City voters got with familiar faces
In a contentious local election, City of Fredericksburg voters re-elected Linda Langerhans to the mayor’s seat, and Charlie Kiehne and Tom Musselman were elected to the two council seats.
“I can’t recall an election quite like this one,” said Kiehne, a fifth-generation Fredericksburger. “We had a group of individuals who appeared to be running as a pack and there was a lot of misinformation and mis-representation.”
“But I’m pretty thick-skinned and I admire anyone who runs for office,” he said. “There are positives and negatives to everything. The positive here was that people got interested and voted. They participated in the election. I’m just tickled that a great number voted for me and I’m thrilled with the outcome.”
Kiehne won the election with 1,112 votes and Musselman took second seat on council with 990 votes. Challengers Jim Bennett and Mo Saiidi received 483 and 480, respectively.
Langerhans was re-elected to her fifth term by 713 votes, while councilman Bobby Watson garnered 639 and challenger Tim Lafferty received 391.
“The citizens went out and voted and that’s democracy in action,” said Musselman, who was first elected to the council in 2005. He also served one term as mayor in 2010. “I look forward to working with the other councilmen, the mayor, the city and staff.”
At Monday’s city council meeting Langerhans thanked her opponent Bobby Watson, who resigned his council seat to run for mayor.
“We will miss Bobby. He’s been a huge asset to the council and brings a fresh look to many of the issues we talk about,” she said. “I hope he continues to hang around.”
“I appreciate the number of voters we had this time. It was rewarding to see we had a lot of participation instead of just a small number of people voting,” she added.
Watson congratulated Langerhans, Kiehne and Musselman at the council meeting and left with some parting thoughts as his tenure on the council ended.
“Fredericksburg is in good hands. It’s truly been an honor to serve these last four years,” he said. “Fredericksburg is growing and changing. I believe we should not be afraid of change but embrace it and manage it properly. There are many difficult issues ahead — housing, traffic, education, neighborhoods.”
“The city needs to improve its relationship with the county,” Watson said. “Our community needs to work together.
“And the city needs to do a better job of listening to its citizens. I think we are taking steps to do this, but there is still work to do. This will only make Fredericksburg a better place to work and live.”
Councilman Jerry Luckenbach added, “I think this (election) opened up a lot of good communication with the council.”
He thanked all the voters for casting their ballots.
“I don’t care if you’re red, blue, green or whatever,” Luckenbach said. “Let’s do it right and cut out all the B.S. If you have a comment or question, come to the council or go to City Hall and go to the staff. There was a lot said out there that wasn’t right.”
On the Fredericksburg Independent School District ballot, voters passed a $9.3-million bond package that will aid in covering the costs of new buses, technology, equipment and repairs district-wide.
School district voters cast 1,438 in favor of the bond to 507 against.
School officials say most of the additional tax revenue that comes from rising appraisals is sent to the state under the Chapter 41 system of school finance. School bonds allow locals to let bond funds work inside the district and not be subject to recapture.
“This bond issue will help keep local dollars here and not go to the state,” said Judge Edwards, who was elected to FISD board of trustees. “I also think that teacher pay and our broken school-funding system needs to be addressed.”
“It’s not acceptable for the legislature to decide what happens locally,” Edwards said. “I think we can help our legislature in Austin and be there to advocate for our district.”
Kelly DiCuffa and Edwards won the two open seats with 1,262 and 907 votes, respectively.
Four candidates ran for the seats of non-returning board members Dave Campbell and Dale Geistweidt. Bob Straus amassed 657 votes and newcomer Marion Wiggins received 552.