Dumfries Meets Candidates Over Lunch
DUMFRIES, Va. — The candidates for Dumfries Town Council met for lunch Friday.
During a special luncheon for senior citizens two of the three candidates vying for two open seats on the Town Council – incumbent Gwenn Washington and write-in candidate Derrick Wood—addressed the crowd.
Washington took heat from former council member Dorothea Barr over the governing board’s decision to stop televising work session meetings of the Town Council. Barr said she was concerned residents who could not attend regular work session would not understand the
issues, or why council members vote for or against an issue, once it made it to a regular televised Council meetings.
“I’m asking you to trust the council and the mayor so we can come up with more productive meetings for the town… But if [the no televised policy] doesn’t, we are not opposed to revisit this issue,” said Washington.
Council members maintain by not televising work sessions meetings can be more productive, council members are more willing to work through an
issues when cameras are off, and there is less infighting – something the Council has become known for in recent years.
Washington said the Town needs to work with more local, state, and federal officials to apply for grants to help improve and beautify the town. An effort to increase civic participation, especially from students at Dumfries Elementary School where she is on staff, and a focus on public safety would be top priorities in a new council term.
Wood was asked no questions after his address, but made it clear why he was running to be on the council.
“I think it a shame the name of our district was changed because people didn’t want to be associated with Dumfries,” said Wood.
Last year, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors changed the magisterial district Dumfries lies in from “Dumfries” to the Potomac Magisterial District. Wood said it was a blow to Virginia’s oldest town.
Wood arrived in Dumfries in 2001 after spending eight years in the Marine Corps. After watching development in the nearby Woodbridge in Prince William County largely pass by the incorporated town, he wanted to make changes, he said.
Wood operates a mobile barbeque catering company which serves locations in and around Dumfries.
Incumbent Louis Perino is also a write-in candidate for the Town Council. He was out of town and was unable to attend Friday’s luncheon.
Several changes on the Town Council have led this election. Now looking for a permanent seat on the council, Washington was appointed last year to fill former council member and Vice Mayor Nancy West’s seat following the death of Mayor Fred Yohey.
West served until she lost a special May 2012 election to council member Jerry Foreman.
Louis Perino was later appointed to serve on the council to fill an open seat, and following the resignation of Councilwoman Michelle Jurgensen, Washington was retained by the council upon to fill that seat.