City Councilor Foster strives to find ‘common ground’

February 6, 2014 • Local News

Councilor Barry Foster of Ward 5 is seeking his second term. (Jill McLaughlin Photo)

City Councilor and high-school teacher Barry Foster likes to bring people together.

“My leadership style is basically … I will attack problems straight on if I need to,” he said. “Some people are more divisive. I’m not. I like to get people to work together. Most people have common ground. People don’t like to compromise, but truly everything we do is a compromise.”

Elected in 2010, Foster is running for his second term against newcomer Tabitha Denny.

As mayor pro-tem, chairman of the airport committee and member of the police and parks and recreation committees, he said he often works with others to find common ground on issues facing the community.

“We’re a team. There’s 10 of us up there,” Foster said. “Once the majority is found, we go with the majority. I don’t cry about it later and we don’t fight about it. We do what we need to and we move [auth] on.”

Foster, though, is passionate about several future prospects in economic development facing the city. And, he often speaks about the accomplishments he has had a hand in during his four years in office.

His biggest accomplishment was assuring the funding for the girls softball complex realized. The Charles McVay Softball Complex project was approved and awarded the 2013 ASA National Complex of the Year.

“We finally got it,” Foster said. “That’s my biggest accomplishment. I am so happy we have it.”

He said he was also proud to have been a member of council during a time when the city’s veteran’s cemetery was finally established.

“When finished, our service men, women and veterans will now have a beautiful resting place,” he wrote in a biographical summary.

Foster also said he wanted to continue to make sure the city has a full force in the police department.

“Eventually, we need to add more officers,” Foster said Monday. “Increasing our presence and increasing more police officers will make Roswell a safer place.”

In economic development, Foster sees many exciting developments in the future, especially at the Roswell International Air Center. One possible new avenue to bring in jobs is getting contracts to service Unmanned Vehicle Systems, or drones, he said.

“There is a chance that we can get UAV development in our airport, which ties back to our university and the aviation program out there,” Foster said. “WE can bring in a lot of jobs in the aviation field.”

He also was encouraged by mayoral candidate Dennis Kintigh’s idea regarding the potential of the Permian Basin and its capacity for oil production.

“We sit right on that edge,” he said. “We have a lot of oil companies in Roswell. WE never really go out and sell them and get money in. That’s another really big opportunity.”

Agriculture, too is a “big plus,” he said.

“Another exciting this, I think a lot of people don’t realize, is the amount of water we have in our area,” Foster said. “We have a healthy aquifer and we can support growth in Roswell.”

Foster, who grew up in Clovis, moved to Roswell in 1993. His wife, Stephanie Mills-Foster, and he have been married for 25 years and have four children. His youngest, Carol, is a seventh-grader at Sidney Gutierrez Middle School.

After arriving, Foster began working for a company that was later bought out by Leprino Foods. He quit Leprino to finish earning his teaching credentials and now teaches high school language arts in Lake Arthur. He is a charter member of Grace Community Church, has been a baseball and football coach and served on the SENMAC Headstart Policy Council. He is a member of Elks Lodge.

During a Leadership Roswell Alumni forum Monday, Foster said his role models were his late father and Jesus Christ.

“Jesus Christ is my personal savior,” Foster said. “He taught me how to love everybody, not just the people who we want to love.”

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