Thanks to the great City Hall staff who put together a beautiful ceremony and dialed-up perfect weather!
Below are the remarks I gave that evening. Thank you again for allowing me to serve and be on your City Council for the next two years. And special thanks to Catherine Read for the photo.
Good evening family, friends and fellow citizens.
Before giving my remarks – my brief remarks – I want to thank my family who are here tonight.
I would not be able to do this job without the love and support of my family, especially my wife, Kerry and my three children – Sadie, Patrick and Liam. Thank you all for allowing me to serve. You have always been there for me. I love all of you dearly.
I would also like to say happy birthday to Patrick who turns 7 in two days.
To my colleagues on Council, I look forward to working with you to what’s best for the City we all love.
I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate my good friend, mentor and colleague, Scott Silverthorne. I look forward to working with you as our next Mayor.
And to Mayor Rob Lederer – thank you for your service to our community. You have led this City with great integrity and dedication. You will certainly be missed.
To the citizens of the City of Fairfax, I am humbled and honored by the faith you have put in me to serve you on your City Council.
The City is known by all who have been here as having a “sense of place.” You see it when you are in our downtown, visit our many parks or just take a rest in shade under the trees. We truly do represent something different in this very busy metropolitan region we live in.
But it’s not the parks, our history or even the low tax rate and great services that give the City that “sense of place.”
It’s the people.
The 23,000 people who live within our 6.3 square miles make the City of Fairfax a community – a community that is home to generations of City residents who were born here, stayed here, raised their families here and are seeing their children, grand-children and great grand-children continue to build a legacy of community here.
So, while we certainly have a sense of place to those who visit, I would like to think all of us who live here have a sense of community.
We can see it in the more than 40 community, civic and neighborhood associations. Or the impromptu barbeques in backyards that draw our neighbors over.
We can find it daily and on the weekends at the senior center and at the Sherwood Center where people come together to share experiences, swap stories and enjoy life.
This sense of place, this sense of community just doesn’t happen though. It takes work.
UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said that, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
Indeed that is true here in the City of Fairfax where we – the Mayor, the Council, staff and most importantly, you, its citizens – come together to build community by getting the little things right.
Over the last several years, our City has been recognized for our efforts. We have been named as one of the best places to live in the United States by Forbes, earned a Gold Medal for our parks system and recreation programs, gained top bond ratings right in the middle of a recession and of course remained a Tree City USA. These are big things. And they happen because of our focus on the little things.
From the American flags that hang by the light poles right before our famous Independence Day Parade coming up next week to our “Lights and Carols” around the winter holidays, we are different because we focus on the little details that if gone you – and visitors to the City – would certainly notice.
The accomplishments are also because of the people who work at City Hall, those who serve on our boards and commission and our residents. All of us make a difference in the lives of our neighbors. We are blessed as a community of individuals who bring certain gifts and talents so that collectively we have a City that reflects the best of all of us.
Right now in America, in our Commonwealth and even in this prosperous community of Northern Virginia, people are still hurting. Our economy continues to remain on shaky footing and there could be headwinds and dark clouds ahead for even us here in Northern Virginia, where we have largely escaped most of the pain the rest of the country has felt.
It’s times like these when we continue to feel like the Earth is shifting beneath our feet and the force of change is overwhelming that we turn to what we know is true, what we know is right and what we know we can depend on.
And what we can depend on is the community we call the City of Fairfax.
This is a City where the community cares for each other and for our collective future. No matter the neighborhood or one’s background, we all come together for the collective good of the place we call home. And this is why I am so proud to call the City of Fairfax home.
We have heard our new Mayor lay out a vision for the City that builds upon our great traditions and history while recognizing the changing landscape before us. For no matter the challenges of our times, we will not just weather them, but must accept these as opportunities and not obstacles.
I pledge to work with him, my Council colleagues and our community to move this City forward and continue and build upon the successes we’ve had.
We have more to accomplish as a City. We have more to do as community and keep the sense of place alive.
God Bless the City of Fairfax, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States of America.