Continuing to report on local political news we move to Stafford County where the Board of Supervisors held their first meeting of the year this past week and had some changes in store for us.
In the surprise news file Supervisor Cord Sterling (R-RockHill) announced that he will not be seeking re-election this year. Sterling, during his announcement, informed the public that he has accepted a job on Capitol Hill as the Deputy Staff Director for the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the requirements of the job will not allow the time required to campaign for office in the coming year. The announcement brings intrigue to the Rock Hill district on who will be on the ballot in November. The names that have been mentioned in several circles are local GOP activist and member of the Stafford County Economic Development Authority Wendy Maurer, former Supervisor Robert “Bob” Gibbons and Stafford GOP Chair Steve Albertson. In his announcement Sterling indicated he plans to serve out his term, which will conclude in December 2015.
What was not surprising was the board selecting Supervisor Gary Snellings (R-Hartwood) as their Chairman for 2015. Supervisor Snellings has served a total of 10 years on the Board and this is his first time taking the gavel. The surprise in the election of board leadership was the promotion of Laura Sellers (I-Garrisonville) to Vice Chairman. Supervisor Sellers who was elected as a Democrat, but has since parted ways with the Stafford Democrat Committee remains as the sole Independent-Democrat leaning member on the board. It is surprising that a board that is made up of 5 Republicans, 1 Independent who typically sides with Republicans and Sellers, choose the sole Democrat leaning member as Vice Chair. There is certainly cause for concern in Stafford County as Sellers has established a record of not opposing development and has proposed significant real estate rate tax increases. It is a significant departure from the trajectory of a board that has in the last 6 years cut 9 taxes and fought mandates on what would amount to increased development that were pushed on localities by the state at the urging of the Virginia Homebuilders Association.
It is looking more and more like former Delegate Mark Dudenhefer will have a clear path to the Republican nomination to reclaim the 2nd District in the House of Delegates. With a Democrat yet to announce to seek the seat, with the announcement by sitting Delegate Michael Futrell will seek the 29th District Senate seat, Dudenhefer remains the only announced candidate in the race. Although Prince William County Democrats claim they have a candidate who will be announced soon.
In the 28th House District the contest between former member of the Board of Supervisors and former Chairman of the Board Susan Stimpson and current Speaker of the House of Delegates Bill Howell continues to heat up. Stimpson has pushed the accelerator in her aggressive campaign against Speaker Howell. The Speaker has remained relatively low key and appears to be focused on the upcoming session of the General Assembly. It should be interesting to watch what the session brings and the battles Howell chooses to highlight against the Democrats and Governor McAuliffe.
Stafford, like other jurisdictions, is shaping up to have an interesting political year in 2015.