Duane on the issues...
Economic Development- Conveniently positioned between Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Charlottesville, Louisa County has great potential for smart economic development. Moving forward, the most critical issue that we face is developing a growth plan that will allow us to prepare for population increases while maintaining our rural identity which so many of us love. The Board must find solutions to fund core county services without continued tax increases.
Our county can only raise funds through taxes and fees. Our current path of ever increasing taxes is not sustainable. Smart economic development will provide the necessary revenue to meet the needs of our citizens with the added benefit of providing stable employment opportunities. This will also allow opportunities for our young people to find meaningful, well-paying jobs right here at home.
A long term solution to broadband access is critical to our ability to attract investment and serve the internet needs of the citizens of Louisa County. We must focus our efforts on the only future proof solution: hard wired fiber.
Education- Our school system has the responsibility to prepare our high school graduates with the necessary knowledge and skills to:
1. Compete immediately in the workforce
2. Succeed as they move forward to higher education opportunities
Curriculum and educational decisions must be returned to local school boards and superintendents. Teachers must be given the time, flexibility, funding and opportunity to educate our children rather than preparing them for the next state mandated standardized test.
Public Safety- A critical function of local government is to ensure that we adequately fund our Sheriff, Fire and EMS services. As a rural county, we are dependent on properly staffed Sheriff, Fire and EMS services. This is critical not only from the standpoint of our citizens, but for the safety of our first responders.
Unfortunately, our county has been impacted by the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation. Coupled with the day to day law enforcement duties of the department, this crisis has placed additional burdens and responsibilities on personnel and resources. Proper staffing, training and funding of law enforcement must remain a top priority of our county government.
One of the major issues facing our Fire and EMS department is the lack of sufficient 24/7 available personnel. To address this challenge we must focus on both paid staff and volunteers. As our paid staff is expanded, we must also actively engage, recruit and encourage volunteers to serve our community. By partnering with our school system, civic organizations, churches and community we can build an aggressive outreach to build our bench of volunteers. With the combination of volunteers and paid staff our community will be well served.
Fiscal Responsibility- As a member of the Board of Supervisors, my top priority will be to safeguard the taxpayer’s money. By understanding the important functions of government, I will focus our budget dollars on needs vs. luxuries we can’t afford.
Understanding that our tax dollars do not belong to the county government, they belong to the citizens of Louisa County. I will question every dollar the county spends.
Government Transparency - Government exists to serve the people, not the other way around. By encouraging citizen involvement in the process, the end result will be a more responsive and responsible government.
My proposals to ensure transparency and involvement include:
1. Rotate Board of Supervisor meetings throughout the county 4 times a year. Bring the government to the people.
2. Move Board of Supervisor Public Session start time from
6pm to 7pm. This change would accommodate the work schedule of our citizens.
3. Hold regularly scheduled town hall meetings to allow the citizens to directly address their issues and concerns to their elected officials.