Shickle approached about Wolf’s seat

Posted: December 19, 2013

The Winchester Star

 

WINCHESTER — While he says he’s been approached about running for U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf’s 10th District seat, Frederick County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Shickle preferred to talk about the outgoing Republican congressmen’s importance to the area.

 

Wolf issued a surprise statement Tuesday saying that he won’t seek an 18th term come November.

He has represented the 10th District since 1980, and the residents of Winchester and Clarke and Frederick counties since 1992, when redistricting shifted boundary lines. The 10th District also includes parts of Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, as well as the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

 

On Wednesday, Shickle said he was “saddened” by Wolf’s announcement.

 

“He’s given such great service to the people out here in Frederick and Winchester,” he said.

 

Shickle said Wolf’s impending retirement from Congress will “cause a lot of us to do some soul-searching” about how to ensure the area is well-represented in Washington, D.C.

 

“It’s probably going to make a lot of us think very hard about what our own personal pursuits are going to be,” he said. “I’m not sure where that leads me. I have a strong interest in making sure we have good representation. I don’t know where the path leads me.”

 

Shickle, who has been on the Board of Supervisors since 1996 and chairman since 2000, said he has been encouraged to run for Congress. But, he said he wanted to “honor” Wolf’s service.

 

He wasn’t alone in that sentiment.

 

After word of Wolf’s decision to step away from Capitol Hill and focus on human rights and freedom from religious oppression got out, fellow lawmakers — from state delegates, to Virginia’s two U.S. senators, to Gov. Bob McDonnell, to Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe — were quick to commend him.

 

“Through his advocacy on behalf of Virginia’s federal workers, his leadership on key economic development projects like Rail to Dulles, and his efforts to secure justice and human rights in our nation and abroad, Congressman Wolf has been a statesman of the highest order,” a statement from McAuliffe said.

 

Thirty-third House District Del. Joe May, R-Leesburg, called Wolf “one of the good guys, on whose word you can count,” while McDonnell said Wolf was a “Virginia institution.”

 

“As a person, he possesses the kind of compassion, empathy and understanding that we all only hope to emulate,” his statement said.

 

Wolf was integral to the formation of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park in the Middletown area. He shepherded legislation through Congress to build a legal foundation for the park.

 

“He was absolutely instrumental in making the park a reality, and has been an active supporter since its inception, making frequent visits and participating in events,” said John Adamson, chairman of the Belle Grove Plantation Board of Directors. “His heart was always in it. When he spoke about it in public, you could feel the emotion in his voice. He thinks the preservation of our historic sites is really important.”

 

That’s something Howard Kittell is in agreement with. Kittell is the president and CEO of The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Nashville, but was previously the executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

 

Wolf helped secure significant funding for area preservation projects.

 

“I think Congress needs people like him...who cross party lines and work really collaboratively and cooperatively together,” Kittell said. “To lose someone like Frank, I think, is really a blow to Congress and the country. I’ve always been impressed with him because he always worked from a position of really high ethics and high morals.”

 

Wolf is also highly regarded in law enforcement circles, according to Clarke County Sheriff Tony Roper, who said he was responsible for securing grant funding to create the Northwest Virginia Regional Gang Task Force.

 

“The task force is totally funded by funds by the congressman,” Roper said. “He secured millions of dollars over the last four or five years in our fights against methamphetamine and gangs and drugs in general.

 

“In addition to everything else, he’s just a real gentleman.”

 

 

— Contact Sally Voth atsvoth@winchesterstar.com