Chair, Arlington County Board
G. N. “Jay” Fisette, Jr., was elected to the Arlington County Board in 1998, serving as the Board’s chair in 2001, 2005, 2010 and 2014. In 2001, he oversaw Arlington’s response to the terrorist attack on the Pentagon in 2001. His 2010 initiative to develop a Community Energy Plan is designed to ensure Arlington’s sustainability and competitiveness for decades into the future.
In 2012, with then Vice Chair Walter Tejada, Mr. Fisette introduced an Urban Agriculture Initiative to further the community’s health, equity and sustainability goals. This year, Mr. Fisette is focusing on Arlington as a hub for the innovation economy, continuing strategic investments in infrastructure – particularly transportation and technology, accommodating a growing student population, intensifying efforts to preserve affordable housing, and achieving zero waste within 25 years.
Mr. Fisette is an avid environmentalist as well as a strong voice for human rights. He works to increase regionalism both within Northern Virginia and the greater Washington region. He was awarded the 2007 Elizabeth and David Scull Public Service Award for leadership and dedication to regionalism, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG)’s highest honor, for his leadership and dedication to regionalism. In addition, Mr. Fisette is an advocate for smart growth and New Urbanism principles, such as the importance of linking land use and transportation, providing robust transportation options and designing inviting public spaces.
Mr. Fisette pioneered Arlington’s Walking Town Meetings, where board members tour various neighborhoods with its residents, listening and learning about local issues. As a consistent promoter of pedestrian and bicycle activity and safety, he started Arlington’s Community Bike Ride in 2005, receiving an award for Visionary Leadership in Bicycle Transportation from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. Mr. Fisette also was a major contributor to Capital BikeShare’s start and success in the Washington Metropolitan region.
Mr. Fisette is a leader in expanding Arlington’s e-government capabilities, including initiatives to improve service delivery and bridge the digital divide. As a former Government Accountability Office (GAO) auditor, he has long been a proponent of fiscal discipline and accountability in balancing responsible tax policies with needed public investments — with a special eye toward Arlington’s technology infrastructure. See Mr. Fisette deliver his 2014 Organizational Meeting speech
As president of the Virginia Municipal League (VML) from 2007-08, Mr. Fisette created VML’s Go Green Virginia Initiative, which established an annual “friendly” competition among local governments across the Commonwealth to promote sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint. The Initiative has been enormously successful and has expanded to include the Virginia Association of School Boards and the Virginia Association of Counties.
Mr. Fisette serves on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Climate Energy and Environment Policy Committee, which he also chaired; the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee; and the Transportation Planning Board. He also serves on the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the National Association of Counties’ Green Government Advisory Board, among others. He is an active member of the Ashton Heights Civic Association; Unitarian-Universalist Church of Arlington; Arlington Committee of 100; Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance; Washington Area Bicyclist Association; Equality Virginia; and Leadership Greater Washington.
Prior to serving the County Board, Mr. Fisette served as the director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic of Northern Virginia from 1990-98. and worked as a staff consultant to the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee from 1988-89. He has a Master of Arts degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Bucknell University. An Arlington resident since 1983, Mr. Fisette and his husband Bob Rosen, have been residents of the Ashton Heights neighborhood since 1987.