Caroline Board of Supervisors Candidate Profiles (with commentary from me)

From The Free Lance–Star: Three seek Bowling Green seat in Caroline:

After serving on the Caroline County Board of Supervisors since 1988, Robert Farmer of the Bowling Green District is calling it quits for this year’s election.

Farmer’s absence from the ballot ushers in three new contenders for the Bowling Green seat–two independents and one Republican.

The other four incumbents are seeking re-election, with three facing challengers.

In the Madison District, John Green takes on incumbent Wayne Acors, who has been on the board since 1988. Floyd Thomas is being challenged by independent Bill Pickett in the Mattaponi District and Port Royal District incumbent Calvin Taylor faces Bobby Popowicz.

Reedy Church incumbent Maxie Rozell is unopposed.

Yes, I know, it’s unfortunate, isn’t it?

Bowling Green district

There’s a three-way competition for Farmer’s seat between Independents Damon Gray, George Spaulding and Republican Jeff Sili.

Sili, who served eight years on the School Board, noted education, economic development and water quality as the most important campaign issues.

At a recent candidates forum, Sili noted that in his job as a systems engineer, he develops technologies for five years down the road. He wants the same planning for the county.

“We need to look forward, we need to be visionary, we also have to make sure we have a plan that is feasible when we get there,” Sili said.

Spaulding, who has been on the School Board for 13 years, said his list is topped by growth, education and citizen services, specifically for the Sheriff’s Office and fire and rescue.

As a retired teacher and coach, Spaulding says he could devote more time to being a supervisor.

“I don’t have a full-time job, this would be my full-time job,” he said at a recent forum. “Some questions you can’t answer unless you are on the job.”

Gray did not respond to The Free Lance-Star’s request for personal and campaign information, but was present at the forum.

A 40-year resident of the county, Gray said he believes the county should offer incentives to businesses to relocate to the district. He also said he supports more funding for small parks in the county.

Madison district

Wayne Acors, who has held the district seat for close to two decades, lists managed and planned growth, education and transportation as leading issues.

When asked at a recent forum about boosting the county’s water supply, he cited current plans to withdraw water from the Rappahannock River and the recent purchase of a well in Ladysmith.

“Planned growth”? Is spending over $40,000,000 to transport water from the Rappahannock River to Ladysmith “planned growth”?

You guys in Ladysmith have fun drinking water that would have been cheaper to go to Food Lion, buy some bottle water, and pour down a pipe. Also have fun drinking wastewater (from Fredericksburg) that hasn’t been treated properly and water that has high levels of PCBs (thanks, in part, to the old Sylvia Plant).

Acors, also, was it your brilliant idea to use an emergency resource to send out a Department of Economic Development press release?

John Green, a lifelong county resident, called the county’s water and infrastructure plans “flawed” and “ill prepared.”

“We’re under mandatory water restrictions,” Green said. “There’s a water shortage all across the state. We’ve got to aggressively pursue obtaining water.”

Green listed public safety, education and development as his top priorities.

The two had opposing views on the BPOL tax and school topics as well.

Acors said he would not vote to eliminate the BPOL tax; Green said phasing it out would make the county more business-friendly.

When asked what the most important issues were for Caroline schools, Green said cooperation between supervisors and the School Board.

Acors said he supports the School Board, but has to consider other county services in budgeting, too.

“I’d like to give the School Board all the money in the world that they ask for, but I’m a realist,” he said.

You support the School Board when it helps your district. When is Bowling Green going to get a new school?

Mattaponi district

Bill Pickett favors working closely with the School Board to improve facilities, running the county in a professional manner and addressing police, fire and rescue needs as a result of growth.

Floyd Thomas, who has held the seat since 1992, supports increased funding to schools, providing more job opportunities for residents and maintaining the quality of life by managing growth but keeping a rural feel.

The two were asked at a recent candidate forum about measures they would propose to make supervisors more available to residents. Both favored dedicated e-mail and phone calls as ways for constituents to contact them.

On a related question about bringing all county technology up to date, both had similar ideas.

Thomas suggested putting new computers in places such as grocery stores so residents could have more access. Pickett said more computers and computer programs would improve communication throughout the county.

