Washington residents file for mayor, council; three potential sites for new town post office

By John McCaslin and Luke Christopher

Rappahannock News staff

Nine residents of the town of Washington have filed papers to become candidates for the offices of mayor, treasurer, and town council, where five seats are up for grabs.

Meanwhile, the Town Council received an update from Mayor John Fox Sullivan on a possible future location for the town’s post office.

Frederic “Fred” Catlin, a current council member, is the lone candidate for the office of mayor and will run unopposed in the November 6 election. Similarly, Gail Swift has no opposition to become treasurer.

For town council, seven candidates have filed for the five seats: Jerry Goebel (current treasurer), Henry “Hank” Gorfein, Mary Ann Kuhn (current vice mayor), Katharine Leggett (current council), Patrick O’Connell (current council), Brad Schneider (current council) and Joe Whited.

Mayor Sullivan, having announced last month he won’t seek a third term, is pleased with the impressive field of hopefuls: “I’m delighted and I’m excited. It shows there’s a lot of interest in serving the town’s government, and shows how much energy and interest they each have in the town itself and its future for the people who live here.

“And it’s a good slate,” Sullivan added. “No matter who wins it will make for a strong government.”

Rappahannock County Registrar of Voters Kimberly McKiernan, meanwhile, said the town having moved its election day from May to November will be a win-win for everybody.

“For the candidates there is a better turnout in November, and it’s better for the town because [holding its election] separately was costly,” McKiernan said yesterday. It was the registrar who first pointed out that the town’s 2014 election had cost taxpayers $3,420.78 for 30 voters, or $114 per voter. As a result, the town council agreed to change the election date.

The switch also cuts down on the workload in McKiernan’s Gay Street office, which has two employees, given the June primaries closely followed the May elections.

Speaking of which, 499 Rappahannock County voters went to the Republican primary polls on Tuesday, as voters across the state selected Corey Stewart, the Prince William County board chair, as the nominee to challenge Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in November.

Unofficially, Rappahannock voters handed 227 votes (45 percent) to Virginia Del. Nick Freitas, 199 votes (40 percent) to Stewart, and 73 votes (15 percent) to E.W. Jackson.

As for a new town post office site, Mayor Sullivan said there are three possible locations: “One being here in town in [retiring] Dr. Martin’s office building, the second being on land that Jimmie DeBergh owns adjacent to the [Union] bank, where Mr. DeBergh would build a facility for them, and the third was on property that Jay Miller [owns], on 211.”

U.S. Postal Service real estate specialist Richard Hancock verified those possibilities Tuesday: “The Mayor is correct. No decision has been made. We are still analyzing the options. There is no timeline for a decision yet.”

“We’d like to keep it in the town for the obvious reasons and Hancock is fully aware of that,” said Sullivan.

Visit rappnews.com/video, or the newspaper’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/RappNewsPlus,to view unedited video of the council’s June 11 session.

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