Holmes: ‘A citizen’s voice’

Published 10:25 pm Tuesday, October 28, 2014

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Suffolk News-Herald has invited candidates for all of the city’s contested offices to submit 400-word columns soliciting the votes of Suffolk citizens on Election Day. A different race will be highlighted on this page each day through Thursday. All of the candidates were notified of the opportunity at the same time via email, and follow-up telephone calls were made to verify receipt of the emails. Today features the City Council election in the Suffolk Borough, which pits incumbent Charles Parr against challengers Donald Goldberg and Kerry Holmes. All three candidates’ columns appear below. Tomorrow’s installment will include columns from each of the two candidates for the School Board seat from the Suffolk Borough.

By Kerry Holmes

I have been very pleased to chat with many neighbors, who agree that this Election Day’s choice is between two visions for Suffolk Borough.

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One is spearheaded by my challengers, who both approach government and growth the same way — use private connections to benefit developers and rely on economic growth models from 20 years ago. These old-guard methods will not work to advance our future, and have resulted in poorly performing schools, deflated business start-ups, an increase in crime, hidden taxes and dependence on credit card spending.

My vision for Suffolk Borough is an urban core sustained by strong residential communities and connected by the things that make quality of life really great.

Ours is an area with the greatest land and people resources, and the brightest future. To fully grasp it, we must face our current challenges, while planning for tomorrow.

Together, we must:

  • Increase value in education, while openly discussing teacher pay, parental responsibility and abandoning useless assessment tools. Together we can create a home-to-school community around the sole school inside the Suffolk Borough boundaries and the closest to state takeover, Elephant’s Fork Elementary School.
  • Approach economic development with a two-part plan to bring jobs to Suffolk Borough by targeting industries that have proven to be job creators, such as bio-technology, simulations, and information technology. Moreover, we can use our expertise to partner with hometown businesses to develop best practices that will promote their growth. This approach is called “Economic Gardening” and it works.
  • Improve quality of life by opening citizen access to the waterfront from the Kimberly Bridge to Elephant’s Fork while improving congestion, and eliminating flooding. Additionally, we should revisit the old Obici property as potential greenspace, remembering that access to nature is a luxury that is often missed only once it has disappeared.

My experience as a naval officer, holding a master’s degree in public administration, and working in contracting have honed my skills in the areas necessary to be Suffolk Borough’s next councilman.

Specifically, the job calls for strong planning and management, expertise in budgeting and the ability to collaborate. I am proud to have all of these, but most proud of the fact that I am a Suffolkian with energy and a proactive approach to government.

As such, I pledge to return a citizen’s voice to City Hall and encourage a vote for Kerry B. Holmes on Nov. 4.