Letters to the editor – May 24th, 2017

Published 5:54 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Just wondering

Editor, Smithfield Times Instead of all the political garbage that I’ve been exposed to recently, I’ve decided to devote my idle time to pondering the more important issues. I’ll bet that you didn’t know that in Virginia you can’t have a tinted cover on your vehicle’s front license plate. I found that out the hard way! I wonder why we even have front license plates in Virginia, wouldn’t it be 50 percent less expensive to just have one plate? Most of our neighboring states manage to control their derelict drivers with just a rear plate.

I’ll also bet that you didn’t know that you can’t turn at an intersection signaling a red arrow. The red arrow means the same as no turn on red. I wish the drivers that blow their horns at me when I stop at the Benn’s Church intersection knew that. It’s kind of tiring to have to walk back to their cars and advise them of the Virginia law! It seems to make them even more irate.

Finally, I’m not sure of what I’m supposed to do when I find myself behind a dump truck that has a sign posted of the tailgate stating “Work Vehicle Do Not Follow.” What if we are we are going in the same direction? Do I stop, turn around, or simply ignore the sign? Just another one of the problems that I’ll keep pondering.

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Larry West

All about the money?

Editor, Smithfield Times The town has done a great job with festivals, such as the Wine Fest and the Bob Fest. There are 100 good things I can say, but there’s one thing that is not good at all: If you notice the police directing traffic for the events, you must know the police are guiding drunk drivers onto our roads. There are many responsible people who attend these events, but drunks also leave the events behind the wheel.

I believe it’s all about dollars. The police don’t want to slow down attendance at the events. But the chief really needs to be careful. If a drunk driver leaves these events and kills a family, the town and police may face a big lawsuit.

Billy Stafford

Trying to call the courthouse

Editor, Smithfield Times
I just experienced two bizarre telephone episodes — one perhaps explicable, the other definitely not.

The first caller asked if this was Four Square Plantation (I used to run a B&B until my late wife got sick about fours ago). I replied that it was. The caller then asked if I was located at such and such address. Again, I confirmed that I was. The caller then stated that I had 10 employees. I replied, “Nonsense, my wife and I were the only “employees.”

Suspecting a scam, I asked who was calling and why were they asking such questions. They hung up.

I hit *69 and discovered it was a local number, but I could not reach it. I decided to call the county on the outside chance that the number represented a legitimate government organization. The Verizon Director isn’t complete with regard to government numbers, and my local Edge Director is outdated. I decided that the Isle of Wight county administrator would be the best bet to know what section would have overall visibility of phone numbers at the county seat.

That’s when the fun began. I dialed the county administrator. A female, possibly the secretary, answered and said she was out of the office until March 23, but that if I needed immediate assistance, to call Mr. Robertson at such and such number.

I did, and was informed the number was not in service. I then called the general county number and was told that the switchboard wasn’t manned, but that if I wanted a department, to dial, etc. Having had good luck with the clerk of courts in the past, I tried their number. I got a helpful lady who agreed that the original call was probably a scam and that as far as she knew the number was not a legitimate county government number.

I know as a former military officer and businessman that when someone called the office, the phone was answered. When I ran the B&B, I couldn’t always be there, but we always returned calls, something I do to this day when people call for reservations, even though we are closed. I hope my experience today is not typical of the way the county operates.

Roger Healey Jr.

A need for balance

Editor, Smithfield Times
Currently in the Virginia State Assembly, there are 66 Republicans and 34 Democrats. This is not representative of citizenry preferences as evidenced by the three most recent Presidential and the last Gubernatorial elections, all won by Democrats.

It is time to bring balance to our State by electing Democrats to the Assembly. The first step is voting in the June 13 primary, where there are three highly qualified Democrats running to represent the 64th district (which encompasses most of Isle of Wight County). They are Jerry Cantrell, Rebecca Colaw and John Wandling.

