Supervisor candidates – Berlin/Ivor District

Published 1:51 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Two men seek the office of supervisor for the Berlin/Ivor District in Southampton County. The Tidewater News asked them the following questions: 1. Full name and district you are running in. 2. What qualities and experience do you possess that make you a good candidate for a seat on the Board of Supervisors? 3. What are the most pressing issues facing the Board of Supervisors, and what would you propose to specifically address those issues? 4. What do you see as the greatest opportunities for economic growth in Southampton County, and what specifically would you propose to take advantage of those opportunities?

1. Christopher D. Cornwell Sr. – Berlin/Ivor District

Christopher D.
Cornwell Sr.

2. As in all facets of life, faith, character, accountability and integrity are always paramount. I’ve been a lifelong Berlin/Ivor resident with more than 20 years of service as a public safety professional. With three boys currently enrolled in the Southampton County Public School system I have a vested interest in ensuring a stable future for all of us, my family, and our youth. I believe that my ability to listen subjectively while employing common sense with a fresh perspective and subsequent fiscally responsible resolutions to our many challenges is what the residents of Berlin/Ivor and Southampton County long for, and is what we as tax paying residents deserve.

3. Our dire courthouse situation. We need to do more to foster a relationship with our friends and neighbors in the City of Franklin. They need to be invited to the decision-making table from the very beginning, not at halftime after the teams have already been picked without them and after the rules of the game have already been established. We need to do more to promote positive open communication between our Southampton County Board of Supervisors, Franklin City Council and the Circuit Court judges that have imposed deadlines to be met. Public safety will always be of the utmost importance as all citizens have the right to feel protected, safe and secure. Relationships need to be established early on with our new sheriff as the needs of the organization are assessed and strategic plans are progressively developed for the long term. The same is true for the many dedicated fire and rescue volunteers that provide an invaluable service to our community. Pre-hospital emergency medical care is expensive and we need to work closely with our Fire & Rescue Association to ensure that we have a long term plan in place that meets the needs of our community yet is sustainable and fiscally conscientious at the same time. Equally as important and not without its own set of challenges is our school system. Though these direct decisions are made by our School Board the relationship between our concurrent boards needs to be a close one. Having increased liaison representation between the two boards will ensure that the channels of communication remain constantly open, accurate information is correctly disseminated, and again, the assurance of fiscal responsibility with what makes up the largest portion of our tax dollars.

4. We have a newly hired economic development director. This position is essential in guiding us as the subject matter expert. It is crucial that we work closely with this director, marketing the many benefits we have to offer the region here in Southampton County, embracing our stronghold in agriculture, as well as utilizing Routes 460, 58 and multiple railways to our full advantage.


1. Ronald M. West — Berlin/Ivor

Ronald M. West

2. Former member of Board of Zoning Appeals – Southampton County; former member of Southampton County Planning Commission; Twenty-year member of the Board of Supervisors Southampton County; Currently serving as vice chair; lifetime resident of Southampton County

3. I feel that the most pressing issue facing the board and the county today is satisfying the requirements and needs for our citizens and the judges in the construction process of the courthouse.

Additionally new economic development is needed to offset and reduce our current tax rates, specifically personal property. To keep good teachers, pay them well, and educate our students is very important in preparing them for today’s world. Protecting our rural heritage and its future is an absolute necessity. We need to work with the city of Franklin to achieve this economic development and fill our industrial parks.

4. One of our greatest opportunities is to promote our prime crops for market, not intruding in the rural environment, but working with the small towns and the city to provide an enjoyable, protected and abundant life with well-educated children and new industrial development. Our children will look to a future in Southampton County.

Southampton County is a special place to live and raise our families in a safe environment and look to the future.