Pro­files of Town of Washington can­di­dates

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE -

Be­low are edited pro­files of 2018 can­di­dates for the Town of Washington government. Two can­di­dates — Fred­eric F. Catlin for Mayor and Gail K. Swift for Trea­surer — are running un­op­posed. Seven ad­di­tional can­di­dates are seek­ing to fill five open seats on the Town Coun­cil. Fred­eric F. “Fred” Catlin OF­FICE OF MAYOR

Fred Catlin has lived in Washington for five years, serv­ing as Chair of the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and on Town Coun­cil. He is owner of and a teacher at Albe­marle Montes­sori Chil­dren’s Com­mu­nity. He’s been in the ed­u­ca­tion field for forty years.

Why do you want to serve as mayor?

I’ve been com­mit­ted to pub­lic ser­vice all my life. I have the strate­gic vi­sion, lead­er­ship skills and ex­pe­ri­ence, and en­ergy to help Washington sus­tain its unique char­ac­ter among Amer­i­can small towns, em­brac­ing its his­tory while help­ing guide a thought­ful plan for its fu­ture.

What do you hope to ac­com­plish dur­ing your term?

The town is at a unique point in its his­tory — one in which we could seize on op­por­tu­ni­ties that could ben­e­fit the town, sus­tain its unique na­ture, and im­prove the qual­ity of life for res­i­dents.

What is the most ur­gent is­sue(s) facing the town?

Bal­anc­ing preser­va­tion and in­creas­ing vi­brancy, which in­volves three facets: pro­vid­ing nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture to main­tain qual­ity of life, build­ing con­sen­sus through thought­ful study and growth plan­ning, and pre­serv­ing the town’s beauty and unique char­ac­ter as a na­tional trea­sure.

What in your back­ground helps ad­dress that?

My ex­pe­ri­ence has pro­vided me with an un­der­stand­ing of the town, its strengths and chal­lenges, its gov­er­nance, and its fu­ture.

Gail K. Swift OF­FICE OF TREA­SURER

Gail Swift re­cently re­tired from a ca­reer in hospi­tal­ity. She has lived in the town since 2011, is a mem­ber of the Town Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, chairs the Town Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Fi­nance Task Force, and is a mem­ber of the Town In­fra­struc­ture Task Force. She was ap­pointed to the County Eco­nomic Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Com­mit­tee in 2007 while re­sid­ing in Sper­ryville.

Why do you want to serve as trea­surer?

To give back to the com­mu­nity I live in. I be­lieve my ex­pe­ri­ence with manag­ing large bud­gets will con­tinue to move the Town for­ward in a pos­i­tive way.

What do you hope to ac­com­plish dur­ing your term?

In ad­di­tion to ac­com­plish­ing some cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture work, I hope to en­sure that we have a strong enough in­fra­struc­ture con­tin­gency fund for other large items.

What is the most ur­gent is­sue(s) facing the town?

Fore­most on the list for the Town is a sec­ond well. The task forces men­tioned above are as­sist­ing the Town Coun­cil with com­pil­ing a list of other vi­tal is­sues and pre­par­ing rec­om­men­da­tions for the Town Coun­cil to con­sider.

What in your back­ground would help ad­dress that?

I have man­aged six fig­ure bud­gets, in­clud­ing re­view­ing and ne­go­ti­at­ing con­tracts with ven­dors and clients.

J.R. “Jerry” Goebel, Jr. TOWN COUN­CIL

Jerry has lived in town with his wife Teri for 20 years. He was ap­pointed to the Coun­cil in 2001 and elected Trea­surer in 2002, a po­si­tion he’s held for 16 years. He drives a Rap­pa­han­nock County Pub­lic Schools bus. In a pre­vi­ous life, he worked for First Vir­ginia Bank & BB&T for 29 years.

Why do you want to serve on the coun­cil?

I feel it is im­por­tant, es­pe­cially with so many new faces running, to be there to of­fer in­sight and his­tory.

What do you hope to ac­com­plish dur­ing your term?

