5 running unopposed for Frederick Board  of Supervisors

Posted: October 28, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Five candidates — all Republican — are running unopposed for the Frederick County Board of Supervisors in the Nov. 5 election.

They are:

Gene E. Fisher, 67, who has represented the Shawnee Magisterial District on the board since being appointed in October 2004.

Charles S. “Chuck” DeHaven Jr., 61, who has represented Stonewall Magisterial District since Jan. 1, 2006.

Christopher E. “Chris” Collins, 42, who has been on the board since Jan. 1, 2010. He represents Red Bud Magisterial District.

Robert A. “Bob” Hess, 70, who was appointed to the board in February following the resignation of former Gainesboro Magisterial District Supervisor Ross Spicer, who was appointed commonwealth’s attorney. Hess is running for the remainder of Spicer’s term, which runs through 2015.

Robert W. “Bob” Wells, 68, who was appointed to the Opequon Magisterial District seat on the board in July following the resignation of former supervisor Bill Ewing. Wells is running for the remainder of Ewing’s term, which runs through 2015.

Two seats on the board — those held by Chairman Richard C. Shickle (At-Large) and Gary Lofton (Back Creek Magisterial District) — are not up for election this year.

Terms on the board are four years.

In separate interviews last week, the candidates talked about why they’re seeking either election or re-election and what they think are some of the big issues facing the county over the next few years.

Fisher said he wants to continue to serve the citizens — which is the main reason he first got involved with the board — and to give back to the community that he has lived in since 1952.

“Hopefully my record will speak for itself,” he said. “We’ve tried to keep taxes down and respond to citizen inquiries and have worked with citizens.”

Fisher cited the projected population growth Frederick County is expected to have in the coming years as one of the primary issues the board will have to deal with.

The University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service projects that the number of people living in the county will increase to 97,192 by 2020, to 119,419 by 2030 and to 145,938 by 2040.

The 2010 Census lists the county’s population as 78,305.

Other issues the board will need to look at include maintaining a high quality of education and finding ways to accommodate transportation projects, such as the Va. 37 bypass around the east side of Winchester, Fisher said.

DeHaven said he has enjoyed his time on the board and the he feels the board has contributed to the county’s well being and that the board works well together.

“I hope that there’s a level of trust in that we serve because we have a desire to contribute to the community and we sincerely care about the community and our citizens,” he said. “I hope people trust that we care about those things and that we work hard to try and find the right path to address the needs of the community.”

Dealing with budget issues — trying to find funds to take care of previously delayed capital needs — will be one of the board’s key issues over the coming years, according to DeHaven.

He added that keeping the county’s debt down is another important function the board will have to address.

Collins believes he can provide leadership for Frederick County and said that he has been a part of the community his entire life and that he enjoys helping it whenever he can.

“I’m a small government, low taxes candidate,” he said. “Having grown up here, I think I have a lot of ideas and a lot of help and assistance I can give to the county. Having been born and raised here, I know what the problems are and I have an idea for what some of the solutions are and that’s what I’m working toward.”

The county will have to find a way to address potential unfunded mandates from Richmond — like the previous change to the Virginia Retirement System (VRS), the new stormwater regulations associated with the Chesapeake Bay cleanup and further changes to state employees’ health care and retirement plans — in the coming years, Collins said.

Hess is running for election because Frederick County has been a good place to live and raise children and he wants to give something back to the county since working in Washington, D.C., often prevented him from taking part in county government.

“I’m the best candidate on the ballot,” he joked. “I really think that the experience I had as president and CEO of the credit union, I think there’s a terrific parallel to serving citizens of the county. In the credit union we were there to serve our members, and I think as a public official we’re there to serve the citizens of the county.”

Hess believes the county will have to maintain a respect for its agricultural and rural heritage while finding ways to handle increasing population. The board also needs to maintain good communications with citizens in order to have a better informed population, which Hess believes will make the county stronger.

Wells said he’s seeking election because serving on the board is a way to give back to the community where he has raised his family and that he wants to be on the board to represent the constituents in his district and the public’s interest as a whole.

“I would hope they would vote for me because of my reputation,” he said. “People have known me either personally or they’ve known me through business, and I feel like I’ve got a good reputation as a representative of Frederick County both in business and as a resident. I hope they have the trust and willingness to elect me so I can use what I have to represent them wisely.”

Wells cited residential and commercial growth — and finding ways to have positive, conservative growth — as the primary issue facing Frederick County in the coming years.

For a map of the county’s magistrial districts, go to www.co.frederick.va.us/departments/a-e/board-of-supervisors/board-members-and-contact-info

— Contact Matt Armstrong atmarmstrong@winchesterstar.com