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City Council Candidate Richard Friesner

By Susan Larson

Richard Friesner faces Tim Duffy for the Ward 3 City Council seat in the Tuesday, May 6, 2014, Fredericksburg General Election.

Each candidate was invited to answer the same three questions from Fredericksburg.Today.  Answers from Richard Friesner follow.  (Tim Duffy’s answers are published here.)

1 – What is your educational background?  Degrees earned and from where?

I have earned a BS and MS in Environmental Science from the University of Kansas.  I’m in the process of completing a PhD in Environmental Science and Public Policy at George Mason University.

2 – What is your current occupation?

I currently am the director of the Washington Scholars Program and Special Partnerships, and the program director of the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment in the Office of Admissions at George Mason University.  Previously, I ran an environmental consulting office for a national company and understand the pressures and opportunities of running a business.  In these positions I have managed small and large groups of professionals and students of varied backgrounds, and budgets up to $2 million annually.

3 – What do you believe are the two or three most important issues currently facing Fredericksburg and how do you propose solving them?  It’s best to keep your response to a maximum of 600 words for online reading.

Economic Development

First and foremost, Fredericksburg should not only be a great place to live, but also to work.  I recognize the economic value and potential of the Route 3 west, Route 1 south and the Lafayette Boulevard corridors in addition to our downtown to the City and Ward 3.  I think it is important for Fredericksburg to serve as the home base for small, medium and large businesses that provide a wide variety of employment opportunities and services for City residents.  The City’s budget, while larger, is no different that my family’s budget or that of the organizations I have worked for.  Strategically spending taxpayer money to provide the most benefit for the City will be my goal as a member of the City Council.

As a member of City Council I will:

Work to ensure that policies, procedures, and permitting process in the City government are not unnecessarily cumbersome for those looking to start new businesses or relocate businesses to the City.
Educate myself on, and advocate for business development support services in the City and region.
Be a good steward of the taxpayer’s money.
Treat each budget decision with the same care and precision that I treat my own family’s budget.

Create Economic and Tourism Marketing Initiatives

Through public/private partnerships, commercial districts, and TIFs-not real estate tax increases.

Initiate Responsible Economic Growth

I will take initiative, personally engage with the Chamber of Commerce, Regional Alliance and the Economic Development Authority and advocate for business development within the city.

Education and Safety

The wellbeing of my family, neighbors, and fellow citizens of Fredericksburg is my highest priority.  I believe that the City Council must work collaboratively with police, fire, Sheriff, emergency medical, and other City staff to keep our community safe.  In the same regard, our children are our City’s future and we must support their education and our school system’s staff in the important work they do.

As a member of City Council I will:

Work collaboratively with safety personnel to help our City be the safest it can be.
Provide our police, fire, and other safety personnel with the resources they need to be effective and efficient.
Support our elected School Board and staff in our schools to provide a high quality education for our children that rivals any in the region.
Promote open communication and collaboration with the University of Mary Washington, which owns property in and adjacent to Ward 3.
Using the revenue generated through the expanded tax base (described above) to fund our education system and to update and maintain neighborhoods and infrastructure within the city.
Be an advocate for healthy choices.

Accountability and Accessibility

As a manager I am a huge proponent of accountability and accessibility.  My work on the City Council will be no different.  I will continue to be a visible and active citizen within Ward 3 and the City.

As a member of City Council I will:

Be accessible via in person discussions, phone calls, email, facebook, and twitter to better communicate with and hear from City residents.
Strive to respond to all inquiries and requests within 48-hours.
Work collaboratively with all City boards and commissions and propose joint work sessions where appropriate.
Work with other councilors to thank all our neighbors that serve the City through boards/commissions and volunteer service.
Take the City Council to the people by hosting town hall meetings in Ward 3 twice a year to hear from people and talk about matters before the City Council.
Use the internet and social media to keep my constituents informed and solicit their input.
I will explain the rationale for my vote for every major decision before the City Council.

Editor’s Note:  All answers appear unedited.  Answers from the other candidates are available at Fredericksburg General Election 2014.

Thank you for reading.  Follow Fredericksburg.Today on Facebook and Twitter, too.

 

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