Elections

Polls across Virginia will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Get ready to take your pick, Central Virginia, because there’s more on the voting menu than you might think.

Besides the hotly contested and well advertised races for governor and other statewide positions, local voters will find on their ballots a host of races, from commonwealth’s attorney and town council to school board and county supervisor.

Many of the contests are foregone conclusions with incumbents facing no challengers while others have several candidates vying for one spot.

And for those voters who like to make their choices straight down a party line, the local races could prove problematic. Candidates for local office will not have their party affiliation listed on the ballot voters take into the booth because state law requires party listings for only federal, statewide and General Assembly offices.

All candidates for school board in Virginia run as independents.

Here’s a rundown on what’s up for Tuesday:

 

Buckingham

All of seats on Dillwyn’s Town Council and mayor are up for grabs, though no one will actually be on the ballot.

Mayor Linda V. Paige and councilors Karen Sue Moss, Tora L. Jones, Sharon Baker, Ossie J. Harris III, James E. Tyree and Gilbert W. Reams are hoping to return to the council, but they’ll need Dillwyn voters to write in their names.

The long-time council clerk, who always brought election deadlines to the attention of the councilors, retired earlier this year. The incumbents then missed the deadline to have their names placed on the ballot. And no challengers filed to run either.

Buckingham County’s elections board has given some leeway to the Dillwyn election by agreeing to count votes that have similar spellings to the candidates’ names or initials. Dillwyn is a small enough town that no one else in the community will have the same initials or spellings, they ruled.

 

Fluvanna

In Fluvanna County, Republican Darrell R. Byers will challenge incumbent independent Tony P. O’Brien for the Rivanna District supervisor seat.

Byers has spent 18 years in law enforcement and is a captain with the Albemarle County Police Department.

“An opportunity presented itself to try and do something in the county where I live and I thought I’d take it,” Byers said. “We have exorbitant tax rates in the county and for the last two or three years we’ve had a surplus. I think we need to give some of that back to the people in the form of tax cuts.”

O’Brien said the county’s efforts to bring water to Zion Crossroads from the James River and improve the county’s tax base were successful during his tenure.

“We must continue to be visionary and look forward to properly address demographic, financial and infrastructure challenges that will meet the county’s strategic vision, strengthen our financial wellbeing and spur well-planned growth and economic development,” he says on his website.

Running without opposition for the Board of Supervisors are independent John M. “Mike” Sheridan for the Columbia District and Republican Donald W. Weaver for the Cunningham District.

The Rivanna District seat on Fluvanna’s School Board is contested, with long-time educator Shirley S. Stewart and long-time public servant Tyler M. Pieron running.

Stewart spent 32 years as a teacher and then principal in a Vermont school district and currently supervises student teachers for the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. She said she understands schools from the perspective of teachers, administrators, parents and taxpayers.

“It’s all about balance,” she said. “It’s important that the schools be adequately funded and that the community receives the maximum value for their tax dollars. I want to make sure all of the players have a voice.”

Pieron, a U.S. Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who works for the federal government, said serving on the board is an extension of his life as a public servant.

“Education makes a world of difference to a child when it’s done well, but we have a serious achievement gap in our schools, especially between African-American and Caucasian students, that we need to address,” he said. “I’m also interested in improving career technical education. Not everyone needs to go to college to be successful at a trade.”

Unopposed School Board candidates are Andrew R. Pullen for the Columbia District and Charles D. Rittenhouse for the Cunningham District.

 

Greene

Greene voters hit the electoral lottery with two contested supervisor races, two candidates seeking a seat on the Stanardsville Town Council and a contested race for commonwealth’s attorney.

The Board of Supervisors race features two experienced candidates, both independents with years of service to the county, seeking the Midway District seat.

Marie Durrer, who recently retired as Greene County Circuit Court clerk, is seeking her first term on the board. The lifelong Greene resident has served on a variety of boards and committees in the community.

“I have prepared budgets for 35 years and worked with the supervisors and know how the county operates, as well as the individuals who work in the different offices,” she said. “I have seen so many changes all of these 35 years.”

Jim Frydl has been on the board for eight years.

“I have worked to create policies and plans so that we can keep the rural beauty and traditions of Greene that we all care about while focusing the job growth and economic opportunities into the areas with concentrated infrastructure and transportation networks,” Frydl said.

In the Stanardsville District, supervisor candidate J. Frank Morris, a Republican, is facing off with independent incumbent Bill Martin.

Martin has long been involved in county government, including a stint on the Planning Commission. That experience has led him to believe the county needs to prepare for the future, especially for its water supply. He supports building the White Run Reservoir project.

 “Our county also needs upgrades to outdated water infrastructure, including a new water treatment facility,” he said. “It would be irresponsible for us to kick the reservoir project down the road any longer. We are five to six years away from completion even if we begin now. The board is being careful. We will get this right.”

Morris is a contractor who wants to be a representative of the people on the board.

“Over the past several years, I’ve seen issues in our local government that have been covered up. I’m not going to sit by and let that happen again,” he said. “I also want to run an efficient government where we deliver services at the lowest possible cost for the taxpayers. Taxes are not sensible when there are savings that can be made across the county.”

