PNK Governance Committee


The Governance Committee serves as PNK’s face to County government, elected, appointed and employed. Its principal role is promoting citizen engagement in concert with the operations of County government.


The Governance Committee (Committee) of the Partnership for New Kent, LLC (Partnership) will assist the Partnership in developing and maintaining strong relationships with elected and appointed County Officials, as well as partner with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, for the advancement and strengthening of New Kent County during this period of unprecedented growth.

The Governance Committee reports to the Executive Committee “EXCOMM” of the Partnership. The Chair of the Governance committee will serve as a member of the EXCOMM. The Chair of the Partnership will chair the EXCOMM.


The Committee will consist of at least four members, all of whom, including the Committee Chair, must be residents of New Kent County. The Chair of the Partnership will appoint one member to be the Chair of the Governance Committee.

Meetings and Structure

The Committee will meet at such times as are deemed appropriate by the Committee Chair. The Chair and any two members constitute a quorum of the Committee. The Chair will be responsible for preparing the agenda, presiding over the meeting and coordination of reporting to the EXCOMM. In the absence of the Chair of the Committee, any other member of the committee may perform the responsibilities of the Chair. The Governance Committee members will assist in coverage of county meetings, along with all other members.

The Governance Committee may appoint “Specialty Teams”, as sub-committees of the governance team. These teams will become subject matter experts and leaders to ensure transparent, collaborative, inclusive governance in and between New Kent County Board of Supervisors, the School Board, the Planning Commission and the Economic Development Authority, as examples.

Authority and Responsibilities

The Committee will act on behalf of its members, the EXCOMM and the Partnership.

Responsibilities will include:
● Establish open channels of communication with elected, appointed and administrative county officials and at times, State and Federal elected officials. The committee will focus on discussing and delivering the goals and objectives defined in the Partnership’s Strategic Plan and other county issues that may arise.

  • The Governance chair will assume the primary liaison and communication responsibilities with the Board of Supervisors chair on behalf of the Partnership.

● Review with Partnership members and volunteers, EXCOMM and outside interested parties the county’s key issues and challenges, public/political sentiment, stances of the county officials and how these issues correspond with the Partnerships policy and strategic positions.
● Work collaboratively with the Citizen Outreach Committee to ensure a Partnership member attends all Board of Supervisors, School Board, Planning Commission monthly and Work Session meetings. The representative will complete the Partnership Meeting Documentation Form, submit for Partnership records and use in informing the community of governance issues and actions.
● Create an Issue and Voting Record Database to document and profile each elected officials’ stance on county issues and their respective voting record.
● At least annually, the Committee will assess its own performance and once a year update the Committee Charter to be current with relevant government activities. The Committee will report the results of the review to the Chair of the EXCOMM
● The Committee will perform other duties and responsibilities as specified by the Partnership and the EXCOMM.

Additional Responsibilities Regarding Elections:
● Work with Chair of the Citizen Outreach Committee to create a public awareness campaign introducing the New Kent citizens to county electoral position and the opportunities for individuals to run for these leadership positions.
● Draft a candidate questionnaire to use in interviews with all incumbent and new candidates. After input from EXCOMM members, finalize the document and schedule time with each candidate.
● Form an interview team and a process for documenting candidate responses.
● Conduct interviews with all incumbent and new candidates willing to participate in the interview process.
● Identify the candidates to be considered for endorsement by the Partnership. Recommendations will take into consideration a candidates’ vision for planned county growth, use of resources to establish needed infrastructure, process to engage citizens and whose principles generally support the Partnerships’ Strategic Goals and Objectives. In addition, the endorsed candidates will demonstrate professionalism, understanding of demeanor needed to be a public official and show steadiness under pressure.
● Distribute to all endorsed candidates, a Campaign Project Plan and timelines, educational opportunities, prospective campaign managers and other needed resources for a successful campaign.
● Organize and facilitate “Meet and Greet” public sessions to introduce candidates to New Kent citizens.
● September through November communicate weekly with candidates to identify needed resources and support. Present any ads or written communication to endorsed candidates for their input and edits prior to public release.
● Identify volunteers to assist in door to door or letter writing campaign activities, as requested by a candidate.
● Create Candidate specific Sample Ballots to be handed out during door to door visits and at polling locations.
● Provide volunteers to staff all polling locations on election day.

