Letters to The Editor – November 1st, 2017

Published 6:33 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Planners being ignored

Editor, Smithfield Times
On July 25, I spoke before the Planning Commission telling them they were being ignored by the supervisors. The commission had voted unanimously against a business proposal in light of the upcoming Comprehensive Plan startup. The Planning Commissioners were lambasted by Mr. Dick Grice for not doing their job.
I followed up with a letter to the editor of this paper to share what was happening in the county. Now read the front page of The Smithfield Times last Wednesday. The Planning Commission is legally tasked with preparing the county’s Comprehensive Plan, and yet there is not one planning commissioner on the comp plan task force named by the supervisors, let alone two, as common sense suggests.
Coincidence? I think not. Citizens, the Comprehensive Plan is critical to the county’s agricultural, rural environment. It is logical that it needs to be in the hands of the Planning Commission where our environment will be protected and looked at, and where growth will be channeled appropriately.
Lynn Faulkner

Supervisors’ personal agenda?

Editor, Smithfield Times
I am writing this letter in response to the article in last week’s paper about the Comprehensive Plan task force. If you examine the cast of characters on the task force, it is obvious that it was hand-selected to push forward the personal agenda of one of the members of the Board of Supervisors.
The Code of Virginia states that the development of the Comprehensive Plan is clearly the of of the Planning Commission. The PC is meant to be a nonpolitical group of trained citizens with this job as one of their most important tasks. The current task force is twice as large as the Planning Commission and was formed without the commission’s input or inclusion, and therefore is a subset of the Board of Supervisors, not the Planning Commission.
A rural county would dictate the inclusion of farmers, a group that is significantly absent. The statement from the county attorney that the Board of Supervisors is not prohibited by law from creating a task force does not answer the greater question of whether it is ethically or morally correct. It sends a message to the citizens that the Board of Supervisors has taken control of the comp plan. The political group has the final say in the passage of the new plan, but are not meant to be the guiding force. Meaning no insult to Mr. Rosie, but the plan is also not a product of the planning staff, nor is it necessary for them to invite the Planning Commission members to perform the duty assigned to them by law.
Buzz Bailey

Voters have the easy part

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Editor, Smithfield Times
In less than a week, Virginians will go to the polls to exercise our right and responsibility as members of a representative democracy. In addition to statewide offices on the ballot, these elections are quite local and personal for members of our community since we’re electing Board of Supervisors members for the Hardy and Carrsville Districts, and a Delegate for the 64th District to the State House of Delegates. Education of the voters, an essential part of a democracy, was bolstered by the excellent Candidates’ Forum held at the Smithfield Center on Oct. 10. As an attendee, I was impressed with all the candidates, and felt good that we have citizens in our community who are willing to step up, run an ethical campaign, and work hard for us.
Many thanks to the Isle of Wight Citizens’ Association and the Carrollton Civic League for sponsoring and running the forum; and, especially many thanks to those citizens who believe in our democracy enough to run for office. It isn’t easy. Sacrifices of time and money are made by each candidate and those who support them. We voters have the easy part — we just need to go to the polls on Nov. 7.
Lisa Meunier

Vote for Jefferson

Editor, Smithfield Times
I like Herb DeGroft. He is active in many organizations and works hard for our community. When my daughter was at Hardy Elementary School, he could be found there just about every day volunteering in whatever capacity he could be useful. He has strong convictions, which makes it difficult for him to find compromise with others don’t share his priorities.
Being a child of a less culturally sensitive generation, he is prone to unintentionally causing offense. His previous service on the School Board was accompanied by much drama of his own making and no doubt caused him much stress and frustration. Being on the Board of Supervisors would not be healthy for him, so I urge all those in the Hardy District who like Herb DeGroft to do him a favor and vote for Rudolph Jefferson.
I formerly lived in Rushmere Shores. I remember the hard work Rudolph Jefferson did for the Volunteer Fire Department. He earned the friendship and respect of members of the community from all backgrounds. He has continued to earn that friendship and respect during his time on the Board of Supervisors. I have no hesitation in endorsing his reelection.
Greg Vassilakos

