Roulston, Morris, Neese win supervisor seats
WOODSTOCK – Voters in Shenandoah County ousted two opponents of tax increases from the Board of Supervisors in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial results.
Woodstock-area business owner Karl V. Roulston defeated Supervisor Cindy M. Bailey for the District 4 board seat. Dennis Morris reclaimed the District 5 seat from Supervisor Marsha E. Shruntz.
District 1 Supervisor John R. “Dick” Neese won election to a fifth term, fending off a challenge by Republican Party candidate Karen U. Kwiatkowski. Neese, who represented the Republican Party in the previous four elections, won this election as an independent candidate.
Bailey and Shruntz, who spent their tenures trying to block efforts to increase taxes, sought second terms. Roulston won election to his first term. Morris served for 36 years on the board until Shruntz defeated him in 2013. Bailey and Roulston as well as Shruntz ran as independent candidates. Morris ran as the Republican Party candidate.
Bailey stated in an email: “With these election results, I expect to see lots of new jobs and economic growth in this county. We succeeded in showing economic development is a priority, instead of raising taxes. We’ll see what changes in the next four years. One door closes many more open. I would like to thank everyone who supported me all these years.”
Unofficial results from the Shenandoah County Office of Voter Registration and Elections showed that Roulston and Morris handily defeated the incumbent supervisors. Roulston received 1,487 votes compared to Bailey’s 694. Morris received 1,589 votes while Shruntz took 821.
Kwiatkowski and Neese saw a closer race. Neese received 1,110 votes while Kwiatkowski took 1,037.
Reached by phone after the polls closed Tuesday night, Roulston expressed surprise that he won by such a large margin.
“Somebody gave me some numbers,” Roulston said. “I don’t know if they’re official or not but it was I think something like 1,300 votes and Cindy had 600 so my reaction is: wow.
“I’m stunned by the difference but you know I had a lot of support and a lot of people working hard on the campaign this whole time so they really helped out a lot and carried a lot of the weight for this and I appreciate it greatly,” Roulston said.
Roulston went on to say that he’s “ready” to serve.
“I don’t know that you’re ever excited about it but I am ready to do it,” Roulston said. “I honestly believe I am gonna be good at this job so I’m gonna certainly do my best and give it everything that I have.
“Honestly, I’m still kinda stunned, like waiting for somebody to come in and say ‘oh, I’m sorry, we had a decimal place off,'” Roulston added. “I am ready to do the job. I wouldn’t have ventured into it if I didn’t think I could do it and over the months campaigning, talking to people, it kind of solidified in my head that I really can do this and that I can be successful. But I don’t know that this is the beginning of any great political career for me.”
Morris spoke to the Daily at a victory party with Roulston at the Woodstock Brewhouse.
“It’s good to win, but even better to win in a big way,” Morris said. “I think Karl and I have made a statement tonight across the board. I’ve had more support from all walks of life this election than I’ve ever had before. I mean I’ve had the Democrats, the independents, the Republicans, people that don’t get involved in politics — they came to my aid, they helped me out.”
Morris went on to say he felt the win served as a testament to both his campaign and against his opponent’s and referred to his defeat by Shruntz four years ago.
“I had a vision, I was respectful to my other supervisors, I would compromise to get things done, and I was a face in the community,” Morris said. “I think it was both; what my opponent didn’t do, I think what I did in the past and the great team I had around me in the campaign.”
Morris said he expects the morale of the Shenandoah County government employees and school division workers to “jump 25 percent” the day after the election.
“Number one, I think it’s going to be a morale issue, number two, I think that we’ve set the tone, you know, to say, Shenandoah County’s going to go in a different direction,” Morris said. “We’re going to be leading instead of following. We want to be a leader. And Shenandoah County is a shining light.”
But Kwiatkowski expressed concerns about the future given the membership of the board. Kwiatkowski said she expects to see her taxes increase over the next few years and the county’s government to grow and remain “inefficient and overpriced.” Kwiatkowski criticized people in the Republican Party she said backed Neese rather than their own candidate as well as supporters of the Parents Alliance for Strong Schools and Responsible Leadership for Shenandoah County.
“It’s tough going up against the machine in this county and, of course, when I say machine I would clearly define it as this irresponsible leadership group, PASS, the high-tax-spend people …” Kwiatkowski said by phone, adding that local Republicans did not support her push for limited government.
Kwiatkowski thanked the people who endorsed her and complimented her campaign workers. Kwiatkowski said she plans to remain engaged and to hold local government accountable.
“Clearly many Republicans voted for my opponent so the party is split,” Kwiatkowski said. “The Republican Party here is a microcosm of what it is everywhere. It’s a very split party. To call it a unified would be nuts.”
Daily staff writer Lewis Millholland contributed to this report.