FAIRBORN — Citizens of Fairborn will see a some individuals continue their service to the local government, and at the same time will welcome a new face to its council.
Dan Kirkpatrick will continue his service as mayor, and both current council members Marilyn McCauley and Tim Steininger will keep their attendance on city council. Terry Burkert, who has been campaigning since the winter months earlier this year, is experiencing his first time being elected to a government entity.
“I feel very good,” Burkert said. “I’m very humbled by the experience. I got votes from people who believed in me and believe I can make a difference and make the city better.”
His decision to run came after attending numerous council meetings, which perked his interest in the process. He felt that if he made a run for a seat on city council, he could help resolve issues the city faces. His hope is to make the city a better place, encouraging growth and a hometown feeling for its citizens.
“I’m looking forward to working with current council members and the mayor,” he said. “I want to bring smaller businesses to Fairborn; try to work on Broad Street, bringing businesses back [to that area] … and work with Wright State University and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, making a close working [relationship].”
He is an Illinoisian by birth, but has called Fairborn his home since 1972 after being stationed at WPAFB since enlisting in the Air Force upon graduating high school in 1969. He received honorary discharge from the Air Force in 1973, began his civil service in 1974 and retired from WPAFB in 2001. He currently works as a contractor at WPAFB, but will retire early next month after 45 years of combined service. He feels that his experience will benefit him in his new position, as he said he can understand both perspectives coming from WPAFB and the city.
“I think for the future, I don’t know everything right off the bat, but we can prosper from what we’ve learned and make the city even better than it is now,” Burkert said.
He is involved in the community on a regular basis, participating in the annual Heels for Heroes race, dressing up as Santa Claus for the city’s Christmas events, volunteering for Fairborn’s Christmas in Action and serving as the chairman for the Mayor’s Beautification Committee. He appreciates the close-knit, neighborly feeling offered within Fairborn, and said “I just like helping people.”
Kirkpatrick was sworn into office in December 2013 after previously serving for four years on city council. He said the race included several other candidates at the time, but felt that he could do just as good of a job as they could, and had specific ideas he wished to see work out. He is proud to have begun numerous new programs, such as the monthly citizens forums and meetings with groups.
“I want to continue that and find out what issues we need to resolve,” he said.
Due to term limitations set by the City of Fairborn, he cannot run again in 2017. Within the next two years, he hopes to boost the local economy, meet the needs of the citizens, work more closely with the Fairborn City School district Board of Education, continue holding citizen forums and prepare the city as best as possible for the upcoming presidential debate.
“We’ve got a great group on council,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s a shame Clinton Allen couldn’t be elected too, but the group is fantastic and I’m pleased with them … I want to thank the citizens who voted, and hope to live up to their expectations — we will work hard to make that happen.”
He feels that serving as mayor is a thankful job, and hopes to make a positive difference for the community. When asked about his favorite part of Fairborn, he said “that’s easy — the people.”
“We’ve got a great group here,” Kirkpatrick said. “I’m retired Air Force, so [we moved around different areas], but the people were friendliest and nicest in Fairborn. I look forward to the next couple of years.”
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532, or by following her on Twitter by searching for @wnvickers. For more content online, visit our website or like our Facebook page.