I'm Bob Fenwick and I appreciate the opportunity to
introduce myself to the community, for the first time to some of you. My
background includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics from Georgetown
University in Wash, DC with undergraduate and graduate study in Civil
Engineering and Construction Management from the George Washington University
School of Engineering in Wash, DC. I served in the US Army Corps of Engineers
for almost seven years with a tour as a Combat Engineer Company Commander with
the 4th Infantry Division in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam. I have
been a small business owner for over 40 years as a construction contractor and
have lived in this community for 37 years, enough time to remember the drive-in
theater where the Kroger across from Kmart now stands and the airplane that was
parked in McIntire Park. I've raised my family in Charlottesville with both
sons attending public schools from Burnley Moran through Charlottesville High
School. They both serve in the US Army with Ross having served in Afghanistan
as a construction engineer and Austin currently being stationed somewhere in the
outlying provinces of Afghanistan.
Besides my ‘paying job’ as a construction contractor I have worked in the community as a volunteer in the arts, as a television producer in a PBS home improvement series, as a writer, poet, actor and videographer. I have published an on-line children's short story, www.McIntireTheFox.com. This past Christmas I produced a short film promoting one of the many stories happening on the downtown mall with a mix of several of the younger members of the local filmmaking community alongside veteran film makers. I started a community web magazine, www.CvilleCitizen.com which chronicles the stories that occur in our community every day as well as a home improvement video website, www.HomeWorkWithBobFenwick.com. I served as Vice President of a breast cancer research foundation, Austro Health and Environmental Research, a 501c3, www.AustroCancerResearch.org. I also feel that some of our citizens are 'hidden' but shouldn't be forgotten. I work with a volunteer peer support group of ex felons, Believers and Achievers. My feeling is once a man or woman is released from jail or prison it is in everyone's best interests to work towards supporting him or her in making him or her a productive member of our city. This makes sense for the ex felon, for his or her children (if we lose the parent we lose the child) for our neighborhoods and from an economic standpoint as well with the annual cost of incarceration being upwards of $140,000 annually. Many counties fight for prisons to be located in their area. I would rather fight to have the lowest rate of recidivism in Virginia.
I've seen the city grow from a small town next to a university with a party reputation to an energetic city next to The University and our citizens have an expectation of being involved in their local government and a recognition that the civic health of a community is reflected in its citizen participation all of its citizens.
I believe the city management is best served by a balanced representation of all the interests of its citizens. We are all stakeholders. Many people ask me what I think about this issue or that issue and I understand this as a candidate seeking a representative position because I've seen a lot and I've done a lot over the years. But I've also learned that listening and inclusiveness is critical in sound decision making so I’m always asking ‘what do YOU think of this or that.’ The five councilors come from different backgrounds and life experiences and the task of a five person council is to work towards a consensus that will serve the citizens and the community now and into the future. We inherited a beautiful city but being a charming, welcoming city is not a 'default' position. It takes work and patience on our part and responsible, balanced representation will insure this continues. With my experience in recognizing a goal and working towards it I will bring a broader perspective and a clear voice on issues that we have all recognized and struggled to manage and address for years, affordable housing, community diversity, development and preservation of our historic infrastructure, infrastructure maintenance, environmental stewardship, school funding just to name a few. We're familiar with the issues and I think it's time for some 'out of the box' discussion on the solutions. With all the community assets we have available, university staff and students, retired senior citizens expert in every imaginable walk of life, small business owners, we are in a good position to manage these issues …. we just have to focus our efforts. Difficult decisions are nothing new to me. Fixing things is how I make my living.
My vision for the city is exactly what is written on a plaque outside City Council chambers: economic sustainability, lifelong learning, quality housing opportunities, arts and culture, a green city, a healthy city, a connected community of mutual self respect and citizen focused government. I couldn't say it any better and I promise to continue my efforts to realize this goal.
I look forward to meeting many of you face to face so you can ask questions or even offer criticisms. Of course it takes money to run a campaign. If you would like to join in my efforts to energize our city please consider a political contribution payable to Bob Fenwick For City Council.