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From governor to school board, lots of seats on ballot

Halifax County voters will go to the polls Tuesday to elect state and local leaders. 

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for registered voters to cast ballots for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and members of the House of Delegates.

Voters here also will elect a commonwealth’s attorney and three members each to the Halifax County Board of Supervisors and school board. 

Halifax County has 23,662 registered voters, according to Halifax County Registrar Judy Meeler.

Meeler said these voters should bring identification with them to the polls on Tuesday. ID can be in the form of a voter card or driver’s license or something containing the person’s name and address such as a utility bill. 

 

The candidates

Governor

Three candidates — Democrat Terry McAuliffe, Republican Ken Cuccinelli II and Libertarian Robert Sarvis — all from Northern Virginia, are running for governor. 

McAuliffe announced his decision to run on Nov. 8, 2012. Prior to running for governor, he has been a businessman and entrepreneur as he founded businesses over the years. He also has served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. 

If elected governor, McAuliffe said he hopes to create energy jobs, improve transportation, protect Virginia’s resources, improve health care, invest in education, and he wants to continue with fewer, smarter regulations to not burden local businesses. 

Cuccinelli announced he would run for election on Dec. 1, 2011 while serving as Virginia’s Attorney General. In the General Assembly, he served on the Courts of Justice Committee, Transportation Committee, Local Government Committee, Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee and the Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee. 

Before becoming attorney general, he was a Virginia Senator and fought to defend constitutional rights, stop tax increases, protect life and families and keep Virginia a low-regulation and pro-free market state. 

As governor, he said he would like to provide incentives for those who want to create small businesses. He wants to improve transportation, ensure more students have the opportunity to advance their education, reform the tax system, implement an energy strategy that will take advantage of all Virginia’s natural resources, make health programs more patient-centered and implement a policy plan to improve benefits for veterans. 

On April 21 of this year, the Libertarian Party of Virginia held a special convention and nominated Sarvis as the Libertarian nominee for governor.  

This 37-year-old has experience as an entrepreneur and small-business owner, a software engineer and mobile-app developer, a math teacher and a lawyer.  

Sarvis wants to end all special taxes as well as the car tax and eliminate the BPOL, machine and tools, merchants and other business taxes. 

As far as education, he said he would like to see parents have more control over their children’s education than politicians. He also would like to implement a universal system of tax credits and school vouchers, expand charter schools, public school matching program and eliminate Standard of Learning tests. 

He also plans to fight any further federalization of the health care policy. 

 

Lieutenant governor

Republican candidate E. W. Jackson and Democratic candidate Ralph Northam are on the ballot Tuesday each seeking the office of lieutenant governor.

Jackson resides in Chesapeake. For 15 years, he practiced small business law and taught regulatory law as an adjunct professor at the graduate level at Northeastern University in Boston. 

In 1997, he retired from his private law practice to focus on his ministry. Since retirement, he has written “Ten Commandments to an Extraordinary Life,” founded the Exodus Faith Ministries and launched “Exodus Now,” a national effort to encourage Christians and other people of moral values within the black community to leave the current Democratic Party. 

As lieutenant governor, Jackson said he will promote parental choice in education, protect Second Amendment rights, defend religious liberty, demand a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, permanently defund Planned Parenthood and seek fairness for small businesses.

Northam, who resides in Norfolk, announced his candidacy in December. 

After graduating from Eastern Virginia Medical School, Northam served eight years active duty in the United States Army, rising to the rank of Major.  Upon his return from treating soldiers injured in Desert Storm, he began practicing pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk. 

In 2007, he was elected to the Senate of Virginia. As senator, he is credited with scoring numerous major legislative accomplishments, including helping to prohibit smoking in restaurants, protecting youth athletes who have sustained concussions, improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay and shielding first responders from communicable diseases. 

If elected, he plans to stand up for women’s rights, promote health care and public health, promote equality for all, improve jobs and the economy, fix transportation, help achieve excellence in schools and support veterans and military families. 

 

Attorney general

Running for attorney general are Democratic candidate Mark Herring and Republican candidate Mark Obenshain. 

Herring is currently a Virginia State Senator representing the 33rd District and previously served on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors from 2000-2003. 

As State Senator, he serves on the Senate General Laws and Technology, Commerce and Labor, Local Government and Rehabilitation and Social Services Committees. 

If elected attorney general, Herring said he would defend a woman’s right to “make personal, private decisions regarding her reproductive health.” He also will continue efforts to update Virginia laws regarding electronic communication. 

In 2013, he sponsored legislation updating Virginia’s stalking statute to include electronic transmissions like pictures and text messaging. Herring supports strengthening penalties for domestic violence, refusing firearms to anyone convicted of stalking, sexual battery or assault and battery of a family member, and another top priority for him is ensuring a level playing field in the marketplace for consumers, businesses and workers as well as ensuring pay equity.