Re-elect Jefferson

Editor, Smithfield Times
Virginia’s upcoming election will be watched all over the country. From the governorship down to our local supervisory level, every outcome will impact our future direction. Will we elect candidates who respect all of the people or those who only represent some of the people?
The election of supervisor in Hardy District is a microcosm of what is going on at the state and national levels. The incumbent Rudolph Jefferson has served our diverse district well. He respects diversity and has demonstrated that he can represent all of us. His opponent Herb DeGroft has performed commendable service in the past, but his more recent behavior is troubling. In 2013, DeGroft, while a member of the school board, apparently considered it amusing to circulate racist emails demeaning First Lady Michelle Obama. DeGroft apologized for his “inappropriate” behavior, which he denied was racist, but he carries it as baggage.
His colleagues on the school board asked for his resignation. He didn’t resign but didn’t run for another term. While a member of the school board, he left a record of divisive behavior. On Election Day 2016, he posted a highly contentious sign at the Pons Polling Precinct that triggered a physical altercation. The resulting case was dismissed in the Isle of Wight District Court, but DeGroft carries this, too, as baggage.
Hardy district cannot afford to have a supervisor with this kind of behavioral baggage. At a time when we have a president who creates fake news with lies, disrespects diversity and emboldens hate groups, we need calm, thoughtful leaders at all levels of government who can bring people together in respectful coalitions rather than inciting hate-driven behavior. I urge my fellow citizens in Hardy District to go to the polls in huge numbers on Nov. 7 and re-elect a dignified, compassionate, trustworthy gentleman who respects our diversity — Rudolph Jefferson.
Mary Batten-Bland

Balance in government

Editor, Smithfield Times
The concept of balance is very important in life. We keep our balance to avoid falling, eat a balanced diet to stay healthy and balance the checking account for financial security.
The same is true in government. Without balance in our Virginia State Assembly, the Republican Party can do essentially whatever it wants without taking into account the wellbeing of a large cross section of our state’s population. Currently Republicans have a 66-34 majority mostly due to the way the Assembly Districts have been created to benefit Republican candidates.
The solution is to vote Democratic in this November’s election and specifically in the 64th Election District to vote for Rebecca Colaw.
Also, we must make sure that we retain a Democratic Governor by voting for Ralph Northam, electing Justin Fairfax Lt. Governor and reelecting Mark Herring as Attorney General.
Vote Democratic on Nov. 7 to bring back balance to our State Government.
Joe Puglisi

Jefferson impressive

Editor, Smithfield Times
Last week I had the pleasure of attending an informal “Meet the Candidate” with Mr. Jefferson. This was an opportunity talk with the candidate and meet his family. I was very impressed by the candid and thoughtful responses by Mr. Jefferson and by his supportive and engaging family. I have watched Mr. Jefferson’s voting record with keen interest. While we may not always agree, I appreciate his kindness and willingness to stand for what is right. He listens to the people and, along with Mr. Alphin and Mr. Acree, tends to vote in the best interest of the people.
Unfortunately, I cannot vote in the Hardy district, but I fully support the reelection of Mr. Jefferson to the Board and hope that next year the Board redresses their recent mistake in not elevating this gentleman of the people.
Rick Gillerlain

‘Forward’ with Jefferson

Editor, Smithfield Times
Rudolph Jefferson has been in leadership positions in his church, the Department of Navy, Rushmere Volunteer Fire Department and currently serves as Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisor representing the Hardy District. He has demonstrated he plans to continue to be a servant to the citizens, preserve county values and principles, enhance government services, support our education system, support emergency services and the Isle of Wight County Sheriff Department and the many volunteers that support this county.   He intends to attempt to keep taxes as low as possible. He is part of the team that overcame the largest financial burden this county has encountered, and with great pleasure they were able to pass a budget with no tax increase that yielded a $1 million surplus. He believes in reviewing county policies, procedures and operations to provide more effective and efficient services to the citizens of this great county.   During his tenure as board member for the Hardy District, he has demonstrated that he values the opinion of the citizens. He is willing to compromise, hold Town Hall meeting to inform the citizens and et informed of citizens needs and concerns. He believes in equality and justice for all people and has provided responsible and respectful leadership during the last four years. Please join us with great please and confidence of voting to re-elect Rudolph Jefferson to the Board of Supervisors to continue to represent the Hardy District. Keep Isle of Wight County moving ‘FORWARD.”
Bobby A. Bowser

Jefferson for supervisor

Editor, Smithfield Times
I support Rudolph Jefferson for re-election to the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors representing the Hardy District. He has served the past four years with honesty ,trustworthiness and with a listening ear, while respecting the rights of all citizens.
Rudolph is a lifelong resident of Isle of Wight County and has a vested interest in the betterment of the Hardy District and Isle of Wight County as a whole. He is passionate about serving the citizens of this community while keeping the county moving forward and growing strategically. He realizes that sometimes difficult decisions have to be made, however, he has been open to meet with citizens individually, as groups and in town hall settings to answer questions and/or concerns. During his tenure on the board the supervisors were able to pass a budget with no tax increase, keep taxes as low as possible, enhance government services and support our educational system.
I attended a meet and greet recently by a couple who are not in the Hardy District however they told me they like how Mr. Jefferson has conducted himself and what he stands for and wanted to host the event for voters in the Hardy District Mr. Jefferson is a man of integrity and honesty and possesses the leadership skills needed to keep moving the county forward.
Valerie Cofer Butler

