Thumbs up for Juli Briskman

Meet Juli Briskman, a local Sterling resident running for a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Algonkian District. Juli is also a devoted mom, community activist, and avid outdoors person. You may, more famously, know her as the cyclist who flipped off the presidential motorcade.

It wasn’t the attention she may have been seeking, but it certainly is what brought her into the spotlight. Along with the cruel personal jabs and threatening messages she received, she also experienced a lot of community and political support. Her fifteen minutes of fame brought her onto the morning show circuit and even political cartoons in several newspapers. The spotlight also brought her to the attention of some local politicians, who encouraged her to step up her activism and enthusiasm to the next level. Active within the local Democratic party, Juli began working for the Jennifer Wexton campaign and gave a lot of thought to the idea of running for office herself. With some influential support and guidance, she decided to run for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

Many residents may be unaware of the grassroots influence members of the board of supervisors yield on their constituents. Your board of supervisors set local tax rates and approve the county budget which includes funding for schools, parks, libraries, roads, traffic, storm recovery, land use and public safety. The scope of their duties is extensive, ranging from affordable housing to health and human services to permits and licenses. If elected, the position itself is part-time for a four-year term to which each member is assigned a committee of special interests.

At the core of Juli’s campaign are the Algonkian districts schools and outdoor spaces. The Algonkian district is located in the eastern end of Loudoun County, where the schools are older and lacking in some of the amenities and services of the newer schools located in other areas of Loudoun. The district’s schools are in need of reinvestment and Juli’s concern is not just for the students but also for teachers and the problems they have with pay gaps compared to other counties in Virginia. Many of Loudoun’s teachers can not afford to live in Loudoun. It is only recently that they have begun to benefit from salary increases but not at a pace that keeps up with inflation.

Juli is also championing for better infrastructure within the county. The transportation plan is crucial to her not just concerning traffic issues but with the connectivity of bike paths, sidewalks, and roads within the county. Juli also feels very strongly about the problems working mothers face with the lack of affordable childcare options in the area. Daycare and afterschool programs are also services monitored by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. When the talk turned to working moms, I asked Juli about her children and how they felt about her political ambitions. She assured me that they were generally happy about her campaign, and she was proud of their growing awareness of social issues and local politics.

For residents within the Algonkian district, reinvestment in local shopping centers is significant, and Juli promises some creative ways to attract new money and businesses into the area. Certainly not unique to her district, mental health is another cause she hopes to champion. She understands the lack of adequate funding for mental health professionals and programs within the county schools.

For the last year, Juli has tirelessly worked campaigning within her district. You may have seen her knocking on doors and attending community events, all trying to raise funds and support for her election campaign. It is hard work, often needing a thick skin and a lot of courage and even more, a lot of heart — all of which candidate Juli Briskman has in abundance.

Photos by: Brian Kent