Sussex Supervisor candidates answer Dispatch questions in election questionnaire

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: October 28, 2019 | 3:45 p.m. 

SUSSEX – Ahead of the November 2019 General Election, The Sussex-Surry Dispatch afforded candidates in contested races the opportunity to take part in a short questionnaire where they could all answer the same questions and have their responses printed for prospective voters.

Candidates received the questions during the same 24-hour window earlier this month with a deadline of October 17 at 5 p.m. for their responses and a headshot to be returned. The questionnaire was distributed to candidates digitally and sent to the email addresses that were on file in recent Virginia Department of Elections candidate records. If a candidate did not have an email address listed, phone calls were made to the candidates to request their email address so they could receive the questionnaire.

Below are the unedited answers of the board of supervisors candidates who took part in the questionnaire and provided their responses by the October 17 deadline.

1 – Why are you running/or seeking re-election to local office?

Daryl Boykins – Courthouse District: I am running for Supervisor for the Courthouse district because I’ve seen first hand how much this county needs change. Our citizens and children are suffering the consequences of our elected officials standing idle for over a decade with no improvement, growth or vision. Is this the kind of commitment and experience we need? Our people demand and deserve so much more. We have to listen to the people in our own districts. As an independent candidate, I am here for all sides . People are talking, but really, who is listening. I am here to listen to all of your voices. We need to create cohesion and renew a sense of pride in our community. When we come together with respect, integrity, and compassion the future will become brighter. If I am elected, I guarantee that I will work vigorously and deliver for our citizens.

C. Eric Fly – Courthouse District: To finish the work I started two years ago of rebuilding the economy of Sussex County so we can capture high tech data and distribution center which will create good paying jobs without sacrificing our farming community and our rural way of life.

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Keith Blowe – Stony Creek District: After serving almost 30 years in our Armed Forces, my family and I longed for the peace and quietness of my home, Sussex County. As we began to prepare for retirement, we decided to come back home to Sussex. After making a significant investment in the county and getting involved with numerous boards and community organizations, I quickly realized that our County was lacking in basic infrastructure and services enjoyed by citizens in other similar localities. The most critical of these services were organized recreation and activities for our youth; the inability to make phone calls from one end of the county to the other without dropping the call and the lack of affordable broadband. The County’s crumbling infrastructure was also noticeable. Delays in addressing these concerns could cost the County even more of its limited resources. Rather than just complaining about these matters, I decided to become a part of the solution—by running for a seat on the Board of Supervisors, representing the Stony Creek District. Although we have started to address these critical issues, there is much more work to be done and I ask for the citizens support / vote to continue this important work.

Debbie Parham Jones – Stony Creek District: Initially I was encouraged to run for office by concerned citizens who know my values and characteristics as a leader. I chose to run for office because I care about people and how they are treated. I believe in fairness and doing what’s right. With over 30 years of leadership skills and management skills, I am more than familiar with the frustrations that incur from not having the resources required to effectively perform on the job or in daily living. My experience, supervising and managing the communications department for Sussex Sheriff Department and managing a household as a single parent has taught me how to become a strong, female leader who will stand firm to address the needs for improvements. I am running for office because when I look around our community, I can see that the needs of the citizens are not being met nor does it seem they are being addressed. After speaking with many of the citizens, I’ve learned that they see what I see, and they have expressed their needs and wants for positive changes. I love my community and I am excited for an opportunity to represent the citizens of Sussex County to address the issues that are important to them. I would like to see a responsible and dedicated government in this county that works for the citizens in effort to promote community growth.

Wayne Jones – Wakefield District: I am running for local office to help bring economic growth and jobs to the town and county, as well as support and help improve the local businesses. I will push for more education, training and after school programs for our youth. I will push for better care, support and the welfare for the elderly. I will support our Sheriff’s department and First Responders to keep them running efficiently to ensure they are able to keep our county safe and save lives.

John Stringfield – Wakefield District: I am seeking re-election to the Board of Supervisors Wakefield District so that I can continue to work on bringing change and progress to the community. I was born and raised in this county, and I am invested in seeing growth happen here. I believe all residents deserve the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families and it is my honor and duty to fight for our county and community.

A.G. Futrell – Waverly District: I am seeking re-election for economic growth, job opportunity, Town and County support of local businesses, and needs of the towns.

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Marian Johnson – Waverly District: Since I retired, I want to be more involved in the process of moving Sussex County forward. Being on the Board of Supervisors will allow me to be a positive voice for the community when there are decisions to be made for the betterment of the county. Being on the board will allow me to work together with a team using my professional skills along with the passion I have for the citizens that I reside among. Together with the board I intend to use the resources available to us for the advancement of the county.

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2 – What do you feel is the most pressing issue for Sussex County and how will you address it?

