Rockbridge County Supervisor Candidates' Positions
last time, this year all five seats on the Rockbridge County Board
of Supervisors will be on the ballot this year. After the November
election, the supervisors’ terms will be staggered. There
are races in four of the county’s five districts. In
Walkers Creek, Buster Lewis and Pat Patterson are challenging incumbent
Monty Fix. In Buffalo, Doc Wilmore is challenging incumbent Mack
Smith. In Kerrs Creek, Rusty Ford is challenging incumbent Harvey
Hotinger. In Natural Bridge, Hunt Reigel is challenging incumbent
Maynard Reynolds. And in South River, Carroll Comstock is unopposed.
All of the candidates were sent a questionnaire by this publication. What follows are the questions and the answers from the candidates. The answers have not been edited. They are printed in the order received.
1) What is the most important thing the board of supervisors has either accomplished or failed to accomplish during the last four years?Riegel: One of my favorite passages from the Rockbridge County Land Use Plan reads, “An applicant for a subdivision in the Rural Planning Areas must clearly demonstrate that such development would not conflict with rural preservation objectives....the subdivision must be designed in such a manner as to maximize the utility of any remaining rural tract for a bona fide agricultural, forestry or conservation purpose.” For nearly four years now, the Board of Supervisors has failed to pass zoning ordinances that would actually begin to do this. In fact, it even dismantled the very Planning Commission that was preparing to recommend such ordinances. In July the Board of Supervisors cancelled information sessions about proposed zoning ordinances, and in August the board rejected the proposed changes completely. I conclude from these events that the current board of supervisors is bent on delaying action on critical issues that will help preserve the best of our county’s resources (the land). And while it does this, the board continues to approve new development proposals without good controls in place. I would prefer to cite good accomplishments of the board in the last four years, but the pattern of indecision and failure to hold the line on uncontrolled sprawl has become pervasive, and needs correction. As an aside, I also notice that this characteristic approach is affecting decisions about the county’s waste management system. I only wish the approach didn’t result in bad decisions being made by default.
Patterson: Sadly, the most significant thing that the Board of Supervisors has failed to accomplish is meaningful rezoning in the county. Today residential subdivisions can still happen throughout the county, taking land forever out of farming and ruining our viewsheds. Over the past 11 years the Boards of Supervisors and the Planning Commission has failed to complete this task; placing farming, tourism and the value of our property at risk.
Wilmore: In my opinion, he Board of Supervisors has failed to maintain the trust and confidence of those who elected them. Their indecisiveness and failure to act in a timely manner on matters of importance to their electorate has severaly damaged their credibility.
Smith: Most important — To finally put the issue of the courthouse behind us, so future generations will not have to deal with it. Failure — We failed to resolve the rezoning problems of the county. These two items took up more of our time than any other issue before the Board of Supervisors.
Ford: Accomplished: They decided to keep our community schools open in Goshen, Natural Bridge and South River, despite my opponent’s negative vote. Failed: They still have not come up with a workable zoning solution.
Comstock: Resolving the courthouse issue was a significant accomplishment. Not getting a permit for a new landfill has been a disappointment.
Lewis: A failure in leadership — in capital budget planning, on staggered terms, in understanding the importance of land use planning and zoning, in respecting the sign ordinance, on the courthouse issue, and in knowing the importance of investing in public education for our childrens’ and our county’s future.
Hotinger: Under the guidance of the present board of supervisors, our county has become more financially secure than it has been in years.
Fix: Finished up some of the things that were handed to us — the courthouse, the sewer line north, the settlement with Young Life [in the property tax dispute]. We kept taxes under control. We have tried hard to attract some industry, but have failed.
Reynolds: Updated our present school buildings, brought the landfill into compliance, established a recycling center in the Natural Bridge District, did not increase taxes this year.
2) Name a) one thing that wasn’t here 20 years ago that you’re glad to see here now; and b) one thing that we’ve lost in the last 20 years that you’re sad to see is gone.Riegel: In our (Natural Bridge) district the new Glasgow Public Library is a wonderful addition to the public resources available to us all. This facility can be a center of community activity, and should be supported to the fullest extent possible. Operating the library for at least 40 hours per week would make this an even better resource. At the county level, the consolidated Rockbridge County High School, although replacing at least three smaller “neighborhood” schools, has succeeded in providing a wider variety of class options for our students. Recent discussions between the Rockbridge County and Lexington school boards is a positive step toward more collaborative efforts. I encourage these bodies to find ways to share their resources to provide even better opportunities for all of the students in the area. I miss the farmlands that have been plowed under to make way for residential development. They have been permanently removed from productivity. This is a loss that I believe we will regret, and soon. I hope to work toward a wiser strategy for managing the growth of residential areas where agriculture should be flourishing.
