Candidate Q&A: Walter D. ‘Walt’ Brown III
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2, with early voting having started Sept. 17, and there are a variety of local candidates running this year, including several for seats on the Southampton County Board of Supervisors.
We at The Tidewater News sent questions to the candidates to give readers an opportunity to better know them and their perspectives on some important topics.
Walter D. “Walt” Brown III is running for the Newsoms District seat on the Southampton County Board of Supervisors, challenging incumbent Lynda Thorpe Updike. Following are our questions and Brown’s answers.
Why do you want to be elected as the Newsoms District supervisor?
There are some critical challenges facing Southampton County, which includes the Newsoms District, namely good-paying jobs and job availability coupled with the need to attract high tech industry, such as a computer chip factory, that would provide high-dollar jobs for graduating high school seniors who can satellite with Camp Community College during their junior and senior years to acquire such tech skills. As a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and as the president and CEO of the Cheroenhaka Nottoway Enterprises LLC, a Small Business Association 8a-certified entity, and having served previously as an elected official on the board from Nov. 3, 2004, through Dec. 31, 2011, to include being a born-and-bred individual that grew up in the Newsoms District with a keen understanding of our rural agrarian customs and traditions, I believe I can bring creative value and positive change to the table as we move proactively further into the 21st century, fostering economic development and creating good-paying jobs for our youth. Our youth are tomorrow’s future; as such, we must ensure that our schoolchildren are afforded the opportunity to receive a holistic education and that our schools and teachers are supported financially to provide such.
If elected, what will be your leading priorities as a supervisor?
- Economic development
- Less CRT and more STEM in our educational curriculum
- Removal of the $200 trash fee
- Supporting our local farmers
- First responder support
- Attract high tech industry — build out the Turner Industrial Track.
- Teacher incentive pay raises (need to keep our good teachers in the county)
- Tourism as a tax resource
- Low taxes
- Listen and respond in a positive proactive way to the concerns of the people.
What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the Newsoms District?
- Jobs for our youth
- Farmer support — need to reduce taxes on harvesting equipment
- Need to bring closure to the water drainage problem that was grandfathered many years ago via meetings with Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP) generating an engineer study to address the issue while I was serving on the Board of Supervisors, currently readdress as the Newsoms Housing and Drainage Improvement Project — Phase 1
- Lack of broadband — internet service
What do you think are the Newsoms District’s greatest strengths?
- Its people, for they are the greatest asset
- It is an agricultural community.
What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the county?
- Courthouse renovation
- Building the county’s industrial base — attracting high tech industry
- Continuing to foster economic development and jobs
- Seeking other sources of tax revenue as a catalyst to reducing constituents’ taxes
- Keeping taxes low while maintaining a balanced budget
What do you think are the county’s greatest strengths?
- Its people
- It is a rural/farming community.
- Its schools (accredited)
- Its educators/teachers
- Partnership with the City of Franklin (shared tax revenue)
- Connectivity with Virginia’s General Assembly
Where do you stand on the issue of the county’s $200 solid waste management fee?
Not in favor. Time for it to go!
How would you like to see the county ultimately handle future requests to establish solar facilities in Southampton?
- Requests for solar facilities must be received and reviewed on a case-by-case request pending location of the solar site.
- Southampton County is a rural/farming community, and we must be wise not to eradicate our farmland.
What next steps would you prescribe to ensure a better relationship between the Southampton County Board of Supervisors and the Southampton County School Board?
Open communications between the two, seeking win-win situations as it applies to supporting our schools, of which all are accredited, and that both boards must stay in their respective lanes in that neither controls nor rules the other.
What do you think makes you the best choice for the Newsoms District supervisor role?
- My leadership experience and ability, groomed as a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel; educational background, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees; managerial skills, coupled with a keen understanding of the interworking of the board, having previously served some eight years on the board, representing the Newsoms District; to include, my business background as president and CEO of the Cheroenhaka Nottoway Enterprises LLC, of which the Small Business Association certified as an 8a entity with the authority to bid sole source on federal government contracts
- My willingness and ability to listen to the concerns of the people and set forth positive and proactive change as required
- I understand the plight of the farmers, having grown up in the Newsoms District and working on our family farm in Sunbeam.
- I understand the need for maintaining a strong educational system in the county coupled with good educational leadership and teachers.
- I have the vision, the willingness and energy to go forward in a proactive manner to help Southampton County become the jewel county in the 21st century, supporting all its constituents regardless of race, creed or color.
- I care for the people, and I am committed to their betterment.