Boykins – Courthouse: Unfortunately, Sussex County has more than just one pressing issue. The most critical but by far the most manageable issue in my opinion is providing decent jobs for our citizens. I plan to work with county officials and other agencies to create jobs by focusing on what’s right in front of us, our county. By working to bring a transportation system to our county, rebuilding our infrastructure, developing a parks and recreation department, and enhancing our school systems, we create jobs. An educated, mobile, and ready workforce will attract business. The people have seen how promising businesses have come to the county and then leave because of what some see as our unorganized, divided, and unproductive ways of governing. This is a misrepresentation of our families, our people, and our county. Elected officials are there to represent and fight for the needs of the people who elected them. I can and will represent the needs of the district responsively.

Fly – Courthouse: We must build an economy in Sussex County that will once and for all break the cycle of poverty. To do this, we must build an economy based on tax rates that encourage companies to build and invest in Data and Distribution Centers in the County. These investments will provide good paying jobs at both the entry level and professional levels of employment and will attract other companies to locate in Sussex to service these Centers. To accomplish this, Sussex must aggressively implement economic development plans to bring greater investment to the County. This can only be accomplished with Board of Supervisor members that understand how to grow an economy and build a business friendly environment. Two years ago, I developed a plan that would begin to change the economy of Sussex. Since that time, I have and will continue to meet with, at my own expense, State and National elected officials along with major companies that have the technology companies we need to attract to Sussex County.

Blowe – Stony Creek: Replacing and modernizing County infrastructure is the County’s most critical issue. Whether we are addressing our 50 plus year old water and sewer systems, our dilapidated County Complex or our volunteer fire and rescue services, these issues cannot be overlooked any longer. We all understand that our houses require continuous maintenance (repair / replace leaky roof; replace / repair AC & Heating system; repair broken fences around pastures etc), failure to conduct sustained maintenance leads to more expensive repair and replacement costs. We have been placing bandages on our critical infrastructure for far too long and they are about to burst. We need a planned and sustained infrastructure capitalization program to modernize our critical infrastructure, now! Revenue from our proposed meals tax will help fund this critical program.

D. Jones – Stony Creek: I feel that a lack of community resources (that will provide benefits to the citizens) is a pressing issue for Sussex County at this time. I have seen local businesses (hardware, auto parts, cleaners/laundromat, and grocery) stores fold over the years. These businesses were assets and provided convenience to the citizens. We didn’t have to drive out of town to purchase necessities unless we chose to do so. Now, we don’t really have much of a choice. As expressed to me by one of our concerned citizens, “we have to drive out of town just to buy an onion”. If elected, I will support our local businesses promoting community stability so that they can continue to serve the needs of the citizens. I will work to bring resources into the community that will create jobs.

W. Jones – Wakefield: I feel that the most pressing issue for Sussex County is economic growth and the safety of our citizens. If we have a more dynamic infrastructure that attracts larger corporations and business’s we can produce an increased amount of (or an influx of) jobs within the county which will give Sussex County citizens the ability to work in the area in which they live and not have to travel so far for work. By doing this, citizens will be keeping their money within the county and not purchasing as much gas (or lunch) outside of the county. This will create a better work / life balance for our citizens as well, by decreasing their travel time they will have more time at home with their family.

Stringfield – Wakefield: The most pressing issue for Sussex County is the lack of revenue, lack of job opportunities, the need for technological advancements, and the need for new and updated recreation areas. In order for this county to move forward, I will propose a plan to county administrators to contact companies looking to buy and build, and offer company tours of our area to promote growth. I have already voted to approve broadband internet which will move Sussex County into the 21st century. New and improved recreation areas will give all citizens access to living a healthier lifestyle and overall improve community connection and outreach.

Futrell – Waverly – Some of the pressing issues for Sussex County are economic growth, safety for our citizens of Sussex, and bonding with the families to provide services long term jobs, suitable housing. These issues can be addressed by working with corporations and businesses to bring businesses to our County; continue to work closely with families to assist seeking job opportunties and suitable housing.

Johnson – Waverly: The most pressing issue for Sussex County is the need for more youth services and programs such as: athletic programs, educational programs and services, and mentoring programs just to name a few. We need to also find means to empower them to go after and reach their full potential. I will support the appropriation of funds for youth programs throughout the county that will provide them with the necessary tools to become productive adults in our community and beyond.

3 – If elected/re-elected, what are some of your priorities once in office?