Patterson: a) I sense a much greater awareness of the treasure that we have in the scenic beauty of the county than I saw 20 years ago. This has created a greater importance in protecting our scenic heritage. b) The one thing that we’ve lost in the last 20 years are some quality jobs in the county with the shutdown of Blue Bird, Dana and others over that period.
Wilmore: One “thing” not here 20 years ago is “me.” As you know I left my beloved Rockbridge County in 1963 to seek “fame and fortune.” Sadly I never accomplished either. However, I did enjoy a 30+ year career in public services. One thing that we’ve lost in the last 20 years is our close knit sense of community. Many of the folks that I grew up with have passed away, and the downtown area has become a collection of souvenir and gift shops. The “essential stores,” such as McCrums Drug, Lexington Hardware and J. Ed. Deaver are all gone.
Smith: A. The first that comes to mind is the Virginia Horse Center, as it has had a positive effect on our revenues. B. The loss of the farms that have been developed into housing, thereby changing the landscape and beauty of the county.
Ford: Welcome addition: Public water and sewer in developed areas of our county. Unfortunate corollary: Some of our best farmland lost to development.
Comstock: The Raphine sewer line is a huge plus for the County. It provides an affordable solution to the problem of failing septic systems along Rt. 11, makes the Raphine Industrial Park far more marketable and defines a growth area for the County. And, it was done with user fees and not general funds.
Lewis: a) The Virginia Horse Center; b) Lexington Hardware & Junior Earhart.
Hotinger: Run water and sewer line to Raphine.
Fix: The sewer line north, building of the new courthouse, Peterbilt and some other small businesses. But we lost Westvaco.
Reynolds: (No answer.)
3) What, above all, do the citizens of your district want the county government to do?Riegel: The most frequent comments I hear from the citizens of the Natural Bridge District describe the district as being the “step-child” part of the county. They report feeling that the district has been ignored in many of the improvements and facilities that have been developed over the past 20 years. I hear many requests that more be done for the youth of our district. Public recreation opportunities in the district are few and far between, with the majority of county recreation dollars going to Lexington-based activities. I believe that the residents of the district want to be involved actively in the county, and want more access to the public resources (as seen in the water and sewer projects to our north) being provided in other districts. The county government, by taking more of an interest in the needs of the district, could help erase the perception of its being left out of county affairs. And of course, many residents are seeking a better job climate for their families (I address this issue under number 9, later in this survey).
Patterson: The number one thing that the citizens in Walkers Creek want to see the government do is to bring the double-digit escalation of real estate taxes under control. The combination of increased assessed values and real estate tax rates has place many of our older citizens at risk of having to sell their home and/or farm or having to move out of the county. At the same time, younger families are finding it very difficult to stay in an area without quality jobs to afford the higher costs, including these higher real estate taxes. Rockbridge County needs citizens of all ages if it is to remain a viable community.
Wilmore: In talking with the citizens of the district and the county as a whole, the citizens want the county to “govern.” They want fair taxes, controlled growth and good jobs so that our young people will not have to leave to find suitable employment as I did more than 40 years ago. They want government services provided at a reasonable rate.
Smith: The citizens in my district want to keep taxes low, provide a good education, control growth and to listen and respond to their concerns.
Ford: Most citizens are content for the board to take care of the county’s business in a quiet, competent manner without raising taxes.
Comstock: It sounds simplistic, but I think they want to know that their voices are being heard and that when decisions are made all opinions are fairly considered to reach good decisions.
Lewis: Provide fiscally responsible, open, forward-thinking leadership for the 21st Century.
Hotinger: Control taxes.
Fix: Control growth, maintain their property rights as much as possible, attract small industry so we can control our taxes, take care of education — schools, teachers etc.. Road improvements.
Reynolds: Keep the tax rate low and provide more services.