I’d like to see the town get a new back-up well on­line. With fewer than 200 peo­ple, I think we must keep the government small, and demon­strate fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity.

What is the most ur­gent is­sue(s) facing the town?

Be­sides a new back-up well, main­tain­ing the town’s cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture, mainly the wa­ter sys­tem and the waste­water sys­tem.

What in your back­ground would help ad­dress that?

My ex­pe­ri­ence as a banker and my years of ser­vice as Trea­surer on the Town Coun­cil have al­lowed me to stay fo­cused on fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. I’ve been in­volved with many in­fra­struc­ture projects, in­clud­ing the con­struc­tion of the waste­water sys­tem, new reser­voir, and the pur­chase and sub­se­quent sell­ing of Avon Hall, in ad­di­tion to sell­ing four acres of town prop­erty to the county for its ex­pan­sion.

Henry R. “Hank” Gor­fein TOWN COUN­CIL

Hank Gor­fein, age 80 on Election Day and in his words “still of sound mind and body.” He was a tenured mem­ber of in­struc­tional staff at Queens Col­lege, New York City. He was a tech­ni­cal direc­tor in the pro­fes­sional the­atre for 28 years. He re­cently moved into the Town of Washington from Har­ris Hol­low, one mile out­side the town, where he had lived for more than 42 years. He owned and op­er­ated Rush River Vine­yards for 18 years.

Why do you want to serve on the coun­cil?

I have al­ways en­cour­aged oth­ers to par­tic­i­pate in per­form­ing civic du­ties. Now it is my time to step up to the plate and do what I have al­ways en­cour­aged oth­ers to do.

What do you hope to ac­com­plish dur­ing your term?

I would like to help in start­ing a re­vi­tal­iza­tion of the town. When I move here 43 years ago the town pop­u­la­tion was dou­ble, with young peo­ple and chil­dren. The town needs to pro­mote and sup­port small busi­ness.

What is the most ur­gent is­sue(s) facing the town?

Get­ting the post of­fice and per­haps the li­brary back in town. Washington is the county seat and is where th­ese in­sti­tu­tions be­long.

What in your back­ground would help ad­dress that?

I was very suc­cess­ful in the the­atre. How­ever I al­ways said I was only as good as my help. That’s why I am the old guy seek­ing new ideas. I can meet dead­lines, read plans and write specs. I am street smart, I have a good sense of hu­mor and I lis­ten.

TOWN COUN­CIL

Mary Ann Kuhn, pro­pri­etor of Mid­dle­ton Inn, has been a town res­i­dent since 1994, leav­ing be­hind a jour­nal­ism ca­reer in Washington, D.C. She was ap­pointed to the Town’s Plan­ning Com­mis­sion in 2005 and elected to the Town Coun­cil in 2010, even­tu­ally be­com­ing vice-mayor. She was s co-chair of the Avon Hall Task Force and re­designed the town web­site. She serves on two town task forces, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and tourism. She’s been edi­tor of the Rap­pa­han­nock News, was vice pres­i­dent of the Rap­pa­han­nock His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, vice pres­i­dent of RAWL, trea­surer of Rap­pCats, and on the board of RAAC and Friends of the Li­brary.

Why do you want to serve on the coun­cil?

Serv­ing on coun­cil is a way for me to give back to the com­mu­nity that has sup­ported and en­cour­aged me over the past 24 years. I care deeply about our town and would like to help shape its fu­ture.

What do you hope to ac­com­plish dur­ing your term?

See­ing that the Post Of­fice is kept in town, that the Coun­try Cafe and its cus­tomers re­main here, that va­cant build­ings are func­tion­ing as new busi­nesses, that more res­i­dents and fam­i­lies move in be­cause of the town's hous­ing plan, that Pied­mont Av­enue is brought into town, that the town expands its bound­aries min­i­mally to al­low for more hous­ing, that the meals and lodg­ing tax is raised, that the town’s in­fra­struc­ture is im­proved, that the town’s cof­fers run­neth over be­cause of tourism dol­lars.

What is the most ur­gent is­sue(s) facing the town?