Boykins – Courthouse: First, We need to reconfigure our district lines. It is a constitutional right to have our district easy to identify and understand and to ensure fairness and consistency. It should be equally proportioned. Second, I will create a parks and recreation department to improve the quality of life and rediscover our sense of pride in the community. The children are our future. If we want our county to flourish, we must invest in them. We must not forget our senior citizens. We need to do all that we can to provide an active and healthy lifestyle for our seniors. Third, I will work with county officials to provide a plan to have some form of transportation that connect to major shopping and medical centers. This will generate jobs and a sense of security. Fourth, I will conduct quarterly meetings for the citizens of the courthouse district where we can collectively express ideas and concerns and find real solutions to our real problems. Upgrading our infrastructure to include our county facilities, improving our water systems for all residents, protecting and supporting sportsman rights are all on my priority list for our citizens.

Fly – Courthouse: Number one priority for Sussex must be to truly balance the County budget in such away as to ensure that our core services: School System, Courts, Sheriff’s Office, Other Constitutional Officers, our Volunteer Fire Departments and Rescue Squads, have the funding they need to operate. This can be done without raising taxes if we have a Board that has the will to do so. We must get our house in order. Second, we must break the cycle of poverty by building a new economy in Sussex County. An economy that will attract high tech data centers and distribution centers which will bring greater investments in the County creating good jobs while protecting the agricultural and rural nature of our County. Third, Sussex must create a re-districting plan that is fair and encourages people to vote by allowing us to vote close to our homes. Ten years ago, our re-districting plan was designed to keep certain people in office and to eliminate others, which greatly hurt our County. This old re-districting plan is not fair to the citizens of Sussex and greatly damaged our County in the eyes of those who might invest in our County. I was one of those people who the plan sought to eliminate. Fourth, we must protect our citizens and companies from wasteful government spending which drives up taxes and slows down job growth.

Blowe – Stony Creek: If re-elected I will continue the work started on (1-EDUCATION) by supporting Dr. Jarrett / his staff and our Schools. They have done an excellent job in getting County schools accredited, but now, we must maintain this positive momentum to continue to improve our schools. We must place special emphasis on funding (2-County Infrastructure) which includes Fire and Rescue Services. We need a funding plan for County Administrative Facilities, water / sewer modernization and Fire and Rescue Services. Our Public Safety Staff continue to advise us of the difficulty to man our Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services. With this being a critical need for our aging citizens, we need to consider carefully, if this is the time to move to a full-time professional Fire and Rescue Service for the County? My third Priority is developing a comprehensive (3—County Youth Activities / Recreation Program) so that our youth will have something positive to do when not in school. Revenue from a meals tax, paid mostly by those passing through our County rather than increasing real estate taxes will be a critical element in funding these priorities.

D. Jones – Stony Creek: If elected, I will work to improve our business climate by working to bring jobs into our area, reduce burdensome regulations and support our local businesses. I will work to help law enforcement by providing them the resources needed to protect our community. I will work on improving our public education by providing our teachers with the resources they need in the classroom to give students the opportunity for success. I will promote community growth by dedicating my service towards working for the citizens.

W. Jones – Wakefield: My priorities are making sure that we as a (Board of Supervisors),work together for the common goal of our citizens, by making sure that what we as a board do is morally and ethically correct, making sure that the people know that we are here to support them and the future of their children.

Stringfield – Wakefield: Some of my top priorities will be to focus on our youth, working class adults, and Senior citizens. The children are our future and I will continue to push for highly-qualified personnel to provide a first class education for them. I will continue to fight to bring in sources of revenue and job opportunities for working class adults. I will push for tax breaks for Seniors and for the Senior Citizen Program to be included in the yearly budget. I will also continue to lobby for home and building renovations, improved roads, new and improved recreation areas, and other community improvement needs.

Futrell – Waverly: If re-elected, my priorities will be to ensure the Board of Supervisors work together to continue to support of citizens and residents, ensure safety in our community. One of the main goals is helping the County in support all of their activities.

Johnson – Waverly: Youth services as stated above. A unified, cohesive board that works together to bring about positive changes for Sussex County. Business growth and sustainability.

4 – What are some examples of your commitment (personal and professional) to the community?

Boykins – Courthouse: I have made many personal commitments to our county and will continue to do so regardless of election outcomes. First, I created a free 4 day basketball clinic for all ages both girls and boys. They received breakfast, lunch, and snacks everyday along with shirts and certificates. I had over 50 kids participate and numerous volunteers and parents show up. We had much support from our county schools and organizations. Second, I had a Water Fun Day/Back to SchoolSupply giveaway with the Community Coalition of Sussex. We provided pools, waterslides, food, and school supplies for over 150 children. I am currently working with the schools and several organizations on a Winter drive to provide over 1100 children in our county with toys, hats, gloves, scarves, & other items for the holidays, I am also working with the Girl Scouts in Sussex to prepare adults and teens with CERT training (Community Emergency Response Training) to provide the necessary skills to protect themselves and assist others in a disaster or an emergency. Also, working with Girl Scouts in bringing mini libraries to the county in places where we do not have libraries. Thanks to your support, greater things are to come.

