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Nine vie for four seats on Mecklenburg Board of Supervisors

South Boston News / October 30, 2019
When Mecklenburg County voters head to the polls on Tuesday, they’ll have a choice of candidates in four races for the Board of Supervisors — in Election District 3 (the La Crosse-Bracey area), ED-5 (South Hill), ED-8 (Trottinridge and Chase City) and ED-9 (along the county’s southern border, from Palmer Springs to Nelson).

All nine Board seats are on the ballot, but five incumbent supervisors are unopposed for re-election: Andy Hargrove (ED-1), Glanzy Spain (ED-2), Claudia Lundy (ED-4) Sterling Wilkinson (ED-6), and Jim Jennings (ED-7).

The Sun reached out to all the candidates in competitive elections for the Board of Supervisors to hear their thoughts on a variety of local issues. Here are some of the highlights of what they said, concerning their reasons for running and what they hope to accomplish if elected to the county governing body.

Presented in numerical order:

Election District 3

Running: incumbent supervisor Evans D. “Dan” Tanner and challenger Thomas C. “Tom” Tanner. They are brothers.

» Dan Tanner said he first ran for Board of Supervisors because he enjoyed volunteering in the community and helping the public. He served as a board member and secretary to Community Memorial Healthcenter in South Hill for several years, prior to his election as supervisor.

He’s spent the past 20 years representing the La Crosse-area district. Tanner is a member of the board’s economic development, personnel and 911 committees, serves as county liaison on the Southside District Planning Commission, Meherrin River Regional Jail Authority and the Lake Gaston Association Weed Control Council, and is an alternate on the Roanoke River Service Authority and the MAMAC (regional mega site) board.

“Our work is never done, but I enjoy serving,” Tanner says. He is particularly proud of his role with helping to facilitate the construction of the regional jails in Alberta and Boydton, his involvement with the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council, and steps the Board of Supervisors has taken, in conjunction with the School Board, to build the county’s new consolidated high and middle school complex to replace the four badly outdated Bluestone and Park View buildings.

When asked what he wants the voters to know about him, Tanner replied, “I am approachable and responsive. People can find my contact information on the County webpage, You may not always like the answer I give, but I will always try to find answers to questions asked.”

One recurring and sometimes prickly issue that county supervisors are often called to address is the condition of local secondary roads. Tanner said VDOT officials are very responsive are the public’s concerns, but unfortunately there is only so much state money to go around to upgrade and maintain primary and secondary roads. As the third largest county in the state by geography, Mecklenburg seems as if it has a disproportionate number of secondary roads that are a lower priority for transportation funding, Tanner said. Although he would like to see improvement, Tanner says he does not expect the General Assembly to change the formula used to allocate transportation dollars.

What sets Mecklenburg County apart from other rural counterparts, Tanner believes, is the foresight of the local officials who helped bring the Microsoft Data Center to Boydton, that recognized early on the benefits of regionalism and saw a need to plan for new industry by erecting a shell building at an industrial park near the Mecklenburg-Brunswick Regional Airport and the I-85 interchange. All three endeavors have added to the financial growth of the local economy and sent the message “We are open for business.”

Tanner is a native of Mecklenburg County, having grown up in La Crosse. It is also the town where he and wife Mary, a civics teacher at Park View Middle School, raised their daughter and two sons, Meredith Tanner Smith, Trey Tanner who works for the law firm of Slayton & Clary and Will Tanner, a senior at Longwood University. His daughter Meredith died early last year.

Dan Tanner graduated from Park View High School in 1973 and earned an Associate Degree from Southside Virginia Community College in 1975.

» Thomas C. “Tom” Tanner says his time as mayor of the Town of La Crosse made him realize there is a need for ED-3 voters to be heard on the Board of Supervisors, while also helping the county to continue its positive path.

As a member of the Board, he said he would make it his job to be informed on all matters in which county supervisors have authority, such as developing short and long-term growth plans, setting budgets, adopting ordinances and regulations, and fixing tax rates. Key to the success of the Board is an understanding of what changes need to occur for the betterment of Mecklenburg County and its citizens, Tanner said.