4) What should the county do with the cannon in front of the old courthouse?Riegel: Now that appropriate memorials have been erected to honor our veterans and lost heroes, I think a wonderfully poetic option would be to beat the cannon into plowshares that can be displayed to symbolize the agricultural nature of our region.
Patterson: The cannon is a part of the history and landscape of Lexington and should be repaired and remain. The number one industry in downtown is tourism and the cannon is a part of that scenery.
Wilmore: Leave the cannon where it is and maintain its condition. I think it looks fine in its present location, as does our Veterans Memorial.
Smith: It should be restored with a plaque describing what it is and why it is there and what relevance it has to Rockbridge County.
Ford: We should solicit ideas from our citizens; if no good comes of that, perhaps we could give it to a veterans’ organization or other civic group that comes up with a viable new location for it.
Comstock: Maintain it at its current site.
Lewis: Save it!
Hotinger: Put in on the patio over the parking garage adjoining the new courthouse and have Mayor Knapp fire it when the ribbon is cut on the new courthouse.
Fix: Should be repaired and remain at the old courthouse, depending on what is done with it.
Reynolds: Have it restored and place it at the new courthouse.
5) Realistically, is there any way the county can pay for projects already on the books (the courthouse, schools, etc.) without raising taxes? Explain.
need to take a long, hard look at the financial planning we use
in Rockbridge County. A five-year financial plan is a “must” before
we consider any increase in taxes. The financial plan needs to
6) Name one thing the county government does very well.Riegel: The county recycling program has shown steady growth over the last few years, and is improving our waste management strategy. More needs to be done, such as separating yard waste and other compostable materials so they can be returned to productive use in gardens and fields rather than going to the landfill. But the recycling that is done now is a good start. Education about recycling is a continuing need and will help all residents become better consumers.
Patterson: The one thing that the county does very well is managing the trash collection and landfill operation. They are very proficient in moving the trash from the collection points to the landfill with the collection points getting messy only a few times each year when equipment breaks down. Now they are moving to make this process more efficient and recycling friendly with the Convenience Centers. Our ultimate hope is that this process will yield more recycling and less waste going into the landfill.
Wilmore: The answer to that is simple. They spend money.
Smith: I think the management of the landfill is one thing that the county does very well. With the management in place now we have turned it from receiving negative reports to excellent scores from the DEQ.
Ford: If this were a question, I would answer that we get good value from our county employees. From the schools to the landfill to the office staff, our county staff does a good job for pay that is not particularly attractive. They do this because, like me, they love their home and wouldn’t leave for more money elsewhere.
Comstock: I think County employees do a great job overall of delivering services to citizens and that we accomplish a great deal with so few employees.
Lewis: Stonewall, and it’s a shame.
Hotinger: See response to question #1.
Fix: I think our government has done well the past four years. The board works hard and works together most of the time to get everything done that was handed to us and start new projects; and tries to work the best with the schools. We’ve been working hard to come up with a better way of taking care of our fire departments and rescue squads, and need to.
Reynolds: The county has done very well attracting small business and clean industry.
7) Name one thing the county government doesn’t do very well. What will you do to help fix it.Riegel: The county does not plan well and does not lead its citizens in exercising principles of smarter growth. Both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors have been reduced to gate-keeping in approving new developments. What Rockbridge County needs now more than ever is leadership to take us away from the piecemeal approach to approving as many proposals for development as possible. We need a board that will move us to a forward-thinking managed growth approach that integrates new growth with the rural character of the area. The Planning Commission’s responsibility is not to verify that proposed subdivisions are legal, but that they are substantially in accord with the adopted comprehensive plan. The Board of Supervisors’ responsibility is to ensure that the comprehensive plan, including its land use section, is implemented fully through the creation of appropriate ordinances. In this way we can manage more effectively the inevitable growth we will experience.
Patterson: We have some excellent staff members in our county government and the one thing that the county does not do well is managing their performance. There is no feedback process in place to communicate to the staff members what they are doing well and what they could do better. I would help the county and its agencies to implement an Annual Employee Evaluation process. This process will improve communications with the county staff and should reduce the amount of micro-managing that goes on in our county government. It would be the basis for meaningful goal-setting and performance-based pay.
Wilmore: They don’t listen. If elected, I intend to work hard for better communications between all citizens and their government. I want to foster cooperation among all our jurisdictions within Rockbridge County. I would try to keep our citizens informed on all issues by conducting town meetings throughout my district. These could be held in a timely manner at churches, schools and firehouses.
