Bredemeyer: ‘Time for a change’

Published 2:22 am Sunday, November 4, 2012

By Arthur Bredemeyer

It is time for a change at City Hall, and I can provide the needed new perspective. I have the skills, vision, and determination to lead Suffolk to realize its unlimited potential.

We are not moving forward. Instead, we have seen increased taxes and fees, with no reductions in government spending. Our business growth has no diversification and fails to recognize the importance of small businesses, especially those in downtown Suffolk. The public schools are not receiving appropriate priority in budget matters. I believe we can do better in these areas, and I am the leader who can get us there.

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My two opponents have been on City Council for 12 years and 16 years. I believe in term limits. This is my first attempt at seeking public office.

I served 20 years in the active military at assignments all over the world. My personal values are service to others, integrity, and excellence. I have lived in downtown Suffolk for the past 13 years. I am currently an attorney in downtown Suffolk with the firm of Eure & Bredemeyer PLLC. My law practice focuses primarily on the legal needs of seniors.

I have served my community everywhere I have lived. I was appointed by City Council to the Airport Commission and the Craney Island Commission. I was appointed by the governor representing Suffolk and Isle of Wight on the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, which manages 750 employees, has an operating budget of $250 million, and has a capital projects budget of more than $1 billion.

I am running for mayor, because we have seen a number of tax and fee increases, including the trash and recycling pick up fee. While I believe strongly in recycling, I do not believe it should be mandated that we all recycle.

This mayor and City Council will raise taxes and fees before cutting spending. It should be the other way around. City spending has only increased since 2009, with the city manager’s office showing a 27-percent increase. We have to live within our means. I will not raise your taxes.

While I appreciate any business that moves to Suffolk and brings jobs, I think we should focus on bringing more diverse business growth. More than half of all square footage, investment and jobs in 2011 were in warehousing and distribution. Where are the modeling and simulation, retail, office, and medical business growth?

Also, we should focus on starting and growing small businesses from within and not merely attempting to attract businesses from outside Suffolk. There is no real mechanism to assist small businesses in Suffolk. Franklin has a small business incubator. Why doesn’t Suffolk have one?

I am a fiscal conservative, and I will never lose sight of the fact that it is your money and not the city’s money. They treat your money as their money, and they look for ways to spend it instead of saving it. This is what government does. It expands based upon its ability to get tax dollars to fund it. There is always a rationale or a new service.

The only counters to this tendency are our elected mayor and City Council. If they are not vigilant about keeping government in check, it will expand. I will not let that happen. I will push back on your behalf; but I can only do so if elected Suffolk’s Mayor on Tuesday.

Arthur Bredemeyer is the chairman of the Suffolk Democratic Party. This is his first attempt at election to public office.