WILDWOOD – The dreams of a “small-town girl” came true for Krista Fitzsimons. As a wife and mother, Fitzsimons faces the challenges of raising a family, with a full-time job at the Cape May County Department of Aging and Disability Services. To top it off, she also serves as the commissioner of revenue and finance, in Wildwood.
Yet, for Fitzsimons, the responsibilities at home and the office are part of her dream.
“I grew up in Wildwood,” Fitzsimons explained, in an April 8 Zoom interview.
Retro signs line the windowsill of her City Hall office, featuring musical icons, i.e., Fats Domino, from the past.
Born in 1972, Fitzsimons was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and attended St. Ann’s.
Fitzsimons, 48, was the first of her family to attend public high school.
“In college, people would ask where I went to school,” Fitzsimons reminisced.
She said several fellow students were surprised that Wildwood even had a high school.
After meeting her husband, Matthew, in Florida, Fitzsimons lived in Pompano Beach.
“I was always part of a church community,” Fitzsimons said.
In her experience, a church family can help raise a family in a safe and loving environment.
“It’s not easy raising kids these days,” she added.
For Fitzsimons, Christianity instills values such as empathy, morality, and compassion.
A successful life begins with a foundation of faith, according to Fitzsimons. Seeds of goodness and love toward others will reap a harvest later in life.
As time passed, Fitzsimons missed her island home and, in 2002, returned to Wildwood.
Although a larger home could be found offshore, Fitzsimons and her husband chose Wildwood. Today, Fitzsimons lives on the same street where she grew up.
A “laser focus” enables Fitzsimons to make sacrifices for the greater good. She worked 12 years for the Morey organization, so her sons could attend Cape Trinity Catholic School.
“My children make me a better person,” Fitzsimons said, smiling.
She has two sons: Burke, 14, and Liam, 17. Burke is an altar server at St. Ann Church, while Liam helps administer the Holy Eucharist (Communion). Fitzsimons is also a Eucharist administer alongside Liam.
In 2019, Fitzsimons embarked on a new adventure by running for public office. A longtime friend of Mayor Peter Byron and his wife, Sheri, Fitzsimons finally accepted the invitation to join the race. She consulted her family and prayed over the decision.
“This community has given me everything. Wildwood is worth the challenge,” Fitzsimons said.
Her first challenge arose during Covid, in 2020. Balancing the budget also posed difficulties.
“We have a great group at City Hall,” she said.
She noted prayer and her faith influence her political decisions.
“You do the right thing for the right reasons. It’s that simple,” she explained.
She confessed her reasoning may sound “naïve,” but stands by principles she learned as a child.
Fitzsimons is determined to do what is right by taxpayers, i.e., accountable spending. The agenda of a “select few” is not on her task list.
Fitzsimons’ primary goal as commissioner is to help Wildwood recover financially from Covid. Striking a “healthy balance” between tourism and taxpayers composes challenges moving forward.
She wants the city to be a viable place for families to thrive. Living, worshipping, and working in the community fill Fitzsimons’ days with purpose.
“Wildwood is worth it. It’s quirky and a little gritty, but it’s such a great place,” Fitzsimons concluded.
Faith Matters is an ongoing series exploring the connection between individuals and their faith, impacting their families, community, and beyond. Those with a story of faith to share should contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.