Fly – Courthouse: Serving on the Board of Supervisors has been one of the most fulling acts of community service I have been involved in. For sixteen years, I have served on the Board while donating my Board salary to youth groups in the County. Because I see serving on the Board as an act of service, I have paid for my travel and expenses I have incurred while working and travelling on behalf of the County. I have a deep concern for the youth of our County. I serve on the Airfield 4H Center Board of Directors and have greatly enjoyed serving and still serve as the Scout Master of Boy Scout Troop 24 here in Sussex County for twenty three years. On a professional level, I have been happy to use my company’s contacts and experience to meet with both State, National and International elected officials and companies to solve may of the challenges facing Sussex County. My professional life has also allowed me to serve on many state and local committees giving me the opportunity to help Sussex County to continue to be a special place to live and raise a family.

Blowe – Stony Creek: In my first year and a half as a County Supervisor, I completed the Virginia Supervisor Certification Program, sponsored by the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Cooperative Extension. This education program required 45 hours of home study and 55 hours of classroom instruction to complete. The classroom instruction took place in Charlottesville VA, on a monthly basis. As a newly elected Supervisor, I wanted to ensure I was equipped with the proper knowledge to effectively serve the citizens of our County. This program of study focused on Budgeting; Planning; and Effective Governance. The knowledge I gained from this course equipped me to better serve the citizens of our County. I am an active member of the CCofS. This non-profit community organization works in conjunction with County government to improve the quality of life of our citizens. This organization gives back to our citizens by distributing Food at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Yale; sponsoring annual back to school supplies drive for students and distributing toys for all County elementary kids at Christmas. I have hosted townhall meetings within the Stony Creek District throughout my tenure as Supervisor. The purpose of these townhall meeting are to provide information to citizens on current activities within the County and to answer citizens questions about issues they have. All County citizens are welcome to attend these meetings.

D. Jones – Stony Creek: I am committed to donating to the mission’s fund at church to help support the elderly with financial assistance that could be used towards fuel, medication, food, etc., counsels at risk individuals and supports low income needs, linking them to available resources. As a retired, deputy sheriff, I have honored the sworn oath to protect and serve the community by committing 31 years of dedicated service. As an officer, I worked to provide security for the county schools, courts and jail honoring the oath to protect and serve. I served as overseer to the implementation of the Emergency 911 PSAP for the county and trained departmental personnel on the use of the system, received/answered mergency/non-emergency complaints and dispatched the appropriate resources to assure public safety within the community.

W. Jones – Wakefield: First commitment is serving my country for 26 years of faithful service, in the US Army, then coming back to live in my hometown, serve on the Town Council in Wakefield, promoting and supporting activities for the community in whatever capacity it may be, from youth programs, to supporting the fight against cancer, the National Night Out, back to school drives, helping my wife with free Movie Nights and one that gives me great pleasure is to have a Veterans Affairs Representative come to Wakefield to help our Disable Veterans get their benefits that they deserve. The people need to know that I am for them, and I will not just sit with no action, I lead by example and I will earn the respect of everyone. I am very eager to explore new options that will help us grow as a county.

Stringfield – Wakefield: Some examples of my professional commitment in the community include improvements such as housing renovations, water and sewer installation, road developments, park and field updates, additional street lights, sidewalks, playground equipment, picnic areas, and basketball courts. I have also supported the following: the re-opening of the Waverly pool, the renovation and new construction of Sussex Central Schools, the Headstart Program, and our Senior Citizen program. I will continue to lobby for advancements in Sussex County, and the Wakefield District.

Futrell – Waverly: Serving on the Sussex County Social Services Board; assisting constituents with utilities, transportation, handicap ramps, etc., Serving on the Sussex County Educational Foundation Inc., Volunteer at Mission Ministries Food Pantry in Waverly, Volunteer at various community events for Sussex County Sheriff Department such as National Night Out, Sponsor and assist Sussex County Senior Citizens, Provided over 100 coats, hats, gloves, and shoes to Sussex Central Elementary and Middle School students, Instrumental in inspiring and rewarding students at Sussex Central Elementary School with Ice Cream for academic achievement and promoting good citizenship.

Johnson – Waverly: As a Registered Nurse I have been called by families in the community to provide nursing care to their loved ones. I visit the sick and shut-in in the community personally and with my church Missionary Ministry. I visit Nursing Home patients. I volunteer at the Sussex County Public Schools. I work with the Toys for Tots Christmas Drive with my church and the Community Coalition of Sussex County. I coordinate CPR classes for members of my church and other citizens who need CPR training. I minister at churches in my community either from the pulpit or facilitating work shops. I support physically and/or financially community 501C organizations. I am committed to doing everything I can to help and support my community in whatever capacity I am blessed to be able to do.

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