He believes the three biggest issues facing the county today are jobs, broadband and public safety. Tanner says the Board of Supervisors must work harder to bring businesses back to the area. He says it is critical for supervisors to work with economic development offices to “get Mecklenburg County in front of more businesses and industries that are willing to try new things.”

He said agriculture remains a major component of the local economy and for that to continue, farmers should be encouraged to continue diversifying their crops.

Tanner said he could not speak to the financial health of Mecklenburg County since supervisors do not publish any of their financial data online. Still, he feels there are always ways organizations can improve when it comes to customer service. One such improvement would be to update the county website by adding links for the budget and capital improvement plan as well as videos of the meetings. “We need to keep our citizens informed and be more open about the business of the county.”

Funding for schools — for construction and operations — has been an issue for many years, Tanner said. He said a capital improvement plan should have been developed years ago for each school. Had this been done, “we may not be having these funding issues” — a reference to construction costs for the consolidated secondary school in excess of $150 million, the sum that the Board of Supervisors earlier agreed to set aside for the new school complex and to upgrade the county’s three oldest elementary schools.

Tanner said he does not favor raising taxes without having the citizens first weigh in on the question. He said he would prefer for the county to grow existing businesses or entice new businesses to the area to increase the tax base.

Tanner is Mayor of La Crosse, where he has lived for all but three years of his life. He and wife Sandra have twin daughters Olivia and Madelyn, who along with Nyla Custalow were instrumental in the building of the Kids=Play all-inclusive playground in South Hill while they were students at Park View High School. Both girls currently attend Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

He is also an Eagle Scout, a life member of the Southside Rescue Squad, a member of the South Hi ll Masonic Lodge and South Hill Shrine Club, the La Crosse Methodist Church, and a past member of the La Crosse Volunteer Fire Department, Town Council and Town Planning Commission. Tanner currently works at Fort Pickett as a Firefighter/Medic and holds an Associate degree in Business Management from Southside Virginia Community College.

Election District 5:

Running: incumbent Glenn E. Barbour and challenger Lisa Vaughan Jordan. Barbour is board chairman and Jordan is on South Hill Town Council.

» Glenn Barbour said he first decided to run for the Board of Supervisors in 2000 because he wanted to be involved in his community. “I told my wife [Linda] I didn’t want to be another cog in the wheel, I wanted to be involved.”

In 2006 Barbour was tapped to be board chairman, a position he has held ever since. Barbour said he enjoys serving on and leading the Board of Supervisors and considers it an honor that fellow board members have unanimously elected him to the leadership position for the past 13 years.

A Certified Public Accountant, Barbour sees Mecklenburg County’s three biggest issues as being workforce development, schools and economic development. He believes Mecklenburg County can prepare a skilled workforce by working in conjunction with the local community colleges and the school division as it sets up its career centers. “The upside is that new industry might come to the area and we will achieve our goal [to expand the county’s economy].”

With Mecklenburg on track to build a new secondary school and upgrade its elementary facilities once the high school-middle complex is built, “we’ve come too far to turn back” despite escalating cost projections, Barbour said. Still, he sees the need to keep an eye on spending for facilities since the county has other major obligations to meet, including funding for social services, public safety, public works and more.

When it comes to economic development Barbour says there’s a lot of interest in hemp production but “the jury is still out.” He sees potential for farmers looking to transition from tobacco growing to hemp, but says the industry is too new for him to decide if it will be an economic boon for the area.

Barbour hesitates when asked if large-scale solar facilities are the type of industry Mecklenburg County should try to entice. He says he worries about the proliferation of a single industry, the loss of agriculture lands, and the potential negative affect on tourism. “We’ve approved four of them and I have yet to see one built,” Barbour said, adding, “I’m anxious to see what one looks like and their [the developer] commitment to maintaining it.”

Barbour says Mecklenburg County is financially very healthy because as a board, supervisors have been frugal. Even so, Barbour said he would support some tax increases if there were a long-term benefit that would be funded with the additional revenue, something that the citizens supported.

