Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Healthy Dose of 'Vitamin I'

Independent Candidates Offer Fresh Vision

David Karaffa brings a solid Conservative perspective to the process of solving problems facing local government.

On the Appalachian Trail, 'Vitamin I' refers to Ibuprofen, the friend of hurting hikers. Ibuprofen allows people to hike on, not listening to their aching knees and ankles, often hurting themselves in the long run.

The 'Vitamin I' that I refer to, however, is the fresh voice of young Conservative candidates running as Independents in our county supervisors' races. Rather than mask the pain of our current situation, these candidates create constructive dialogue that must proceed the tough choices that will be required in the upcoming session. By spotlighting tough issues, these candidates alert us to problems that must be solved before they cause bigger pain down the road.

Consider the needs of our Volunteer Fire Companies. We are losing volunteers at a rate that could lead to the demise of this essential community protection that neighbors provide for each other. Investment is necessary to retain and recruit these fine people. A property tax credit of up to $750, reimbursement for mileage and for training expenses go a long way to show our practical appreciation for these first responders.

In a lean economy, government must ensure that essential education needs are met. Open budgets need to be scrutinized and seriously discussed by all who will be affected. Tough choices need to be handled wisely. David Karaffa, Kurt Michael and Marshall Pattie, along with sitting supervisor Tracy Pyles, will spend the time it takes to work with the school board, educators and the taxpayers to make the process clear and understandable.

State monies, paid by us the taxpayers, must be fairly allocated. To that end the unrealistic valuations of the last assessment must be corrected. The formula for allocating state funds depends on fair assessed values. Our inflated valuations cause us to receive less than our share. Our new supervisors will be committed to correcting this problem.

Economic development is a key element for all of these candidates, who see vital work for the next generation of Augusta County citizens as an imperative. We cannot afford to remain known as the county that 'dissed' Toyota. With involved individuals on our board we can attract new industry and still retain the unique agricultural character of our region.

With the recent loss of Roger Zirkle, a great gap was felt in our school board. With no time to place names on the ballot, Lee Godfrey, who had previously sought this office as a Democrat, began a write in campaign. Ms. Godfrey, unfortunately, represents a more liberal perspective than that of most citizens of the district. She has actively participated in anti-war rallys and could be a vote against Weekday Religious Education and issues of parents' rights should they come before the board.

Once again an Independent Conservative voice entered the race when local business owner Chris Foschini threw his hat into the ring. Now voters in the Beverley Manor District will be able to choose a candidate (also a write-in) who actually reflects their values and concerns. A parent, with one son in the Army and two younger children in Augusta schools, Chris wants to see practical steps to train students for their future lives as citizens. Observing that so many problems government attempts to solve are the result of bad financial decisions, Foschini envisions a mandatory financial requirement for high school graduates.

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