Two challenging three incumbents in Middletown race
Middletown residents are set to take to the polls Tuesday to elect a mayor and fill three Town Council seats.
While Mayor Charles H. Harbaugh IV is running unopposed for mayor, two outside candidates are challenging three incumbents for their council seats.
Although they’re no strangers to town government, Gilbert D. “Gil” Barrington and Marshall “Mark” Brown are running against incumbents Carolyn S. Aliff, George Jay Smith and Carole S. Snyder Jones.
Brown used to serve as mayor for the town while Barrington served as councilman before the two resigned in the middle of their terms during a meeting in 2012.
The following are responses to questions sent to each candidate. The candidates’ responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
What is your age?
Snyder Jones: 67
What is your educational background?
Aliff: Graduated high school, some college, some technical schooling.
Barrington: Graduated high school
Brown: Associate’s degree in public information, University of Maryland.
Harbaugh: Bachelor’s in business administration, minor in history, Shenandoah University. MBA, Shenandoah University.
Smith: Graduated high school prior to enlisting with the Army.
Snyder Jones: Graduated high school, some college.
What is your occupation?
Aliff: Construction inspector, senior.
Barrington: Retired, Stephens City chief of police, assorted offices as police officer and investigator.
Brown: Retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant, 23 years, U.S. Civil Service employee, 13 years. Currently Middletown Volunteer Fire and Rescue, 13 years, junior vice commander for Veterans of Foreign War District 7.
Harbaugh: Business manager at NW Works, business professor at Lord Fairfax Community College.
Smith: Works for Trex.
Snyder Jones: Part-time medical office receptionist.
How are you qualified to be a town councilmember?
Aliff: This will be my second term as a councilwoman. I worked for the Virginia Department of Transportation for 13 years before privatizing.
Barrington: I have dealt with people all my life, especially in the law enforcement end of it. I know how to deal with them, judging what kind of problems they might be having. That’s why I think I’d make a good council member, because I don’t have any agendas.
Brown: Middletown mayor 2009-2012, town councilman 2004-2008, planning commissioner 2014-2016.
Harbaugh: Mayor, 2012-present, vice mayor, 2011-2012, town councilman, 2010-2012. Executive director of July 4th celebration, special committees chairman, board member of Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation since 2013.
Smith: I live in Middletown and have 3 1/2 years experience on council.
Snyder Jones: I have many years of corporate experience in management and human resources management. Above all, I’m a town resident who loves living here and wants to see my town prosper, but maintain its historic, small town feel.
If elected, what issues will be a priority for you?
Aliff: Working toward 24-hour police protection, community involvement with our police officers, disaster trainings, active shooter trainings, assisting in the beautification of Main Street. I want people to want to come down Main Street and comment what a beautiful town we have.
Barrington: Bringing some commercial business to the town. One of the things I really am interested in doing is taking care of town employees. I happen to know all of them, and I want to see them treated right. I also want to see Middletown grow. We always have a reputation for not being too business oriented, but I want to see a committee selected that can go out and talk to groups and businessmen that want to come here. For example, we need a hardware store, or a drugstore.
Brown: Open town government to residents by televising council meetings and work sessions, posting all meeting agendas on the town website well in advance of the meeting, and to draft minutes of completed meetings within 72-96 hours after the meeting. (Also, I will) implement a multi-year renovation program to improve community safety and appearance, complete an expansion of town boundaries across U.S. Interstate 81, and secure a secondary municipal water source.
Harbaugh: The local economy. We need to keep Middletown moving forward in a positive direction, with new small businesses that create jobs and opportunities. These small businesses are great for the town and they bring it to life and increase commerce.
Smith: I would like to see growth brought to Middletown.
Snyder Jones: I want to keep Middletown on the track it’s on now: growth that will bring in revenues, maintaining a balanced budget with reserves, maintaining a productive employee base, maintaining the working town government that we have in place today.
What is your plan to address these issues?
Aliff: My plan to address these issues is to work closely with our citizens to be involved with the practices and issues as well.
Barrington: What I have to do there is get a plan together and show it to the people that are on that council and get my point across so that it’s not just talk, but it’s the program. I’d also love to see us get a committee together that would help.
Brown: Accepting and implementing Comcast’s offer of free broadcast services for public meetings and working with council to fund and implement recommendations already approved in the town’s comprehensive plan.
Harbaugh: We need to continue to grow and host successful events in town, such as the Main Street Car Show, the July 4th celebration, the Christmas Parade, the Farm to Table dinner, the tree lighting ceremony, and the Easter Egg Hunt.
Smith: I would have meetings with council and see where we could have growth for our future.
Snyder Jones: Work with businesses and developers as their interest evolves in our town, work with our department heads to develop a budget that will provide for the needs of each department to provide the level of service our residents expect and deserve, and continue our performance-based employee reviews and competitive wages.
With which political party do you identify?
Aliff: Independent, former Republican.
Brown: Declined to share.
Snyder Jones: Independent.
Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or firstname.lastname@example.org.