The Road Ahead – Almost 90 days in…

With the latest re-sweep of conservatism experienced in Goochland County as part of the 2023 local elections, we take a moment to gather some “Road Ahead” thoughts from some of those carrying the responsibilities of Elected Office in Goochland County.
We managed to hear back from most all of the folks we as a committee helped or tried to help get elected. As comments come in, we’ll update this page.

School Board D1 – Meredith Moses

As a new member of an essentially new school board, I see then next few months as a continuing period of getting to know the school system, the bureaucracy of  the School System, the school faculty and staff and the children and their parents.  Having Angela Allen as the Chair is a blessing.  She knows how things are done and how to get them done.  It was nice to get a very important policy in place (JA – Governor Youngkin’s model policy), but  we will have a busy time and stressful future getting additional policies modified, written and put in place.  I know that politics works at a snail’s pace and that is what concerns me most.  I have to keep in my mind that this is how things work, and not to let the months that go  by getting a policy, resolution, or even contracts in place get me down, stressed, or otherwise annoyed.  

School Board D2 – Karen Wirsing

I am honored to be a representative on the Goochland County School Board. Recently I was asked, “Who is the primary customer of the education system?” In my years of experience, many respond, “the children” but I believe the customer, first and foremost, is the parent/ legal guardian. They entrust their precious children to us to receive a service. We are in the business of educating their children in academics. 
The education system is a government entity that is run “by the people, for the people”. As a member of the school board, I am a representative of the people. Parents and guardians have the natural God given rights and responsibilities to the upbringing of their children. It is the role of the representative to make sure what is being taught in our schools reflect our families’ expectation in educating their children. 
It is wonderful when parents are engaged in the life of the school, but especially in what is being taught and provided to their children. The research is consistent, students that receive support from their parents at home do better in school. I don’t just encourage you, I implore you as a community, whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or neighbor, stay engaged in America’s future. These children one day will make decisions for you and your family.
It is my sacred duty to represent the you. Thank you again for this honor.

School Board D3 – Angela Allen

As I look ahead, the primary challenge is how to increase funding to provide competitive compensation to attract and retain talented educators. GCPS, like school divisions across the Commonwealth, is impacted by inflationary pressures, shrinking talent pools, and increased expectations of teachers. Law enforcement and fire & safety professionals have faced similar dynamics, which have been rightfully addressed year-over-year through additional County spending.

Despite previous efforts, GCPS is and has been below the median in teacher salaries compared to surrounding localities. Exacerbating matters, more than 52% of our teachers live outside of Goochland which is understandable given an average home price of $600K, leaving them with commuting costs (today I paid $3.52/gallon of gas). To stem the tide of teacher resignations, remain a top-performing school division, and build a reputation as a school division that offers competitive pay, we must increase our investment in human capital. 

We are blessed to live in a prosperous county with citizens who support our schools. When teachers feel valued and supported financially, they are more likely to remain committed to their profession, resulting in better student outcomes and stronger communities overall. Looking forward, Goochland needs to determine its investment philosophy for public education.

School Board D4 – Michelle Maxwell

As a newly elected member of the Goochland County School Board, I will insure all the students in our county are treated with dignity and respect.  Our schools have a great reputation here in Virginia but of course there is always room for improvement.  Making sure that each child reaches their full potential and is ready to excel out in the real world is a top priority for GCPS.  I am honored to represent District 4 and am determined for our county to be a shining example of how a school division is successfully run. The School Board is working collaboratively with everyone from the superintendent, the teachers, the administrators and the board of supervisors to accomplish lofty goals for our county’s students and I have no doubt that Goochland County graduates will go out into the world and make a positive difference.  I feel blessed to live in a county where we understand that our children are the future so equipping them with the very best teachers and programs will pay dividends for Goochland County’s future.

School Board D5 – Ellen Robinson

As a member of the School Board of GC, during the next four years, my main focus will be to strive to implement our core values:
Excellence, Creativity, Courage, Honor and Optimism.

One of the objectives for the students, parents and residents is to enhance transparency and accountability.

In order to strive to maintain these goals, it is important to put our student safety as the number one priority, followed by a quality education. This culminates with a highly qualified staff who we strive
to give not only a salary and benefits but an environment that is committed to success. We are facing a crisis in the educational field throughout our country. Therefore, we need to have the very best communication with our local Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator
to stress the importance of being competitive with our surrounding counties. This will be a yearly process that will continue over the next four years and beyond.

Finally , my personal passion is READING and READING COMPREHENSION. Many children learn to read, but to grasp the love of reading is to be able to comprehend what they read.
Therefore, as we move forward and our staff creates programs for reading and we can allocate monies to have a Reading Specialist in each of our schools, I will advocate and support its implementation.
Another area in the literacy program that I hope can be put into practice is more emphasis on grammar, cursive writing and writing.
Therefore, as an elected official I am humbled and hope to complete my term with integrity and accomplish ALL the actions of the school board.

