Matt Kelly is running for re-election to represent Ward 3 in Fredericksburg, a city he’s known and served for a long time.
A graduate of Mary Washington College, Kelly has served on several boards and commissions such as the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Historic Preservation Working Group, and the Local Emergency Planning Committee, just to name a few.
Potomac Local News asked him some questions regarding his goals for Fredericksburg and the challenges to come.
For more information, Kelly has a Facebook page for his campaign.
Kelly will be on the ballot for Election Day on May 19. The city is allowing voters to cast their ballots by mail.
What issue in the City of Fredericksburg has the highest priority for you? If re-elected as a member of the Town Council what steps would you take to make any needed changes?
As the city grows it must maintain its unique small-town historic character. Our unique character is what brings visitors to the ‘Burg and makes us attractive to business development. To lose that unique character will make us just another exit on the I-95 corridor, and the consequences would be catastrophic.
The first step, which is currently in the process through the rewrite of the city’s Historic Preservation Plan and ARB guidelines, is to define our preservation goals. We need to be proactive in dealing with the development community.
What do you believe are the most important needs for business and economic development in Fredericksburg?
Better coordination between the city and the development community [is needed]. The business/development community is driven by current market forces that do not always align with the city’s long term development goals. The city needs to work with the development community to coordinate efforts to secure development that diversifies our tax base and brings opportunities that are compatible with the city’s unique character. This will mean the city will have to provide incentives, work on zoning, etc. to ensure development in line with city goals. We have to stop taking development as it comes.
What are some other concerns in Fredericksburg that have caught your attention? Any that may have caught you by surprise?
The city seems to find itself in a lot of cases reacting to development as opposed to directing it. Under the current fiscal issues that have now been compounded by COVID-19, I am concerned that we will make decisions based on immediate short term gain as opposed to keeping our focus on the long-term goal of maintaining what makes Fredericksburg unique.
Being a city in Virginia with all the restrictions and obligations we have to meet locally to support schools, public safety, etc. we need to play to our strength which is our uniqueness which will bring the revenue we need to continue to provide a good quality of life for residents.
There are three candidates on the ballot for the two Council members needed to be elected. Please describe your particular qualifications to serve as a Council member.
I do not just support or talk about plans for Fredericksburg. I work hard, try to build consensus, engage the community, and take advantage of the expertise in the ‘Burg to help make plans a reality. I’ve been involved in building schools, enhancing the region’s transportation grid, and moving forward on environmental and housing initiatives. If you look at those who have endorsed my re-election, they do not represent one view or interest but a diversity of backgrounds. Being able to work with people of different views, expertise, and interests to get things done is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned since serving on City Council.
What are some special features of Fredericksburg that make it a good place to live?
Fredericksburg is a unique small historic town in a growing urbanized area on one of the most traveled corridors in the country. That is what brings people here to live and visit. Adding trails, the river easement, the arts, and the university provides a great quality of life for residents.
Here are the candidates as listed on the Virginia Department of Elections website:
Anne G. Little
Mary Katherine Greenlaw (incumbent)
City Council At-large
Jon A. Gerlach
Matthew J. Kelly (incumbent)
Kerry P. Devine (incumbent)
(no website provided)
School Board At-large
Jannan W. Holmes (incumbent)
Jarvis E. Bailey (incumbent)
(no website provided)