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Girvan sets sights on mayor's office
Girvan to run for mayor; Tomzak, Devine to seek re-election May 6

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Date published: 1/16/2008

BY EMILY BATTLE

City Councilwoman Debby Girvan announced yesterday that she is running for mayor. Her only known potential opponent--current Mayor Tom Tomzak--said he doesn't think it's appropriate for him to focus on this spring's elections while the city council wrestles with whether to approve plans for a Kalahari resort in Celebrate Virginia.

The two at-large seats on the council, as well as the mayor's seat, are up for election May 6. The deadline to file for candidacy is March 4.

Vice Mayor Kerry Devine, who holds the other at-large seat, also said yesterday that she plans to run for another term.

Girvan announced her mayoral candidacy via e-mail yesterday afternoon.

She said she is just beginning to circulate her candidacy petitions, but "because I'm vacating an at-large seat, I wanted to [announce] earlier."

Girvan, 44, said she thinks she has the time available to do the job well. "This job takes a lot of time to do well," she said. "We're not just filling potholes here. ... We have a lot of growth issues, a lot of development issues. We're going to really have to pay close attention."

Girvan worked for 13 years as an administrator for Boston University. She now does volunteer work as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Cal Ripken, Sr., Foundation, as a Brownie troop leader and with other city groups.

Tomzak, 60, is widely expected to seek another term, but when asked about his intentions yesterday, he submitted a statement that said, "I have decided to put any political consideration aside for the time being in order to give [the Kalahari incentives package] the attention that it deserves."

"I believe the residents of Fredericksburg expect me as their mayor to give my full attention at the time to the deliberation over the Kalahari incentives package because the city's economic future hinges in large part on it," Tomzak wrote in his statement.

He is the director of clinical services for the Rappahannock Area Health District.

Devine, 45, said she thinks the current council has worked well together.

"There's been a lot of thoughtful deliberation," she said. "More often than not, we've come to a 7-0 vote on issues, but it's been tough to get there."

Devine, a teacher at Walker Grant Middle School, said she thinks the council's been able to accomplish a lot of things that have been on the city's to-do list for a long time over the past four years. She mentioned the pool at Dixon Park, the river easement, and work toward building a riverfront park as examples.

Over the next four years, she thinks planning a new courthouse, moving forward with the JumpStart redevelopment plan and improving the downtown will be areas for the council to focus on.

Devine did say that she doesn't plan to accept campaign contributions above $100. "I don't want anyone to believe I'm beholden to any groups. It's not really about the fundraising, it's about the communication."

Emily Battle: 540/374-5413
Email: ebattle@freelancestar.com