Victoria Farrar-Meyers: Rolling up her sleeves
Victoria Farrar-Myers held the Arlington City Council District 7 seat since 2016. Her term ended in 2022 and, as of writing this piece, and due to term limits she is ineligible to seek re-election. But that doesn’t mean her commitment to public service is over. After all, serving her community is something that’s been an integral part of her life for as long she can remember.
Victoria Farrar-Myers grew up in Ballston Spa, NY. Located in Saratoga County, this historic village planted the seeds that would later blossom into a lifetime of community service. As a young child, she named her first very doll “And Justice For All,” which says a lot about who she was, where she came from, and what she believed in.
Her dad was a small business owner for most of Victoria’s life, while her mom joined the workforce when Victoria was around 10 years old. Her parents truly believed that “education was the great elevator.” Victoria put their beliefs into practice, becoming the first in her family to graduate college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Russell Sage College in Troy, NY.
According to Victoria, this was “the best decision [she] ever made.” It was at Russell Sage College where she met her mentor Dr. Sybillyn Jennings, the person she credits for guiding her academic success, and more importantly, the person who helped her see the world in a different way.
When questioned about her mentor, Victoria said:
“[Dr. Jennings] was a champion. Someone I idolized and as a first-generation college student, I didn’t know what to do or where to go. . . [she helped me] to see things I didn’t know existed.”
After graduation, Victoria continued her academic pursuits, earning an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois, and then a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University at Albany, SUNY. Dr. Victoria Farrar-Myers or Doc “F-M” as her students called her, went on to become a professor of Political Science and a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, and served as the Director of the Tower Scholar Program, as well as Senior Fellow in the Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU.
Victoria was named Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Political Science at Finders University in 2013-2014, and won the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship, where she worked on the lead House of Representative sponsor of legislation that eventually became the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.
As an author, Victoria published five books and numerous articles about presidential-congressional relations and separation of powers, political leadership, and the democratic process. Some of these works include Legislative Labyrinth (CQ Press, 2001) and Limits and Loopholes (CQ Press, 2007), both of which offer analysis of legislative and public policy processes. She also co-edited a collection of studies on social media’s impact on the 2012 elections in the 2015 volume, Controlling the Message.
Victoria always viewed it as her duty to give back to her community and has put that into action in Arlington ever since she first moved there with her husband back in 1998. She held various leadership positions within both the city and with civic organizations since that time, including Leadership Arlington, The Rotary Club of Arlington, Arlington ISD Education Foundation, Junior League of Arlington, and the Planning and Zoning Commission, a mayoral appointed role that taught Victoria all the ins and outs of Arlington’s political system.
The transition from citizen to political official was truly a family affair. Victoria’s husband and their son Kyle had to be on board with this new role, as do all families of those who run for office. In fact, it was Jason who pushed Victoria down that path, when he exclaimed:
“You tell your students to roll up your sleeves and make a difference. When are you going to roll up your sleeves and run?”
But not everyone was on board with her shift to public office and they were sure to tell her that.
According to Victoria: “I got a lot of heat for running with a young child. [People would ask] Why don’t you just be a mom? That was hurtful, it was hard. It was a challenge.”
Victoria took on that challenge and everyone benefitted. She always believed that the best way to win a campaign is by being your authentic self:
“As someone who has held elected office, there is nothing greater than asking someone personally for their vote. . ..Knocking doors and looking people in the face is the most powerful thing anyone running for office can do,”
Victoria looked at her city, noticed all the issues it faced including homelessness, childcare, and a lack of incentives for small business creation, and knew she needed to work toward improving them if she wanted her son to return home post college. She spent her first term on these improvements with much success. During her re-election campaign, she used her seat as a convening power to engage in conversations related to community issues, which often led to hearing unexpected perspectives. Victoria took this part of her job very seriously as she was acutely aware that “their hopes, wants, and dreams are in that seat”
It’s that focus on connectivity that made Victoria Farrar-Myers a force to be reckoned with on the public stage.. As her term comes to a close, and she steps into her next role as president of her rotary club, she offered the following advice to women who want to follow in her footsteps:
“Build a village around you to get yourself elected and you can’t lose track of that village - that village stays with you as long as you are in office.”