Smith: I don’t feel we have given enough thought to the trash problems facing the county. We need mandatory recycling, curbside pick-up. We need to listen to people who have moved into this community that have faced the trash problems in their former towns, not try to reinvent the wheel.
Ford: Some members of the board of supervisors don’t make much effort to inform themselves, whether it’s about the next meeting’s agenda, or about important looming issues in the state or at home. I read broadly and ask questions of all sorts of people to find ways to help our county.
Comstock: One of the most frustrating things I hear citizens say is “we didn’t get the word.” While I think we go way beyond the minimum or legal requirements for informing citizens, I think we can do more to reach out to the public with information. I would like to see a more robust and informative website and possibly get employee articles published as we do with recycling. I will personally commit to holding more informal public meetings for South River Residents.
Lewis: Run an efficient and effective operation. A multitude of crises (the courthouse, jail, landfill, water issues, further school renovations) are the result of poor or no planning and failing to address issues before the crisis point. I will bring a local county businessman’s perspective, partner with other board members to delegate and hold staff responsible, pro-actively plan for the future, and run an open, respectful board.
Hotinger: Communication with people on what is taking place in the county activities.
Fix: I think we need to improve our ways of getting industry and business here. I will do everything I can to help this with more staff or whatever it takes.
Reynolds: (No answer.)
8) What would you like Rockbridge County to be like in 20 years?Riegel: I would like to see a county that is largely rural, with thriving farms producing a wider variety of foods locally than is done now. Residential areas will be focused in six to eight primary centers, all served by public water and sewer facilities. Housing will run the range from affordable apartments and homes to small farms, retirement communities and clusters of homes surrounded by productive land spread throughout the county. A sense of community is important, and recreational and entertainment options will be sponsored throughout the county. Town meetings will provide forums for citizens to have a voice in defining priorities to be addressed in the county, and methods for doing so. Travel to and from community events will be facilitated through public transportation options that spare fuel and decrease road maintenance. The county’s solid waste will be managed through a single-stream recycling effort in which hired staff will separate the materials. Composting will be supported by the county, and the entire waste management process will be funded by the revenues it generates through zero-waste recycling and composting. The county will have a new landfill, restricted in its use to only those materials that cannot be recycled or composted. And I would like to see citizens take pride in the sense of community they have been able to establish by reaching consensus on our common goals for the future.
Patterson: In 2027 I would hope that Rockbridge County is a beautiful place to live and work and play. I see an area that has a diverse population of all ages. I see quality jobs in our county so that our citizens can build a life here. I see the local governments working together to find the most cost effective solutions to problems on a regional basis, a region beyond just Rockbridge County and Lexington. I see an elementary school in the Goshen community.
Wilmore: Unchanged. However, I realize that some growth is inevitable. Uncontrolled growth is not a good thing. It leads to more demands on services and infrastructure and the only way to pay for these services would be through increased taxes.
Smith: In 20 years I would like Rockbridge County to be still a beautiful place to raise a family with close community ties.
Ford: We need to maintain the same unique, attractive blend of traditional and enlightened culture that we have enjoyed for many generations.
Comstock: I’d like to see a county where “born here and come hear” disappear from our thinking and where we combine our strengths for improvement. I’d like to see us keep the same rural character that makes our area a special place to visit and a wonderful place to live. I’d like to see a balanced economy that includes a significant technology presence. I’d like to see a consolidated school system that provides students the opportunity to prepare for meaningful lives and successful careers.
Lewis: Consider these goals for Rockbridge County: Thriving, revenue-producing businesses clustered in areas with county services that attract and retain local workers; Attractive and affordable residential developments in suburban areas where greater density is promoted and that are well served by adequate roads, sewer, water, police, fire and rescue protection and schools; A community positioned as a tourist destination with greenways enhancing our entrance corridors; Still-unspoiled working farmland with better distribution networks and the creation of a “Rockbridge Brand;” Well-supported schools that are the key to our children’s success in the future, with quality teachers and quality programs to prepare our future workforce; A fully engaged Comprehensive Plan that is regularly reviewed and supported by a fair, balanced and firm land use and zoning plan; Where the political process of decision-making is respectful, genuine and open.
Hotinger: A place where one can afford to live comfortably.