Act now to bring the change we need to the Assembly. Support the Democratic candidate of your choice in the June 13 primary. Then let’s all work together for the successful election of our nominee in November!

Joe Puglisi

Casteen backs Brewer

Editor, Smithfield Times
I’m voting for Emily Brewer as the Republican nominee to represent our district.

Her opponent served on the Board with me and voted for every real estate tax and budget increase ever proposed. He even wanted to increase the real estate tax in mid-year an additional 4 cents in September of 2012 following a 25 percent increase to the citizens the previous year, but lost.

I’ve seen a number of letters supporting Mr. Alphin from Smithfield and Windsor. I don’t guess those people appreciate the annual Fourth of July fireworks, which Mr. Alphin tried to cancel about five years ago even though the whole $11,000 cost to the county was miniscule in a budget of millions. The towns contributed to the fireworks and recognized the value of the events in terms of American pride and economic benefits. He lost, and our citizens have continued to enjoy celebrating our nation’s birthday.

Mr. Alphin opposed the new Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad (IOWVRS) building, which serves the whole county.

I served a full four-year term and had to get re-elected in order to serve as chairman in 2012. For 2012, the board bumped the Hardy district supervisor ahead so she could serve as chair before her term ended. I expected the same for another supervisor in the same situation but she was denied because Mr. Alphin later decided the chair should be from the district that had not served as chair the longest — his district. He is serving his third consecutive year as chair.

Now, Mr. Alphin has decided he suddenly deserves to be the Republican nominee instead of someone who has worked within the Republican Party for years to get other Republicans elected to office and was elected as an alternate to the Republican National Convention last year. See the pattern?

Emily Brewer is and has been a Republican for many years and worked to get other Republicans, including President Trump, elected long before she became a candidate. Mr. Alphin, not so much.

Please join me in electing Emily Brewer, a true Republican, to represent us on June 13.

Al Casteen

Shame on these ‘leaders’

Editor, Smithfield Times
I am writing this letter in opposition to the so called “GOP leaders” hit piece pertaining to the GOP 64th house district candidate Rex Alphin. I have known Mr. Alphin for many years and can attest to the fact that he is a man of character and integrity. We need more character and integrity in government, be it Isle of Wight County, Richmond or in Washington, DC.

I am a life long Republican and so is Rex Alphin. While Mr. Alphin might not have been a Republican activist, I have. I served as Isle of Wight County Republican unit chairman, Fourth District chairman, Western District v-chairman and the first vice-chairman of the Republican of Virginia. While I was doing my thing, Mr. Alphin has been serving Isle of Wight County on the Board of Supervisors, with many of those years as its chairman, trying to offer his leadership to pull this county out of a near financial disaster. What has this “gang of so called “GOP leaders” done? While this gang certainly have their right of free speech, they obviously do not abide by President Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment of “do not speak ill of a fellow republican.” This gang’s philosophy is apparently “open mouth and insert foot.”

Shame on all you “gang of GOP leaders.” When I served as the Fourth District chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, I would have never been a part of such an embarrassing movement. Rex Alphin is going to be elected our next 64th house of delegates member. Knowing Rex, I know he is going to serve “all” the people of this district.  But, you, the so-called “gang of leaders,” after penning such a negative hit piece against a man that you have never met and do not know, you should be relegated to the back of the shelf.  

Frank hall

Alphin backers

Editor, Smithfield Times
There is a primary election on June 13 to nominate the Republican candidate for the Delegate to the Virginia House of Representatives from the 64th District. We are voting for Rex Alphin and urging all Republicans to do the same. Rex was born and raised in Isle of Wight County and has been a farmer of the same land that he grew up on so he definitely has a deep and abiding love for Isle of Wight and its people.  

As chairman of the Board of Supervisors of IOW County, he has shown an ability to listen to all sides of the issue and to think deeply about it before deciding how to vote. He is also a man of deep intellect, reading and studying intensely on a topic before deciding his position. He knows the art of compromise but also how to get things done.  He is an extremely dedicated man whose ethics are above reproach.  