Authority to Retain Experts

The Committee will have the authority to retain, replace or dismiss advisors to assist in fulfilling its responsibilities. The Partnership will provide funding, as determined by the Committee and approved by EXCOMM, for payment of compensation to these advisors employed by the Committee.

Committee Members

Kate Ferris, Chair

Kate Ferris has been a resident of New Kent County since 2007. Originally from Whitehouse, TX, Kate is a 1998 graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in Public Relations and Marketing. Her career started with the American Cancer Society in the Fundraising Department, and then moved on the Corporate Training for a variety of clients in the Dallas area. Upon moving to New Kent County, she opened Stay & Play Childcare in 2009, currently the largest licensed childcare facility in the county.

Kate was awarded the 2019 Business Citizen of the Year from the Chamber of Commerce in recognition of her work in New Kent. She serves on the Broadband Advisory Committee, which is appointed by the Board of Supervisors and has also served as the President, Past President, and Awards Chairman of the New Kent Chamber of Commerce. She has served as Chairman of A Taste of New Kent Wine Festival and ran the Fall Festival at New Kent Elementary for four years. She chaired the Bluegrass Faith Festival for Providence Forge Presbyterian Church, and led their Capital Campaign. Kate is active in New Kent Rotary, a group about which she is passionate due to serving as a Rotary Exchange Student to South Africa while in high school.

Kate is married to Adam and they reside in Quinton. Together with another partner, they own New Kent Tours. Launched in 2019, New Kent Tours is a transportation company focused on highlighting the wineries of New Kent, with additional tours to wineries and breweries in Williamsburg and Richmond.

Jill Cruz
Jill Cruz
Robert (Bob) Hopewell
Educational Background:
1. Hopewell Valley Central High School, June 1970
2. Mercer County Community College, June 1972, Associate Degree in Architecture
3. College of New Jersey, December 1975, Bachelor of Arts in History
Member of Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society for History

Work Background:
Howe Nurseries, Inc., June 1968 to August 1976
Perkins, Kanak, Foster, Inc., August 1976 to 1979
PKF-MARK III, Inc., 1979 to March 2013

Post Retirement:
1. Member of the Viniterra HOA Advisory Committee (2016 to Present)
Worked with New Kent Farms, LLC (Developer of the Farms of New Kent) and Supervisor Patricia A. Paige to secure the approval of the Amended &
Restated Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) Ordinance & Proffers for New Kent Farms, LLC by the NKC Board of Supervisors on March 13, 2018.
2. Working with Supervisor Patricia A. Paige (NKC Board of Supervisors – District No. 3, Delegate Christopher K. Peace – 97th Legislative District (VA House of Delegates) and representatives of V-DOT (2018 to Present) to expedite the widening of Interstate Route 64 from Exit 205 to Milepost 224.3 (New Kent County / James City County Line).
3. Member of the PNK Governance Committee (June 2019 to Present)

Personal Data:
Married to Bess M. Hopewell – June 21, 1980.

Prior to Bess’ retirement in March 2013, Bess worked for Princeton Dental Group for 36 years as a Dental Hygienist.

Bob and Bess lived in Englishtown, New Jersey on the family farm for 15 years, before moving to New Hope, Pennsylvania. Bob and Bess lived in New Hope, Pennsylvania for 15 years before moving to New Kent, Virginia. Bob and Bess moved to Viniterra (New Kent, Virginia) on March 31, 2013 to be close to their family (Son – Tony, Daughter-in-Law – Cyndi and twin Grandsons, Aaron & Zach). Bob & Bess have now lived in Viniterra (New Kent, Virginia) for 6-1/2 years.

Member of American Association of Woodturners (AAW);
Member of Richmond Woodturners Club;
Member of Rappahannock Decoy Carvers & Collectors Guild;

Woodworking (Furniture);
Bowl Turning
Duck Decoy Carving

Taylor Moore
Taylor Moore

Minutes of Meetings

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