FRONT ROYAL — Walter Mabe has declared he will run for the Board of Supervisors’ Shenandoah district seat against incumbent Tom Sayre.
Mabe, 65, said he is a “conservative independent” and is choosing to run a “middle of the road campaign” to serve all citizens.
He said the “community feels Sayre needs to replaced,” pointing out that his opponent has been on either the Town Council or Board of Supervisors for 12 years.
“What can I really say that he’s done for the community?” Mabe said.
He said the biggest issue in the community is the alleged embezzlement within the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority and Sayre should have done more to solve that problem.
Mabe said that while Sayre claims to have voted during a closed session in favor of a state police investigation of the EDA, his efforts to seek answers should not have stopped when that investigation was voted down.
“He should have screamed...there’s more that could have been done and he didn’t do it,” Mabe said.
Mabe added that Sayre is not alone and all supervisors, along with town and county officials, should have caught the illicit activities within the EDA.
“I believe the red flags were given and they just were not heeded,” Mabe said. “The oversight was just not there. The signs were there but the signs were either brushed under the rug or they weren’t listened to.”
He added that jobs must be created in the community and a properly functioning EDA is needed to foster that needed development.
Mabe said the second main issue plaguing the county is “the lack of cohesion with the community.” He said that citizens “just are not together” and he would like to try to “bring those people together.”
Other issues he noted included a lack of tourism and the school system.
He said the schools take up about 50 percent of the county budget and perhaps some of the school programs are ineffective.
Mabe said he believes in a “zero-based budget,” meaning that the process should start from scratch and money be added where it’s needed.
Now retired, Mabe was previously based out of Las Vegas as a project manager for a company that constructed cell towers for electronics companies. He said his previous job responsibilities that “translate very well into the duties of a supervisor” included overseeing about 300 employees, negotiating, human resources and problem-solving.
Before that, he worked in the mortgage business and was previously a Marine.
Although he has not always lived in Warren County, Mabe said “I’ve had roots here for years” and always kept up with local events.
Mabe said he has never voted in any election or previously been involved in politics and “while I am still not involved with a political party, the gravity of the EDA scandal, the divisions within the community and my love for this county motivated me to not only vote for change but to become part of the solution.”
He said he believes he can help quell the feelings of “anger,” “disarray,” “betrayal” and “frustration” permeating the community.