Most of all, we know him to be a man of impeccable integrity who will perform his duties as our representative with the best interests of Isle of Wight and all of Virginia in mind — voting for what he feels is right, first and foremost. In the current state of politics, there are precious few people that we trust to always do the right thing. Rex Alphin is one of those few. Please join us in voting for Rex on June 13.

Sue & Rick Schwarting

Alphin for delegate

Editor, Smithfield Times
Rex Alphin is a man of integrity and one who can and will make a difference as our representative for the 64th District House of Delegates. I’ve known Rex all my life, having grown up in a farm family, and know firsthand that farmers are genuine, down to earth people, who must know to be patient, to persevere, and to have the Faith to carry on when, at times, weather can dictate success or failure in the life of a farmer.

Rex Alphin has been successful in business, and as a member, and Chairman of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors. My position as Clerk of Circuit Court has provided opportunities to talk with Rex about concerns for the Clerk’s Office, and he has listened intently and provided answers to my questions.

Rex has the experience in local government that enables him to understand the importance of listening to the needs of the citizens, and to vote what he believes is right and in the best interest of Virginia citizens.

I wholeheartedly support Rex Alphin for Delegate of the 64th District, and ask that other voters do the same.

Sharon Nelms Jones
Circuit Court Clerk
IW County

Voting for his friend

Editor, Smithfield Times
I wholeheartedly endorse, support and in all other ways champion Rex Alphin to be our next representative for the 64th District in the House of Delegates. To say that Rex is a man of integrity is like saying that there is a lot of sand on the beach. His experience in small business and is service on the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors pale in view of his honor, character and, as I said before, his integrity. There are a lot of politicians but very few statesmen. Rex is the latter who will do what is best for our district. It will be a privilege to vote for him on June 13. Out of all the titles he has held it is a honor to call him friend.

Godspeed brother.

Johnny Rawls

Alphin supporter

Editor, Smithfield Times
It is clear to me that Rex Alphin is the only candidate for the 64th District.

As a lifetime resident of the district, Mr. Alphin has a proven record of service. His experience includes four years on the Isle of Wight planning commission and six years as elected official to the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors, of which the last two he served as chairman. During these years of service, Rex served admirably for the residents of Isle of Wight County. He has proven that he can be trusted to protect our families, our communities and our rural culture.

Rex is a third generation farmer in this District and has farmed the land for 40 years! As a farmer and a small business owner, he understands the need to grow our economy and help small businesses. While Rex may live in Isle of Wight County, he is connected to the people throughout the District. It is interesting that his opponent’s business isn’t even in the 64thh District.

Rex will work hard to balance the state budget, cut wasteful spending and keep Virginia taxes among the lowest in the nation. While his opponent claims she has never raised taxes, she has never been elected or held a public government office. Rex is trustworthy and reliable and he will serve the District well. He will serve the citizens and not himself. Join me in supporting Rex Alphin on June 13.

Tara Outland-Williams

She’s backing Alphin

Editor, Smithfield Time
On June 13, I will excitedly be marking my ballot for Rex Alphin for Delegate to the 64th district. Having known Rex all my life, I look at the trustworthiness of the man, the character and standards of the man. He is not a newcomer to the political arena having served for the last six years on the Board of Supervisors and the Isle of Wight Planning Commission. He has served as Director of the Virginia Crop Improvement Association, past chair of the local Southern States Board, and has spent eight years on the Virginia Pork Industry Board. His experience in dealing with local issues will enable him to be comfortable in the Richmond House of Delegates setting.

He will listen to all sides of the issue and will make his decision based on actual facts and what will be the best for his constituents. He is a man of integrity, strong moral standards, a love of family and an endearing love for the land and the people who work and live in this District. We need people in Richmond that are truly concerned for the people of this great state and not what best fits his or her agenda. Rex is that person.

