New mayor wants to see self-pride in Franklin

Published 11:24 am Saturday, May 21, 2016

When Frank Rabil assumes his role as the Mayor of the City of Franklin, he has many goals he hopes to accomplish that pertain to all aspects of city life, including the economy, public education, business and the self-pride the residents have for the city. However, in order to reach his goals, Rabil will need help from all council members and citizens.

“We need to reiterate that the mayor has one vote. It’s more of a position of influence,” he said. “It’s important for [city] council to collaborate on decisions and to have input from the citizens. We need to find an easier way for them [citizens] to be involved.”

Part of holding a mayor position, rather than just a city council seat, is that the mayor has to consider and represent what is best for the entire city, rather than what’s best for just one ward. Some of the things that he wants to continue are shared services with Southampton.

“It makes good economic sense and good business sense,” Rabil said. “The things we are working together on are working well. I’d also like to see what potential opportunities there are on working with Isle of Wight and our other neighbors.”

One of his main goals, is to increase the tax base Franklin. “We can’t continue to put all the burden on our citizens,” he said. “We need to find a way to get new industry. We need to become a more business-friendly community. We don’t want to look like a ghost town. We need to work with the business owners and property owners to attract and retain businesses. We also need to utilize the assets we have, like the river.”

One of the things that Rabil believes will attract businesses to the community is having a job-ready workforce upon graduation — meaning those who aren’t planning on continuing with higher-education in an academic track, can graduate with a certificate in electrical, plumbing, welding, HVAC and other skilled-based certifications.

“We need to work with the local schools and find ways to skill them [the students] up. We have to find out what skills businesses require and help the students achieve those skills,” Rabil said.

Although the schools have improved in testing, He said there is still more that can be done.

“We need to continue to make progress,” Rabil continued, “and provide opportunities for our students.” He also hopes that the communication between council and the school board will continue to improve, as that is one key in helping the city and the students succeed.

“We have to find ways for the Council and the school board to meet and be able to talk about the school’s needs and opportunities,” he added.

Lastly, self-pride is something Rabil hopes to see improve in every resident of Franklin. He believes every citizen needs to accept responsibility for keeping the city clean and beautiful.

“It seems like people have total disregard for where they discard their trash. It’s everywhere, on every street and every neighborhood we travel. Trash that’s thrown on the streets goes into the ditches, from the ditches, it flows into the river.” he said. “It doesn’t give the image of the City of Franklin we want. We have a beautiful little city and we don’t treat it well. We need to take self-pride, in all aspects, of where we live.”

As a native of Franklin who has also spent his entire life here, Rabil has a lot of love and pride for the city.

“I was born in Franklin and grew up in downtown above what is now Fred’s Restaurant. At the time, it was a general store,” he continued. “We all [Rabil and his siblings] had the opportunity to work there, and we were expected to.”

Rabil is a graduate of Franklin High School, where he was involved in sports and several other extra-curricular activities. He then received a degree in English from Virginia Tech. After graduation, he taught and coached for four years before going into the banking business at the Bank of Franklin. After six years in banking, he went to work at Union Camp.

Rabil is married to the former Lynne Hubbard, a native of Sedley. They have two children: a son Marshall, who is 35, and a daughter, Jessica, who is 29.

He is also very active in the community, serving on several boards and commissions. Some of the boards he serves on are the Boys and Girls Club, Chairman of Bronco Federal Credit Union, Village at Woods Edge and Cypress Cove Country Club.

Rabil is also the current representative of ward 6 on city council, but as of July 1, he will give that seat up to assume his role as mayor.