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The banker said Vinton's voice has "needed to be louder" at times on the board of supervisors.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
It slips into conversation without a hint of hesitation or apology.
And it isn’t without warrant. Jason Peters is a lifelong east Roanoke County resident and a Vinton banker. He’s also a foregone conclusion — the sole candidate making a bid for that district’s seat on the county board of supervisors.
In November, barring something unforeseen, Peters will assume the role of retiring Supervisor Mike Altizer. He’ll bring along an ingrained sense of Vinton exceptionalism, and an eagerness to put his district at the forefront of discussion as it embraces a multi-year effort to revitalize the town’s center.
Sitting behind an executive desk in his office at First Citizens Bank office on Monday, Peters described an undercurrent of enthusiasm in his hometown as it prepares to begin the construction of a multimillion dollar library designed to be the centerpiece of the town’s rebranding. The effort has been a long time coming, like other projects, he said. He mentioned the Vinton fire and rescue building upgrade as a second example.
“There are times where I’ve thought that our voice has needed to be louder,” Peters said, assuring his intent to be a town advocate once he takes his seat on the board.
As a supervisor, Peters will also help decide the overall direction of the county, including issues such as how to pay for costly storm water management mandates, attracting new businesses to the valley and balancing savings and services. Peters, who has served for three years on the county planning commission, said he hopes to continue a commission effort to eliminate red tape new businesses might find in the county.
Despite an election that seems to be settled, Peters said he does not intend to quit campaigning.
“I don’t take it for granted that I’m it,” he said. “I know a lot of people here, but I still want to be connected. I still plan to do my door-to-door. I still plan to do my mailer.”
As he makes his rounds, Peters said he is seeking to cast himself as a business-friendly candidate focused on helping his constituents find work. Along the way, he has trumpeted support for capital improvement projects, and has rejected a lot of the criticism that has been lobbed at some of them, including the Vinton Library.
“I believe there are some people who think we should spend all our time paying down debt,” Peters said. “That’s just not me.”
He mentioned Al Bedrosian, the Republican candidate running in the Hollins District race, as one of those critics. Bedrosian has leveled criticism of the Vinton Library project for months, even going so far as to speak out at current board of supervisors meetings.
“To stop all capital improvement until you have no debt just doesn’t make any sense,” Peters said. “It’s easy for Al Bedrosian to make those comments when he’s out in Hollins with that facility there. We’re retiring more debt than we’ve been adding. You can’t stop projects and what the community needs.”
David Suetterlein, the chairman of the Roanoke County Republican Committee, said the committee has not taken a position on library projects.
Vinton Mayor Brad Grose said the town council has worked closely with the board of supervisors for years.
“I don’t normally endorse candidates,” Grose said. “I do know Jason to be a good man. He and I worked together on a couple of projects, including the Vinton veterans monument. I think he’ll do a good job. I don’t have him in my speed dial yet, but he will be.”
Above all else, Grose said he looks for fairness in a district supervisor. Someone who will ensure Vinton is treated the same as the rest of the county.
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