Barbour grew up in South Hill and graduated from Park View High School. “Me being able to come back and raise my family here is one of the best things that ever happened. I have a deep affection for the county and the people. There is no where else I’d rather live,” he said. Barbour returned to South Hill shortly after earning his degree from Roanoke National Business College.

After working with the accounting firm now known as Creedle Jones and Associates, PC for 15 years, Barbour opened his own practice in 1993. He retired last year after 40 years as a CPA.

Barbour and his wife of 50 years, Linda, raised their two sons Chad and Hunter in South Hill. They have one grandson, Chance.

» Lisa Vaughan Jordan, having served on South Hill Town Council for the past eight years, says she was ready to do something different to serve the community. “I do not like feeling comfortable.” She also believes the Board of Supervisors can benefit from a fresh perspective, allowing her to tackle challenging and complex matters that others may shy away from.

“I think the Board of Supervisors has done many things that address citizens’ concerns and needs. I want to be part of that effort to help create a place where my son wants to return to and live.”

When it comes to elected office, Jordan says her goals center on the idea that “it’s not about me, but about what I can do for the community.” She added, “At times, that means making tough choices and upsetting some people, but that’s the nature of decision-making … you try to do what’s in the best in-terests of everyone.”

For Jordan, the three biggest issues facing Mecklenburg County involve sustainability, economic de-velopment and broadband. She considers the county fortunate to have the Microsoft Data Center in Boydton, but feels that too much focus is placed on that facility and not enough on what else Mecklen-burg can attain for its citizens — through tourism, expanded reliable internet and even the development of alternative energy facilities.

Jordan would like to see the County engage more with partners such as Southside Virginia Com-munity College, Mid-Atlantic Broadband, BIT/Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative and Microsoft and others to expand access to reliable and fast internet for all. “The state has announced several initiatives regarding expansion of broadband for rural areas, but I have not seen any immediate results. We need to be the squeaky wheel and demand equitable service compared to our counterparts.”

During her time on South Hill Town Council, the town turned down an applicant looking to develop a utility-scale solar facility near South Hill “because there were too many unknowns and what ifs.” Un-der the right circumstances, Jordan says this type of industry might be effective: “Our job [as elected officials] is to ensure that those that operate and construct it [a solar farm] meet all requirements before, during, and after the lifespan of the farm.”

Jordan believes the county is financially healthy for the moment, but we “have not perhaps adequately planned for the demographic realities of our region and the needs down the road. We have often been reactive and not proactive.”

To better serve constituents, one positive step would be “to have an updated and intuitive [county] website that allows the public a chance to engage and participate effectively. Right now, there is little of that in most cases,” in part because many board meetings are held during the day when people are working. “I’m uncertain of the rationale for this, but I’d like to see it moved to improve attendance and involvement.”

She would like the public to have easy access to meeting agendas, minutes and other pertinent infor-mation involving board actions. “Governance is built on the premise of public engagement.”

Jordan believes tax increases “should be a last resort,” but sees them as inevitable in the face of grow-ing expenses. She would encourage the board to explore all other options before voting in favor of a tax hike.

While on South Hill Town Council, Jordan was integral in helping to obtain historic designation for Whittle’s Mill in South Hill and restore the site. This was done to honor Max Crowder, who researched and wrote a book on the history of the mill and the Meherrin River and the people living nearby.

Jordan is in her sixth year as a professor at Southside Virginia Community College. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in history and a Master of Teacher. She earned her PhD. In Public Policy and Administra-tion. Jordan says she’s taught everything from Head Start to college level classes. She also spent three years as director of the Colonial Center for Performing Arts in South Hill.

In addition to her position on South Hill Town Council, Jordan is a member of the Petersburg Preserva-tion Task Force, Petersburg Architectural Review Board, Archeological Society of Virginia, Maritime Heritage Chapter, and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education Alumni Council.

She lives in South Hill with her husband Bill, a math teacher at Park View Middle School, and their son, Jared, a Park View High School graduate who is currently attending VCU.

Election District 8:

Running: incumbent David A. Brankley and challenger A.M. “Monty” Hightower Jr.

