Ty Schieber, Republican incumbent for the Garrisonville district on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, has served on the county’s board since January 2012. This is his first regular election. He was appointed by the Stafford County Board of Supervisors to the Garrisonville seat after Mark Dudenhefer (R-Stafford) was elected to the House of Delegates. Prior to being elected as a supervisor, he was a representative on the Stafford County School Board. His opponent in the November Virginia General Election is Democrat, Laura Sellers.
He says there are three main challenges that come along with the development and growth coming to Stafford County: schools, transportation and safety.
“The more people you have, the more focus you have on the roads, the more kids you have in school and all of that has to be done within the context with a safe and secure environment,” says Schieber. He says there are challenges that come along with those three primary areas have a lot to do with the growing development and the available resources in the county.
Nanette Kidby, current Stafford County School Board member representing the Garrisonville district, has served the district since 2007. This year, she is being challenged by R. Pamuela Yeung. Previously, Kidby served as a mathematics high school teacher in Prince William County for 21 years. She says her experience and dedication to education makes her a successful school board member.
“Education isn’t what I do, it’s who I am,” says Kidby. “I can bring experience of working on the board and there’s definitely something to be said for that. With that background coupled with my background in business and accounting, I can not only bring the educational experience, the managerial experience, but also the budgeting experience.”
She is focusing her campaign on areas such as teacher retention and pay, overcrowded class rooms, and maintaining modern learning and technology in the schools.
Mark Dudenhefer, Republican delegate representing the 2nd Virginia house district in Stafford and Woodbridge, has participated in major legislative changes since he was first elected in 2012. He is being challenged by Michael Futrell (D) for the 2nd district seat, which includes Prince William and Stafford counties.
This past session, he is responsible participating in the passing of legislation that helped give teachers raises, veterans more opportunities, as well as initiated “Gwyneth’s Law,” which was inspired by a woman named Gwyneth Griffin who passed away in July of 2012 after going into cardiac arrest at her middle school.
“One particular piece of legislation that I carried and spent a lot of time getting passed was a requirement for school teachers to receive CPR training and for high school kids to have CPR training as part of their graduation requirement,” says Dudenhefer.
He says, if reelected, he will continue to focus on areas such as transportation, education and the economy.
Valerie Setzer, Democratic candidate for the Falmouth district seat on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, is running up against Republican Mary “Meg” Bohmke and Independent Robert Belman in the November General Election. She is running for the seat because she says that she believes she would be able to facilitate a more balanced perspective on the board of supervisors.
“I look at things in a more well-rounded perspective,” she says. “When considering developments, I will ensure that the people that are willing to develop new projects in this county take into consideration and compensate the county with the necessary infrastructure needs that accompany those projects. This includes roads, schools, public transportation and accessibility to fire and rescue services (and so on).”
Setzer recently retired as a terminal air space manager at the Federal Aviation Administration. She says her professional skills would be a beneficial aspect for the board.
Debra Wood, (R) is the current Commissioner of Revenue for Manassas Park City. Her job requires providing taxpayers a variety of services, including: assessing the value of property and taxes, issuing business licenses and processing state income tax returns. She has lived in the city for over 35 years and has spent 22 of those in the Commissioner of Revenue’s office.
This year she is being challenged by Patricia Trimble, an independent nominee. Wood says her experience and workmanship make her a qualified candidate in the November general election.
“My years of experience and knowledge of the duties of commissioner surpass that of any candidate,” she says. “I attend yearly training sessions on income taxes, auditing, personal property assessment, computer training, legislative changes, as well as numerous commissioners association training to ensure that I stay abreast of any changes in the law.”
Vanessa Griffin is an active member of the Aquia community. She currently serves on a variety of different community boards and committees and helped organize and initiate the first North Stafford Farmers Market.
“Our community had a need for the production of local produce so I made it happen. I found the funding; I ran through all the red tape and was able to deliver that to the community,” she says. “Not only have we been able to partner with the local food pantry (S.E.R.V.E.) and provide nearly 500 pounds of produce per week, but are planning to implement the SNAP (food stamps) program next year to further extend our services to the lower income families in Stafford.”
Griffin is running for the Aquia seat on the Stafford County school board because she says she wants to continue to produce results for her community.
