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November 07, 2011

Albemarle Supervisor candidates on their qualifications

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In the run up to Election Day on November 8th, Charlottesville Tomorrow will once again mail out our in-depth nonpartisan voter guide, featuring exclusive one-on-one interviews with all the candidates for Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and Charlottesville City Council.  In the weeks before the election, we will feature one to two questions a day so that citizens like you can compare candidates’ answers and make an informed choice November 8th.

 Charlottesville Tomorrow’s 2011 Election Center website features links to the full written transcript and audio of candidate interviews, as well as links to videos of candidate forums, copies of our 2011 voter guide, information on where to vote, and more.  All the following passages are excerpts from our interviews.

COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, EIGHTH IN A SERIES

image from cvilletomorrow.typepad.comPlease describe your past experience that qualifies you to be on Albemarle Board of Supervisors?


 

Rivanna District

Ken Boyd (R) – Incumbent

I am a 30-year resident of Albemarle County and a husband, father, and grandfather.  All four of my children were educated in Albemarle County Public Schools, and I have been active in this community for all of those 30-years as a neighborhood leader, a youth coach, an education advocate, parent council member, PTO president, and on community service boards. 

I was elected in the Rivanna district as a representative on the school board and spent four years in that position.  For the last eight years I’ve been a member of the board of supervisors.  My formal education includes both a BBA and an MBA.  I spent 23-years as a corporate executive in the banking business before starting my own small financial planning company 20-years ago. 

These local, life, education, business and civic experiences are what position me to be the most qualified person to continue representing the Rivanna district.

 

Cynthia Neff (D) – Challenger

…I started in business with a friend, but then I ultimately ended up at the IBM corporation….I picked it because it was an ethical company.  I picked it because it was one of the first companies that had a woman vice-president, that was the first companies that … that embraced … hiring black employees before there were rules that you had to.  They did domestic partner benefits before it was trendy to do so.  They really did believe in respect for the individual in those kind of things… I had about 29 careers while I worked at IBM.  I learned that there was really no limits.  I could almost do and be who I wanted to be and it was – there was really it was a merit-based system, I was held accountable for results, and I was recognized for results.  The last…decade of my career with IBM I had responsibility for large, global organizations. …

[I] moved down here, found a great place in Albemarle County, out in the Rivanna district and began to build a life.  And I did that by, you know, contacting [Piedmont] CASA, and said, “You know, I would love to work with abused and neglected children.  Can I make a difference there?”  I got in touch with the AIDS organization and said, you know, “I lived in San Francisco during the plague, the hardest years of the plague …”  I’ve chaired that board for the last couple years….I got involved with … the local Democratic Party and, you know, tried to work on different candidates races and get involved.  I kind of made … a study of land use in the county.…

So I started paying attention, I became involved with Places 29 … a kind of land use that was not intuitive or obvious to somebody who was new, but that over time you really said “wow, this does make sense.”  I think I really bring this balance of … having lots of other experiences but then having this experience.…

I say … we need more straight talk about what is really happening and what is not happening.  We need a balanced perspective.  We need somebody who can really seek out the opinions of, you know, a variety of various voices.  I think we need somebody to speak out for the voice of – for those who don’t have one.  I worry about things like the social safety net and, you know, how are all people in the community, including those who don’t go to the Board of Supervisors meetings for entertainment.  And so I think I bring all that.  And I bring a passion for doing this….I want to make a difference and I think I can.

 

Scottsville District

Chris Dumler (D) – Open Seat

I believe that I’m the best candidate for the…Board of Supervisors because I think I have the right balance of vision, energy, enthusiasm and sense of service to serve the public well down in Scottsville… I’m originally from Stone Mountain, Georgia which is sort of the poster child for unchecked, unplanned-for sprawl, so I sort of understand what happens when a community doesn’t plan for those sort of things, doesn’t have the infrastructure in place and the crowded schools and the clogged roads and in the case of Gwinnett County, decaying commercial sector. 

I’m the son of two educators.  Both my parents are middle school math teachers and so I think I understand.  I have a good sense of what works in education on the local level and what doesn’t work.

After I graduated from Georgia Tech—I got a degree in engineering—I moved up here for law school and opened my own business down in Scottsville, so I think I understand what it takes to get a small business up and running, what the County has that can help with that, and what the County has that occasionally hinders with that sort of thing. I think I have the right balance as far as understanding the problems go, but at the same time, I think I bring a sense of fresh energy and enthusiasm to the issues that are facing the County. 

…I think that the combination of that fresh sense of enthusiasm, if you will, and my background and in addition, I’ve served on a number of County boards.  The Region 10 Board of Directors, where I’m the chairman of the finance committee.  We have a $33 million budget that I’m responsible for each year.  I’m a member of the National Heritage Committee which is a stakeholder in the Biscuit Run Master Planning Process that recently wrapped up and so I think that experience combined with that fresh sense of enthusiasm makes me a good fit for the job.

 

Jim Norwood (R) – Open Seat

I bring a lifelong experience, a 43 year marriage to my wife Joanne, we have five children and seven grandchildren.  I’ve been in the business world for 47 years and have owned and operated businesses in the Albemarle County over the last 13 years.  Out of my 47 year business career, more than half of that has been in private business.  I have hired many hundreds of Virginians over the course of that time, paid fair wages, and provided a good environment for all our employees.  That, I think is critical to my – what I bring to the board is the fact that also I have acted as a director of economic development in Scottsville, I work for the Chamber of Commerce, my major project was to stimulate the economy in Scottsville, I worked with Lieutenant Governor Bolling and also with the economic development partnership here in Charlottesville to try to develop a reuse for the factory that was vacated.  We lost 120 jobs when Hyosung closed, but since then, through private business expansion in Scottsville, more than half of those jobs have been replaced and I feel good about that.  I think I helped stimulate that. 

So, I also happen to be the parent of a handicapped child, spent all our lives – my wife and I – in raising John and kept our ear very close to public education.  Joanne’s a retired teacher – or I’m sorry, she’s not retired, she’s just a teacher who doesn’t work right now.  She spent most of her life mainstreaming John, so we have kept very close to the education – public education process.  And also, I’m pleased that I’m currently a trustee of the University of New England, a 6,000 student private education college in the state of Maine and I’m chairman of the Student Affairs Committee.  So I feel like I have a good background to share relevant to education as well.

 

White Hall District

Ann Mallek (D) – Incumbent

As a native of Albemarle and a 1967 graduate of Albemarle High School, I have a perspective of our collective history and how we ended up here.  This is an important asset when dealing with issues which have recurred many times over the last 50 years.  Luckily my parents encouraged me and my siblings to see other parts of the country. 

I achieved a degree in biology at Connecticut College and worked in the university research lab in Boston.  Residing in Boston taught me about some successful ways that urban areas handle population density, parks and green spaces, traffic and transit.  Despite our smaller Albemarle population, we have many opportunities to plan ahead, to save financial and natural resources as we grow.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel …

Other supervisors criticize my town hall meetings as unnecessary, but I know meetings are essential to the voters’ sense of engagement and confidence, and the many contributions of ideas from our citizens.  I had been in the audience for 17 years in Board of Supervisors meetings before I decided to run for office.  The Daily Progress four years ago described me as a citizen-activist and I take that as a great kudo because I am loyal to the citizens and to the community.  I don’t feel like I’m anchored to any particular special interest group.  I’ve been particularly focused on the environment and land use and transportation for more than 20 years.

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