Williamsburg Planning Commission Member Enters City Council Race

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Elaine McBeth (Submitted)
Elaine McBeth (Submitted)

A College of William & Mary professor has announced her candidacy for the Williamsburg City Council.

Elaine McBeth, the second vice chairwoman on the city’s Planning Commission, has launched her campaign to fill one of three seats up for election in May.

The terms for Mayor Clyde Haulman, Vice Mayor Paul Freiling and Councilwoman Judy Knudson expire June 30. While Freiling has announced his bid for re-election, both Haulman and Knudson have said they will not run.

Barbara Ramsey, 45-year city homeowner and Clubs of Colonial Williamsburg employee, will also be on the ballot when citizens vote May 3.

“We are at an important moment for the City. With two long-standing Council members stepping down, we need new leaders who are prepared to guide the City from their first day in office,” McBeth wrote in a statement to WYDaily. “I believe I have the experience and the vision to provide the leadership we need in the years ahead.”

McBeth, who has a master’s in economics from the University of Virginia, moved to Williamsburg in 1988 to start her career at the College of William & Mary, where she remains employed. She is the associate director of The Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy and an adjunct professor of economics and public policy.

A city resident for more than 20 years, McBeth has served two stints on the Planning Commission: from 2002-2011 and 2014 to the present. In her current term on the Planning Commission, she acts as the liaison to the Economic Development Authority.

She has also volunteered with the League of Women Voters and United Way of Greater Williamsburg, graduated from the LEAD Historic Triangle program, and worked as a consultant to the City of Norfolk, City of Williamsburg, James City County and the Virginia Department of Education.

McBeth said she will aim to promote and protect citizens’ “high quality of life we want and expect” if elected to City Council by focusing on economic development, education and neighborhoods.

“I feel privileged to have been able to contribute to our community over the years through both my volunteer and professional work – the breadth and depth of these experiences uniquely positions me to join the leadership of the City,” McBeth said.