Also on the ballot is a special election to replace Stanardsville Town Council member Mike Wolkowicz. Seeking the seat are independents Robert M. Bongers II and interim Councilor Jennifer A. Ziros.

“We are one of the few towns that does not have a property tax. We rely on grants, fundraising efforts, sales tax, utility tax, bank tax and the generous support of our citizens and volunteers,” Ziros said. “Town Council needs to focus on the town’s Comprehensive Plan and capital improvement plan, which provide Stanardsville with the opportunity to apply for grants to improve our community.”

Bongers could not be reached for comment.

Matthew Hardin, a Republican, and interim Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Wilder, an independent, are seeking the top prosecutor job.

“We need to tackle the drug problem,” Hardin said. “Simultaneously, we have to work to break the chains of addiction. This is why I support establishing a drug court for first-time offenders charged with simple possession, rather than distribution, of drugs.”

Wilder said he is currently working with local law enforcement agencies in combating drugs and would continue the effort.

“Under my direction, we take one approach for those who are simply using. Those individuals often get the benefit of first offender management focused more on rehabilitation and treatment,” Wilder said. “Those who are selling these drugs for profit receive much harsher treatment. We simply need to remove these individuals from Greene County for the protection of all citizens.”

Unopposed are School Board candidates Jason K. Collier for the Stanardsville District and Leah M. Paladino for the Midway District.

 

Louisa

Louisa County’s Board of Supervisors has two contested races with four seats up for election.

In the Green Springs District, independent Robert Babyok is running against 12-year incumbent Richard Havasy, also an independent.

Havasy said a lot has been accomplished in the last 10 years and he would like to continue to be a part of future progress. He cited improvements in the schools and in fire services by paid and volunteer staffs.

He said the county has seen a lot of growth, despite having one of the lowest tax rates — 72 cents per $100 of assessed value — in the area. The county has seen an addition of 2,300 jobs in the past 10 years, as well as an average salary increase of $5,000 per family.

Babyok, a retired Air Force veteran, said he is concerned about the future development of Zion Crossroads and wants to bring in grocery and drug stores, recreational facilities, restaurants and a sheriff’s substation.

Babyok also wants to improve communications between the Board of Supervisors and residents. With 20 years of military service and a master’s degree in business, Babyok said he hopes to bring a new voice to the table.

Republican Duane Adams is challenging independent incumbent Stephanie Koren for the Mineral District seat.

Adams, a business owner, said he wants to focus on economic development in the county. He said he wants to prioritize how the county spends money to avoid raising taxes, but also to focus on attracting businesses and increasing the number of jobs in the county.

Koren could not be reached for comment.

Independent incumbent Tommy Barlow is unopposed for the Mountain Road District seat. Patrick Henry District incumbent Fitzgerald Barnes, an independent, also has no challenger.

Four current Louisa County School Board members are running: Debbie Hoffman, Green Springs; Sherman Shifflett, Mineral; Gail Proffitt, Mountain Road; and Gregory Strickland, Patrick Henry. All are unopposed.

Independent Patty Madison also is unopposed in her effort to be re-elected as clerk of court.

 

Madison

Five people are running for three open seats on the Madison County Board of Supervisors. All seats are at-large and all of the candidates are independents.

Four-year incumbent Kevin McGhee said he’s learned a lot from serving on the board and wants to focus on career prospects for the young and care and housing for older residents. He wants to develop more telecommunications opportunities in workplaces and career and technical education for high school and community college students.

McGhee said he also wants to fight opioid addiction by better managing access to pain medications and working with physicians to come up with alternative treatments.

Incumbent Clay Jackson, owner of Senterfitt Farm and Cattle Company, said he was proud that the board has only raised taxes by a penny in the past four years and kept up a good relationship with the schools and the Sheriff’s Office. He said he wants to keep taxes low and focus on fiscal responsibility.

Jackson said the board has worked to upgrade school facilities and reduce red tape for businesses wanting to locate in Madison County. He wants to improve radio equipment to eliminate dead spots in emergency communications across the county and to focus on fighting the opioid epidemic.

Newcomers Mike Mosko, Kimberly Pumphrey and Amber Foster could not be reached for comment.

Five people also are running for three open seats on the School Board. All seats are at-large.

Four-year incumbent Barry Hollar, a professor of religion and philosophy at Shenandoah University, said he is committed to public education and community service and favors competitive teacher salaries, expanding career and technical education and focusing on basic reading, writing and math skills in the lower grades.

Incumbent Joseph Parker, a Navy veteran and science teacher, is seeking his second term with hopes of continuing to improve the schools’ accreditation. He said he favors a focus on special-needs students to learn how to live on their own, as well as expanding career and technical education.

As a former Madison County High School teacher and a retired school counselor in Culpeper County, newcomer Susan Bramley said she wants to focus on the hiring of a new superintendent and retaining strong teachers.

Arthur Greene wants to provide a younger perspective with new and diverse ideas. He said he would like to expand career and technical programs and further help students who don’t take the college path. He also supports retaining and supporting experienced teachers.

Greene said he wants to help educate students and staff about the dangers of bullying by introducing a mentoring program to the division.

