Monday, November 07, 2011

Elections 2011

Botetourt County voters tomorrow will determine the direction of the county for a long time to come. Here is information on the election. I spoke with local candidates and here is brief information on them. Some of this information originally appeared in an article I wrote for a print publication. - A. Firebaugh
Botetourt County Constitutional Officers
The retirement of Benton Bolton, Treasurer, and Jay Etzler, Commissioner of Revenue, opened up those two seats for newcomers.

Three people are on the ballot for the office of Treasurer. William P. "Bill" Arney received the nod from the Republicans, while Michael W. Rock and Lois B. Thurston are running as independents.

Arney, who has lived in Botetourt for 44 years, is a managing member of a property investment company.  He is also a commercial real estate appraiser for Wampler-Eanes Appraisal Group, LTd. He previously owned a business in the county and he has been a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley, where he managed millions of dollars in assets for his clients.

Rock, a sales administration manager for a large manufacturer of power transformers, is a lifetime Botetourt resident. He has over 25 years of business management experience and has volunteered with local fire and rescue organizations. He has also worked with the county's youth as a coach and official at sporting events.

Thurston, who is originally from Alleghany County, has lived in Botetourt for 32 years. She is currently employed as a buyer at Bacova Guild. She has 30 years experience in corporate and financial accounting and has worked as a collections manager for a large lumber company, where she handled funds in excess of $200 million annually.

Rodney D. Spickard, a Realtor with RE/MAX All Stars Realty in Daleville, is running unopposed for the Commisioner of Revenue Seat. He received the Republican nomination earlier this year. "I have performed hundreds of real estate valuations in Botetourt during my real estate career and one of the main functions of the Commissioner's Office is to maintain the real estate records," Spickard said. He also cited his experience with construction and real estate development as some of his qualifications. The 42-year-old has lived in Botetourt all of his life.

Voters also will choose a Commonwealth's Attorney and Sheriff, though only current Commonwealth's Attorney Joel R. Branscom and current Sheriff R. N. "Ronnie" Sprinkle are the only names on the ballot.

Soil and Water

Jeffrey W. Henderson and F. Preston Wickline III will be on the ballot for Soil and Water Conservation Director for the Mountain Castles District. Voters may choose both or write in someone else.

Botetourt County Board of Supervisors & School Board

Blue Ridge District

In the Blue Ridge District, incumbent Billy W. Martin, the Republican nominee, will face independent candidate Samuel C. Foster, in the race for Board of Supervisors.

Martin, who is completing his first four-year term as a supervisor, retired from the U. S. Postal Service as the Roanoke post master. He is also an artist with a local following. He is currently chairman of the board of supervisors and has served on the education committee and numerous others. He has lived in Botetourt County for 31 years.

Foster is retired from Botetourt County Schools, though he continues to work there part-time in the budget and policy division. His work with the school system included implementing and monitoring the Botetourt County Schools budget. He continues to run his family's farm. He has lived in Botetourt for the majority of his life.

Also in the Blue Ridge District, D. Scott Swortzel is running unopposed for the school board seat.

Valley District
While the Valley District only has one candidate for Board of Supervisors on the ballot, issues surrounding the incumbent have grabbed the spotlight.

Donald M. "Mac" Scothorn received the Republican nomination earlier this year, and Don Assaid, who had been the Republican candidate for the last two elections, decided to run as an Independent. However, problems with his petitions led the county's Electoral Board to disqualify him on the grounds he did not have enough signatures. Changes in the districts meant that one person who circulated petitions for him lived outside the district and his petitions were invalid.

Assaid is now running a write-in campaign in an effort to keep his seat.

Scothorn is an optometrist with Vistar Eye Center in Botetourt. He has served on the county's Parks and Recreation Board for eight years. He helped implement Read Mountain baseball and has assisted in procuring amenities around the area. He said his best qualification is his "deep concern for the individuals in the county" and his ability to work as a team player. He has lived in Botetourt since 1992.

Assaid has served on the Board of Supervisors for the last eight years. He is currently a financial professional with AXA Equitable in Roanoke. He said he is a "proven conservative" who believes in lower taxes and accountability. He also said he has the flexibility required to attend meetings and that his strong financial background lends itself to fiscal responsibility. He has lived in Botetourt County for 22 years.

Also in the Valley District, Michael W. Beahm is running unopposed for the school board seat.

Fincastle District
In the Fincastle District, Incumbent Larry B. Ceola will face Independent candidate L. W. "Jack" Leffel, Jr. in the Board of Supervisors race.

Ceola, who received the nod as the Republican nominee, has served on the Board of Supervisors for a year. He took the seat vacated by Don Meredith when he passed away. He is the owner of Cavalier Automotive in the southern end of Botetourt County. He also owns a tree farm. He said his experience in running a business for 34 years has taught him how to deal with people and daily business operations. He has lived in Botetourt for 36 years.

Leffel, who is a farmer and owner of a hunting preserve, has served on the Botetourt County School Board for 12 years. He is currently the School Board chair. He has overseen the school board budget and served on the county's Blue Way committee as well as the Upper James River Water Trail. He said he knows about leadership and can effectively help the board members get along. He has lived in the county his entire life.

Also in the Fincastle District, John E. Alderson, Jr., is running unopposed for the school board seat.

Virginia State Senate

In the Virginia State Senate race, the county is now entirely in the 23rd district. It was in the 22nd district. Candidates for this race are Republican Stephen D. "Steve" Newman and Democrat Robert W. T. Short, Sr.

Virginia House of Delegates

Voters in the Cloverdale, Blue Ridge, and Coyner Springs precincts are split between the 19th and the 17th districts in the Virginia House of Delegates race. Voters who live in the 19th district will choose between Republican Jerry R. Johnson, Democrat Lewis B. Medlin, Jr., and the incumbent, Independent Lacey E. Putney, while voters who live in the 17th district will choose between Republican Chris T. Head and Democrat Freeda L. Cathcart.

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