Board of Supervisors D1 – Jonathan Christy

I see challenges ahead with keeping the growth pressures from Henrico, Richmond, and now Louisa.  I worry about our spending and what we do in the event of an emergency or economic disaster.  I do not worry about getting sued by fringe activists groups or being called the trending insult from the left.  I do not worry about getting re-elected, although suspect my last opponent will come back for round two whether it be me or someone else.  I’m not changing.  I plan to do what I can to keep my campaign promises, keep the County healthy, and at the end of the day be able to look at myself in the mirror.  I will continue to live up to my Oath even past my term.

Board of Supervisors D2 – Neil Spoonhower

Going into my second term on the Goochland Board, much has changed. The County achieved the highest financial recognition a county our size can achieve and the success of previous county leaders has led to unprecedented pressure for growth. We have significant infrastructure needs: roads, aging schools and government buildings. We also have a largely new team of servant leaders.

Through all this change, our community has been clear: Keep Goochland rural, use their hard-earned dollars wisely, keep them safe and educate their kids.

My goals for the next four years are simple but not easy. Work to take pressure off residential growth by focusing on building up commercial industry. Ensure we are wisely investing in public safety and education, and keep the government’s hand out of your pockets to the greatest extent I can to accomplish the previous goals.

Serving this community is the highest honor and most meaningful work I’ve ever done. Thank you for the opportunity.

Board of Supervisors D3 – Tom Winfree

Let me describe what I envision over the next four years for Goochland County:
My involvement with the Board of Supervisors during my term will hopefully provide help and assistance toward the following, among other important initiatives as they surface: (In no particular order)
Ensure a sound Fiscal condition and maintain our high Bond rating with the major rating agencies.
Maintain a strong Public Safety (Sheriff’s Division and Fire and Rescue)presence in Goochland. In my mind, one of two of the most important things a County Government can do for its Citizens.
Continue to provide the highest caliber of education/School System possible. Second of the two most important areas of good County Government.
We must continue to make progress with sensible and responsible growth. Our attention to improving our Tax Base Mix between Residential and Business will be paramount and should be measured constantly over the next period of years. More Economic Development with emphasis toward building our ED capability internally and with strong collaboration with our Economic Development Authority.
Continue to build the very best and strongest administrative staff possible. We have a great start.
Maintain our stated emphasis on maintaining an 85% Rural Agrarian and 15% commercial/business/higher density policy.
Continue with our conservative environment, both politically and in practice with the services we provide. Our strong second amendment commitment should be built upon as it dovetails directly with our conservative approach.
 Continue to listen to our constituent citizens and remain transparent and attentive to the majority’s needs.
Continue to provide a good Parks and Recreation system and work in other areas to enhance our desire to provide a great place to live, work and play.
I personally would like to see the Centerville Village plan resurrected and with further Citizen input, become a reality with significant results occurring.
I would like for us to build our Brand as one of the best local County governments there is.

These are not just my goals but beliefs that I have bought into from living here in the County and having interacted with my fellow Board members and our County Staff as well with my involvement in the Community over the past seventeen years.

Board of Supervisors D5 – Jonathan Lyle

I believe there will be continued interest by homebuilders to rezone agricultural land for new home development.  I expect some of these requests will comply with the vison Goochland has laid out in its Comprehensive Plan, and some will be asking for significant deviations from that plan. I believe growth should be evaluated as-to its benefit to the people who live in Goochland today, versus a benefit to the folks who want to come here tomorrow. Current residents should not subsidize growth via higher taxes, worsened traffic, and reduced county services.

I will continue to ask the County’s Economic Development Authority and the County’s Economic Development staff to provide actionable plans for growing the county’s commercial tax base in West Creek and other designated business development areas. The goal is to move the county to a 70/30 residential/commercial tax base. That will be a process over the next four years, not an overnight event.

The impact on the county’s budgets and cost-of-services as a result of current Federal policies (i.e. inflation, unfunded mandates, and increased regulation) will continue to challenge Goochland. With RARE exception have I had conversations with citizens advocating for an increase in taxes. The vast majority in Goochland would welcome tax cuts: I believe it will take creative solutions to deliver those tax cuts, but those opportunities do exist.  To control spending, county policies and programs should be judged by results, not by their intentions. It can be expensive to pursue “feel good” initiatives.

Goochland Treasurer – Pam Duncan

I don’t have a Crystal Ball or know what the future looks like, but things look good right now.

Goochland Clerk of Court – Amanda Adams

During my elected term, I will focus on the needs of the citizens of Goochland County by being more active in the community, and focusing on innovative technologies that will impact improved engagement within the Clerk’s Office and the community. I will continue to educate the community on the importance of estate planning, with a goal of preventing improper handling of an estate. As the community grows, I will learn and apply the best practices to protect our community and our land records against potential property fraud by implementing the latest software available. I will also continue to be a strong advocate for education in all five of our public schools by educating our youth on the duties of my office, while giving a brief history lesson on the Circuit Court of Goochland County.  These next eight years will fly by, but I am honored to have the continued support of constituents like you.  

Also, in case you were wondering, the leadership at the courthouse complex has improved tremendously. The Sheriff, Commonwealth’s Attorney, and Clerk are all working together to make sure the courthouse at Goochland is running smoothly. We have implemented a monthly meeting where we talk about any issues that may arise or look to the future for what could be on the horizon. It is a completely different atmosphere in the courthouse where all staff are grateful for the voters seeing the need for the change. 

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