Fix: To stay the same as much as possible. We need some growth, some more industry and business for tax revenue so we can keep people’s taxes as low as possible. We need to do what we can to better our education program.
Reynolds: More clean industry to the tax burden will not fall on the citizens. Remember, if there’s no industry to pay taxes, someone has to make this up to cover services.
9) If you’re elected, what are you going to do to help make it that way?Riegel: I will call for a major review and affirmation of the county’s comprehensive plan. According to Virginia code, it must be reviewed every five years, so this will be a timely activity that will also help the new board of supervisors develop consensus around its goals and priorities for the next four years. I will call for the development of a five-year financial plan that includes a capital improvements program and a cost of services study, with recommendations for considering the creation of special service districts that link users with the costs of their services more directly. I will call for the reorientation of the Planning Commission to be certain that their planning and recommendations ensure adherence to the comprehensive plan. And I plan to conduct monthly information sessions in my district so that the citizens of the district can keep up to date on the issues being deliberated by the board, and to ensure that citizens have an open pathway to being heard by their representative. Rockbridge County needs jobs that will allow its natives to stay here and to earn a reasonable wage. Waiting for heavy industries and other large commercial ventures to discover us is like waiting for Godot — it is simply not likely to happen. What is more likely to create jobs is attracting a number of small businesses and entrepreneurs who appreciate the lifestyle possible in our county. To attract businesses that hire local workers and run smaller operations, we must have the infrastructure that supports such businesses. This means placing emphasis on developing a wide band communication network for the county and providing other amenities that will support telecommuting and entrepreneurial activities. I will advocate attracting small businesses and entrepreneurs to the county and creating a clearinghouse that will help link businesses with workers. A number of local food producers have indicated that locating youthful workers who want to learn more about agriculture is difficult. Organizing a county-wide clearinghouse of jobs and willing workers would be a very helpful step in this direction.
Patterson: The first and most significant step for our county is to enact ordinances that put a rezoning plan into law. This plan needs to set aside areas for residential growth, higher density residential growth for affordable housing and areas for commercial development. This will protect the agricultural areas of the county from high-density development and protect the value of the land for all landowners. Secondly, I would put more focus and support towards the Rockbridge Partnership by providing them the tools they need to bring quality jobs into the county. We could reduce traffic on I-81/64 today with quality jobs closer to where our citizens live. On the campaign trail I am hearing that folks are spending over $300 a month in gas traveling to and from work. Thirdly, I would put more focus on regional cooperation. A current example of this is with our landfill. We are told that our landfill will be full in 2012 and our trash will have to go somewhere to a lined landfill. This is an excellent opportunity for regional cooperation since everyone is facing similar issues. A professor at W&L has volunteered her Environmental Policy class to do research for the county (at no cost). They would discover what issues other governments in the valley and the surrounding areas are facing with their trash disposal and what could be the common themes for regional cooperation in this area. New lined landfills are very expensive and the way you make them cost effective is to spread the costs to others through a more intensive regional operation.
Wilmore: The answer to this is simple. I’m going to work hard, be accessible to the citizens, and keep a positive outlook. I do not foresee any situation in which I couldn’t make a fair and impartial decision on behalf of all our citizens. I have no personal agenda other than the welfare of the citizens of Buffalo District and Rockbridge County.
Smith: If I am re-elected I would continue on with what I have tried to accomplish: preservation of farm land and way of life.
Ford: I would insist on more government responsiveness to the needs of all citizens; keep the county an attractive place for small businesses to thrive; keep it well provided with productive farm and forest land; and work to restore to all public school students the educational opportunities they need in order to thrive. Most importantly, I would listen to the voters. They love Rockbridge County as I do and they see everyday problems and issues which need to be addressed. I believe I can do the job with the people’s help.
Comstock: I will continue to reach out to those who see me as an outsider and encourage newcomers to remember why they came here.
Lewis: I will gather consensus, which is my way, and work diligently to involve others in achieving these dreams. I will develop strong partnerships with our neighboring jurisdictions while always looking out for the county’s interests. I will have the courage to vote to enact ordinances that control growth in agricultural areas and support the common good. I will seek to reinvent the Rockbridge Partnership with a broader view of economic development and challenge its leaders to support existing businesses including agriculture and forestry and to actively recruit new businesses and employees, including those in the fields of technology, recreation, and tourism. I will work with ag extension personnel to connect aspiring farmers with large land owners, promote sustainable agriculture and improved marketing connections. I will work collegially with other Board members to run county business in the sunshine, respectful of citizens’ opinions.
