Addressing the Aging of Alexandria, VA

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Former Gov. Mark Warner speaks at Mayor Euille’s third annual Unity Breakfast.
By Michael Lee Pope
November 29, 2006
As one of the founders of Nextel, Mark Warner likes to tell people that he is perhaps the only public official who doesn’t mind if a few cell phones ring while he is speaking. This was put to the test last week at the Mark Hilton, as the former governor gave the keynote address at Mayor Bill Euille’s third annual Unity Breakfast. The ringtones were incessant: One sounded like the standard Verizon default; another was a thumping disco tune. Yet he seemed not to notice as he delivered a campaign-style speech about health care, changing demographics and the unique nature of Alexandria.

“It’s big enough to be cosmopolitan, but it’s still the kind of place where you can walk down the street and recognize your friends and neighbors,” Warner said. “And it’s the kind of place where people recognize that we’re all in this together.”

Warner has been an Alexandria neighbor since 1986, and his local identification prompted much speculation about how his potential campaign for president might resonate in his hometown. He dashed those hopes in October with an announcement that he will not run for president in 2008. Since then, he said, his cell phone hasn’t been as active “” although he admits to having “a campaign or two in my future.”

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