A closer look at city councilWhy would you run for a seat on the Alexandria City Council or the Alexandria School Board? The Echo Press asked that question to the six candidates running for school board and the six candidates running for city council.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
Why would you run for a seat on the Alexandria City Council or the Alexandria School Board?
The Echo Press asked that question to the six candidates running for school board and the six candidates running for city council.
Stories containing their answers will be published in the next four issues of the paper.
First up, here’s a look at the candidates vying for the Alexandria City Council Ward 1 position. They include incumbent Cindy Bigger and challengers Virgil Batesole and Don Kleine.
•Virgil Batesole believes that his experience – working 24 years for an international company at almost every level of management and an Alexandria business owner for the past 33 years – will be extremely beneficial as the city of Alexandria continues to work through these tough economic times.
“The city of Alexandria has been uniquely successful in meeting the demands created by a population explosion and economic growth over the years. Now, however, not unlike the nation as a whole, the city is facing challenging times that will require a bold and fiscal approach to budget problem solving. This can be done with minimal impact on taxes and employment.”
Batesole has been interested in the many issues the city faces and has personally attended most of the city council and planning commission meetings since returning to Alexandria decades ago.
“My engineering and managerial background included overseeing major programs and million dollar contracts in both good times and bad. I would like to think that this experience will be extremely beneficial as the city continues to struggle through the current economic downturn. At Rockwell International, I always solicited and encouraged employees to comment on pending managerial decisions. All Alexandria residents, particularly those who live in Ward 1, can expect the same from me as a council member. I understand the importance of listening. Too often, elected officials forget to do just that. Running a good business or a good government, in my opinion, requires that kind of input.”
•Cindy Bigger, the Ward 1 incumbent, is running again because she said Alexandria is a great place to live, work and play and believes she can help make it even better.
“In early 2007, I was asked if I would consider serving on the city council and if I was, would I come in for an interview. I was, I did and I was appointed to fill out a four-year term. It has been a tremendous learning experience not only serving on the council but also serving on the Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the Runestone Community Center Advisory Board, the Alexandria Hotel and Hospitality Committee and the Alexandria Area Stewardship group. And in my first year, the budget committee.”
People have asked Bigger if she has competition and who she is running against. Bigger tells them, “I am not running against anyone. I am running for the position. I love representing Ward 1 on the Alexandria City Council. It is a ward that has hard working people, diverse families, well established and new neighborhoods, dynamic businesses and exciting amenities.”
“Do we get it right every time? No, but we work hard to get it right. I am a down-to-earth person who had an opportunity to represent a part of our vibrant city. It is a job I have found challenging and rewarding, even if frustrating at times. My goal is to try to make the best decisions for the citizens of our city by representing their wishes.”
•Don Kleine said that given the current economic issues faced by the city, he feels his background and experience, particularly in finance and banking, would be beneficial to the city of Alexandria while serving on the city council.
“Those benefits would include making sure we examine ways to efficiently use taxpayers’ funds for the community we serve and to make sure we are finding ways to solve problems and not spending energy looking to place blame. I do not have a personal agenda to bring to this position, but I do believe that there may be opportunities in creating more efficiency in our local government, while continuing to serve the people that pay the bill.”
Kleine is a proponent of letting the taxpayers decide whether they want to be obligated long term, before the city spends their money, for major capital improvements.
“We, that’s you and I, should agree on what we want and need as a community and then figure out how to move forward. I believe this process will make us a prouder, stronger and more united community.”