Pre­serv­ing the soul of the town, how to walk it through its grow­ing stages with­out los­ing its his­toric char­ac­ter and charm and sense of small­ness.

What in your back­ground would help ad­dress that?

I learned from a wise woman that be­fore I tack­led Mid­dle­ton Inn that I should wait a few months and “feel the soul of your place.” I have car­ried that with me to this day. We can look at all our bor­ders to see what de­vel­op­ment has done to other towns. Yes we want the town to be more vi­brant with more res­i­dents and fam­i­lies, but we have to take small steps or we may re­gret los­ing for­ever what brought us here in the first place.

Katharine Weld “Kat” Leggett TOWN COUN­CIL

Ar­riv­ing 50 years ago and rais­ing three chil­dren here, Leggett re­mains in love with Washington. She was elected to Town Coun­cil two years ago, hav­ing been ap­pointed one year be­fore that. She has also served on the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and Board of Zon­ing Ap­peals.

Why do you want to serve on the coun­cil?

I have learned how im­por­tant com­mu­nity in­volve­ment is to mov­ing for­ward in pre­serv­ing this lovely his­toric place and at the same time mak­ing it liv­able for the 21st cen­tury.

What do you hope to ac­com­plish dur­ing your term?

Some of the more ur­gent is­sues facing the town are the need for homes that are af­ford­able for the young and el­derly, how to keep up with and pro­vide for growth, in­clud­ing up­dat­ing our wa­ter and sewer systems and the town bud­get.

What is the most ur­gent is­sue(s) facing the town?

One of the items on my agenda is for the Town Coun­cil to work more closely with the county on such is­sues as growth, tourism, and other con­cerns.

Pa­trick J. O’Con­nell TOWN COUN­CIL

O’Con­nell, a res­i­dent of the area for fifty years and busi­ness owner in Lit­tle Washington for forty years, has served as a mem­ber of the ar­chi­tec­tural re­view board for twenty years and was chair­man for twelve. This De­cem­ber marks his ninth year serv­ing on the Town Coun­cil. He is a tire­less sup­porter of the beau­ti­ful town and county we call home.

Why do you want to serve on the coun­cil?

I have en­joyed serv­ing on the coun­cil for the last 9 years. As the largest em­ployer in the county with a half cen­tury of com­mu­nity in­volve­ment, I feel that I am able to con­trib­ute a sin­gu­larly unique per­spec­tive to the coun­cil.

What do you hope to ac­com­plish dur­ing your term?

Much progress has been made dur­ing the last four years and I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing the ex­cel­lent work of our cur­rent mayor and coun­cil. Forg­ing an al­liance with town res­i­dents and lo­cal busi­ness own­ers is some­thing I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to do. We have made great strides in boost­ing tourism through­out the county. I en­joy col­lab­o­ra­tion with mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial out­comes.

What is the most ur­gent is­sue(s) facing the town?

Cu­ri­ously, the town of Washington can be seen as a mi­cro­cosm for what is tak­ing place in the larger po­lit­i­cal arena of Big Washington. There is some­times an un­nec­es­sary and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive di­vi­sive­ness which pre­vents solv­ing prob­lems quickly and ami­ably. For­tu­nately this sit­u­a­tion has greatly im­proved dur­ing the ten­ure of our cur­rent mayor and coun­cil.

What in your back­ground would help ad­dress that?

Running a mul­ti­fac­eted busi­ness with a di­verse work­force and a de­mand­ing clien­tele has pro­vided a wealth of in­sight into cre­at­ing a cul­ture of trust and col­lab­o­ra­tion. In my view, suc­cess­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the key to solv­ing all prob­lems.

Bradley C. Sch­nei­der TOWN COUN­CIL

Brad Sch­nei­der, 62, is a semi re­tired en­vi­ron­men­tal engi­neer work­ing as an in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal and re­new­able en­ergy con­sul­tant and de­vel­oper. He has a de­gree in en­vi­ron­men­tal en­gi­neer­ing from Nor­wich Univer­sity and has worked in the en­ergy and en­vi­ron­men­tal in­dus­try for 40 years. Brad has lived in the Town of Washington for 15 years. He has served on the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and Board of Zon­ing Ap­peals.

