CDN Editor: Three candidates are in the race for Virginia’s 27th District which includes Clarke County, Fauquier County, the City of Winchester, Frederick County, and a portion of Loudoun County, Stafford County and Culpeper County. This is the second of three articles in which the candidates respond to issues of specific interest to the residents of Clarke County, Virginia. This interview was conducted with Shaun Broy via electronic mail.
CDN: Clarke County has long had the most active conservation easement programs in the area. Proponents of conservation easements say that easements reduce costly tax payer requirements to support residential sprawl. Opponents says that the program is simply a tax shelter for the wealthy that unfairly shifts the tax burden to small property owners and makes it difficult for new businesses to enter the county.
What grade do you give Clarke County’s conservation easement program and why?
Broy: GRADE B – Clarke County has accomplished it’s goals in regards to reducing urban sprawl. The main problem that this has caused over the years has prevented the county from expanding it’s tax base by limiting opportunities for businesses to locate in the county. There has to be more of a middle ground when it comes to allowing commercial growth to occur in specific areas, such as Double Tollgate. This would begin to lessen the tax burden on small property owners and promote smart, controlled growth while continuing to support the integrity of Clarke County’s valuable wide open spaces.
CDN: Clarke County’s affordable broadband access is largely limited only to its population centers. While options like satellite and WIFI exist, such service is expensive, slow and often unreliable making it difficult to operate rural-based businesses that require Internet access. Do you have plans to address this problem?
Broy: You create a climate that fosters demand for businesses that provide affordable broadband solutions to make Clarke County a priority. This is an issue that impacts residents and businesses alike, and should be first addressed by the Board of Supervisors. Then we can take a mandate from the Board of Supervisors to the next level, which could be the state government or other pathways that provide the means necessary to make this happen. I will do whatever necessary to make this a priority.
CDN: Clarke County’s education programs have seen significant cuts in funding from the Commonwealth. Elected school officials have said that there is a direct link between declining student performance and education program funding cuts.
Has Virginia’s education funding dropped to the point where it is negatively impacting student learning? If so, what message are we sending to our next generation of Virginians?
Broy: Clarke County’s education programs have seen significant cuts in funding from the Commonwealth. Elected school officials have said that there is a direct link between declining student performance and education program funding cuts. Has Virginia’s education funding dropped to the point where it is negatively impacting student learning? If so, what message are we sending to our next generation of Virginians?
There is no doubt in my mind that these cuts have directly impacted declining student performance. I believe that our teachers are one of the state’s most valuable assets, but we treat them as much less. The message that we are sending to our next generation of Virginians is that they are simply not a priority. That same message indicates that Virginia’s future is not a priority as well. We deserve better.
CDN: The Environmental Protection Agency is gearing up to implement new measures meant to protect the Chesapeake Bay. In Clarke County, these measures likely will place higher costs on local farmers. Similarly, Virginia Power has won approval to place a new power plant near Shenandoah National Park even though opponents argued that the power produced in the plant would largely be used in New York and New Jersey. How should local citizens view the costs and impacts associated with regional and national environmental issues like the Chesapeake Bay and acid rain mitigation?
Broy: I would be mad as hell that while we fail to fully fund vitally important things locally such as quality schools, we are even talking about how to keep the lights on in New York and New Jersey. Our environment should be a priority for everyone, as it in some way shape or form impacts us all. We should dedicate more resources to preserving our natural resources and go further by actually investing in green, renewable energy solutions for Virginia.
CDN: With commercial development to the south in Warren County, commercial zoning to the west in Frederick County and the availability of a sewage treatment facility from the Virginia Corrections Department, many citizens see Double Toll Gate as a natural location for expanded commercial use. Yet the Clarke County Supervisors have decided that the cost of providing water and sewer to the area is simply too expensive for the County to underwrite.
Do you see a role for your office in facilitating inter-county discussions that could improve the economic health of the region?
Broy: Elections have consequences. This is a local issue. The voters of Clarke County have elected their Board of Supervisors to represent their best interests. These issues should not become a state issue until the localities request the state government to get involved. When such a request is made, as your senator, my office would act quickly to provide as much support possible to assist Clarke County with this issue or any other issue. I was born and raised in Clarke County and it will always have a special place in my heart and it will be a high priority for me to advocate for in the State Senate of Virginia
CDN: Of the candidates that you’ve heard so far, who do you believe has the best chance of winning the 2012 presidential race? Who do you support?
Broy: I believe that the President of the United States has the best chance of winning in 2012, unless the Republicans come forward with someone without as much baggage as many in the current field bring t the table. I was honestly intrigued by Governor Chris Christie when he was toying with the idea of running for the presidency. I like his straight forward talk and the “swagger” that he brought to the field.
I do support our President, and believe that he is finally hitting his stride by fighting for the middle class and talking with some common sense about everyone paying their fair share when it comes to multi-millionaires paying more taxes than the rest of us. We have to start generating revenue from somewhere and creating jobs for Americans. All this talk about tax cuts for the rich producing jobs is a bunch of B.S. if you ask me, just for example, where are all these jobs that the “Bush Tax Cuts” were supposed to create? Enough said.
About Shaun Broy:
Shaun Broy was born in Winchester, Virginia and grew up in Clarke County. He is a graduate of Clarke County High School and studied Political Science and Public Administration, with a minor concentration in Mass Communications at Shenandoah University in Winchester.
Broy says that he also spent nearly three years in higher education student affairs, as Coordinator of Student Activities & Athletics at Lord Fairfax Community College. During his tenure at LFCC, he is credited with developing the college’s first athletic program and served as head coach of the LFCC Cannons Men’s Soccer Team.
Shaun Broy, who resides in Stephens City, hopes to make history by becoming the youngest member of the Virginia State Senate.