Running a locality isn’t a discussion of one or two issues at a board meeting. It’s a job. And there are many facets of it. It takes time to learn how governing works, to learn how towns and counties work. I’ve spent the last 14 years learning how to take care of Ashland. I think that experience is what I bring to a Board of Supervisor’s seat. And I know there will be much more to learn when I get there. I believe I’ve learned the crucial lessons of local government — listen to the citizens. Do your homework. Understand how everyone and everything works together. Read every plan, in detail. But all of these efforts must be in service to the kind of county that our citizens envision. That’s my goal – to work hard to make Hanover the kind of place its citizens want it to be, and grows in a way that protects that vision.

And while I know many, many issues are on the table for our leadership, I have spent a great deal of time talking with the citizens of Hanover about the ones that are most important to them.  These are the issues that should be foremost in the thinking of all our leaders.

 

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EDUCATION

Hanover’s reputation as a stellar school system must be maintained, and that can only happen if we continue to feed and nurture that system. I believe we can be a role model in our region. Our schools should have up-to-date facilities and technology. Our teachers should be encouraged to bring innovation and creativity to teaching. They should be supported in their teaching goals. Arguably the current focus on testing, testing, testing gives less freedom and time to everyone – teachers, students and staff – to explore and provide an environment where ideas can thrive. Though a great deal of what our teachers must do is dictated by the state and federal government, as a county, we should make every effort to ensure that we give our children the best possible start in life. Beyond that, our schools are among our best economic development opportunities. Businesses and people have little interest in locating where schools are not the best.

 

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SENSE OF PLACE

I have always believed that, after families and friends, most people care most deeply about their homes. Home is where we raise our families, where we do most of our living. Most of us like to think of our homes as reflections of who we are. And our homes are often our largest investments. So the ability to protect our homes and, by extension, our communities is one of our greatest concerns. I believe strongly in a sense of place. Every locality shouldn’t look like every other locality. Citizens have earned, and deserve, a say in how their communities develop, and in what they do and don’t want as a part of their future. And that is why I believe that thoughtful planning and responsible land use decisions are key to protecting the quality of life that we cherish in Hanover.

 

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

Obviously we cannot have strong schools and healthy, sustainable communities if we don’t have a county that is economically viable. I believe that counties should think equally about how to most wisely and responsibly spend tax dollars and at the same time how to grow our economy in ways that are respectful to the communities in which businesses will locate. I’m very proud to say that during the past decade, Ashland has maintained our AAA bond rating, taken on no public debt, and operated on a pay-as-you-go model.  Yet we have still managed to take on some pretty great public projects.

 

 

 

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