Supervisor candidates – Franklin District
Published 1:38 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Three people seek the office of supervisor for the Franklin 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. Winston Andrew Johnson. I am running for the Franklin District seat.
2. I believe my experience makes a qualified candidate for the seat. I have worked over 15 years in state and local government, working for Southampton County, Isle of Wight County and the Commonwealth of Virginia. During this time, I helped prepare and worked in the budget process. I also gained a lot of knowledge of how taxes and government works. I also served eight years in the U.S. Army, five of those years was in leadership as a sergeant. I am currently a field manager with a large commercial and industrial electrical contracting company, as field managers we supervise job sites with a contract value of $3 million and up.
3. I believe the most pressing issues facing the board are:
• The Court House
• Economic Development
• Solid Waste Disposal
The court house is an issue that we have to face head on. According to the propaganda handed out by the board, when we voted no to building a new courthouse it meant we agreed to renovation. So that being said we need get the words “New Courthouse” out of the picture, and start focusing on what we need to do to get moving. We need to Re-RFP the site work and Reno [renovation], which some of that has already been agreed to. We need to ensure specificity when sending out requests so that bids come back exactly specific to what we need in the Reno. We need to address this situation quickly, but with the utmost fiscal responsibility. We don’t need to bog our county down into further debt than we already are.
Southampton County struggles very hard in the services and economic development areas, which they almost go hand-in-hand in some ways. FSEDI may try very hard to bring us business, but Southampton County is unique and needs a focused set of eyes and ears. We need a dedicated person or team that can bring business to our area. This can be done; it must be done properly and we must start by updating the comprehensive plan. We need revisit this plan and layout areas that by today’s market and our current residential development would be suitable for each different type of use. We can’t continue to slapstick industry in the county without a good plan.
Solid waste disposal has been an issue for a good while. While the tipping fees are now half or even lower than that of what they were when the board voted to enact the $200 solid waste fee, we are still paying the same amount. I believe this fee should be eliminated. We should be at a point now with the decreased tipping fees, etc., that we can eliminate this fee without seeing an increase elsewhere.
4. Southampton County is unique as I said before. We have deep agricultural heritage here. I believe we need to emphasize that to our economic development team and focus on bringing businesses that can thrive in that environment to this area. As I said before, Southampton County needs a person or team dedicated solely to bringing these businesses to the county; that person or team must be held accountable. Economic development is not an easy job; it’s building relationships and lifetime partnerships with companies that will be employing your citizens. I want our citizens to be able to work and live in the county. To do this, we have to get down to serious business and show these businesses what Southampton County has to offer!
1. My name is Earva Lee “Sumblin” Jones, and I am seeking a seat on the board of Supervisors for the Franklin District.
2. Excellent communicator; Well diverse in cultures; Resilient; Compassionate; A woman of strong faith; Integrity; Fundamentally sound principles on how money works; Critical thinker; Good listener; Reliable and Dependable; and a People person with a servant’s heart
I was educated in the county school system and received my first two years of college from Paul D. Camp Community College. I completed my undergraduate studies at Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Va. receiving a BS in Organizational Management and a Masters in Christian Education from Triple “C” Bible College in Ahoskie, N.C. My financial studies were gained through The America Institution of Banking, H &R Tax School, and Primerica Financial Services, where I held life insurance, investment and debt management certifications to operate in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. My Entrepreneur Education was completed through Thomas Nelson Community College, and Luca Travel School & Tourism.
In 1981, I was among the original group of people who came together and started the Southampton County fair by investing money to buy shares of stock to raise enough capital for the fair to be established and incorporated.
Over the years I have served the people of Southampton County as a former president of AARP, established my own business, “GRUP” Opportunity Travel Inc. and served as former Chairwoman of Southampton County Electoral Board. Currently, I operate my travel business as a home-based business and lead, “Speak to GOD hour in prayer” every first Wednesday at Franklin Presbyterian Church. Through these opportunities, the quality of life for many people has been enhanced.
