City Council Candidate Questionnaire: Kerry Devine
Fredericksburg City Councilor Kerry Devine is running unopposed for re-election in the May 3, 2016, general election, which also includes races for mayor, a second at-large city council seat, and two school board members.
Fredericksburg Today asked Devine to respond to a brief candidate questionnaire. Her unedited answers follow.
Why are your running for city council?
I am running for the At-Large City Council seat because I love Fredericksburg and all it has to offer, as well as all of its potential. I have served on council since 2004 and have been able to be a part of so many positive changes in our city. I am proud that during my years on Council we completed two schools, built additions to one and are renovating another. We built the city’s first public swimming pool, the Dixon Park fields, the downtown parking deck, a new police station and courthouse, as well as the Rappahannock Heritage Trail and the VCR Trail. We have a council that works together to accomplish what this city needs. I look forward to continuing that service to our community. Fredericksburg is a beautiful place to live and yet, like any community, it has its challenges.
What do you believe are the five most pressing issues facing the city, and what do you propose to do about these issues? Please limit your response to 100 words per issue.
Growth, Change and Historic Character
Growth in this region is inevitable. We are watching the surrounding counties explode with new neighborhoods and the subsequent pressures on schools, streets, and other infrastructure. The city is experiencing similar pressures within its 10 square miles – not a lot of room to spread out. The challenge is to grow and redevelop smartly while maintaining our historic character. Our history is our nation’s history – we must be good stewards of what makes us unique. Keeping Fredericksburg an accessible place to experience our nation’s history firsthand, surrounded by our beautiful businesses and neighborhoods while meeting the needs of the future is no easy task.
Attracting both small businesses to enhance our existing commercial areas throughout the city and larger companies to inhabit our highway corridors will mean that more of our residents can realize the dream of both living and working within our city limits. More of our children can find professional opportunities nearby. Healthy and robust economic development can and should occur in the few tracts of undeveloped land in the city. We need to plan for the necessary infrastructure to attract companies that will provide jobs that can keep more of our residents off of traffic-filled highways and able to devote more time to their families and community.
Our beautiful, diverse neighborhoods have such great character and we need to maintain that. We need to keep our neighborhoods attractive and safe, and avoid encroachment in residential areas. As our city grows with new neighborhoods we need to continue to maintain our more established areas, whether it be street lighting, street maintenance or increased police monitoring.
Quality of Life
Our community is able to take pride in educational and recreational opportunities, as well as parking facilities for downtown businesses and visitors. We need to continue those efforts with additional pedestrian connectivity for more neighborhoods, the Riverfront Park to serve as a gathering place and economic catalyst for our city, additional parking options for downtown, and a Performing Arts Center to showcase local and international talent and offer an additional cultural option for residents and visitors alike. When our trails opened residents saw the immediate value of increased community space – not a day goes by that residents and visitors aren’t making new connections and enjoying the natural beauty of our fall-line city. Realizing additional amenities that expand our sense of community can only benefit every resident and visitor to our beloved city.
As we grow, so will the needs of our school system. As new neighborhoods and developments are completed, the pressure on our small system increases. We have expanded our current schools to their limits which means that new facilities may be necessary. We need to be smart about funding curriculum, technology, and vocational programs that will make a true difference in student achievement and behavior. We need to make sure our young people are ready for life after high school, whether it be a four year college, community college, the military, or joining the workforce. As a teacher at our middle school I want to make sure our kids are ready to be productive members of our community.
I grew up one of ten children in Rockville Centre, NY – a beautiful community similar in population to Fredericksburg. I came to Virginia to attend Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington), married shortly after graduation, and built my life here. I have four wonderful children that were raised here, attended city schools, and have all now graduated from Virginia universities. My eldest son and his wife blessed me with a beautiful granddaughter in March.
I am a teacher at Walker-Grant Middle School in addition to serving on City Council. I also serve on the board of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, the Arts Commission, the Riverfront Taskforce, the Town and Gown (UMW) Commission, and the Clean and Green Commission. I volunteer with Empowerhouse, a local domestic violence organization. Past service includes being on the founding board of the Friends of the Rappahannock, PTA’s, and a coach for many years through our Parks and Recreation.
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