Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Three vie for two council seats in Kensington

Mayor Peter Fosselman, the incumbent, runs unopposed for another two-year term

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Two challengers and one incumbent will vie for two open Town Council positions in Kensington.

Mayor Peter Fosselman will run unopposed for a second, two-year term.

‘‘I guess it sends a message that people are on board and supportive of the town’s direction,” he said.

Councilman Sean McMullen will run for re-election against John Thompson, a former council member who challenged McMullen in January’s special election, and Duane Rollins who is seeking his first term.

The election will be held 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 2 at Town Hall, 3710 Mitchell St.

Starting in July, the mayor will receive $12,000 annually, following a vote in March by the Town Council to raise the salary from $8,000. Council members receive $2,500 year.

McMullen, 42, was elected in January to finish the term of state Del. Alfred C. Carr Jr. (D-Dist. 18) who was appointed to complete the term of Del. Jane E. Lawton of Chevy Chase who died in November.

He said he hoped to continue the experience gained since January with a full two-year term.

‘‘I feel as if I’ve gotten up to speed on several of the issues and feel I am contributing now,” he said. ‘‘I really do feel as if I work well with this council and the mayor.”

Rollins, 44, has served on various town committees including one to review and suggest updates to the town code of ordinances. He co-owns two businesses in town with Fosselman. They are the restaurant Café 1894 and the Sweat Shop fitness center.

‘‘There’s some things in town that I’m concerned about, not all bad, but I’m concerned,” he said. His previous experience with local government comes from working for Binghamton, N.Y., where he worked on volunteer outreach and downtown revitalization projects.

Thompson, 56, served on the council about 14 years ago and has lived in Kensington since 1955. He has stayed active in the Kensington and Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Departments.

‘‘I have a track record of being involved in the town. I have a certain institutional knowledge that transcends a generation or two,” he said. ‘‘The reason I want to get back involved in the council, is because it’s a small town but it continues to grow. We have new citizens in town ... and they want to see a vibrant and effective town government, which I think we have.”

Each candidate said that the Kensington Sector Plan, a 20-year growth plan for a specific area, is one of the main reasons to be involved in town government now.

‘‘Changes in the sector plan review, to me, that looms largest because that’s the only opportunity to really shape the future of the town in a constructive fashion,” Thompson said.

McMullen said that he hoped to continue to work on the sector plan because of the positive effect it could have on the town’s commercial center.

Rollins said the sector plan was important, but that the town could pursue state grants to redo facades and buildings in Kensington’s commercial district, centered along Howard and Knowles avenues.

‘‘We have to make sure the central business district is vital and continues to have a draw for not only people in the community, but people who bring money into the community,” he said.