Change is in the wind in Albemarle, and it’s not just the weather. As election season picks up, all eyes are on the four County Supervisor races, where there’s potential for a major shift in the political makeup of Albemarle’s main governing body.
At the very least, there will be new blood on the Board: With the resignation of Scottsville representative Chris Dumler and longtime Jack Jouett representative Dennis Rooker’s announcement that he won’t run again, two seats are free of incumbents and will be decided in contested races. Current Republican supervisors Rodney Thomas and Duane Snow, looking to keep their seats as representatives of the Rio and Samuel Miller districts, respectively, face challenges from Democrats.
Which means come January 2014, we could have a six member Board dominated by either party—or neither.
This week, we’re taking a look at all four races. The candidates in each answered a few questions about their politics, priorities, and pitches. Today, take a look at the responses to the questions we put to the candidates in the Scottsville race, Republican Cindi Burket and Democrat Jane Dittmar.
- Party: Republican
- Age: 60
- Occupation: Volunteer; educational background in law enforcement and public administration
- Government experience: Former chair and treasurer of the Albemarle County Republican Committee.
- Party: Democrat
- Age: 57
- Occupation: Professional mediator and businesswoman
- Government experience: No elected office
Q: What should the county’s role be in encouraging economic development in southern Albemarle—both just outside the city limits, and in the town of Scottsville?
Burket: As I see it, we need to just get out of the way and let something happen on their own, so that we’re not decreasing entrepreneurship, innovative thinking, and creativity. We need to streamline regulations to make it easier to start small businesses. You have to have regulations, but you can’t make it so cumbersome that businesses have to grind away at it for so long.
Dittmar: Albemarle County has a previously determined growth area in our urban ring just outside the city limits. It is appropriate to use this properly zoned land for both residential and commercial growth. Also, it is appropriate for the county to partner with Scottsville’s town leaders to support their vision of essential economic development for their incorporated area.
Q: Do you think the person who fills this seat for the remainder of what would have been Chris Dumler’s term should have policy views similar to his?
Burket: In a word, no. I think there was probably some use for that when they were picking an interim person that might have fulfilled his goals. But this is a race, an election. It shouldn’t have anything to do with him at all. To me, this is a clean start, and everyone should have the same ability to go forward.
Dittmar: This special election is not about any previous person’s policy views or ideology nor is it about the past. This election and my candidacy is focused on moving forward and addressing the issues that matter most to my district and Albemarle county. The voters will express their policy views on November 5th by deciding who will represent and defend their interests
Q: What are your views on the Western Bypass?
Burket: I think we need to go ahead and build this road. My feeling is that it’s not a perfect plan, but at the same time, I think that when we really start to build it, the necessary changes will be remedied. It includes an extension of Hillsdale Drive, a second ramp right by Best Buy, and widening of 29. With all those things included in this plan, the traffic on 29 will be much better. So I think it’s time to go forward.
Dittmar: In the past, reasonable people who care deeply about our community have come down on different sides of this issue. Now, since the ongoing approval process no longer rests under county authority, it is time we focus on forward thinking ideas to address current pressing issues.
Q: What do you think are the three most important issues facing Albemarle right now?
Burket: Obviously economic vitality. We need to make sure we’re attracting businesses that can establish career-ladder jobs and blue-collar jobs, and train folks to do those things. And we need to do that with an on everything, knowing all those things are not mutually exclusive. Another priority is creating a long-range county plan that in addition to encouraging growoth, also respects personal property rights. And then, of course, education. It’s what this area is all about. We have great public schools, and we’ve got UVA, PVCC, charter schools, private schools, and we have to keep that—all of our alternatives. I’m also a strong supporter of anti-bullying initiatives.
Dittmar: Jobs—supporting our existing employers and attracting new, sustained business investment. Education—striving to achieve world class schools while working in the reality of fiscal accountability. Rural integrity—finding consensus on the best ways to preserve our rural integrity.