Why do you want to serve on the coun­cil?

I joined the Town Coun­cil with the in­ter­est of help­ing to guide the town on var­i­ous is­sues and into the fu­ture, as well as pre­serv­ing its char­ac­ter, charm and his­tory. This means wrestling with pos­si­ble so­lu­tions to each in­di­vid­ual and in­ter­twined is­sue. Rap­pa­han­nock is much like Ver­mont where I grew up and I want to pre­serve that, while at the same time help­ing to see the area grow and evolve.

What do you hope to ac­com­plish dur­ing your term?

I would like to im­prove the op­er­a­tions of the town’s wa­ter and waste­water sys­tem, im­prov­ing ef­fi­ciency while low­er­ing op­er­at­ing costs. I would also like to see some in­creases in the town’s

pop­u­la­tion and num­ber of houses with­out ad­versely im­pact­ing its char­ac­ter.

What is the most ur­gent is­sue(s) facing the town?

It’s num­ber of res­i­dents. We need to have a res­i­den­tial pop­u­la­tion that is here full time, ac­tive in the com­mu­nity and con­tribut­ing to its vi­tal­ity. The bulk of the town’s in­come is from meals and lodg­ing tax, so in­creas­ing busi­nesses is im­por­tant, but not at the ex­pense of alien­at­ing res­i­dents. An­other im­por­tant is­sue is the town’s in­fra­struc­ture, wa­ter and waste­water systems.

What in your back­ground would help ad­dress that?

As an en­vi­ron­men­tal engi­neer I have a wide breadth of knowl­edge and prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence in how to make im­prove­ments. I feel I bring a pa­tient over­sight, ac­knowl­edg­ing that some­times changes have to be made that are not pop­u­lar, but once im­ple­mented are ac­knowl­edged as good. I can stand up and say no to a change that I feel would be detri­men­tal in the long term.

Joseph J. Whited TOWN COUN­CIL

Joe Whited, 39, is a con­sul­tant with the Depart­ment of De­fense. A Navy com­bat vet­eran who de­ployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, he is a for­mer U.S. con­gres­sional staffer, and se­nior in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer with the De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency. He at­tended Ge­orge­town Univer­sity and the Naval War Col­lege. He has lived in the town of Washington since 2013.

Why do you want to serve on the coun­cil?

I grew up in a small town and con­sider my­self lucky to have been able to find my way back to a small town and ru­ral com­mu­nity. I want to see that way of life pre­served. I also want to make sure we are pre­pared for the fu­ture, find­ing new ways to en­cour­age both new busi­ness and res­i­dents to join our com­mu­nity.

What do you hope to ac­com­plish dur­ing your term?

The suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion of an agree­ment with the Post Of­fice has to be a pri­or­ity. I also want to see us mod­ern­ize the town bu­reau­cracy; and en­sure we have the tools to quickly and ef­fi­ciently con­tact ev­ery­one in event of emer­gency, and share ba­sic in­for­ma­tion about events, town meet­ings, etc.

What is the most ur­gent is­sue(s) facing the town?

Drilling a new well for the town, con­tin­u­ing to work with the Post Of­fice on a new lo­ca­tion, mod­ern­iz­ing our wa­ter and sewer man­age­ment fa­cil­i­ties, and mak­ing town of­fices more ac­ces­si­ble.

What in your back­ground would help ad­dress that?

Over the course of my ser­vice in the mil­i­tary, in government, and on Capi­tol Hill I have built a rep­u­ta­tion for bring­ing folks to­gether and build­ing con­sen­sus. Con­sen­sus build­ing is needed in our government, par­tic­u­larly in th­ese di­vi­sive times, and will be es­sen­tial as we pre­serve our past and pre­pare for the fu­ture.

PHO­TOS BY JOHN MCCASLIN (O’CON­NELL, LEGETT COUR­TESY PHO­TOS)

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