Keen Wants Better Board Relations, Teacher Benefits in Prince William County
Steven Keen, incumbent by special election for the Woodbridge seat on the Prince William County School Board, has been elected to the school board before, serving two terms from 1995 to 2003. He says that this time around his main focus is on the direction of the schools and how the Board of County Supervisors and school board can work together to resolve the issues facing the county.
“I looked and saw that the current economic crisis is as fragile as it was when I was first elected. I thought that my experience would be valuable to the board,” Keen said. “However, the economy is now gotten to a place where it’s time for us to start asking what the implications are for the schools.”
Keen says that the relationship between the school board and Board of County Supervisors needs to revert back to the respectable relationship that it once had. He said one of the main problems was that the board of supervisors made tax cuts that didn’t abide by the conditions outlined in the Revenue Sharing Agreement, a five-year budget plan that was negotiated between the school board and board of supervisors.
Kitta: More Support for Teachers, Better Capital Improvement Planning, Fundamental to Campaign for Stafford School Board
Mark Kitta, candidate for the Falmouth seat on the Stafford County School Board, says he was motivated to run for the board after observing some of the major problems in the schools. Among the issues he wishes to address are: the teacher turnover rate, poor budget oversight and planning and most importantly to Kitta – addressing the planning behind the “Stafford County Rebuild Project.”
Kitta is not affiliated with a particular political party. In fact, he believes politics should be taken out of the school board decisions.
“I was approached by a number of political parties and I respectfully declined their endorsement,” he says. “I gave them the same answer; I’m more interested in providing for the citizens of Falmouth and ultimately the citizens of Stafford County then I am a political party of their agenda.”
Kitta says he is passionate about the “Stafford Rebuild Project” because it is dealing with a large amount of money and he says the plans were poorly communicated with the public.
Robert Belman, former school board member of eight years, is running for the open Falmouth seat in this November’s General Election. He says his experience serving as a school board member and desire to work for the county independently of a political party will make him a valuable representative of Stafford.
“I wasn’t talked or coerced into running. I’ve always wanted to give back to the community and I think I have the pulse of the people,” says Belman. “People know who I am and I am accessible to people. I’m not representing any political party, I’m representing the people.”
Belman participated in the initiation of the Adopt-A-Classroom program in Stafford County, which is a service that joins donors with teachers to help provide funding for supplies for the classroom.
“The opportunities are unlimited when you create partnerships between your communities in your schools,” says Belman. “When we signed on to that program we had a lot of ties to different businesses in Stafford County. With the schools, you get the people into the schools to see what they need and create opportunities for expansion in the future.”
Jerry Foltz, Democratic candidate and church minister, is challenging Republican Delegate Tim Hugo this fall for the 40th seat of the Virginia House of Delegates. The district, which includes Prince William County and Fairfax County, has been occupied by Hugo since 2003.
Foltz is very active within his community as a protestant minister at the United Church of Christ.
“I’ve dealt with building communities; I’ve dealt with decision making among people in our churches that don’t always see eye to eye with their points of view,” says Foltz. “I try to build consensus with decision making and not divide churches – they don’t last long if you start dividing every time you make a decision and that division (also) hurts our state.”
Foltz has also served as chaplain for the Centreville Station #17 Volunteer Fire Department for over 16 years, providing support to fire personnel and aid for victims of tragedy. He says in the end, his motivation all comes back to the families.
“I would like to deal with issues that are really important to our families,” he says. “There are a lot of things that relate back to the families; our schools, transportation, our healthcare, and I’d like to overall build a sense of community.”
Reed Heddleston is the democratic candidate for the 51st VirgiiaHouse District, which includes Prince William County.
“This elction is going to be about choices,” said Heddleston.
He’s up against incumbent Richard Anderson, who has held the seat since 2010. Heddleston says there is a stark difference between his and his opponent’s overall approach in the upcoming General Election.
Although Heddleston says he respects Anderson’s military service, as both candidates have served for the U.S. Air Force, Heddleston says his experience within his industry will make him a better candidate. Anderson retired from the Air Force a Colonel in 2009.
“I’ve hired people into jobs and I know what it takes to win contracts and to build business,” says Heddleston. “It’s not something I’ve read about in a book or that someone gave me in a ‘talk and pat’. My opponent can talk about things but I have done them.”
Holly Hazard, current incumbent of the Hartwood seat on the Stafford County School Board says her interest in the county and ensuring that students receive a good education is what motivates her to run for reelection in November. Hazard has two daughters who attend Stafford County Public Schools and is very involved in the schools in her community.
