This post by RCA President Colin Mills was originally published on Reston Patch.
It’s almost over. Today is the last day for the RCA elections. For the last two weeks, the citizens of Reston have been weighing in on who should represent them on the important issues facing our community, issues like planning, development, open space, education, andaccessibility for people with disabilities. And once the polls close and the Election Committee tallies up the votes, we’ll know who will be sitting on the RCA Board for the coming year.
Some years, the election period is an anti-climax, as there are no contested races. But this year is different. I understand that there are spirited write-in campaigns underway for the North Point seat. And there’s also a contest for the Presidency. This time next week, there could be someone else in charge of RCA.
Contested races are good; it means that there’s greater community interest in the RCA and its work. In a sense, we’ve been building toward this moment throughout my two years at the helm. But it also feels a bit like being in limbo, not knowing what comes next. I’m hopeful that Reston’s citizens will choose me for another year, but I can’t be sure until the votes are counted. I’llbe glad when the election is finished, and we can all move forward.
It’s a popular belief that summer is a slow time for community activities. I’ve alwaysfound that to be less true than you’d think, and it’s definitely not true this year. This summer, there’s a ton of activity going on in Reston. The RCC Board is evaluating the options for its rec center proposal. The Master Plan Task Force is trying to wrap up its Comprehensive Plan revisions for Phase I, so that they can go to the Board of Supervisors for approval before the end of the year. The Silver Line is coming closer to completion, and we’re still looking for ways to assure that it won’t trigger gridlock around the Wiehle station. Rescue Reston is gearing up for the long-delayed hearing on the Reston National Golf Course, which is scheduled for September. That doesn’t sound like a slow season to me!
RCA is active on all of these issues, and I’m excited about being involved in them. The next president (whether it’s me or someone else) will need to hit the ground running to stay on top of it all. That’s why I’m staying as active as ever, to make sure that the next RCA Board is ready to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
It’s my job to ensure that when the next Board sits on July 22, they’ll be up to date on all of these issues and what role RCA can play in them. That way, the Board can set its priorities and start taking action as soon as possible. I hope to be leading that action, but even if I’m not, I will ensure that RCA is set up for another year of growth and activity.
So I work and I wait for the election to close and the results to be announced. I’m a bit of a worrier by nature, so “waiting” is not my preferred mode. As a result, in between returning RCA emails, I look for outlets to take my mind off of things.
My favorite outlet is usually watching my beloved Nationals. Unfortunately, that hasn’t exactlybeen a bowl of cherries this year either. Many experts picked the Nats as a World Series favorite before the season, but the reality hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. (Skins fans will be familiar with this phenomenon.) But while the Nats haven’t been world-beaters, nor are they definitelyout of it. If they were clearly destined for a losing season, I could accept that and embrace it. But they’re not. They’ve hovered right around the .500 mark, winning a couple and then losing a couple. Not quite in it, not quite out of it; it’s too much of a metaphor for my comfort. (Also, it’s just plain frustrating as a fan.)
Rather than relying on baseball, I’m finding my relaxing outlet through walking instead. Summer isn’t my favorite season, because I don’t like hot weather. But once the sun goes down and the temperature dips a bit, the idea of a stroll becomes much more inviting. My fiancee and I have gotten in the habit of taking after-dinner walks, and it’s been good for us both.
Last night, we ambled around Lake Thoreau at dusk. Apart from the occasional dog walker and a host of bugs, we had the pathways to ourselves. Midway through our walk, we passed through a couple rows of trees that were absolutely alight with fireflies. When I think of fireflies, I tend to picture a few of them flying lazily through the air, blinking now and then. This was a totally different scene; there were hundreds of them in the trees, blinking like mad. I guess we’d stumbled into the firefly singles bar. We paused to take in the sight, all of them firing off like flashbulbs at a parade. It was beautiful and a little awe-inspiring.
That sight helped put things in perspective for me. Win or lose, I’m still fortunate to live in a beautiful, thriving community with a bunch of great active citizens. I’ve got a wonderful fiancee and a daughter that makes me proud every day. And as frustrating as the Nats can be, it’s better than the first 26 years of my life, when I didn’t have a hometown team. A few days in limbo is no big deal.
I urge you to cast your vote if you haven’t yet. And rest assured that RCA and I are working hard, through the summer and beyond, and that RCA will keep on informing and advocating for Reston’s citizens on the issues that will shape our future.