CHARLES TOWN – Kevin Tester, a nine-year Charles Town resident and an appointed Charles Town Utility Board member for the past two years, was selected Monday to fill a year of a vacant seat on the city’s eight-member council.
“I come with no preconceived notion of what I think is best,” Tester wrote to city officials last month while seeking to serve the last year of an unexpired four-year term on the council.
Tester, who serves as president of the Old Opera House in Charles Town, said he hopes to help with the longstanding nonpartisan staples of Charles Town civic discourse, such as boosting the downtown business economy, improving access to downtown parking, expanding the city’s “walkability,” supporting historic preservation and nurturing local arts and culture.
“I feel it is important that as the council, we work together, not adversarially, to accomplish these goals,” he wrote.
Tester, 55, will take on the challenge of his first-ever elected position.
A former gourmet coffee shop owner before he moved to Charles Town, Tester is a figure in the county’s conservative political circles who works for a corporate rental housing provider in Reston. He acknowledged he would work to keep the council fiscally responsible.
“I wanted to be a part of a true community and in moving here, I finally found that,” he wrote. “Finally, a home where we work side by side in true community fashion.”
He will be sworn in on June 1 as a new council member representing Ward 2 where he lives in the Huntfield subdivision. The council seat he’ll serve will be up for election in 2021.
Tester ran for the same Ward 2 council seat in 2017 that he will now serve. He will replace Mike Brittingham, a first-term councilman who resigned in February in frustration over a hard-fought but failed effort opposing the Rockwool factory near Kearneysville.