Candidates seek seats on Front Royal Town Council

Mike McCool

FRONT ROYAL – Voters can choose Town Council members in the general election Tuesday.

Five candidates are seeking three seats up for election. Councilman Eugene Tewalt is running for re-election. Councilman Jacob Meza is seeking his first term after having been appointed to a seat earlier this year. Mike McCool, William Sealock Jr. and Robert Tennett Jr. also are running for council seats. Councilman Bret Hrbek is not seeking another term.

Councilman Hollis Tharpe is running unopposed for mayor. Timothy Darr decided not to run for another term.

Candidates for council seats responded to questions ahead of the election.

Mike McCool

Jacob Meza

Age: 66

Occupation: President, National Media Services Inc. since 1979. National Media Services serves a national clientele as well as local individuals and businesses in Front Royal.

Education: USAF Community College, broadcast engineering, Cleveland Institute of Electronics.

Family: Married to Jane McCool, 44 years, 3 children – Michael McCool lives in St. Louis; Susan Clark lives in Front Royal, 2 children; Michelle Morris lives in Strasburg, 3 children.

Previous political experience: Ran in 1983 for town mayor and in 2014 for commissioner of the revenue; member of town Planning Commission, chairman on town Board of Zoning Appeals and member of mayor’s Committee for Economic Development.

William Sealock Jr.

Question 1: What do you hope to get accomplished if elected/re-elected to council?

In an informational and technology-driven global economy, high-paying jobs can locate just about anywhere. If we want our fair share of those jobs to locate in Front Royal, we must make sure Front Royal is an attractive and safe place to live. A well-maintained infrastructure, excellent schools, a vibrant downtown, and a can-do positive attitude at Town Hall are the ingredients for success. Government should be smaller, smarter and more efficient.

Tourism is our bread and butter. We are a small community, with big possibilities! Let’s transform our community into a major draw for tourists and visitors and a year-round addition to the quality of life for all of us.

Working together, we can make Front Royal competitive with any place in America. We need to make Front Royal a great place to do business, and an even better place to live. We need to make it easy for businesses to not just locate here, but stay here and create the local jobs we need. We don’t need to “make Front Royal great again,” we need to keep it great! We believe that, and we are asking for your support, not only in this election but in moving Front Royal forward for years to come. Positive leadership makes all the difference. Good things don’t happen by accident. They happen when you have strong, positive, and effective leadership.

Question 2: How would you control budgetary spending and keep the tax rate steady?

Just like you do in your own households… you don’t spend more than you make. You have to control spending in order to keep tax rates steady or lower. Everything in budget must be examined closely.

Robert Tennett Jr.

And in addition, if you can create more jobs, better paying jobs, promote “shop local first” attitude, the local economy grows. As it grows, more tax revenue is generated reducing the tax burden on property owners.


Jacob Meza

Age: 34

Education: BA in Political Science and Economics and Master’s Degree in Business Administration

Eugene Tewalt

Occupation: Director of Urgent Care & Occupational Health at Valley Health Hospital System

Experience: Over a decade long record of launching successful new health care businesses that involved the careful management of multimillion dollar budgets, operating under tight deadlines, and leading hundreds of team members.

Family: Married 11 years to Jessica (Morgan) Meza and have four children ages 10, 7, 4, and 2.

Previous political experience: Had the pleasure of service on the Front Royal Planning Commission on which I received a certification in Small Town Planning and Development from Virginia Tech. In 2016, was appointed to Front Royal Town Council where I currently serve.

Question 1: What do you hope to get accomplished if elected/re-elected to council?

I hope to garner trust in council and my abilities to follow through on what I say will be completed. People of this town entrust council to make solid business decisions that ensure our growth and prosperity. That is why projects such as Leach Run Parkway, the new police station, Kendrick Lane extension, and new subdivision developments must be executed flawlessly with as little impact to our tax base as possible. Our town government needs the experience managing large budgets and workforces by someone who is used to being held accountable and won’t accept another excuse of how government doesn’t work like a business.

Question 2: How would you control budgetary spending and keep the tax rate steady?

People are often surprised to learn that Front Royal has a budget of over $40 million dollars. I have already started working with town staff for a better budgetary process that includes stronger financial forecasting, ensuring that what we are promising to spend today can be paid for tomorrow. We cannot cut our way to greatness and sacrifice the resources we need to improve our community. Rather, we must invest wisely in our infrastructure, including roads, town property and local businesses to ensure growth. A well-managed budget, with an idea of where we want to be 25 years from now, will allow a steady tax rate that all can stand behind.


William A. “Bill” Sealock Jr.

Age: 71

Occupation: Retired Marine Corps chief warrant officer, management, educator (graduate of Virginia Tech and University of Virginia).

Previous political experience: I have never run for public office previously but feel the necessity to be of service to our community as a councilman in Front Royal. I do not claim to be a politician but want to bring proven leadership, common sense, and maturity to the council.

Question 1: What do you hope to get accomplished if elected/re-elected to council?

A desire to bring more “white collar” and “blue collar” jobs and businesses to our community is a necessity for a prosperous Front Royal and county. My two terms on the Economic Development Authority have been centered on this aspect and service to our community. I pledge to work with the Board of Supervisors to encourage this economic growth and prosperity for the entire community. In this role, I refuse to pick fights with the Board of Supervisors over silliness but to strengthen our community as a whole.

Question 2: How would you control budgetary spending and keep the tax rate steady?

A balanced budget is not always the correct budgetary approach to control budget spending and tax rates. Front Royal is a business that includes water and electricity. Council oversees these aspects of our budget for the residents of our community. I plan to bring practical management processes into budgetary hearings with fair and good business common sense.


Robert Tennett Jr.

Age: 49

Occupation: Private contractor

Education: Graduated Warren County class of 1985

Family: Single

Previous political experience: None

Question 1: What do you hope to get accomplished if elected/re-elected to council?

Keeping taxes low and listen to the public concerns.

Question 2: How would you control budgetary spending and keep the tax rate steady?

Check for government grants and compromise any tough decisions.


Eugene R. Tewalt

Age: 73

Occupation: Retired

Family: Married to my wife Juanita for 52 years; two children Angela and Tim; 3 grandsons.

Experience: I have been on the Front Royal Town Council for 10 years and mayor for 2 years. Worked for the town of Front Royal for 25 years as director of public works/engineer. Degree in civil engineering and a certificate for Highway and Constructions of Highways and Streets. Worked 13 years as a surveyor for the Virginia Department of Highways.

Question 1: What do you hope to get accomplished if elected/re-elected to council?

I want the town to advance to a new level in the economy, better paying jobs, working with our EDA person (town) and the EDA (county) in bringing businesses to Front Royal. I want Front Royal to be an attractive and a safe place to live, sleep and work. Have a clean and beautiful town for tourists to come and want to come back to see the beauty that Front Royal has to offer. Continue to enhance tourism. Work together with the Town Council and see the future of Front Royal get better and greater than it already is.

Question 2: How would you control budgetary spending and keep the tax rate steady?

We need to control spending on things that are not needed but on the things that are needed. We need to take a better look at the budget and not be like the federal government that generates waste. We need smaller government, but in the last few years we seem to be growing bigger at a rapid pace.

We need to look out for the citizens of Front Royal and demand that we account for every tax dollar spent. If we are accountable for every dollar we can cut taxes, electric rates, water, sewer and garbage rates.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or