WINCHESTER — Several local candidates attended an Apple Valley Tea Party meeting Thursday night to make a case for why they should win the party’s vote.
About 30 people attended the meeting held in the Public Safety Building at 1080 Coverstone Drive. Candidates who spoke included Republican Sheriff candidate Allen Sibert, Gainesboro Supervisor J. Douglas McCarthy, School Board candidate Brandon Monk and School Board at-large candidate Dave Stegmaier.
McCarthy, who is running for re-election against Democratic candidate Heidi David-Young, said he is not afraid to ask hard questions, and look beyond what is presented to him by the county administration and the school board. He credits himself, along with supervisors Judith McCann-Slaughter and Blaine Dunn, for saving the taxpayers more than $4 million on the planned Aylor Middle School replacement by questioning the proposals made by the Frederick County School Board and getting it to build a less expensive school that would accommodate more students.
“I would love to see a day when the School Board comes to us and says ‘how much money can we afford to spend, so that we can go figure out what we can get for our money,’” McCarthy said. “Because that’s the way you get the best bang for your buck. Instead they come to us and say “we want X number of dollars and we say ‘For what?’ and they say ‘You’ll see when we build it.’ And that’s not the way we should be doing things.”
Brandon Monk, who is running against Jimmy Smith for the Back Creek District seat on the Frederick County School Board, said he is pro-education, but added “it doesn’t mean we have to spend unwisely.” Monk said his other priorities are supporting career and technical education as well as school safety. Monk encouraged the Tea Party to support Back Creek Board of Supervisors candidate Shawn Graber, who he described as a “strong fiscal conservative.”
Dave Stegmaier, who is running against Brian Hester for the at-large position on the Frederick County School Board, said that since he is a retiree, he is finally in a position to have the time to ask tough questions and “do one’s homework.” Stegmaier is the former director of community outreach for former Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-10th.
“If I am elected to the Frederick County School Board, my most important purpose will be to keep our students and school personnel safe from attack,” Stegmaier said.
Stegmaier strongly opposes the legalization of marijuana, fearing that it will cause learning disorders, social withdrawal, violent behavior and mental illness.
“In my role as a Frederick County School Board member, or as a private citizen, I will fight with every ounce of my strength to stop the proposals emerging from Richmond and Washington, D.C., to legalize the recreational use of marijuana,” Stegmaier said.
Stegmaier said that for 12 years he has attended the traditionally African American John Mann United Methodist Church, and a member of the crowd asked him, “how do we win the Afro-American vote over.”
The man said that some blacks are “leaving the plantation,” referring to the Democratic party, but said for the most part “if you are that race, it’s just an automatic D that you check.”
Stegmaier said winning votes is a matter of connecting with people “one person at a time over an extended period of time.”
Sibert told the crowd he is a fiscal conservative who believes in less government and lower taxes. He accused current Sheriff Lenny Millholland of wasteful spending. The Sheriff’s Office budget has increased more than $3 million since Millholland took office.
“Instead of treating the effect of it, I’m going to treat the cause of it,” Sibert said. “We are going to put boots on the ground and appropriately deploy the deputies that we need to keep drugs out of this area.”
While the Frederick County elections were the focus of the meeting, the Apple Valley Tea Party also turned their eyes toward statewide and national elections for this year and next year.
Frederick County Republican Committee member David Sparkman said membership has been down at the Republican committee’s meetings and said the committee needs to have somebody, preferably someone from the Tea Party “who actually understands what’s going on,” to run for chairman of the committee next year. He said current Republican Committee Chairman Tim Stowe “has had enough.”
He also reminded the crowd that Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-10th, is up for election next year. Sparkman said Matthew Truong, who is vice chair of the Fairfax County Republican Committee, is considering running for that position.
“He’s a son of a Vietnamese refugee, that’s why the name ‘Truong’, but he speaks excellent English and is a diehard Republican anyway,” Sparkman said.
Republican Del. Dave LaRock’s legislative assistant Daniel Davies encouraged the crowd to turn out to vote for him in November, saying that LaRock is in “a pretty competitive race” against Democratic candidate Mavis Taintor for the House of Delegates 33rd District.
“He’s got a very well-funded opponent that has been outraising and outspending him, like Democrats like to do, but hopefully we’ll be in good shape,” Davies said.
Davies said there are “very narrow” Republican majorities in the House and Senate and told the audience “it’s going to be an interesting year.”