Farmer for Brewer

Editor, Smithfield Times
As someone whose family has lived and farmed here for over 100 years, I know that Emily Brewer will be the best advocate for farmers and the agriculture industry. Emily has also lived in the region and has been active in the community her entire life. We need to send a leader to Richmond who understands the needs of farmers, large and small. Emily Brewer is that person.
If you don’t understand the challenges facing the agriculture industry, how can you work to provide solutions? I have talked with Emily and know that she will fight to reduce the number of unnecessary regulations, keep the taxes low, and improve rural roads and bridges so that all farmers can be successful.
Not only does Emily have a firm grasp on the policies that we need in our rural community, she is the only candidate even talking about them. She’s not just talking about policy either, she is offering actual, attainable solutions. Emily is not a politician, and that’s why I know she will work hard for the people. I will be supporting Emily Brewer for Delegate of the 64th District on Nov. 7 and I hope she can count on yours too.
Billy Gwaltney

Colaw for delegate

Editor, Smithfield Times
We need the voice and experience of Rebecca Colaw to represent the citizens of the 64th House District of Virginia. She has vast experience in working with officials in state, local, and federal government. Colaw is a Persian Gulf War Veteran, and retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service. She is a practicing attorney, and has an excellent reputation for passionately and effectively representing many underserved populations. She will represent and work for all citizens in the 64th District.
Vote for Rebecca Colaw, Democratic Candidate for Delegate, 64th District, on Nov. 7.
Debra Huffman Church

Brewer for delegate

Editor, Smithfield Times
Since our local representatives are the most important ones to our daily lives, I feel that it is critical the citizens of the 64th District support Candidate Emily Brewer for House of Delegates. I learned about Mrs. Brewer while supporting her opponent in the Republican Primary. Before that, I knew nothing about her.
What I learned is that she is knowledgeable about everything important to the citizens of the 64th District and Virginia and is willing to work hard for all citizens, not just the ones who support her. She also believes in always being accessible, a rare quality these days.
I am impressed that she is straightforward when answering questions. During a recent Community Forum, while her opponent danced around and never answered some important questions, Mrs. Brewer answered them all without hesitation. With her, you will know where she stands. With her opponent it was obvious you will never know her position.
Her Democratic opponent has resorted to using racially divisive campaign literature, some of the worst I have ever seen in a political campaign, that includes one depicting KKK members and states “Vote or they Win,” apparently insinuating that not voting for her and voting for Mrs. Brewer is a vote for the KKK. Another states “It’s as Simple as Black and White. The Republicans don’t think you’ll vote,” which is obviously targeted at African Americans and gives the impression their vote should be along racial lines so that “white Republicans” do not win. Emily Brewer has taken the high road and not stooped to the gutter to respond to these disgusting ads.
The choice in this election could never be clearer. Do you want someone like Emily Brewer who is knowledgeable about what citizens concerns and needs are, is willing to fight for those citizens 100 percent, will stand for the 2nd Amendment, conservative values and protect Virginia History, or her opponent who wavers on stating her positions, is a left wing liberal progressive and is willing to create racial strife to get votes?
Volpe Boykin

Colaw her choice

Editor, Smithfield Times
Rebecca Colaw is much better prepared to represent District 64 than is Emily Brewer because of Colaw’s proven leadership, experience working with people of all backgrounds, legal training, and thorough knowledge of important issues. She also will encourage both parties to work together for the good of our district and the nation.
Having studied both candidates in this race, I totally agree with the endorsements of Colaw by both The Daily Press and The Virginian-Pilot.
The Daily Press called Colaw “better prepared” and “the better choice” than Brewer. The Virginian-Pilot noted that Colaw’s 20 years in the Air Force included “experience in leading counter-terrorism efforts.” I add: She served in the Persian Gulf War, earned her law degree through night classes while still in the USAF, and provides legal help to veterans with issues of health care, job training, and employment.
The Virginian-Pilot also stated Colaw “can work well on behalf of the farmers, teachers, small-business owners, government employees and others” in District 64 and has a “stronger command of the many issues” than Brewer. The Daily Press notes Brewer’s positions “seem more vague.”
Colaw’s law office consists of (quoting her) “one Tea Party member, one Independent, two Republicans, and two Democrats” all working together harmoniously. This fact supports her important belief that (her words) “We need to bridge our differences to govern and help the Commonwealth.”
Jane Chambers

