Just two weeks after submitting his paperwork to run for re-election, any hopes Purcellville Mayor Kwasi Fraser had for an uncontested mayoral race have been dashed.
His opposition leading up to the May 1 town election is Chris Thompson, the deputy building official for the county’s Building Code Enforcement Division. Thompson, 61, has lived in the town his entire life. His campaign might come across as a bit different than that of the typical mayoral candidate in Loudoun for a few reasons, though.
For one, he said his campaign would be run as less of a race against Fraser and more as a chance to give town residents another option at the polls. “It matters to me more if citizens get two quality choices,” he said.
The other way Thompson separates himself from the others is his views on growth. While he is neither for nor against it, he said he would work with area organizations to find “smart, careful and well-managed improvements” for the town.
Other goals Thompson has are to use his knowledge and experience working with VDOT and the county government to find solutions for traffic congestion and to reinforce existing town policies and procedures to restrict Town Council from managing the staff, an authority the Town Code gives solely to the town manager. “The employee and consultant problems that our town has suffered are largely due to the town council and mayor failing to follow the town’s procedures,” he said.
Finally, he wants to help distance the town from the “embarrassment” caused by all the recent controversy involving a series of investigations into allegations of misconduct by staff managers simply by having the council and the staff get back to work. “We need to repair the damage to our town’s credibility and move forward by dealing with the issues in a forthright, open and transparent manner,” he said.
Thompson said he is qualified for the role as mayor because of his positive attitude, the amount of time he’s lived in town and his current job, in which he said he deals with problems all the time.
“That’s what the mayor’s job is for – it doesn’t have to be complicated,” he said.
Although he has wanted to be a part of town government for 30 years, he said his decision to run for mayor came three months ago, when he was surrounded by family during Thanksgiving.
After picking his daughter up from the airport, Thompson said she asked him what was going on in Purcellville—a question related to the town’s investigation and firing of the police chief and the alleged misconduct of the interim town manager at the time. His daughter told him that he was “probably the only one who can straighten that out.”
Thompson has worked with the county for 23 years and has been a member of the Hamilton-Thompson Masonic Lodge in Purcellville for 22. He is a Loudoun Valley High School graduate and holds an associate degree in forestry from Ferrum College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University. He was also a member of the town-county committee that created the Purcellville Urban Growth Area Management Plan in 1995 and helped to renovate Fireman’s Field around the same time.
Between now and May, he said he would be knocking on doors, meeting with residents and hosting a meet-the-candidate event in April.