My Vision for Hanover

Serving 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 22 years learning how to take care of Ashland and the Ashland district and all of Hanover County. I think that experience is what I bring to the Board of Supervisors. And even with my experience I don’t get everything right. Every decision is crucial to someone. People’s lives and livelihoods depend on what we do. I do believe that I’ve learned the most crucial lesson of local government — listen to the citizens. Beyond that, it’s important to 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 grow 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. It’s important to apply common sense solutions and hard work to making sure our county serves all of its citizens.

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. In many ways, this is the most important job of a supervisor and should be among our greatest concerns.

We are fortunate in Hanover to have terrific group of professional men and women who work for us every day to ensure the safety of our citizens. Our Sheriff’s office continually strives to not only protect our citizens, but to educate and serve all the members of our community through a variety of community programs and services.  Our high tech, 21st century Sheriff’s Department is capable of using the latest technology such as drone surveillance and under water forensics, to solve crime and protect our citizens. But our sheriff and his officers and staff know that beyond the work that it takes to be outstanding protectors of the public safety, it is equally important to be a trusted part of our community. To that end there are MANY programs and services that the HCSD provides for, and in, our community.  They are so involved, in so many ways, that the International Chiefs of Police have ranked our sheriff’s office as Number 2 in the entire world for community policing.

As a Board of Supervisors, it is important that we are constantly aware of the vital roles that the Sheriff’s Office and Fire & EMS serve. They protect our citizens and it is our responsibility to make sure that they have the funding and the community support to support the community.  This is always one of my top priorities.

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.

What our schools should not be, is a hot bed for division and battles that have nothing to do with the learning and lives of our students. The Board of Supervisors’ role in the schools is to choose, as wisely as possible, school board members who can set responsible policy. Beyond that, we need to make sure that we provide fiscally for our facilities and our staff and faculty. I believe that each of us must do the job set out for us by the laws and the policies of the county. No one is well-served by creating division.

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.

Obviously we cannot have healthy, sustainable communities and strong schools and 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, Hanover has maintained our AAA bond rating and treated tax dollars respectfully.  The money we spend is your money.  We maintain the lowest tax rate in the region.  While some other localities gave citizens a refund, this caused taxpayers to have to spend money to return money. Our board worked with the treasurer to find the most fiscally prudent way to offset the increase in real estate taxes. Beyond that, we increased tax relief for the elderly. When other localities around us are giving huge raises to their employees in all sectors, and competing to do so, we know that our rural county cannot do that. But we do know that using our money as wisely as possible, helps us the stay competitive to hire the best deputies, public safety officers and teachers in our region.