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Brandon touts broadband, growth in re-election bid

South Boston News
Brandon / September 30, 2021
In his first term on the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, ED-6 representative Stanley Brandon has pushed for growth in Halifax County by supporting initiatives for schools, broadband, emergency services, and economic development. Brandon is seeking re-election in ED-6 to advocate for more, he said recently.

“The southwest part of the county is the sweetest spot with the largest section of industrial development, and there is no better destination than VIR,” said Brandon.

A native of Halifax County, Brandon graduated from Halifax County High School in 1985. He continued his education by obtaining a Future Farmers of America degree from State Farm. He was employed by both Presto and Louisiana Pacific before launching his own business in 1988, Brandon’s Backhoe and Grading.

Pointing to his work on the Board of Supervisors, Brandon said he is proud to have played a role in widening the roads to Grand Springs, an Alton-area bottled water company, to ensure traffic safety for motorists and 18-wheelers along Piney Grove, Mt. Carmel Road, and Wilkins Road. Brandon helped to re-negotiate terms for a trash disposal convenience center at the Alton Ruritan Club, and aided Dollar General in securing a store location in Turbeville.

An ongoing goal for Brandon is securing access to broadband for every person in Halifax County. As chairman of the supervisors’ broadband committee, Brandon said the county is closer than ever to achieving universal broadband access through its partnership with EMPOWER, a fiber broadband subsidiary of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.

The Southside Planning District Commission has applied for state grant funding to spread fiber in Halifax, Brunswick, and Mecklenburg counties, with EMPOWER as the contractor.

“Broadband is huge on the list and should be obtained by 2025 with the VATI [Virginia Telecommunication Initiative] grant,” said Brandon.

Brandon has confidence in EMPOWER because its crews are already working in the three counties. Halifax has pursued other options in the past and those companies did put adequate work into the infrastructure.

“EMPOWER is the only company that has proven they will work in the county, whereas CenturyLink won’t talk to us and are trying to block our progress,” said Brandon.

Another concern for the Board of Supervisors is how to fund volunteer emergency services, EMT and fire units to ensure they are adequately staffed. But the biggest ticket item on the board’s radar is how to support Halifax County Public Schools.

“The big elephant in the room is funding for the school system,” said Brandon, adding he is anticipating the request from the School Board for construction of a new high school.

“The price tag cannot be above our means. I’ve got a feeling both the remodel and new high school cost are above our means,” said Brandon.

However, Brandon said the air quality of the current high school is a major concern, and if it is shown to be a serious health issue, that would push his vote to approve a new school. To make a sound decision on the need for a new HCHS facility, supervisors will need this information, he said.

“People say there’s poor air quality and I think there needs to be an air quality study,” said Brandon.

With county emergency services, Brandon said Halifax should try new tactics to encourage part-time volunteers, such as providing compensation to volunteers for each emergency call they respond to. To increase the overall number of emergency responders, Brandon said he supports re-instating the high school fire and EMS training programs.

“I am proud of each and every one of our fire departments — they are on it and lend a hand all across the county. They can use all the help they can get,” he said.

The county has approved nearly a dozen solar facilities. Each month supervisors hear at least one request from landowners and energy providers to convert unfarmed land to solar generation facilities.

“Solar has its place, the world is going green and I support it,” said Brandon.

Brandon encouraged supporters of his candidacy to pick up yard signs Tuesday through Friday at Brandon’s Backhoe and Grading, located at 512 Chalmers Street in South Boston, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. He can be reached at 434-753-2928, and Brandon said if he does not answer, leave a message on his voicemail and he will return your call as soon as possible.

Brandon’s name will appear on the ballot as a result of meeting the June 8 qualifying deadline to declare his candidacy. Another contender, Mitzi Thompson, is running for the ED-6 seat as a write-in candidate. The election is Nov. 2, and early voting at the county registrar’s office in Halifax is underway.

The three voting precincts in ED-6 are Black Walnut, Turbeville, and Union.

» Black Walnut residents cast their votes at the Tri-County Community Action, Child Care Center located at 1176 Huell Matthews Highway in South Boston.

» Turbeville residents can vote on Election Day at the Turbeville Fire Department at 1002 Melon Road, South Boston.

» Union residents will vote at the Union Ruritan Club, located at 3055 Union Church Road, South Boston.

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Mr. Brandon, what are the deliverables and timelines on when each part of the county can expect to have Broadband? We keep hearing its in the works but no one is providing dates. Why?


I wouldn’t trust Empower to do anything. If you want a real update, contact the County administrator, Mr. Simpson and ask him how the 8 wireless broadband towers are going. He’ll tell you very clearly that deadlines will not be met going into 2022 and they are exploring going in a different direction. This thing has more holes than Swiss cheese and this gentleman is being disingenuous making this promise. Want to see a government boondoggle? Visit Virgilina near the old school and you’ll find a nice shiny empty broadband pole. No wires, no nothing. Just empty and has been sitting there empty for a year.

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