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Part One of Three: What the Roy/Brewer Run-Off Teaches Us About Alexandria When Jacques Roy officially announced his candidacy for mayor, more than 200 people, primarily young professionals and their families, showed up to his office on Martin Luther King Jr Drive to hear him speak about his vision for Alexandria's future. But despite the enthusiasm and the high turn-out, critics dismissed Roy's chances, claiming (correctly) that young people do not historically vote in higher numbers and that the winning candidate would be the one who could best speak to the needs of older Alexandrians. They felt that Roy must have just been positioning himself for another race, that it was too little too late. But Jacques Roy understood something that others didn't: Young people were interested. Despite all of the positive changes affected during Randolph's twenty years, young Alexandrians are still leaving in droves. For many, the educational and employment opportunities in larger cities are simply too good to ignore, and for others, Alexandria is too provincial, too quaint, and too complacent. But for those of us who have stayed or returned to Alexandria, there is a growing frustration and a sense that we can become a better place to live, if we only work together. To be fair, young Alexandrians worked in the campaigns of all seven mayoral candidates, but only Jacques Roy understood how to best motivate young people; in part, because he belongs to the same generation, but also because Jacques Roy specifically reached out to young people. He didn't just ask for their vote; he asked for their help. Behind the closed doors of the Roy campaign, there were between forty and fifty young Alexandrians, each working in a unique role. They canvassed in every single neighborhood in the city. They encouraged Mr. Roy to speak at block parties, concerts, and coffee shops-- gathering places for those whose voices are not frequently heard or respected in the political process. And the message they sent was clear: We need a leader who recognizes that in a growing city, there must be more opportunities for young people. They must not be cut off from the discussions, because they are, in fact, the future of our city. This is, in part, what I meant when I discussed how Mr. Roy created a movement. By motivating young Alexandrians to become a part of this process, Mr. Roy excited people from all walks of life; they saw the positive energy behind his campaign and voted in droves. (Mr. Roy actually received more votes than Ned Randolph did during his final election four years ago). It will be important to parlay this energy into real, tangible results. But for now, we should recognize this movement for what it is: A clear statement in support of proactive, intelligent leadership, leadership that reaches across racial and political lines, leadership that is committed to growing our community, and leadership that believes it is possible for Alexandria to become a business and entertainment hub for the entire state.