» When David Brankley first agreed to run for Board of Supervisors in 2011, he said it was because he was asked by friends and neighbors. Orell Lenhart had represented voters in ED-8 for many years but decided to step down at the end of his term.

Brankley was not uninformed about the duties of a board member. His father Tommy had served on the board for 12 years. Brankley said he still enjoys working with and for the people of the county and has learned much about the place he’s called home his entire life.

He also says the best thing any Supervisor can do for their constituents is to listen and be their voice. “I know that not everyone can come to every meeting. It is my duty to gather all the facts and represent them as best I can.”

Brankley says the two biggest issues facing Mecklenburg County today are the schools and the need to keep taxes low. He points out that too many people living in Mecklenburg County struggle financially and cannot afford to pay a large tax bill. “We need to be responsible.”

Right now, Mecklenburg County has a healthy economy, he says, some of which Brankley credits to Microsoft deciding to locate a data center in Boydton. But he asked, “What happens if that becomes obsolete? Where will we be down the road?”

At the same time Brankley says he is optimistic for the county’s future, particularly with the coming of the new consolidated secondary school campus near Baskerville, and Superintendent Paul Nichols push in conjunction with SVCC to develop a workforce that can fill the needs of new industries looking to relocate. The combination of the new and the skilled labor force “will bring in different industry and economic development opportunities,” he said.

Brankley admits he was disappointed by the recent bids submitted by contractors looking to build the new secondary school. If a new set of bids comes in over budget, “We may have to eliminate some of the bells and whistles,” something he does not want. “We can’t spend every penny on the building and have no money left to pay for teachers or equipment,” Brankley said.

Asked if he would consider raising taxes to cover added capital improvement costs or other school expenses, Brankley said he would first have to look at other opportunities to increase revenues and cut expenses.

On other issues, such recent influx of renewable energy companies looking to build utility-scale solar facilities, Brankley says slow down. “I am all for renewable energy, but I want to maintain our rural character and not lose what this county is about.” During his time on the board, he voted in favor of allowing one solar company to erect its field, opposed one because of its proximity to Chase City’s town limits, and abstained on a third because of family connections to the project.

Brankley and wife of 35 years, Ann, live on the farm where he was raised in the Trottinridge area. After graduation from high school, Brankley said he began working in the family farming operation. He managed the South Hill office for Nutrien Ag Solutions (formerly known as Crop Production Services) for 30 years. Three years ago he turned the management job over to Austin Puryear and now works as a crop consultant. At the end of this year Brankley plans to retire from Nutrien Ag Solutions and return to his cattle farm operation.

The Brankleys have two daughters, Lindsey Puryear and Sarah Fox and four grandchildren.

» Monty Hightower says, “Chase City has three representatives on the Board of Supervisors, but none are working for Chase City.” His plan, if elected, is to bring industry and jobs to the town he calls home.

The first-time candidate is critical of the county placing too much emphasis on development on the east end. “When the county puts up shell buildings, it’s always on the east end. I’m not trying to be divisive, just stating what I see, and I don’t want Chase City to be a bedroom community.”

Hightower would like to see Mecklenburg do more to overcome its stagnation and believes the board should help drive the economy. “When I was growing up, Chase City, Clarksville and South Hill all had vibrant economies. We need to find a way to bring industry back.”

The three biggest issues facing Mecklenburg County today are lack of jobs, education and infrastructure/broadband access, according to Hightower.

“We need to do more to make Mecklenburg County business friendly.” Instead of going after larger industries, Hightower believes the focus should be on small manufacturing companies, ones that employ 15-20 people. If a single small company fails, it does not wipe out jobs held by much of the area workforce.

He says Chase City still has a significant untapped “award-winning” water supply — well-water that earned a medal at the World’s Fair of 1912 or 1914, according to Hightower, but he could not remember specifically which one. “The wells still exist, and the water could be used brew craft beers or produce distilled liquors.” He says he’s been selling that message as he reaches out to various companies and tourism groups hoping to attract them to Chase City.

