We’ve been busy meeting with each candidate and we’ll be summarizing the responses and putting together a recommended slate soon.
Our next meeting will be Thursday, September 10th, 7:00 p.m. at the 4-H Center on Hillman Highway where we had our first meeting.
We’ll send out the recommended slate and a summary of why we made our choices, then we’ll have a discussion and vote at the meeting.
Here are the details of the process:
A. The Steering Committee is charged with making recommendations for WIN candidate endorsements, and ensuring a thorough and fair endorsement process.
B. A concise, but thorough justification of the recommended endorsements shall be provided to the membership by the Steering Committee in advance of the fall membership meeting. The Steering Committee is not obligated to recommend a candidate endorsement in each race.
C. At that membership meeting, a period of open discussion of the Steering Committee’s recommended slate will precede a vote on whether to endorse the entire slate. A simple majority is required to affirm endorsement of the full Steering Committee slate.
D. If a simple majority in favor of the full Steering Committee slate of recommendations is not achieved, then endorsement votes will take place on each individual candidate recommended.
E. A two-thirds vote of the membership present is required to pass a “recommendation from the floor” that is contrary to the Steering Committee’s recommended slate. If a specific candidate recommendation offered by the Steering Committee does not receive a simple majority, and an alternative recommendation from the floor does not receive the twothirds vote needed, then no endorsement will be made by WIN in that particular race.
All of the candidates for the Washington County Board of Supervisors have agreed to respond to the WIN questions. Here are the questions.
WIN’s Board of Supervisors Candidate Questionnaire
- Washington County Public Schools rank among the best in Virginia. Many voters are concerned with budget cuts over recent years that have led to the loss of 51 school personnel positions and have compelled cutbacks in school programs and infrastructure maintenance. Such reductions threaten the county’s high standards and the quality of education our children receive. As a board member, what will you do to reverse this trend? Are you willing to raise the revenue needed to restore and maintain our position as a top tier educational system in Virginia?
- What is your position on the use of government subsidies and tax breaks to recruit large national retailers to the county? What do you believe are the most effective strategies to develop a vibrant local economy? How would you specifically support businesses owned and operated by local citizens?
- Broadband Internet is increasingly vital to doing business, getting an education, and being an informed citizen, yet there are many areas of our county that do not have access to Broadband Internet (defined by the FCC as 25 Mbps or better). How should the Board of Supervisors address this infrastructure issue?
- Controversial issues inevitably arise during a Board member’s term. What is your approach to resolving conflicting interests among groups in the county? How will you ensure you are hearing the diversity of opinions among your constituents before coming to your own decision?
- Training workshops for local elected officials are available through agencies such as the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Institute of Government at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. Would you take advantage of formal training opportunities for county supervisors?
- Several actions taken by the Board were made in opposition to the Planning Commission’s recommendations and don’t seem consistent with the county’s Comprehensive Plan. Have you read the plan? Do you endorse the plan or have reservations? (If reservations, what are they?) x What criteria would you use to evaluate new development proposed near interstate exits? How can we implement planning and zoning without pitting neighbors against each other? Specifically, what steps would you take to maintain open spaces and preserve the rural character of the county?
- The decision regarding hydrofracking is one of the issues that has most concerned our members. Now that the Attorney General has issued his opinion that localities have the power to prohibit or permit natural gas drilling and hydrofracking under existing land use powers, what is your stance on hydrofracking in our county? How would you act to protect water and air quality, land rights, and address public highway safety issues that still concern members of this organization?
- The Board has found funds for many projects, but has cut funding for nonprofit organization such as the Washington Co. Public Library and even taxrevenue-generating such as the Barter Theatre. What role do you believe county government has in financially assisting local, nonprofit organizations?
- In recent years, the Board has held a number of closed sessions and has taken actions that have the effect of reducing timely public comment. As a Board member, what steps would you take to ensure the public is not only informed of decisions but also aware of and included in the decision making process?
- In the past couple of elections, Board of Supervisor candidates have declined to take part in traditional nonpartisan candidate forums such as those sponsored by the League of Women Voters. If invited, would you commit to participating in local public candidate forums?
- In addition to jobs and keeping taxes low, what is the biggest issue or challenge that convinced you to run for the Board of Supervisors? And finally, what personal assets do you bring to help you address that issue or challenge?
Word is getting out about WIN. We had an interview with Dr. Keller at WEHC 90.7. We also had two articles by Kaylan Brickey in the Bristol Herald-Courier (Sat. 8/15 and Tues. 8/18), a story by Emily Carrier of WCYB, and a letter to the editor by Barbara Williamson.
After our September 10th endorsement meeting, we had an article in the Bristol paper. They also posted this video (be patient with the commercials).
Join us for our first community meeting this coming Monday, August 17 at the 4-H Center’s Ratliff Hall on Hillman Highway in Abingdon, VA.
We’ll present what’s been done over the past few months and the path ahead to making sure we have an open and responsive Board of Supervisors.