Editor’s note: This is one in a series of question and answer articles about local candidates running for office. The Northern Virginia Daily asked candidates for the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors to answer three questions. Unedited responses are below.
Former Strasburg Mayor Timothy Taylor is running unchallenged for the District 6 seat on the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors. Supervisors’ Chairman Conrad Helsley, of District 6, announced this spring he would not run for another term on the board.
What does the Board of Supervisors need to do to improve the local economy?
Many factors can impact economic development. Ones specifically important to our County are human resources, natural resources, infrastructure, and technology. Number one is workforce development which means the ability for our citizens to be life-long learners that can adapt to situations and be confident in their ability to do so. Our citizens have a reputation for being hard workers with pride in what they do. This quality is important in any economic situation. This is why quality education at all stages of life is critical. We are blessed with so many natural resources that provide economic opportunities such as our river, streams, mountains, and forests. Infrastructure has to be in place to accommodate economic growth. Businesses need to know the utilities they need to be successful and grow are available. Technology (specifically high-speed broadband), which is a required utility today as much as electricity and water/sewer must be available. Technology flattens the world and allows for global opportunities for not only large but small companies, as well as individuals. Quality broadband access for all is critical to the education of our workforce as well. Finally, we have to be open to new ideas and creative ways when it comes to economic development. We have to be willing to take some risks and try new ways to develop economic opportunities. Our people are our greatest resource, so let’s give them opportunities to excel. We need to make sure our ordinances and regulations allow for this opportunity and are not hindrances.
Where should the Board of Supervisors spend most of the county’s revenue?
Some county departments require more monetary resources than others due to the kind of services they provide our citizenry. Distribution of revenue depends on critical needs and the priorities of our citizenry. Part of my role as a public servant is to determine their needs and priorities. I was taught when I first started in public service that everyone should feel safe in their community, so safety is a priority. No one should have to live in an environment where they are concerned about their safety. I am a firm believer in education and that goes beyond just the years of formalized schooling. Education should be a life-long privilege from birth until one’s life journey is complete. Educational opportunities should be available throughout life, so we need to see how we can provide as many quality learning opportunities not only through formal education but via other County services such as our libraries, parks and recreation, public safety, etc. In my past years of public service, I always look closely to see what kind of return on investment we receive when spending taxpayers money. Also, I am a firm believer in identifying and trying to secure as many grants as possible to assist with projects. Many of the improvements you are seeing now in the Town of Strasburg have been partially funded through various grants.
How and when should the Board of Supervisors as a whole interact with state legislators, urging them to represent the county’s needs?
Interactions with state legislators should occur as needed and the key to quality interactions is to establish quality working relationships. This not only includes state legislators, but locally elected officials, county and town staff members, and obviously, the citizenry. Positive working relationships lead to more things being accomplished for the betterment of Shenandoah County. This is why it is important to attend conferences, regional, and state meetings to build and sustain quality working relationships. Also, the more people we have in our county advocating for our needs with state legislators, the more impact it will have. This is where the value of citizenry involvement can make a difference. Individual voices are important, but collective voices can have more of an impact.