Hotinger: Work to have more revenue producing projects in our county in those areas where our county selects.
Fix: To let industry and business know the board is open to work with them to locate them here. To work with the school board to make sure they have what they need for our children.
Reynolds: Try to get more industry, work to hold down taxes.
10) Why should I vote for you instead of your opponent(s)?Riegel: I will bring a fresh perspective, organizational skills, and forward-looking goals to the board of supervisors, and the energy to accomplish the planning we have lacked in the past. With the changes demanded by new technologies, new information and new insights, we can no longer be satisfied to conduct the business of the county as it has been conducted in the past. I will insist that our government is:
• Open (which means available and receptive to public input);
• Transparent (which means clearly public in its discussions and decision making); and
• Supportive of its citizens by providing leadership that promotes smarter growth and wiser use of our resources.
Patterson: My three greatest qualifications to be the supervisor for the Walkers Creek are: I am the new leadership in this election. There is an old saying that “if you keep solving problems the same old way, then don’t be surprised when you keep getting the same old solutions.” I was born and raised here, but needed to go elsewhere for employment. I love Rockbridge County and I have returned to the county to pursue my life-long dream of raising sheep. My experiences while living elsewhere in the state will benefit us by knowing some of the things that have worked for others and avoiding the things that have not worked in other places. I have over 30 years of management and leadership experience while working in large organizations and being active in civic and church organizations. My 4 years in the U.S. Army and employment with Dominion Virginia Power exposed me to many leadership opportunities while working with the general public, often in concert with the local governments. I especially enjoyed my time in Va. Beach where I served on the Chamber of Commerce Board, with several education initiatives, and as Vice Chairman of the first Human Rights Commission in Va. Beach. I have researched the issues in the county and listened to the concerns of our citizens. I have developed a platform (can be found at pattersonforsupervisor2007.com) that is responsive to the needs of our citizens and attainable for our county. I support getting control of our real estate taxes, support a quality education for all of our children including an elementary school for the Goshen area, support attracting quality jobs to the county and support adopting a rezoning plan that prevents haphazard development while maintaining the value of our land.
Wilmore: (No answer)
Smith: I have had much more county government experience, by being on the board of supervisors, planning commission, land use committee and soil conservation board for numerous years. This is a job that has a tremendous learning curve, that is built on from day one of your involvement in county issues. I think that after four years I have learned a tremendous amount about the workings of the county and what you can do and cannot do.
Ford: I am a more positive force for adapting to the changing demands of the local population, of our state and national governments, and of the marketplace; I will work to form a consensus of all our citizens on how to move the county ahead.
Comstock: It’s always good to have fresh perspectives and ideas for setting and accomplishing goals. Citizen committees often provide us with the best advice and direction for sound decision making. I think the current BOS has abused the committee process and damaged our credibility by doing so.
Lewis: Because I have been in the trenches right here in Rockbridge County for 35 years making it happen, learning the Rockbridge way. I have established and grown small businesses, met payrolls, done capital budgeting--just like small Counties have to do. I have led my church, done my civic duty in many ways, and brought people together to accomplish good things. These experiences have prepared me for leadership in our county. If you want a candidate who does nothing, you have a choice. If you want a candidate who makes unrealistic promises and lacks the local experience to know better, you have a choice. If you want a candidate who will work hard with you on the tough issues, tell you the truth and knows who’s who and what’s what in Rockbridge County, them I am your man — and I stand ready to go to work for you.
Hotinger: Citizens know my record while serving as an elected supervisor. Citizens also know the record of my opponent when he previously served on the planning commission. It is not up to me to tell you how to vote, for it is your choice to pick who you want to serve you.
Fix: I have four years’ experience. I hope the people of Walkers Creek District, and that all county people, know I am a straight shooter and will continue to support the people. I’ll listen to them and support them. I have learned a lot in the last four years, and built a good working relationship with other board members. Support me and you will have a man you can trust.
Reynolds: 33 years experience in county government, 35 years as a private businessman in Rockbridge. I served my country in wartime. I served my town as councilman. I have served with many civic organizations.