One industry that is interested in the area is renewable energy. Hightower said he’s worked with one of the newly permitted solar companies, and they agreed to plant their solar field with flowers and crops that attract pollinators. More bees could open the door for new business that produce and sell products made with honey, Hightower says.

The school division should continue to push the importance of trades for students who are not looking to pursue a college degree program after high school. “We need good masons, mechanics, plumbers and electricians,” Hightower said. He also advocates for greater emphasis on STEM programs and would like to see the school division work with the Town of Chase City to convert one or more of its empty buildings into a STEM Lab or incubator for startup companies. Students could learn about 3D printing or how to process hemp plants for fiber and building materials, he said.

He ticks off four buildings that are either vacant, used for storage or will become vacant within the next couple of years, among them the Ellington Industries building at the corner of Main and Second Streets, the old Sherwood Foods building, the Banner warehouse and the Mecklenburg Farm Supply site.

Hightower says he believes the best solution for the area-wide, reliable high-speed internet lies with those looking to install fiber optics. “It is the best solution” despite the cost, because of the life span of an ultra-fast fiber network. He also said the terrain of the area sometimes poses problems for Wi Fi and satellite users, he says.

In response to those residents who believe VDOT does not mow tall grass along the right-of-way often enough, Hightower has a different take. In his view, VDOT mows too often, and in doing so destroys habitats for bees and other pollinators. “The best pollinator habitat is often found along scenic roadways,” Hightower said, adding, “Mother Nature is not neat. The growth is there for a reason.”

Hightower said he does not necesTo battle drug abuse, Hightower said he would look at the idea of creating a drug ourt but believes the first step should be to partner with nearby counties to fund an in-patient mental health crisis intervention center.

Hightower says one difference between him and his opponent is his ties to the community. “I am more community oriented. I help with events,” as a member of the Chase City Special Events II committee, Chase City IDA and South Central Fair Board.

Hightower is a lifelong resident of Mecklenburg County. He and wife Galyna have a daughter, Sophia. He holds a degree in Applied Science with a focus on auto technology from Danville Community College and is the owner of an automotive company, Wholesale Auto Parts, Inc.

Outside of work Hightower serves as president of the Automotive After-market Alliance of the Mid-South, and until its funding was cut, he was a member of the Southern Virginia Butterfly Trail.

Election District 9:

Running for an open seat are three contenders: Charles E. Jones, Jr., Christy L. Peffer, G. E. “Glenn” Reyes. Each is running to succeed outgoing board member Gregg Gordon.

» Charles E. Jones, Jr moved to Clarksville 28 years ago from North Carolina. Since then he has been active in government and community as Secretary/Treasurer of the Prestwould II Dock Association for 11 years, member of the Clarksville Economic Development Authority for 20 years, Clarksville Town Council for 10 years and the Mecklenburg County Planning Commission for 11 years. He is currently vice chair of the Planning Commission. To garner a better understanding of the community, Jones completed the Leadership Mecklenburg program.

Of his decision to run for supervisor, Jones said, “This job is a tremendous responsibility and requires a strong dedication to serve the constituents.” He said his background sets him apart from his opponents. “Being self-employed nearly all my life gives me a distinct advantage over the other candidates. All the things required to operate a successful business, can be applied to overseeing the successful operation of our county.”

Jones sees the three biggest issues as education, job creation, and access to broadband or high-speed internet for all.

Education is at the top of his list because it is the pillar of economic strength and competitiveness in the international world. “We must do our part at the county level to ensure that our students have the cre-dentials necessary for whatever paths they may follow.”

The county must also “attract a diversified mix of companies to locate here.” The board should “con-tinue to support the efforts of [the County] Director of Economic Development, Angie Kellett, as she works with the State of Virginia EDA to bring an awareness to what we have to offer in Southside Vir-ginia. We need our town EDA’s to continue to seek out new businesses in their prospective areas as well. We must continue to update our websites with all the initiatives and accomplishments of our ar-ea.”

To Jones, the overarching issue facing Mecklenburg is the lack of high speed internet to homes and businesses. He would use his platform as county supervisor to encourage the Tobacco Region Revitali-zation Commission to step up their funding for fiber cable installation. “Mecklenburg Electric, along with BIT [through EmPower] are in the process of moving this installation forward.” At current fund-ing levels, Jones notes “this build-out will take several years to come to fruition.”