Missing in Action

Editor, Smithfield Times
I want to thank Ralph Northam for his service to our nation, but cannot agree with his latest ads using the VMI Honor Court and his veteran’s status to attack Ed Gillespie. After listening to Mr. Northam debate and reviewing his veterans and military proposals, I am definitely not impressed.
There is nothing new in his Veterans Policy statement, but I was very surprised to see how readily he takes credit for the results achieved by Governor McDonnell, the present Governor, the Department of Veteran Services under the leadership of Secretary Harvey and General Assembly Republican veterans/military support initiatives. As Governor, Ralph Northam would be expected to lead, not follow.
Since Northam took off his uniform he has a record of Missing in Action on boards, committees and commissions he was appointed to, at key veteran venues. Where was he for the Grand Opening of the new wing of the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center, the groundbreaking ceremony for the War Memorial expansion, the special reception for Smithfield Foods’ $68,000 donation to the Veteran Services Fund for veterans and their families? He has missed many opportunities to listen to veterans.
Ralph Northam is asking us to elect him to a position that requires leadership skills he has not demonstrated nor has he suggested an innovative vision for the future. Instead he has been Missing in Action in support for our veterans, the military, and their families.
Ed Gillespie’s 15-point Veterans Agenda is based on recommendations developed by his Military and Veteran Affairs Policy Committee composed of General Assembly and veteran leaders. He’s hosted veteran meet and greets across Virginia and attended Delegate Cox’s Veterans Forum in Chesterfield. He is confident in his proposals that will make a difference for Virginia’s veterans. Clearly Ed Gillespie is the better choice. As a veteran of over 30 years’ service, from the Cold War through the Global War on Terrorism, I and virtually all the veterans I know are supporting Ed Gillespie!
Bill Coburn

A daughter’s endorsement

Editor, Smithfield Times I am in favor of re-electing Rudolph Jefferson for the Hardy District in Isle of Wight County. He is committed to seeing the county progress and move forward in a great way. He is a lifetime resident of the Rushmere area and he truly loves his community. He wants to see his community grow in positive ways.
He is very active in his church. He is a member of the First Gravel Hill Baptist Church where he serves as the head of the trustee board and the security team. He has been volunteering with the Rushmere Volunteer Fire Department for over 20 years. He keeps his community safe. He is honest and reliable. He is trustworthy and he believes in doing the right things. He is also a family man. He loves his family dearly.
I am writing this as his daughter and a productive citizen of Isle of Wight to vote for Rudolph Jefferson as your Hardy District supervisor. Please help keep Isle of Wight County moving forward!
Alana D. Jefferson

A vote for Jefferson

Editor, Smithfield Times
On Nov. 7, please join my family and many friends re-electing Rudolph Jefferson to the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors to represent the Hardy District. He is a true servant to all people in this county and has demonstrated his desire and eagerness to continue to serve and enhance the functionality of this county. He respects the rights of all citizens and has proven not to be a combative leader in this county. He believes in being proactive and is willing to compromise to resolve issues.
He plans to continue to support the citizens of the Hardy District and be a representative for the entire county. He plans to continue to preserve and always strive to improve the quality of life for all citizens. He plans to continue to preserve and always strive to improve the quality of life for all citizens. He supports the core services of this county and will continue to help maintain well-qualified work force.
Yvette Grandison

Would vote for DeGroft

Editor, Smithfield Times
If we could vote in the Hardy District Nov. 7, we would vote for Herb DeGroft. We do like both Rudolph Jefferson and Mr. DeGroft, but what our country needs is a man who has vision in the future and time and energy to look at every problem that comes to the attention of the Board of supervisors.
Our family of five has lived in Isle of Wight for 48 years and have met many wonderful citizens over the years. My husband Rollis met Herb at the veterans breakfast and faithfully attends twice a month. Herb cooks fried corn bread every month. Herb is a retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Marines and in the past protected our country while you and we slept at night.
He retired from Smithfield Packing in Human Resources, he loves Smithfield and Isle of Wight County and, with his input on the board if elected next Tuesday, would help lead our county and Smithfield in the right direction.
Marie, Rollis and Ronnie Bailey

