at our disposal. Electrifying our heritage, our new construction and our transportation are first steps.
I also support strengthening Arlington’s existing diversity and cultural richness to develop a more just and equitable community. Addressing the housing affordability crisis and tackling displacement is essential.
Finally, I support long-term, inclusive and principled community planning to ensure we have livable neighborhoods, great schools, affordable housing, green spaces and reliable public transportation.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as proof that you can handle this job?
I have worked on the whole range of subjects facing the county council.
For example, I have worked hard over the past year to ensure that Arlington County is doing everything possible to protect our residents from COVID-19, while helping to mitigate the economic consequences of the pandemic for them. businesses and individuals. I advocated and took action to initiate a vaccination campaign so that all segments of the community had access to vaccines as soon as possible.
I helped push through loans for rent relief and eviction prevention. I have worked with businesses and the Chamber of Commerce to help businesses navigate COVID-19 hygiene compliance so these businesses can stay open, and have worked to secure financial and technical assistance for them. .
I have a long and successful track record in promoting affordable housing and livable communities – as a community activist, planner and member of the County Board of Directors, I have worked to create more livable neighborhoods with spaces greens and pedestrian-friendly amenities while ensuring we have adequate stock. affordable housing. With good planning, Arlington can maintain its high habitability quotient despite strong growth.
Over the past year, I have also devoted considerable effort to creating a responsive and effective Community Oversight Council. The objective of this Council is to promote fair and transparent law enforcement practices. I have helped to ensure that the new Supervisory Board will have subpoena power so that it can independently investigate complaints.
Last but not least, I worked to adopt a balanced budget during a pandemic and a short term investment plan that met our county’s most pressing needs with an emphasis on providing strong support to members. the most vulnerable in our community while serving critical infrastructure investments. priorities.
The best advice ever shared with me was:
Listening is more than allowing someone to speak while waiting for a chance to respond (Attributed to Henri Nouwen, but passed to me by Kai Degner, a friend and former mayor of Harrisonburg, VA.) – A colleague developed this advice by reminding me to always listen to those whose lives will be affected by government policies before making decisions. These people understand the issues they face better than anyone, and often have great ideas on how best to resolve these issues. My discussion work with residents and businesses along Columbia Pike during the redevelopment process for this neighborhood has led to revisions to the original plans and an outcome that better serves the local community.
What would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I firmly believe in the benefits of long-term and inclusive planning. The county must not only respond to immediate urgent needs, but also look to the future and plan for future developments before they too become emergencies. I believe the county’s 10-year stormwater management investment plan is a prime example of this approach. The county studied the growing stormwater problems it is likely to face in the coming years as a result of climate change, and then determined how best to mitigate those risks. We need to take the same long-term perspective to deal with the other county issues.
A description of some of my other positions on important issues appears on my site.
Arlington County Board of Directors Candidate Profiles:
Michael Cantwell for Arlington County Council
Audrey Clement for the Arlington County Board of Directors