Smedberg Makes Another Bid to Keep His Council Seat
City Councilman Paul Smedberg embarks on his third run for council with a Sunday afternoon kickoff party at Old Town's Bittersweet Cafe.
City Councilman Paul Smedberg (D) kicked off his campaign for re-election in front of a packed house at Bittersweet Café on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m serious about my commitments and proud of my record,” said Smedberg, who is a resident of Old Town. “The next election will be about the direction of this city.”
Smedberg, who first elected to council in 2003 and re-elected in 2006, added that the city should take a good long look at development along Potomac Yard, Landmark Mall and the Beauregard corridor to ensure that the city grows effectively and with benefit to its residents.
“How we tackle and implement those plans” is important, he said. “I’m open to listening,” adding it’s important that stakeholders don’t come to the table with “absolute positions.”
Smedberg speaks from experience, having recently served as a non-voting member of the Waterfront Plan Work Group, made up of a group of Alexandrians with varied and conflicting views on how the city should move forward with developing its riverside.
“So much of what makes Alexandria special is its neighborhoods,” he said, and “what is fundamental is public health, safety and education.”
Outgoing City Councilman Rob Krupicka endorsed Smedberg, calling Smedberg one of his oldest friends and recalling when they worked together on the campaign of now-retired Sen. Patsy Ticer, who also attended the Sunday afternoon event.
Krupicka cited Smedberg’s concern and experience with transportation, fiscal, land-use and environmental matters and his diplomatic abilities as reasons for being an effective council member.
Vice Mayor Kerry Donley, who also is not seeking re-election, cited Smedberg’s character, integrity and work ethic in the “not very glamorous full-time job with part-time pay.”
On council, Smedberg serves on the Council of Governments’ Public Safety Policy Committee, Economic Sustainability Committee, Economic Opportunities Commission, Northern Virginia Regional Commission, Employee Compensation Committee, Alexandria Marketing Committee, Sister Cities Committee, Waterfront Committee and the Woodrow Wilson Neighborhood Task Force, among other duties.
He is also the director of government affairs and advocacy relations at pharmaceutical firm Affymax.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect Smedberg's current employer. Until August 2011, he worked for the American Society of Nephrology.