A Rushmere leader

Editor, Smithfield Times
Rudolph Jefferson for I.O.W County Board of Supervisors: sounds like a song to me. A man of great distinction, hard work ethics, equality, honesty, education and no nonsense. We vote Rudolph Jefferson because he is the right choice. He has been nothing short of a pioneer to the Rushmere community and its surrounding localities. He is a man who is all around well known, not for anything negative, but all positive. He has a smile that will brighten the darkest room. He smiles because of the love and respect he receives from the people around him.
Rudolph has been a positive role model for many young men in the area. He provided a way to a few young men to make an honest earning and learn the value and significance of a good work ethic and character.
As a leader in many organization, such as the Rushmere Volunteer Fire Department, his church and a supervisor with the Dept. of Defense, his eagerness to see all persons excel in life is the engine that drives him to be a good leader and positive representative. He comes from a small community where everything that was achieved was deserved.
Uncle Rudy as we call him has taught us the importance of family, stability, education, financial comfort, image and ethics. He has taking the last four years to represent the Hardy district as a a county Boar of Supervisors member, to learn the needs of his community and be a strong and direct source to help bring change to the community and county as a hold. We ask that you would join us again on Nov. 7, to re-elect Rudolph Jefferson.     Amoure Thomas

A wonderful writers’ forum

Editor, Smithfield Times
Our community owes a debt of gratitude to the locally renowned Doris Rea Gwaltney for bringing local authors together in an inspiring multi-venue forum.
This past Friday and Saturday some 20 writers from all around the county came out to read, display and talk about their work as well as offer their publications for sale or donation.
The hosting places were most appropriate. In addition to several local schools, authors were at The Smithfield Library, The Arts Center @ 319, the 1750 Courthouse, Historic St. Luke’s Shrine and the Isle of Wight County Museum.
Many local residents, visitors and tourists came out to meet our very own literary talent and purchase their work. The roll call of those who participated is too extensive to recount here. There were also other local authors who had previous commitments and could not be present.
I suggest we establish this event as an annual tradition in which the “Doris Gwaltney Writers’ Forum” will not only recognize and showcase local fiction and non-fiction writing talent but also attract more tourists to our fair county. We could host not only living authors but commemorate past talent. This would encourage and motivate younger talent aspiring to authorship. We could enlist the help of Smithfield and Windsor High School teachers in this effort.
Our county is truly blessed with much literary, research and editorial talent and we should nourish it.
Albert Burckard

Successful Hog Jog

Editor, Smithfield Times
A huge thank you to Robin Gearey and her team for a bigger and better Hog Jog 2017. A total of 716 runners and 50 “piglet” runners participated this year, even with the misty, rainy weather!
Also, thank you to the Town of Smithfield, the Isle of Wight Rescue Squad and the Smithfield Police Department for assisting with the logistics.
This 5K run is the only fund-raiser that directly benefits the Isle of Wight Christian Outreach Program and allows COP to meet the needs of those less fortunate in Isle of Wight County. The sponsors of this event play a tremendous role in its financial success, and we wish to thank each and every one:
Smithfield Foods, The Pay It Forward Fund, Farmers Bank, Edward Jones, The O’Brien Law Firm, Sentara, Smithfield Orthodontics, Hampton Roads Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Pivot Physical Therapy, VA Displays, The Cockeyed Rooster, Virginia Creative Group, Goodrich & Watson Insurance, Bush Entertainment, Walls Insurance Agency, Eure Incorporated, Peace Haven Farms, Qdaddy’s, S&B Tents, Bay Disposal & Recycling, Family Medical Care, Stallings & Associates, P.C., Spring Lake Bottled Water, Noah’s Car Wash, Fast Track Logistics, Town of Smithfield, Smithfield Station, Smithfield VA Events, Harvey Lindsay, Amicus Curiae 1799, Trinity United Methodist Men, Wharf Hill Brewing Co., IOW Chamber of Commerce, Yummeries, American Legion Post 49, Hi-Ho Silver, Bon Vivant, Smithfield Family Dentistry, Dardens Country Store, Towne Bank, Farmers Service, Coastal RV, Howard Hanna, Smithfield Ice Cream Parlor, Jones & Jones, P.C., Bennetts Creek Veterinary Care, Smithfield Animal Hospital, Hallwood Enterprises, Wilkinson International Supply, Christian & Pugh Well Drilling, GC Commercial. The generosity of all involved personifies what COP is all about – “Neighbors Helping Neighbors”. THANK YOU!
Barbara Stafford