Stop wasting money and you might be able to do that.

port royal district

Taylor, like Thomas, has also served on the board since 1992.

He faces opposition from Popowicz, who believes forming a five-year budget plan for schools, altering the county’s comprehensive water plan and keeping the tax burden off of citizens are all top priorities.

Taylor listed effective citizen communication, quality education for students, and balancing development to maintain a rural county while attracting business as his election issues.

“Quality education”? The county fails to make adequately yearly progress in 66% of the schools, SAT scores are down 6.12% and the lowest in the region!

At a candidate forum earlier this month the two were asked how using historical assets in the district for tourism could bring in income for the county.

Popowicz said he’s in favor of signing the county onto free statewide programs in order to promote tourism. Taylor said income from county tourism could be used to benefit students, parents and other citizens in the district.

Wait a second, isn’t the money from the hotel tax going to help pay for the visitors center? From one of Percy Ashcraft’s letters to the editor at The Caroline Progress: “Operation of the visitor center will be paid for exclusively from the Tourism Fund. This fund generates approximately $150,000 per year from transient occupancy tax (“hotel/motel tax”) revenues charged to visitors who stay overnight in the county’s motels.” You’re really on top of things there Calvin…

When asked what they’d do to attract and retain small upscale businesses, grocery stores, shops and restaurants, they took a different approach.

“As far as the county as a whole, I think we need to do everything we can in our comprehensive plan to provide ares where stores coming in can be profitable,” Taylor said. “We need to look at utilities in various areas and areas that are conducive to the kind of industry we want.”

You mean like banning the outdoor displays of businesses?

Popowicz said he supported an “aggressive” economic development plan, including phasing out the BPOL tax.

“We have the means, we just have to put through the effort,” he said. “I think we need to look at our industrial parks because they are key to this economy.”

A breakdown of the parade of champions (the incumbents) and the challengers:


NAME: Damon L. Gray

ADDRESS: File Road


AGE: 55

OCCUPATION: Building contractor, Progressive Homes

NOTE: Gray did not respond to a questionnaire about his campaign.

NAME: Jeff Sili

ADDRESS: Bowling Green


POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Served on Caroline County School Board from 1992 to 1999. Chair of Caroline Republican Committee. Ran for supervisor in 2003.

AGE: 48

FAMILY: Married

OCCUPATION: Senior systems engineer

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, Norfolk State, 1987

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Bowling Green Baptist Church: member, serves on drama and technology teams and numerous others; former president, Caroline Chamber of Commerce; Caroline Ruritans; appointment to General Assembly’s JCOTS Technology Committee.

THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES IN THIS RACE: Education, economic development and water quality.

NAME: George Spaulding

ADDRESS: Bowling Green


POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Bowling Green Town Council, eight years; Caroline County School Board, 13 years

AGE: 69

FAMILY: Married, two daughters

OCCUPATION: Retired educator (33 years as teacher, coach and administrator)

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s, University of Charleston, 1958; master’s, William & Mary, 1966

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Calvary Baptist Church, chairman of Deacons for 35 years, adult Sunday school teacher, Bible school teacher; member, Physician’s Advisory Committee, Virginia Primary Care Associates.

HONORS, AWARDS WON: Coach of the Year, Fredericksburg Area; State All Star Coach, 1975; Sports Hall of Fame, Williamson High School, Williamson, W.Va., 2003; “Key to the County” from Caroline County Board of Supervisors, 2007.

THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES IN THIS RACE: Growth, Education, Citizen’s Services (Sheriff’s Office, Fire and Rescue).


ADDRESS: Ladysmith


POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Has served on Board of Supervisors for 20 years.

AGE: 60

FAMILY: Wife, Julia; two children

OCCUPATION: Traffic manager

EDUCATION: Attended University of Richmond

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Ladysmith Baptist Church and the Madison Ruritan Club

THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES IN THIS RACE: Managed & planned growth, education and transportation.

