Mayor Gerald A. Billingsley seeks re-election in Remington
Thursday, Apr. 3
Gerald A. Billingsley
Gerald A. Billingsley's students in Fairfax County perhaps should listen to what he has to say about social studies. And not just because he's their teacher.
If he's talking about local or state government, at least, the veteran Remington politician very well may be speaking from experience.
Except for a few months in the 1990s, Billingsley has served either on the town's council or as Remington's mayor for almost three decades.
And it's that latter office to which he'd like voters to return him when they cast ballots May 6. Billingsley seeks re-election to the mayor's slot. He's opposed by Fauquier County paramedic Lisa Davis.
Billingsley grew up in Fairfax County, where he said it wasn't as easy to enter local politics. There's more money involved and more high-power players.
He moved to Remington in 1981 and didn't get involved in town affairs until 1987. A neighbor came over and asked him if he'd be interested in finishing the unexpired term of a council member who left office.
"She basically talked me into it," he said recently.
And that quickly, an additional career began for the educator.
Small towns across America have fallen on hard times as residents ditch them for homes in the suburbs, Billingsley said.
He wants to ensure that doesn't happen in Remington, so he continues to serve his neighbors.
"I really would like to make sure it keeps existing," he said, getting to the heart of the matter.
Billingsley said he's proud that town councilors over the years have worked to support the Remington Police Department, to make sure that sidewalks are in good shape and to expand the municipal water system.
The water utility is the most important service the town provides to residents, Billingsley said, and Remington recently had to spend about a half-million dollars on a new system that filters out minerals and arsenic.
Less mineral content takes some of the hardness out of the water, and the town had to lower arsenic levels to comply with stricter federal regulations.
The mayor said he's also proud of work the town has done with the Remington Community Partnership on bike trails and on a project to move the local train depot and turn it into a railroad museum.
If re-elected, Billingsley wants to make sure that ongoing work on the water system is completed and that a new Town Hall is opened.
Councilors recently voted to sell a government-owned building next to Town Hall, and the plan is to also unload the current hall and move local government operations and a Division of Motor Vehicles office to another, still-to-be-determined location.
In addition, Davis, Billingsley's opponent, has spoken up a lot recently about crime in Remington. She has said there's been drug and gang activity in the town.
But Billingsley said those problems are not frequent.
"I don't see a lot of crime in the town, quite frankly," he said.
Mostly, offenses are along the lines of individuals creating a nuisance or speeding through town, the mayor said.
And he noted that drug activity can take place anywhere.
"But we have police who can help with that problem," he said.
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