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 three questions. The unedited responses are below.
Shea Parker is running against Delores Oates for the North River District seat on the Warren County Board of Supervisors. Incumbent Dan Murray is not seeking reelection.
What actions will you take to regain citizens' trust in public officials in the wake of the embezzlement scandal at the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority?
First we need our leaders to be open, honest, ethical and accessible to the citizenry of Warren County. We need to ensure that any improprieties that have occurred are uncovered and account for every tax payer dollar spent and see that it is spent with the best interest of the citizens of Warren County in mind. A shift to zero-based budgeting will help to bring about transparency when it comes to spending and will force each department to account for their needs. The days of cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, corruption and any other illegal or unethical behavior will no longer be tolerated.
Do you believe that any officials who were in office or employed as the embezzlement scandal unfolded should remain in their positions and why?
My take on the scandal is either our leaders (elected or employed) were complacent or complicit. It will be up to the judicial system to discover any criminality that may have been involved. In the meantime, we have to separate fact from rumor and conjecture, and based on those facts determine any personnel changes that need to be made. That includes on Election Day and during employee evaluation and contract renewals.
Outside of the issues at the EDA, what is the biggest issue facing the community and how will you solve it?
Warren County's future is the biggest issue. We need smart, planned growth and living wage jobs. We need to reduce taxes and liquidate the county's surplus properties.
Over the next two years the Supervisors will make a ton of decisions on the future of Warren County. In addition to the election with the potential for three new Supervisors, they will also choose appointments to the County Planning Commission who in turn will help evaluate and make recommendations to the County's Comprehensive Plan and Master Building Plan. We need these new leaders to focus on smart, planned growth that is in the best interest of the citizens.
Attracting the right business and industry is paramount to our future. We have more than just 10 years of failed economic development. In 30 years the EDA and County still haven't returned the number of jobs lost to the community by the scaling back and eventual closing of Avtex. We need to work to recruit companies that can offset our tax base, while conserving our resources and land bays and creating living wage jobs. The county's largest employer should not be itself.
Additionally, with the federal Census in 2020 Warren County's leaders will help decide any redistricting within the county in 2021 and have the opportunity to influence the General Assembly in undoing their gerrymandering of Warren County ten years ago into three separate districts.