WINCHESTER — Shawnee District Supervisor David Stegmaier announced Monday he is seeking the Republican nomination to run for his seat on the Frederick County Board of Supervisors in the November election.
Stegmaier, 73, was elected to the board in November to fill the unexpired term of Shannon Trout, who moved out of the area. The term expires at the end of 2021.
Stegmaier is being challenged for the Republican nomination by aerospace engineer Josh Ludgwig, who has accused Stegmaier of not being a true conservative and not keeping his campaign promise to keep taxes low.
Stegmaier refuted those claims.
“I believe that I have kept my promise to be diligent and fair-minded, prioritizing improvements in our public safety system and our education system while keeping our taxes low,” Stegmaier said.
During his brief time on the board, some of the actions that he considers a success include: supporting a $72.8 million renovation of James Wood High School and a $12 million renovation of Indian Hollow Elementary School; supporting the establishment of an amphitheater behind the Bowman Library; introducing and passing a resolution in support of 33rd District Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, and urging Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D) to reinstate LaRock to the House’s Transportation Committee. Filler-Corn stripped LaRock of his committee assignment because he signed a letter urging former Vice President Mike Pence to nullify Virginia’s certified presidential election results. Stegmaier said that by removing LaRock from the Transportation Committee, Filler-Corn was “denying us a voice on a very important subject of transportation policy.”
Stegmaier said he also got the other supervisors to adopt in their list of General Assembly legislative priorities a statement opposing the legalization of marijuana in Virginia.
“Unfortunately, our message fell on deaf ears,” Stegmaier said.
During the recently completed legislative session, the General Assembly approved legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use starting in 2024.
Stegmaier said he hopes to ease some tensions that have been brewing in recent months among the supervisors as well as tensions that have been building between the supervisors and the Frederick County School Board.
“My greatest disappointment has been the disrespect and adversarial atmosphere that exists on the Board of Supervisors,” Stegmaier said. “Anyone who has attended a recent board meeting or has watched the meetings on television knows exactly what I am talking about. The disrespectful attitude that even extends to the way our chairman is sometimes treated and county employees are sometimes treated is truly an embarrassment to those who live in Frederick County. There exists a code of conduct that board members adopt each January and based on what is transpiring, this code of conduct is not being followed.”
Although Stegmaier said he was partially referring to some tense public exchanges between Back Creek District Supervisor Shawn Graber and Board of Supervisors Chairman Charles DeHaven Jr., he indicated that, in general, there hasn’t been “a proper deference to the chairman” lately.
Stegmaier added that he has heard comments from county employees who have been lambasted and threatened by a Board of Supervisors member, whom he declined to name.
“I think the problem is there are others who are connected with that supervisor who could bring that supervisor under greater control,” Stegmaier said. “And there seems to be no desire to do that.”
Stegmaier said “this lack of civility” surfaced on Feb. 27 when he attended a gathering at the home of Rani and Josh Ludwig — his political opponent — to learn about the school division’s Deep Equity program. Stegmaier said while at the Ludwig house, several people present called him a liar and accused him of not being a true conservative. Stegmaier said one person hurled a profanity at him.
“This ugly episode is an indication that we have lost sight of our responsibility to treat each other with civility and respect,” Stegmaier said.
Stegmaier said voters should choose him over Ludwig because he brings “a depth of experience and responsibility.”
“I have proven myself as a diligent and fair-minded leader in the community,” Stegmaier said. “My opponent, while casting aspersions, does not have the proven record of involvement, commitment and accomplishment.”
Stegmaier maintains that he is more upfront than Ludwig, despite Ludwig criticizing Stegmaier for not doing more to push for transparency in budget matters. Stegmaier also believes he conducts himself in a respectful way and that Ludwig “clearly does not have the same commitment to treating others with respect.”
Stegmaier previously served as director of community outreach for former Republican 10th District Reps. Barbara Comstock and Frank Wolf, from 2015-19 and 2011-15, respectively. From 1988 to 2000, he served in the Hawaii state legislature as a Democrat.
He has also served on the board of directors of Highland Food Pantry, the board of directors of Shenandoah Valley Community Residences, the public policy committee of the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition and been a mentor with Frederick County Bright Futures Program.
Moving forward, Stegmaier plans to push to replace the county’s public safety radio system, renovate Armel Elementary School and ensure that traffic impacts are taken care of before the county rezones 277 acres for industrial use near Winchester Regional Airport.
The Frederick County Republican Committee currently plans to hold a party canvass to select the Republican nominees on May 8.