Cutchins declares council candidacy

Published 10:20 am Friday, February 10, 2017

Bobby Cutchins, founder of Bobby’s Tire & Auto Care in Franklin and the former president of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, announced his candidacy on Tuesday for the ward six city council seat in the special election to be held in May.

Bobby Cutchins

Bobby Cutchins

A resident of Franklin for over 50 years, Cutchins said that choosing Franklin as his home has been one of the most crucial pieces to his success in life, and feels that serving on city council will be another avenue for him to give back to his community.

“I care deeply and passionately about my community that I not only reside and operate my business in, but in fact, the actual city that I grew up and went to school in,” he said. “I consider serving on the city council not as politics but as a public service. I’ve always been a common-sense kind of guy that has always wanted to do all that I can to contribute to preserving all that’s great about this wonderful city of Franklin and contribute to making it the best city that I can.

“I personally want Franklin to be viewed as a wonderful place to live, work, educate and raise a family, just as I have and just like my children have chosen to do. I want to be proactive with economic development for the city, which in return creates more readily available opportunities for citizens when it comes to jobs in the area.”

Cutchins added that, if elected, his priorities would be to continue the council’s efforts to create a high-performing school board and to further pursue shared services agreements with Southampton and Isle of Wight counties.

“It seems to me that council’s efforts regarding a high-performing school board can only benefit our students, teachers, administration and community as a whole,” Cutchins said. “Making headway with both surrounding communities, Southampton and Isle of Wight, with regards to shared services has been essential in maintaining a reasonable, competitive tax environment for all of the citizens. I applaud their efforts to secure a strong financial footing for our city and their support for all of those involved with maintaining the public safety in Franklin.

“It is time for us to start using one of our greatest resources, which is our youth in the community. We have great teachers and administrators in our school system to equip these children so they are prepared to lead our community one day. We also need to support the needs of all of our city police, fire and rescue, who serve wonders for our great community. Last, and certainly not least, my ultimate dream is for our city council to be a voice for all ethnic groups in unity.”

This will be Cutchins’ first run for city council or any other local government position. However, he has been elected by his professional peers as president and chairman of the Virginia Automotive Association and has also served as president of the chamber of commerce.

He is running for city council strictly as a resident of Franklin and has not been endorsed by any political party.

Cutchins said that he was unaware if anyone else had announced an intention to run for the ward six seat yet, but he believes competition is usually a good thing.

According to Franklin City Registrar Jennifer Maynard, Cutchins’ next step in the campaign process should be to go to the registrar’s office and get officially qualified to appear on the ballot in May. To be so, candidates must get at least 125 signatures of qualified voters residing in ward six by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, or be endorsed by a political party by Monday, March 13. Additional qualifications include being eligible to vote for and hold the office sought, being a resident of Virginia for at least one year prior to the election date, and being a resident of ward six by March 7.

Maynard added that several people have picked up the qualification paperwork but no candidates have turned their papers in to her office yet.

According to City Attorney H. Taylor Williams IV, the ward six vacancy and special election is the result of former ward six representative Frank Rabil winning last year’s mayoral election, thus, necessitating he resign as ward six representative to serve as mayor. Rabil had two years left on his ward six term at the time of last year’s election, which state election law allows to be filled by an appointed interim representative until a special election can be scheduled.

Donald “Bill” Scarboro was appointed as the ward six interim representative on Aug. 23, 2016, and had not publicly announced his intention to run for ward six or not to run by press time.