Before raising taxes, Jones said the county should support workforce development opportunities that create the skilled workers companies need and that will entice them to the area and he would increase spending to promote tourism, particularly in Raleigh/Durham and Richmond areas. He believes people living there would come to Mecklenburg once they know of the untapped beauty found here.

A self-described “progressive conservative,” Jones questioned whether the $150 million amount super-visors have promised for new facilities — $120 million for the Baskerville complex and $30 million for upgrades to the elementary schools — is sufficient. He notes that $30 million for elementary school upgrades could increase if a decision were made to replace rather than upgrade those schools. Also, “I do have concerns about the amount of rock on the consolidated middle and high school site and what challenges that might present and at what cost.”

His view is that these buildings must last for 40-plus years, so it is important to get it right. “I believe these school replacements will be the cornerstone to the future of Mecklenburg County for many years to come.”

He would like to see a joint venture between Mecklenburg and neighboring counties to build and staff a long-term drug rehab treatment facility in Southside Virginia, a place where addicts can get the treat-ment and counseling services they need. “Quite simply, you can’t clean addicts’ bodies over a few days and then dump them back into the same conditions from which they came. A long-term treatment plan through its extended care programs, is the most effective form of therapy for individuals struggling with substance abuse as it combines the best practices of all other forms of substance abuse therapy.”

Jones also believes the county must embrace alternative energy sources to ensure a clean environment for future generations. As a member of the Planning Commission that developed the county’s compre-hensive zoning and solar facilities ordinance, Jones believes “these guidelines should be adhered to” when deciding whether additional solar projects should be allowed on local farmland.

After high school, Jones studied textile technology at N.C. State University. He says, “I am a Christian with a belief in family values and God’s core principle of loving one another.” He is also a Sunday school teacher at Clarksville Baptist Church and serves on various committees and responsibilities of church operations.

» Christy L. Peffer is making her first foray into public office. As an employee of Mecklenburg County Public Schools and someone who has served children for over 30 years, Peffer said she is ready to serve adults, many of whom she taught.

She said she no longer believes that government serves the people they represent. Too many elected officials are “more interested in what they can do for themselves. I am ready to listen and serve the constituents in District 9. This is their county and they deserve a say in how the revenues collected are spent on them.”

As a county supervisor, Peffer would involve herself in the traditional duties of a board member such as approving the county budget, while also opening lines of communication and listening to the concerns and needs of the people. “To be able to serve the people, I will need to know how they stand on any issue that will be addressed by the Board.”

To her, the three biggest concerns facing Mecklenburg County are job shortages, lack of technology and loss of small businesses.

“Unless you are in the medical field, construction, or education there are not a lot of high paying jobs available for the constituents in District 9,” Peffer says. She believes the Board of Supervisors must take a proactive role in bringing businesses to the area by promoting quality of life issues such as the lake, and existing facilities such as industrial parks.

She doesn’t discount the importance of spending money on education because, “without a work force, businesses will continue to overlook the area.”

Improved technology is also necessary, Peffer said. “In this day and age of electronics, the people need affordable high speed internet to have a voice in today’s government. Due to changes in education, the student’s also need to have access to high speed internet in their homes.” Many residents, particularly those who live outside a population center or far from a cell tower, lack access to affordable highspeed internet, and in some cases basic dial-up service.

She would encourage supervisors to “aggressively” go after dollars to expand internet options in rural locales while working with phone, cable and power companies and state and federal legislators. The message she would promote is that “without a stable, high speed internet connection, it will be virtually impossible for the county to recruit new businesses to the area.”

She even suggests exploring the option of partnering with the school division to build a countywide and county-owned network using federal grant money.

“Too many small business owners are closing their businesses. Small businesses are the backbones of any community. We have too many empty storefronts in the towns throughout Mecklenburg County.” She believes the small businesses would not shut down if more tourists came to the area. The best draw, according to Peffer, are the lakes and other attractions.

