Kensington elects new mayor, council member

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Two newcomers and an incumbent were elected in Kensington on Monday, after nearly 500 voters cast their ballots, marking the highest voter turnout since 2002.

Pete Fosselman, 38, was elected to his first two-year term as mayor with 366 votes. Running against him was current Councilman Kenneth Goldsmith, 38, who received 124 votes.

Kensington voters also elected two members to two-year terms on the Town Council, including incumbent Al Carr, 40, with 412 votes, and newcomer David Beaudet, 34, with 352 votes. Jack Gaffey, 61, lost with 159 votes.

This year’s election drew more than double the number of voters of recent years, with 494 residents casting ballots. The town’s three most recent annual elections drew ballots from less than 200 voters in the town of 1,800 residents.

‘‘It was a good day for Kensington,” Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith lost the mayoral race, but will continue serving the remainder of his Town Council term, which expires next year.

If he had been elected as mayor, the town would have had to hold a special election to fill his council seat.

The question still remains as to whether a special election will be required after the November state elections.

If Carr is elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in Dist, 18, which he is currently running for, he will step down from the Town Council.

For now, at least, Carr remains as the senior-most official in the town government having served four years on the council.

‘‘I can assure folks I will continue to be committed to Kensington. ...,” he said. ‘‘And I will be in a great position to help Kensington if I’m fortunate enough to be elected as delegate.”

The elected officials begin their new terms on July 1. Their first meeting, for organization and dividing responsibilities, will be held July 3.

Fosselman, a one-year town resident who owns the Sweat Shop fitness gym in Kensington, said his top priority is to encourage community involvement in town activities.

‘‘People have lost their enthusiasm,” he said, ‘‘And I’d like to bring that back. If I can achieve that, then the other things.... should fall in place.”

Fosselman pledged to work on bringing more businesses to Kensington and also to continue negotiations with the county on the future of Circle Manor.

During his six-month mayoral campaign, Fosselman said he visited every town residence, knocking on doors and speaking with residents.

‘‘I’d like to stay in contact, not just be going door to door at election time,” he said.

Fosselman plans to hold regular office hours at the Town Hall, but has not yet determined a schedule.

‘‘There’s a lot of work to be done,” he said. ‘‘I’m looking forward to working with everybody and hopefully we can get that sense of community back.”

Carr said that working toward an agreement with the county on the future of the Circle Manor property will be a priority for this government.

He said he hopes to ensure that there are ‘‘continued opportunities for citizen input” and that there is a ‘‘smooth transition to the new mayor and council.”

A nine-year resident of the town, Carr also plans to continue work on traffic and pedestrian safety, having speed cameras installed in town and revitalizing commercial areas.

Beaudet, who has lived in Kensington nearly four years, moderates the town listserv and has volunteered in town activities like the 8k run.

A software engineer for the National Gallery of Art, Beaudet ran for elected office for the first time out of a desire to ‘‘make a difference.”

At a May 22 forum, Beaudet told residents he would re-examine the town’s liquor licensing policy to potentially encourage more restaurants to open in Kensington.

June 30 will mark the end of the terms for Mayor Lynn Raufaste, after 15 years in the town government, and Councilwoman Leanne Pfautz, after seven years on the council.

The Town Council is made up of four members serving staggered two-year terms, so that elections are held annually for two seats. Councilman David Furman and Goldsmith will remain in office until the end of their terms next year.