Fall arrived in time for the 40th Greene County Republican Committee’s GOP Pig Roast last Saturday. In addition to pork roasted on site at October Hill in Stanardsville, candidates were there to offer insights and meet and greet area residents.
Virgil Goode, who represented the 5th District for the House of Representatives until 2009, told the audience that voter turnout is what matters in the election on Nov. 5.
“You’ve got some great Republican candidates here for the constitutional offices and supervisors and I wish them well,” Goode said. “I cannot overemphasize how important the Virginia General Assembly races are this year. If we don’t keep Republicans in control of the house, in control of the state senate, you’re going to see Virginia become almost California.”
Goode said Democrats hold the governor and attorney general seats, as well as the two U.S. senate seats for Virginia.
“If we lose the General Assembly, [Democrats] are going to have all the state-wide offices and the legislature and when they do that, watch out for your guns, watch out for your health care, watch out for conservative, balanced budget government like we have now in Virginia,” he said.
Rob Bell, the Republican incumbent for the 58th House of Delegates seat, said he’s attended at least 20 pig roasts in Greene County. Bell has held his seat for 18 years.
“We have one seat above 50-50” in the house and senate, Bell noted. “So, in terms of the power in Richmond we are hanging on by our fingernails. It has never been this close. Your help has been tremendous; with your help we have not lost this seat for decades now.”
Virginia 24th District Sen. Emmett Hanger, who beat Tina Freitas in the Republican primary earlier this year, said he has enjoyed being a voice of reason in Richmond and spokesman for rural Virginia.
“One of my projects is to work on farmland preservation and nurturing our agricultural, forestry and tourism, which are significantly important to the areas that we live in,” he said. “But, also those three are the leading economic activities throughout Virginia that allow us to have the quality of life that we do.”
Both Republican candidates for the Greene County Board of Supervisors spoke on Oct. 5. James Murphy is running for the At-Large seat and Steve Bowman is running for the Monroe District seat.
“A phrase that popped up over and over is ‘we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired’ of what’s happening with our Board of Supervisors,” Murphy said. “We’re at a crossroads right now in county, and the current path that we’re going down is a very dangerous road that’s lined with continuously higher taxes.”
Bowman served as a mayor of a town in New York before coming to Greene, as well as working in public safety positions. He and his wife, Barbara, celebrated their 50th anniversary recently.
“After over 50 years in public safety positions, she’s put up with me missing meals, birthdays, special events, working overtime and being supportive,” he said. “I kid her the first 50 are easy. The second 50 are going to be challenging.”
Bowman said Greene is facing some challenging times ahead.
“We need to address them from a reasoned, logical and common-sense approach,” he said. “We’ve got public safety issues, and there are many of them. We have water issues, sanitary, sewer, wastewater, landfill and many, many more that you all know about. But we need to approach them from a common-sense position.”
Piper Doeppe, running for Clerk of Court, noted it’s the first time in Greene history there have been five Republicans running for local office on the ballot.
“And I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s Republican ticket,” she said. “I’m really excited. I really genuinely like these guys.”
Doeppe said residents deserve a clerk who will do his or her level best to help people who enter the office, including applying for concealed carry permit, doing genealogy or getting a marriage license.
Spurgeon “Billy” Wade III, running for Greene County sheriff, has lived in Greene County since he was 5 years old.
“I am Greene County through and through. I went to school here. I love Greene County,” Wade said. “I have about 20 years of law enforcement experience; 13 of which was with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.”
Wade said seven years ago he left to join Albemarle County Police Department, but would love to come back to Greene.
“I miss it. I miss working here. I miss walking out my front door and being at work,” he said. “I’m running for sheriff because I feel the current department needs better leadership. Our current sheriff, who I know and I’m all of you know very well, he is a good man. I think he’s done great things for Greene County. But I think somewhere along the way he’s lost his way. I think I think it’s time for a change, I think I think the citizens of Greene deserve better than the current service that they’re getting.”
He said he’d like to create a citizen advisory council for the sheriff’s office to hold it accountable to the citizens.
Current Greene County Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Hardin told the audience he feels he still has work to do, though he feels he’s kept his promises.
“I was elected two years ago to fill the unexpired term of Ron Morris when he became a judge, and it’s been two years working for Greene County,” Hardin said. “I promised that I was going to cut the budget. I’ve done it by 17%, even as caseload have about double. That’s an example for Richmond, folks. I’m proud of it. And I said I was going to take on the child pornographers, and the people who would exploit our children. We obtained one of the longest sentences in Virginia history that was 291 years. We’ve proven here in Greene County, that we can protect our children.”
Hardin said he promised to deal with the drug crisis in Greene County, but wants to have a drug court created in Greene County.
“We know that there are very few families that drugs haven’t affected. I said I was going to get the pushers off the streets, and I was going to get treatment for the addicts,” he said. “Even now we have a partnership with the Bridge Ministry in Buckingham; it’s a Christian program to get people off drugs. And that’s at zero cost to the taxpayer.”
Ellen Deane, chair of the Greene County Electoral Board, said the only way to make a difference is to head to the polls.
“Right now, absentee voting is open. You can go into the registrar’s office and vote if you know people that couldn’t stand in line or somebody has a handicap of any kind, tell them,” she said. “So, get your neighbors and your friends and your family and get them in to vote. And please go to the polls on Nov. 5.”