Dumfries Business Association to Interview Town Council Candidates
DUMFRIES, Va. — Two mayoral candidates for the Dumfries Town Council have agreed to sit in the hot seat.
Current Mayor Jerry Foreman is seeking reelection and is running against Vice-Mayor Willie Toney. Both have agreed to be interviewed by the newly elected Dumfries Businesses Association (DBA) President Chris Caldwell. This is the first event to be organized by a changing DBA that is now charging for membership and vows to become a larger voice in town business affairs.
“Before the last election the DBA did put on a debate between the council members that where running for office. The DBA feels that we need to concentrate on businesses in the Town of Dumfries and not be a political organization and in addition, the bylaws require the DBA to be nonpartisan,” Caldwell stated in an email to Town Councilman Derrick Wood, in reference to the DBA’s new interest in town politics.
Caldwell says each candidate running for office has been sent a personal invitation to meet with the DBA. Current Town Councilman Charles Brewer will also sit down with the DBA though he’s not up for reelection until 2016.
Vice-Mayor Toney is not scheduled to meet with the DBA until after the election.
Town Councilwoman Kristen Forrester has declined to meet citing scheduling conflicts. She asked to receive the questions in advance and reply to them via email, but the DBA has declined her request.
“I’m a little confused as to why I’m not able to answer the questions by email. It seems to me if the goal was to get information on our positions, it wouldn’t matter the vehicle for receiving the input,” said Forrester in an email to Potomac Local News.
Gwen Washington, Derrick Wood, and Helen Reynolds have yet to accept to the DBA’s interview request, according to Caldwell.
Potomac Local News Publisher Uriah Kiser will also set on the interview panel. The news organization, however, is not a member of the DBA.
The question and answer session is the first project under Caldwell who became the new head of the business organization earlier this year. Prior to him, the DBA sent out a regular news letter to members and held infrequent meetings.
Caldwell vows to reexamine the bylaws of the group and charge membership dues for new and current members, something the organization had not been doing recently.
Mayor Foreman is seen as an ally to the DBA.
“The Town government and the DBA in order to be successful need to have a strong partnership in advocating economic development for the Town of Dumfries,” said Foreman. “In order for the DBA to remain strong, DBA needs to police themselves as well, to ensure businesses are properly licensed and operations are in compliance.”
Candidate Neville also said the organization could be a resource to grow entrepreneurship in the town.
“I would like to commend Mr. Caldwell on all of his efforts to restructure the DBA. The DBA is a tremendous resource in the expansion of our economic development. I would like to reiterate my commitment to providing resources to grow our micro businesses and strengthening our businesses relationship with the town,” said Neville.
The interview sessions will not be open to the public.
*This story has been corrected. Cydny Neville has not agreed to be interviewed by the DBA.