During my banking career with United Virginia Bank/Crestar, I was responsible for handling large sums of money and assisting customers with their financial needs. By utilizing my effective problem solving skills, United Virginia Bank’s fail federal audit in the Note/Investment Department was corrected, and a successful audit was achieved, which gained regional recognition throughout the Eastern Seaboard Region.
As manager of Southampton Memorial Hospital Federal Credit Union I created programs to increase the bottom line by making sound and wise investments on members money, yielding positive returns and promoted membership growth.
For over 25 years I managed a Sales Marketing Business as an Independent Contractor marketing financial services for A. L. Williams/Primerica Financial Services. Doing my tenure I received promotions from agent to Senior Vice-President and the right to own my own marketing business. In my financial servicing business, I hired, and trained agents to market financial products growing my business to achieve the recognition of being a million dollar producer and established marketing sales teams in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.
I retired from my financial servicing business to take care of my sick husband who passed away in 2010. Since that time, I have remained involved in the community and have continued to operate my travel business from my home.
I believe that my education, love and commitment to community, along with my 50 years of combined financial related skills, and being a business owner will be of value on the Board of Supervisors in helping to position the county for growth and positive change.
3. The most pressing issue facing The Board of Supervisors I believe is extinction. Between 1830 and 2010 the U.S. Census show less than 5,000 sustainable population in Southampton County. In order to grow the county, educationally, economically, morally, and recreationally, we must recruit people to come to our county to live. I have outlined five initiatives I believe will give people hope that positive change can and will take place in Southampton County. They are:
• Reduce or eliminate the Waste Tax
• Fund country club through alternative resources and not taxpayers’ money.
• Grow the economy through technology and innovation.
• Model honesty in conducting county business.
• Promote civic education.
4. What do I see as the greatest opportunities for economic growth in Southampton County?
The greatest opportunities for economic growth are to strengthen our educational school system. If we are to grow the population, we must look as ways to increase teacher’s salary to become competitive with surrounding areas whereby we can attract qualified teachers to educate our students. Excellent teachers working in an excellent school system with competitive benefits is a win for everyone. Secondly, We must bridge the communication gap between generations.
We must seek out and develop industries suited for the change in generational mindsets and thinking. Our children must stop leaving home to find careers just to make a living and raise a family. Big Industry doesn’t always indicate growth or prosperity.
1. My name is Robert T. White. I’m running for the Franklin District of Southampton County.
2. I believe my best qualities and experience are:
• I’ve lived and worked in the Franklin district my entire life.
• I own a trucking company with my brother, Jim White in Southampton County that on average has employed 30 or more employees since 1974. My dad, Lee M. White Sr., started the business in 1956.
• I’ve been serving on the Planning Commission of Southampton County for almost four years.
• I believe I can bring some business sense to the BOS.
• I care deeply about the future of Southampton County.
3. The most pressing issues facing the BOS and the county are;
A. The courthouse. The current BOS has already decided to go with remodeling and upgrading the existing court facility. So we have to be sure to carry out the upgrade as efficiently as possible. Also in a timely manor.
B. Trash. I think that roadside trash is a huge problem in our county. I would like to propose to organize a task force to tackle this problem.
C. Traffic. I’m on the CTAC Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee. I want to improve the safety of the 58 corridor through Southampton County. We are working with VDOT on this problem currently.
D. Franklin Regional Airport. The airport in Franklin is a very important piece of the puzzle to attract new business to Southampton County. It is critical that we keep our airport viable! That’s why I have volunteered to be on the Airport advisory Board.
4. The greatest opportunity for economic growth in Southampton County starts with our workforce. Over half of the working-age population of Southampton County drives one hour or more to work.
I think we should attract industry to the county by trying to make the process as easy as possible, but also maintain safety and quality of life for our citizens.
Our agricultural and timber industries will be able to grow at a steady pace in the near future. And, hopefully, in the long term we can attract more industry so our workforce can live and work in our community.