She says that being able to work locally and be visible and active in the schools is something that is valuable to the community and her role as a school board member.
“I believe part of a school member’s job is to be in the schools, active and visible and to promote the schools themselves, be a little bit of a cheerleader for the school system and for the students,” she says. “It gives you an insight of some of the challenges that are faced on a daily basis and how (the school board) can be helpful.”
Hazard is centering her campaign on areas such as prepping students for the future, retaining quality teachers, and school safety.
Pamuela Yeung, candidate for the Garrisonville seat on the Stafford County School Board, has been living in Virginia for over 30 years and in Stafford since 1983. She is originally from the Netherlands and speaks Dutch, Spanish, English and Portuguese. She says she was originally inspired to move to the county to raise her children in an area known to have an excelling academic environment. She says her background and experience will be a valuable attribute to the school board.
“I can bring the board diversity, a business and technology background, an opportunity for critical thinking and decision making and I could bring transparency and trust working with the board of supervisors,” she says. “I’m focused on continued growth and achievement and ensuring that the mission is to build students as leaders of tomorrow and provide resources for acceleration for improvement in needed areas.”
Yeung says she choose to run for the school board because she is looking for changes in the current school system.
“I believe there needs to be an adequate balance of individuals that are on the school board members to help improve the educational experience of children, parents and teachers,” she says.
Marymount Graduate, Mara Sealock Hopes to Put Political Education Into Play as Aquia Supervisor
Mara Sealock, (D-Aquia) running for the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, is not the average candidate As a 21-year-old graduate of Marymount University, Sealock represents a stark contrast from her opponent, current incumbent since 2010, Republican Paul Milde III.
Sealock says that she found out about the open seat from Alane Callander, chairwoman on the Stafford Democratic Committee. She says she had worked with the committee before, volunteering at primaries and attending board of supervisor meetings.
“I started talking to people about the things I’ve learned while getting my degree in political science and a lot of the issues that came out within the county (were the same),” she said. “I spoke to Alane Callander and she told me the Democratic seat was open so I decided to go for it to reach out to the other voters in the community.”
Sealock works over 65 hours a week between two part-time jobs. At the age of 16, she graduated from Hayfield High School in Alexandria and immediately enrolled in classes at Marymount University. Her experience leads her to focus for her campaign on areas of education, government transparency and employment development.
Unopposed O’Neal Wants to Improve State-Funded Staffing in Office as Treasurer for Manassas Park
Winifred “Winnie” O’Neal is the current treasurer of Manassas Park City. She first worked as a banker in Tidewater, Va. for over 12 years and after relocating to Manassas Park City she worked for the parks and recreation department as an aide. In 2008, she was appointed by City Council to serve as treasurer and then elected to serve her first official term in 2009. Her experience as the City’s Treasurer motivates her to want to continue serving Manassas Park.
“Now that I have some experience under my belt and I’ve taken some classes, I’ve gotten the office to a good position with our collection rates and customer service and I want to keep that going,” she says. In short, the City Treasurer works with the commissioner of revenue and is responsible for handling the tax collections and funds coming into the area.
“The commissioner of revenue basically assesses the taxes, hands the book over to us and we bill and collect the taxes,” says O’Neal. She says that many people don’t realize that a large part of the responsibilities of the treasurer’s office is tax collections.
Del. Jackson Miller: Create More Opportunity for Business in Virginia, Focus on Security in Schools
Delegate Jackson Miller, Republican representing the 50th district (Manassas and Prince William County) has served the Virginia House of Delegates since 2006. This year he is running for reelection against Democrat Richard Cabellos. He will continue to center his campaign on public safety, criminal justice and business.
As a former police officer for 17 years, he is experienced with issues of criminal justice and public safety. He is responsible for sponsoring legislation that would protect victim and witnesses of crimes by requiring that the defense attorney not be able to publically disclose the personal information of the victim and witnesses. He said this exemption is only currently intact for gang crimes. His bill would include victims and witnesses of drug crimes and violent felonies.
“A lot of people assume that a violent felon who has been charged that they would not have access to the victim or witness’s information, but in fact they do,” he says. “Right now we only allow it for serious gang crimes. We should allow it for all crimes.”
Although these three areas are aligned with his professional level of expertise, Miller says he strives to represent all the issues important to his constituents. Having served as majority whip in the Virginia House of Delegates, he had the opportunity to influence legislation that he may not be a part of otherwise.