Candidate Q&A: Alan Woodrow Edwards

Published 7:13 am Thursday, October 21, 2021

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Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2, with early voting having started Sept. 17, and there are a variety of local candidates running this year, including several for seats on the Southampton County Board of Supervisors. 

We at The Tidewater News sent questions to the candidates to give readers an opportunity to better know them and their perspectives on some important topics.

Dr. Alan Woodrow Edwards currently serves in the Jerusalem District seat on the Southampton County Board of Supervisors, and he is the board’s chairman. He is running for reelection. Aside from the write-in option, which exists for all the races on the ballot, he is running unopposed.

Following are our questions and Edwards’ answers.

Why do you want to be reelected as the Jerusalem District supervisor?

I enjoy the job. I enjoy serving the people of the Jerusalem District and the county as a whole. I also enjoy working with the county administrative staff, Board of Supervisors and our Planning Commission.

If reelected, what will be your leading priorities as a supervisor?

  1. Continue to keep the tax rate as low as possible.
  2. Continue to listen to the people of the Jerusalem District and the county as a whole.
  3. Continue to be a steward of the county’s financial well-being and spend the taxpayers’ money wisely and appropriately to benefit our county citizens.
  4. Continue to work on appropriate economic investments and mitigate the tax burden of the average citizen.

What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Jerusalem District?

  1. Maintaining the quality of life that we have in our district at the present time
  2. Allowing appropriate growth would be of benefit to the district.
  3. Maintaining the infrastructure of the district, which is always a continuing battle

What do you think are the Jerusalem District’s greatest strengths?

  1. There is no doubt that the greatest strength of the Jerusalem District is its hardworking, industrious and God-fearing people.
  2. The Jerusalem District has a village life atmosphere that promotes unity, serenity and a small-town atmosphere.
  3. We have very good local leaders in the towns of Courtland and Sedley which are genuinely interested in the welfare of their citizens.

What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the county?

  1. Developing and supporting economic growth which would be compatible with the present lifestyle of the county, maintaining the county’s quality of living
  2. Protecting our way of life, which is always going to be stressed by outside interests
  3. Completing the renovation of the courthouse with a structure that we can be proud of and not cause an economic burden on the county’s taxpayers
  4. Getting the county’s citizens more involved in their local government. The local government process is the only level where your concerns can be expressed, evaluated and appropriately acted upon. We are not going to get this service at the state or federal level.

What do you think are the county’s greatest strengths?

  1. Its God-fearing and hardworking citizens
  2. Its location in a fertile agricultural area with a temperate climate
  3. Leadership in the county, which is only interested in what is good for the county, what is good for its citizens and a philosophy of continued growth with protection of our present way of life

Where do you stand on the issue of the county’s $200 solid waste management fee?

It was initiated several years ago during a time of financial crisis. No one in your governing body likes the $200 solid waste management fee. It is one of our high priorities to mitigate or abolish this fee. The problem is finding a new alternative that is not a worsening burden on the citizens of the county. It would be very inappropriate to abolish this fee by increasing real estate or personal property taxes. These tax rates are already at burdensome levels. The governing board will continue to try to solve this problem.

How would you like to see the county ultimately handle future requests to establish solar facilities in Southampton?

At the present time we have a 12-month moratorium on solar facilities in Southampton County to come up with a concrete and reasonable plan that would benefit and protect the county and our way of living. The Planning Commission is presently working on a mandate from the Board of Supervisors to reevaluate and construct the ordinances possible to accomplish this task. Projects will be restricted to designated areas of the county where they do not facilitate loss of valuable farm or forestry land and cause deterioration of our environment.

What next steps would you prescribe to ensure a better relationship between the Southampton County Board of Supervisors and the Southampton County School Board?

The leaders of both entities are currently holding monthly discussions concerning these problems. Learning about the complexities of each other’s job will lead to better understanding and a better relationship. The county government is completely answerable to the citizens that we represent. An elected school board would have the same accountability.

What do you think makes you the best choice for the Jerusalem District supervisor role?

Again, I enjoy the job. I have learned that it is much better to be a good listener than a good responder. I grew up and spent my first 25 years in Rockingham County, Virginia. I have seen firsthand what unregulated growth can do to a locality. I intend to do my best to see that that does not happen to my beloved Southampton County.