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Greenlaw, Kelly, Devine win Fredericksburg elections

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Fredericksburg elected Mary Katherine Greenlaw as its next mayor yesterday.

Greenlaw won the election with 52 percent, beating her opponents, City Councilman Fred Howe III with 34 percent Associate Pastor Matt Paxson with 14 percent.

“I’m delighted and very grateful to the citizens of Fredericksburg and I look forward to serving them well,” Greenlaw said after the results were announced.

Both Paxson and Howe called Greenlaw to congratulate her after the race.

In victory, she became the first elected women mayor in the city.

There were 2,826 votes cast in the election, about 19 percent of the city’s registered voters.

In the at-large council race, incumbent City Councilwoman Kerry Devine kept her seat, capturing 1,400 votes and former City Councilman Matt Kelly won  with 1,485 votes. They defeated planning commissioner Roy McAfee and newcomer Paul Quinn.

Greenlaw won all but one precinct. Howe won Ward 3—the ward he has represented on the City Council for two years—by five votes.

Greenlaw, 72, has been on the City Council for four years and has recently served as the Vice Mayor. Before that, she was on the planning commission for eight years.

Throughout her campaign, she said she would “build consensus” in the city and emphasized the city’s “very sound financial position.”

Greenlaw said she thinks the voters belive in the same things she does—strong neighborhoods, the arts community and enhancing the city’s tourism and economic development.

She said she also heard similar views to hers about the city’s plans for a new courthouse, while she campaigned. She was on the winning side of a 4-3 vote to build the new courthouse.

Greenlaw works as a commercial real estate broker for Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.

In the past, she has also worked as a teacher and a farmer in Stafford County with her husband, Wilson.

The three candidates spent the day greeting voters at the city’s five polling places.

The biggest turn out came from precinct 201, which is at the Dorothy Hart Community Center. A total of 900 voters cast their ballots there yesterday.

The precinct with the second highest amount of voters was Walker-Grant Middle School, which drew 776 voters.

The candidates bounced from site to site throughout the day.

In the morning they fought rainshowers but as they day wore on, the sun beat down and many were ready to get out of the heat by the time the polls closed at 7 p.m.

Greenlaw celebrated her victory at her house on Fauquier Street with friends, family and supporters of her campaign.

Howe had a gathering at Brock’s Riverside Grill for his supporters and Paxson spent time with friends and family.

Outgoing Mayor Tom Tomzak, who supported Greenlaw in the race, spent a quiet night at home with his wife.

He was pleased with the outcome of the election.

“I think  Fredericksburg won,” he said in an interview after the results were announced. “We still have excellent people on the council and that’s good for the city of Fredericksburg and I think we have a great future.”

Greenlaw will be sworn in as the mayor on July 2.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413

Kelly, Devine sweep at-large council seats


Kerry Devine and Matt Kelly won two at-large Fredericksburg City Council seats in Tuesday’s election.

Kelly won 32 percent of the vote, with 1,485 votes. Devine was next with 1,400 votes, or 30 percent.

Roy McAfee had 909 votes, 20 percent, and Paul Quinn got 804 votes, 17 percent.

Devine has been a City Council member for eight years, and was a city School Board member for eight years before that.

Kelly represented Ward 3 on City Council from 2002 to 2010, when he did not run for re-election.

“I’m very pleased to return to continue the good work that the council’s been doing,” Devine said Tuesday evening in a telephone interview. “I’m very pleased that those who came out chose to vote for me, and I certainly wish more people had turned out to vote, because the turnout was not as hoped.”

Devine is in the majority of council in favoring a plan to build a new city courthouse, a prominent issue in this spring’s races for council and for mayor.

Kelly wants the courthouse project scaled back.

Devine said she sees the election results as a public statement that city voters are content with the courthouse decisions made by the current council.

“I truly think that the fact that soon-to-be Mayor Greenlaw won fairly handily is a sort of public comment on that,” Devine said. “That certainly was one of the big divisive issues. I think the citizens have expressed in their votes the desire to not turn back time.”

Kelly, however, said he sees it differently.

He said current council members Bea Paolucci and Brad Ellis have expressed concerns about the courthouse project, and councilman Fred Howe, who lost Tuesday’s mayor’s race, retains his council seat. With the addition of Kelly, that makes four council members with, at the least, reservations about the project, he said.

Kelly said he hopes city staff will recognize that before moving forward with the project.

“I think that makes a change in the dynamic. I hope that would be realized,” Kelly said.

Returning to council after some years away, Kelly said he plans to promote two items: advancing the city’s economic development and tourism plans, and working regionally on a variety of issues.

Economic development, courthouse needs and other items are things that could be shared across the region, Kelly said.

Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028