Building Community-Through Gathering Places
Our Courthouse has served us well through the years, but we need a new one. It isn’t safe for our County employees who work there, our citizens who obtain services there, and even our defendants whose cases are adjudicated there, and I’m saying that as a former law enforcement officer. Once relocated to a new facility, I would like to see the current building pared down to its original structure from almost a century ago. It could serve as a county museum and visitor center/tourism office. It would give travelers a reason to stop on Rt. 3 instead of passing on through to somewhere else, and to learn about our community assets and history. Encouraging appropriate businesses to locate in the vacant storefronts nearby would provide additional reasons for travelers and citizens alike to stop. And the rest of the site could become Courthouse Square Park, a real town square where we really “build community.”
Supporting Our Public Safety
I will always support and try to expand our infrastructure. Our emergency services personnel- our deputies, firefighters, and EMTs serve every member of our community. Sometimes this is only for moments, but those moments are crucial. The recruitment, retention, and training of these professionals and providing proper equipment and facilities is instrumental to the safety and welfare of our county. Our fire department, in particular, needs new facilities that have been put off for too long, and our fire department is severely under-manned for the geographic size and population of our county.
Practical Workforce Development
Our schools support the future of our community, and unlike many of the other Northern Neck counties, our school population continues to grow over time. We need to continue to recruit and retain new and experienced staff to mold our children into responsible, productive, educated adults. I also would like to work with the School Board to determine a path forward over time for increasing their career & technical education program offerings, as I believe that will ultimately strengthen our workforce in the long run, which may result in more businesses being willing to locate here. It has been made clear recently that ultimately the federal government will decide which missions stay on the Base or not, so we need a more diversified workforce for that reason as well.
Safeguarding Our Public Library
We have a place in our community that provides reliable internet access free for all to use, and in addition to the obvious resources available for check-out, regularly provides meeting space for a wide variety of civic organizations. It’s our public library, and I believe we should support and safeguard its future.
The Right Kind of Growth
We have a Comprehensive Plan for a reason. We need to attract projects that conform to the locations designated as primary settlement areas to encourage connections to existing water services. The customers of our water system are suffering because of years of bad decisions. I am not a customer, but if elected, I have heard from enough of our citizens to know they expect the At Large supervisor to serve on the Service Authority Board of Directors.
Real Solutions for the Broadband Dilemma
Who pays for this? That is a great question. How do we decide who gets service first, and who has to wait? Based on the Broadband Planning Grant results in the County's Broadband RFP, the streets/neighborhoods designated are at a clear advantage. But should every taxpayer have to bear the burden to support it? What about the folks, and I have heard from plenty already, who moved here to "get away" from the hustle and bustle, and knew that was a concession they consciously made when moving here? What about the small and home-based business owners trying to connect to make a buck? What about the parents, like me, who drive their children to the library to download texts for homework assignments or update their devices? Is a referendum in order here?