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Bailey and McNamara kept to the middle, while Christley and Bedrosian hooked to the right as candidates running for seats in the Windsor Hills and Hollins districts debated at the Roanoke County Tea Party Forum.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
The race for two Republican supervisor nominations intensified Thursday night as candidates running for seats in the Windsor Hills and Hollins districts debated at the Roanoke County Tea Party Forum.
More than 40 people attended the event, where the four candidates sought to differentiate themselves in campaigns where “limited government” and “conservative values” serve as shared buzzwords. They spent about 90 minutes navigating seven questions that touched on topics such as the county budget, taxes, contributions to ICLEI and education.
By midpoint of the debate, Mike Bailey, a retired businessman running in Hollins, and Joe McNamara, a former Windsor Hills supervisor, had established themselves as middle-of-the-road conservatives. Both men said they eschewed new taxes, but treaded lightly when asked about the board’s ability to enforce zoning restrictions (the number of chickens that can be kept in neighborhood zones) and prayer at board meetings. Both men agreed with the county’s current position on prayer.
“It’s basically saying that government is not involved with prayer,” Bailey said. “And I’m fine with that.”
McNamara did not cringe at the mention of libraries or other capital projects, but did stress a tight budget management style, which would be aided, he said, by his past experience with budgets.
“I think that knowledge is critical to working with budgets and streamlining resources,” he said. “We have a debt problem. We had a plan, and if we had stayed disciplined to that plan, we’d almost be out of that.”
RoxAnne Christley, a stay-at-home mother running in Windsor Hills, played the ideologue, shying away from specificity to beat the drum of debt and government reduction.
Neither Christley nor Bailey offered any concrete ideas for diminishing the scope of the current county budget. When asked about education, Christley set herself apart by emphasizing the need to shift school budgets to funnel more money to teachers.
“There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians,” she said.
Al Bedrosian, a businessman in Hollins, staked his claim to the far right, blasting the Vinton library project, spinning theories about the future of ICLEI and arguing for a return to the county’s former policy on prayer.
When asked if he would make changes to the county budget, Bedrosian was the first to offer specifics. He argued that each county department should cut 2 percent of its budget , and at the discretion of the department heads. He also supported jettisoning the Vinton library project as a way of saving several million dollars.
“I believe this debt is really the issue in this campaign right now,” he said. “We need to be very stingy with people’s money.”
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