“We need to work with town offices, small business owners, and the Corps of Engineers to magnify the use of the lakes. We need to offer attractions, like Lakefest, all summer long. We need to go after the big bass [fishing] tournaments and bring them to our community. This county has so much to offer [community theaters, farmers markets, antique shops, a distillery, gardens, and history] we need to find a way to use it to bring people into the communities, which leads to revenue for small business owners.”

Of the $150 million budget set aside for school construction projects, Peffer says those numbers may not be realistic based on the current construction environment. She thinks $120 million for the high school-middle school is too little, but if the school division continues to spend reasonable sums on elementary school maintenance, then the $30 million promised for those upgrades is, in her view, a reasonable sum.

For the most part, Peffer said she would prefer to take direction from her constituents before opining on issues the board has dealt with in the past. She offered some insight on a few select issues. When it comes to funding for fire and EMS personnel — in the face of a dwindling volunteer base — Peffer would encourage the county to pay for at least one fulltime position at each station and all EMS workers.

New solar projects should be approved only if they can meet all permitting requirements and the benefits of the facility can be shown to outweigh the negative aspects.

“I have no self-interests in this county, other than the same ones that every other resident has — health care, taxes, fire and rescue, law enforcement, etc. I plan to vote according to how the constituents of District 9 want me to vote, even though I may disagree with their decision.”

Peffer lives on a farm in the Nelson area with her mother and six horses. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision and has worked for Mecklenburg County Public Schools for 31 years.

» G. E. “Glenn” Reyes is a newcomer to local government, but not new to Mecklenburg County or to government in general. He is a former Homeland Security Special Agent and graduate of Bluestone High School who worked on the family farm and at Burlington Industries during and immediately after graduation from high school.

Reyes says the skills he developed as a public affairs officer, federal law enforcement training center instructor and Supervisory Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security give him a good background for serving on the Board of Supervisors. But it is his desire to serve the community that drove him to file for office.

He said the three biggest issues facing Mecklenburg County involve drugs, broadband and schools. He believes the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement are “doing a good job” when it comes to addressing the county’s drug woes, but he says the public needs to be made more aware of the extent of the problem and steps being taken to address it. Because of his former role in law enforcement, Reyes says he is all too aware that drugs are flooding into this area.

Speaking with ED-9 residents, Reyes says he was repeatedly hears complaints about the lack of quality and affordable internet service. Those who have satellite service say it doesn’t work all the time. His solution, if elected, would be to push supervisors to support installation of fiber optic cable throughout the county for delivery of high speed internet.

Reyes said he realizes there’s no going back on the location of the new secondary school campus in Baskerville. But, he thinks the people deserve answers as to how and why that site was selected and a realistic estimate on what it will cost to provide sewer service and to address other issues with the site – relocating electrical and cable lines and a cemetery, ease of access, and excavation costs from the rock that runs under much of the property.

Reyes believes the county is financially healthy but would still support a one or two-cent tax increase for a limited period to pay for specific projects, such as road improvements, rehabilitation of schools and county buildings.

On the matter of roads, “Mecklenburg is a transient county and needs good roads.” In contrast to supervisors who have spoken against encroachment on farms from industry, such as solar facilities. Reyes says he believes “farming and technology can co-exist.” He was quick to share that does not mean he favors unfettered industrial development.

Issues he would like the board to address including funding for facilities where seniors and young people can congregate, working with the schools on programs that develop a pool of skilled workers and to taking on the issue of affordable housing.

“Campaigning has opened my eyes to the people living here. They’re great and I believe I think like them and will represent them with integrity,” Reyes said. He added that everyone should meet their neighbors under conditions such as campaigning. “We all have the same desires.”

Reyes is a veteran, having been honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force. He lives in Merifield Acres with his wife Irene Parrish.

He currently serves as a deacon at Williams Grove Church near Chase City, is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police of Northern Virginia #35, the National Rifle Association, the National Police Defense Foundation, Clarksville AARP and Clarksville YMCA. He is often called to speak on topics from foreign gangs and their influence on community, to instructing young adults about benefits of being professional and having manners.

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