Newcomer Nita Collier could not be reached for comment.

 

Nelson

Three Board of Supervisor seats are up for grabs in Nelson County. In the Central District, Democrat Ernie Q. Reed Jr. and independent candidate Shelby R. Bruguiere will be vying for the seat held since 2000 by Connie Brennan, who did not seek re-election.

Bruguiere is a Realtor and lifelong Nelson resident who previously served on various county boards, including the Board of Zoning Appeals and Board of Building Code Appeals, as well as on the Chamber of Commerce and Farmer’s Market Cooperative.

“Nelson is growing and developing at a record pace, but guidance and planning from the county’s leaders is lagging,” Bruguiere said. “My background in accounting, communications and real estate will bring experience to the table to help build a solid foundation, so we can move forward on a sustainable, manageable path.”

Faber resident Reed is a retired schoolteacher and high school administrator who has served as president of the Friends of Nelson for the past three years, fighting to stop construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. He also is president of Wild Virginia, working to protect the state’s forests, mountains and waterways.

“My experience as a teacher and administrator and as an advocate for students; my background in business administration and economics; my work as a mediator, facilitator and leader; my belief in the value of social services; and my knowledge of how all of these pieces fit together make me uniquely qualified to take on the role of supervisor,” Reed said.

Incumbent Democrat Allen Hale is hoping to retain his seat for the East District. The land surveyor, bookseller and Shipman resident has held the seat for 12 years.

“It has always been my goal to work with my colleagues using common sense to reach decisions that are best for the entire county while spending taxpayer money as carefully as if it were my own,” Hale said.

Hale is being challenged by Elma resident Jesse Rutherford, who owns a modular homebuilding company and a property management company. He decided to run because “our district is struggling.”

“There is very little job opportunity and with the huge drug epidemic, I felt nothing was changing for the better. This is my home and these are my neighbors,” said Rutherford, a Republican. “They deserve representation that will be an advocate for them, not a moderate who goes with the flow.”

The North District race features three candidates: independent incumbent Tommy Harvey, Democrat Justin Shimp and Republican Ray Miles, all of Afton.

Harvey is the longest-serving member of the board, taking his seat in 1984. He is a member of the county’s Broadband Authority.

The owner-operator of the Afton Service Center touts many accomplishments during his long tenure, including assisting with the establishment of the Nelson County Emergency Service Council, supporting the county’s Broadband Project and ensuring significant local government funding for the school system.

Shimp is an engineer and owner of Shimp Engineering. A University of Virginia graduate, Shimp’s father was a longtime teacher at Nelson County High School. Shimp said he chose to run because, “it’s time for leadership that plans for the future and has passion about engaging all citizens, not just those who are within the current circles of influence.”

“I’ve decided to run because, as a county, we need to take seriously our responsibility to preserve the rural character of the county,” Shimp said. “We need to improve our transparency and public engagement, especially on land development issues, and we need leadership that projects a positive image that can guide our county into the future.”

Miles is a facilities manager for Zenith Quest, an ammunition and firearms distribution warehouse in the county. Last year, Miles was active in campaigning for Daniel Rutherford for Nelson commonwealth’s attorney, Tom Garrett for Congress and Donald Trump for president.

“I plan to visit homes and businesses all along our more than 150 streets, roads and back roads throughout the North District, carefully listening to your concerns so that I can represent you well,” Miles says on his campaign website.

Three seats on the School Board are up for grabs, with two candidates unopposed. Incumbent David Francis, of Faber, is running for the Central District; Janet Turner-Giles, of Afton, is running for the North District seat she’s held since 2014. Last year, Turner-Giles was appointed to the state’s School Readiness Committee.

The School Board’s East District seat has no candidates, but incumbent Deborah Harvey is waging a write-in campaign. Harvey said she decided to not run at first because she “thought it might be a good time for someone else” to take over the seat.

When no one had filed to run by Labor Day, Harvey was convinced to launch a write-in campaign. To vote for Harvey, voters need to write in her full name, Deborah R. Harvey.

 

Orange

Two incumbent county supervisors are running unopposed.

Jim P. Crozier, District Four, and R. Mark Johnson, District One, have no competition. Both independents have served on the board since 2014.

One of two open seats on the School Board is contested.

In District One, incumbent Carol M. Couch, of Orange, is being challenged by Gordonsville resident Marc T. Cole.

Couch is a retired registered nurse who has served on the board for more than three years.

“The two main issues I support are increasing our teacher salaries every year to compete with surrounding school systems and continuing recent gains in bringing computer and technology skills to every student,” Couch said. “I also strongly support our capital building plans to enclose each school into one secure building since our older schools have annexes and mobile classrooms.”

Cole, a former athletic director for Orange County High School, said his 34 years of experience with the division would be valuable to the board.

“I know the system, I know the ins and outs,” Cole said. “I’ve given my life to Orange County and their kids — I just want to help.”

Incumbent Bette H. Winter, who serves on the Orange County Education Foundation, is running unopposed for the District Four seat.

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Bryan McKenzie is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7271, bmckenzie@dailyprogress.com or @BK_McKenzie on Twitter.

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