NAME: John C. Green

ADDRESS: Golansville


POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Ran for board seat four years ago

AGE: 46

FAMILY: Divorced

OCCUPATION: 25 years as a firefighter and paramedic with Chesterfield County Fire and EMS, the last 18 years as a flight paramedic on Med-Flight I

EDUCATION: Graduated from Caroline High School, 1979; pursuing a degree in emergency medical services at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Member of Ladysmith Rescue Squad since 1979, held numerous offices including seven years as captain, earned Life Membership in 1999; member, Ladysmith Volunteer Fire Company, 1978 to 1988; represented Caroline on the Rappahannock EMS Council Board of Directors in the mid-1990s. Member of Carmel Baptist Church.

HONORS, AWARDS WON: Ladysmith Rescue Squad, Squad-person of the Year 1991 and 1996, H&H Award for Meritorious Service 1994; Greater Richmond Retail Merchants Association 2003 Bronze Star Valor Award recipient; numerous unit citations and life save awards with Med-Flight I and Chesterfield Fire and EMS.

THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES IN THIS RACE: Public safety (fire protection and EMS); education (comprehensive plan for improvements, facilities and staff); and development (proper infrastructure for growth).


ADDRESS: Cool Water Drive


AGE: 52

FAMILY: Wife, Frances; two sons

OCCUPATION: Director of operations, Hoover Treated Wood Products, Milford

EDUCATION: Malcolm Community College, Warren, Michigan; Certified Building and Planning, Commonwealth of Virginia; Class A Building License, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Briefly got involved with the Caroline High School building class last year and saw the need for materials to teach the course; plans to help again this year.

THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES IN THIS RACE: Work with School Board to improve quality of education. Run the county in a professional manner (budget and planning, develop a strong county administration). Address growth’s impact on police, fire and rescue.

NAME: Floyd Thomas

ADDRESS: Bowling Green


POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Chairman, Citizen Solid Waste Task Force, 1991; member, Board of Supervisors, 1992 to present.

AGE: 51

FAMILY: Wife, Linda; one daughter

OCCUPATION: Sales representative, Oracle Corporation

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s, Howard University School of Architecture and Planning, 1979; Project Management Certificate, The College of William and Mary, 1987.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Trustee, St. Stephens Baptist Church; member, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

HONORS, AWARDS WON: National Competitive Scholarship, Howard University; Omega Man of the Year Award, 1992; Intergraph sales awards 1996, 1997; Caroline school recognition for Germanna scholarship program, 2007.

THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES IN THIS RACE: Increase funding for education; provide more job opportunities for county residents; maintain the quality of life (manage growth and maintain a low tax rate; do not implement a gas tax).


ADDRESS: Guinea Station Road


POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Ran for supervisor in 2003.

AGE: 39

FAMILY: Single

OCCUPATION: Loan officer, Flagstar bank

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, Bridgewater College, 1993

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Port Royal Ruritans; Property Associations of Virginia (POAVA); International Executives Guild.

HONORS, AWARDS WON: Letter of Commendation from governor of Virginia in December 1996 for disaster relief evaluation effort

THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES IN THIS RACE: Develop a five-year school budget plan to fund repairs and improvements; planning (comprehensive water plan and aggressive economic development); keep tax burden off citizens (cap assessment increases, phase out BPOL tax).

NAME: Calvin Taylor

ADDRESS: Stonewall Jackson Road


POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Member of the Board of Supervisors, 1992 to present; former president of Caroline County Social Services Board; former president of Caroline County Education Association; member and education committee chairman, Virginia Association of Counties

AGE: 56

FAMILY: Wife, Wanda; two sons

OCCUPATION: Educational consultant; retired from Caroline County schools after 33 years as a teacher and later assistant principal at middle school

Wait a second, educational consultant? Didn’t you say the following a couple months ago: “Also, I’m now retired and I really have the time that’s necessary to be an elected official.”?

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, Virginia Union University; master’s degree, Virginia Commonwealth University

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site), Fredericksburg

THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES IN THIS RACE: Effective citizen communication to provide an appropriate quality of life, quality education; a balance between planned development and maintaining rural character; attracting business and industry while maintaining a low tax rate.

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