Rex believes that to represent a people well, one must know those people and to know those people, one must live among them. Rex has done just that. He doesn’t just “talk the talk” he actually “walks the walk.”

It will be an honor to have Rex Alphin represent us in the 64th District. I encourage everyone to go to the polls on June 13 and “put an X by Rex” for the future of this great state.

Debbie Braswell

Alphin loves the land

Editor, Smithfield Times
I write in support of Rex Alphin to become our next Republican delegate from the 64th district in the Virginia House of Delegates. He is the kind of person we need in this position. First, he has lived in the 64th district all his life. Through his experiences as a third-generation farmer and owner of several small local businesses Rex knows the issues first hand that face our rural community. Rex loves this land, has worked it for 40 years, writes about it (weekly column and book, The Nature of Things) and has invested in it economically. He has a finger on its pulse.

Secondly, Rex has a proven record of his analytical and leadership abilities through his six years of service to our county as a member of the Isle of Wight Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors where he is currently the chairman. As an elected official, he has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to grapple with details, weigh pros and cons and strive for fiscal efficiency in the issues confronting our county.

Lastly, I am heavily swayed by Rex’s commitment to core Christian values and their application in his life — his walk, his talk and concern for others. I have watched him since I arrived in the community 16 years ago and have seen a gifted energetic man eager to serve others. 

I believe that Rex will represent well and work hard for the people he represents. I heartily support his candidacy.

Beverley Ruegsegger

Not quite what she meant

Editor, Smithfield Times
It makes me extremely disappointed that my views were misrepresented in this newspaper last week in the article, Thornton wants $18,000 raise, by Ryan Kushner. I stated in our School Board meeting that I was in favor of a raise that would make our superintendent’s salary compatible to other superintendents’ salaries of similar divisions our size. When I said, “I can support this,” Ryan inserted [raise]. That one word inserted changed what I was wanting to communicate. “This” was to suggest, I support what I had just said, a raise that would make his salary compatible.

The School Board is the process of gathering “accurate” data to support a well thought-out decision. Please know that my heart is to do what is right for our school division, our community, and all employees. It is a shame that I will always fear when going into these meeting that the media will grab one thing I say and will either misquote or take what I say out of context. I am not naive enough to believe everyone will always agree with my decisions as a leader in Isle of Wight County Schools. I lost many nights’ sleep worrying about important decisions as a previous leader in our school system. I guess those sleepless nights are not over. When my decisions impact others, that is serious, and something I will never take lightly.   Jacqueline Carr

Alphin supporters

Editor, Smithfield Times
We are giving our full support to Mr. Rex Alphin to represent us in the 64th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. Mr. Alphin has represented us admirably on the Board of Supervisors. He visited our home on several occasions, sat at our kitchen table to listen to our concerns even though we do not reside in his district. Read his book, “The Nature of Things” and you shall discover someone who gets it, who understands what life is about, someone with principles and a dedication to values found in community and family.

Ideally the ultimate goal of any representative is to get things accomplished. Accomplishments arise through compromise. Compromises arise from Listening to all sides before rendering a judgment. When compromise occurs, everyone wins. It is what makes this nation spectacular. Did we mention that Mr. Alphin listens? Therefore, he is the most qualified candidate to get things done. In the letter entitled “GOP leaders oppose Alphin” in the May 10 edition of The Smithfield Times, did anyone happen to notice there was not one mention of Mr. Alphin’s opponent, not their policies nor their qualifications, not even a name. How odd. It begs the question, do any of them even know who the other candidate is?

Let’s be clear. Mr. Alphin is not our relative, nor a neighbor. We were never classmates, have no business ties nor run in the same social circles. We have no hidden agendas. We even disagree on some issues. However, it is plain and simply. Rex Alphin is a person with exemplary values and integrity. We must not throw away this opportunity to send such a person to the State Legislature.

William and Lynn Faulkner