Happy New Year! It's now 2012, and you know what that means. No, not just a bunch of negative campaign ads funded by super PACs. (Though those will be headed our way in a month or two.) It's New Year's resolution time!
I've never been a big fanatic for resolutions. Some years I make them, some years I don't. For years, my standard resolutions were to eat more and exercise less. (Eventually, I realized that I may have had those backward.) But the new year is a good time for taking stock and making plans to move forward. And now that I'm President of RCA, the new year is a good opportunity to lay out my resolutions for our organization in the coming year.
Our main goal, of course, is to expand our role as the voice and ear of Reston's citizens. We want to be the go-to resource in Reston on political and social issues, and we've already taken several steps to fulfill that goal since I was elected in July. In 2012, I hope that we can build on what we've started.
With that in mind, here are some of my resolutions for RCA in the coming year:
* Develop a Strategic Plan, similar to the one that RA passed in November. I'd like to chart a clear course for RCA over the next few years, both so that we can develop an organizational strategy for achieving those goals, and so that the community knows what we're planning to do.
RCA has tended to react to issues as they arise, and I want us to maintain that flexibility in the future. But we also need to make sure that we're building toward our long-term goals. Having a plan in place will allow us to better serve you and Reston as a whole.
* Host a series of community forums, starting this year. If RCA is going to listen to and speak for the citizens, we have to get out in the community and talk to you. We are devoted to improving our outreach this year, and these forums will play a key role in that.
Community forums serve a double purpose: they allow us to provide you with useful information on topics that matter to you, and they allow you a chance to speak up and let us know what you think about those issues, so that we can better represent you. RCA has held popular and successful forums in the past, on issues such as accessibility for the disabled, local communication, and the benefits of becoming an incorporated town.
I'm hoping to have our first forum in the spring; we are meeting this month to decide what the topic of that forum will be. I will provide much more information about the forum as we get closer to it.
* Expand RCA's portfolio of issues. We are doing a very good job so far on issues such as planning and zoning, accessibility and visitability, and the Reston license plate campaign. I'd like to see us advocate on a wider range of issues this year. Some of the issues that the Board has discussed include transportation, education, and affordable housing. We should take on at least one new issue in 2012, and more if we can.
Of course, in order to expand our issue portfolio, we're going to need to expand our volunteer base. So if there's an issue you care about that should receive more attention and advocacy, drop me a line. You could wind up on the next RCA committee!
* Get enough applications to get the Reston license plate on the road. I mentioned our campaign above. We need about 300 more applicants in order for the plate to become a reality. Let's get it done!
* Strengthen our partnerships with other community organizations. We've got a lot of dedicated volunteers and organizations working to make Reston a better place to live, work, and play. We work better when we work together. I'd like to see us unite on issues where we have common interests. The community forums are one avenue for us to use these partnerships. I'm sure we can think of others.
* Continue our tradition of candidate forums. We had three great forums this year, featuring the candidates for the Hunter Mill School Board, State Senator, and Delegate. John Lovaas has done yeoman's work in organizing these forums with us over the years, and I intend to ensure that we continue performing this valuable community service. We should have a Congressional forum in 2012, and possibly others, depending on what races are out there. Stay tuned for as election season draws closer.
* Eat less and exercise more. Okay, this isn't an RCA goal. But now that I've figured out the way this resolution should go, I will give it a try.
2012 should be an exciting year for Reston and for RCA. If we can meet our resolutions for this year, I'll feel great about what we're doing for Reston. I hope that you keep all the resolutions you make, and that you all have a healthy, wealthy, and wonderful year.
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On a personal note, I want to congratulate my friend Damian Sinclair for being selected as GRACE's new executive director. I used to serve on the RCC Board of Governors, and I got to work with Damian in his role as RCC's Arts and Events Director. He's a hard-working guy with a good sense of humor, he's well-respected in the arts community, and I know he'll do a great job with GRACE. Congratulations, Damian, and good luck!