A software project manager and an educational consultant, both seeking office for the first time, are running against each other for a seat on the Georgetown City Council.
David Sray is facing off against Valerie Nicholson for the District 2 seat left vacant by Keith Brainard, who decided not to run for re-election.
Nicholson, a 39-year-old education technology consultant for grades K-12 and the co-owner of a photo booth business, has served on the city’s commission on aging as well as the city’s Main Street Program. She said she wants to make sure Georgetown keeps firefighters, paramedics and police well-equipped. She also wants to make sure residents have a lot of park space to play, she said.
Keeping the property tax rate as low as possible, even though property values are rising, is also one of her priorities, she said.
“It’s not like I feel anything is broken or needs to change,” she said. “I just want to stay on a good path.
“I’m the right choice for the City Council because of my level of experience and commitment to the city. I know what I’m getting into. I’m not naive in this area because I have benefited from talking with and knowing many current and previous City Council members and I have good relations with the city staff.”
She said her opponent doesn’t have any experience with city government and has said he’s running for office because of what’s going on in national politics.
“Very little of that actually is addressable at the city level,” Nicholson said.
Sray, 41, said he’s “not looking to drag big national issues into the city conversation.” He said there will be a lot of budget cutting at the national level that might affect money available to cities.
“We need to make sure we are planning appropriately and ready to react when those things inevitably hit the city level,” he said.
Sray, who works at Zenoss Inc., said he’s been involved in the arts and culture in the city by acting, directing and volunteering at the nonprofit Georgetown Palace Theatre. Sray said he’s interested in preserving the attractiveness of Georgetown despite its growth. Part of that will come, Sray said, if the city bargains with developers to get not just single-family homes but also multifamily developments, affordable housing and park space.
He said he’s also interested in reaching out to minorities in the city who “aren’t heard as much.”
Sray said he’s been exposed to diverse groups of people partly because he grew up in Germany and went to college in Ohio, so he would bring an “open mind” to the council.
“I’m willing to listen to what anyone has to say and willing to negotiate with anything,” he said.