Obenshain has served as Virginia State Senator representing the 26th District from 2004-present. As senator, he serves on five committees, including Privileges and Elections (chairman), Courts of Justice, Commerce and Labor, Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources and Rules. 

As Virginia Attorney General, he said he would seek to protect Virginians from federal “overreach” and focus on legislation protecting the elderly from abuse and neglect. 

He would also focus on the ongoing threat of human trafficking and would advocate legislation making human trafficking a stand-alone felony offense and extend asset forfeiture laws to human trafficking, along with ensuring victim compensation. 

Obenshain plans also to advocate for the adoption of the Transparency in Private Attorney Contracts Act in Virginia, which would ensure the actions of the attorney general’s office always benefits the people of Virginia. 

 

60th District House of Delegates

Republican Delegate James Edmunds II is seeking a third term as the 60th District representative in the House of Delegates, and on Tuesday’s ballot he faces opposition from Democratic challenger Jasper Hendricks III of Farmville. 

In the 60th District are Halifax, Prince Edward, Charlotte and Campbell counties. 

Edmunds, a local farmer, who resides in the Elmo community, served on the Halifax County Board of Supervisors 10 years prior to his election in the House, and he also served on the Virginia Board of Forestry for four years. 

The National Rifle Association, Virginia Farm Bureau and the Virginia Education Association along with a host of other individuals and organizations have endorsed him. 

Top priorities for Edmunds are the issues of job creation and uranium mining. Edmunds said he plans to continue the fight to maintain the ban on uranium mining and promote a viable economic climate if he is elected to a third term. 

He said he decided to run for another term because he felt the area needs a representative that has built relationships over the year with other members of the General Assembly. 

Jasper Hendricks III of Farmville has served as chief of staff for Virginia Junior Chamber of Commerce, was a member of the Committee for the Virginia Housing Coalition, the Small Business and Economic Development Committees.  He also has served as the president of the Virginia State Conference NAACP Youth and College Division, vice president of the Virginia Young Democrats and 2nd vice president of the Prince Edward County NAACP. 

Virginia Chapter of the National Organization of Women (Virginia NOW), Virginia AFL-CIO, Democracy for America and the Virginia Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union have endorsed him. 

Hendricks said he feels his experience in writing and understanding legislation along with years of experience in community organizations makes him uniquely qualified to serve as delegate. 

Top priorities for Hendricks are creating access and opportunities to quality jobs and support of public schools.

County races

In the most heated Halifax County race, current Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Republican Michael Freshour, faces a challenge from Independent candidate Tracy Quackenbush Martin.

Freshour has been the commonwealth’s attorney since August 2012. His career began as a Project Exile gun prosecutor before becoming a trial attorney for 14 years; 10 of those years he was a prosecutor in the Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. 

Since he’s taken the reigns of commonwealth’s attorney, Freshour says he has increased the number of charges prosecuted in circuit court by 43 percent and has increased the number of defendants prosecuted by 53 percent. 

Freshour claims to have worked to form a more aggressive prosecutor’s office that prosecutes criminals to keep families safe by increasing prosecution and increasing sentencing for violent and repeat offenders. 

Martin, however, said she is the candidate of choice because there is a problem in Halifax County and she wants to fix it. 

She has been a criminal lawyer for 15 years and runs her own private law practice. 

She also has worked for the U.S Attorney’s Office. 

Martin said she has a desire to serve this community in a greater way, which has prompted her to run. 

According to Martin, she has the desire, experience and skills to fix the revolving door of crime, by the length of time it takes to resolve cases, by witnesses and law enforcement sitting in court over and over again only to discover that their case was continued. She feels “we can do better.”

In the Town of Halifax, Janice Powell is running unopposed for the Town Council Ward A seat, and Kristy Johnson is running unopposed for the Ward D seat on council.

In the Town of South Boston, Mayor Edward “Ed” Owens is running unopposed for the seat he has held since February. 

Margaret D. Fountain-Coleman and Jim Debiec are the two candidates vying for a South Boston Town Council seat currently held by interim Councilman Morris Bryant who was selected to fill the seat vacated by the relocation of Connie Manning.

In Election District-2, incumbent Supervisor Thomas West is running unopposed for that seat, while Pattie J. “Lisa” Hatcher and Ida Catherine Terry are challenging incumbent school board member Karen Hopkins for the ED-2 seat on the school board. 

Norman Ray Owen, Arthur W. Reynolds Sr. and Earl M. Womack are seeking the Election District-3 seat on the board of supervisors currently held by William I. Fitzgerald who did not seek re-election.

Incumbent school board member Kim Farson is running unopposed for the ED-3 school board seat. 

In Election District-6, Larry Giordano and John R. Voss are competing for the seat on the board of supervisors currently filled by E. Wayne Conner who chose not to seek re-election. 

Rita W. Best is challenging current school board member R. H. “Fay” Satterfield for the ED-6 school board seat.