The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Incumbents have opponents in Aquia, Garrisonville
Four candidates for the two supervisor seats up for grabs in North Stafford this fall have taken distinctly different approaches to their campaigns.
A strong economy is a buzzword in the Garrisonville District as the two candidates share their plans.
Incumbent Ty Schieber touts the current board’s policies and achievements, while challenger Laura Sellers wants to present alternative ideas to increase money flowing into the county.
“What do I want it to look like in the next four years? I don’t want it to look like this,” Sellers said. That’s when her son, now a toddler, would be entering the public school system.
The Democrat is calling for targeted economic growth to bring in more money to the county—particularly businesses that people want in the northern part of the county, as well as a county-operated firing range certified by the General Services Administration that could be used by federal law enforcement officers that must test skills regularly.
Sellers said in a recent interview that she wants to bring a “new vibe to the board.” She also wants to think through transportation plans before starting more construction.
Meanwhile Schieber, a Republican, said it’s notable that Stafford County has received two bond upgrades in the struggling economy. That’s in residents’ best interests as it increases the county’s borrowing power per tax dollar, he said.
Other accomplishments include progress on the parks and recreation and transportation bond referendums, he said. “I think we’ve gotten some wonderful things accomplished for the county but there’s a lot more work to do and I want to contribute,” Schieber, 48, said.
Managing growth and the required infrastructure plans are also among the issues he noted were important for a new board, as is education.
“Working with the focus on public schools is certainly one of my focal points in the coming year to work on the relational aspects of the boards,” Schieber said.
Schieber, a Republican, has lived in Stafford a few months shy of 20 years with his wife, Liz, and their three children.
He served as an officer in the Marine Corps on active duty from 1987 to 1998, and was in reserves until 2001. He holds two master’s degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School in systems technology and national security affairs.
His Democratic challenger is Sellers, 28, who graduated from the county school system. She holds a bachelor’s in sociology from North Carolina State University and a master’s of social work from Catholic University of America. Sellers works at two places—as a social-work intern at Pathways to Housing DC, and as a behavioral science analyst at Via Global LLC.
Sellers, who ran unsuccessfully against former supervisor Mark Dudenhefer four years ago, has also chaired the Stafford Democratic Committee and is a member of several other organizations.
For this campaign, Sellers has outspent Schieber 10 times over with $4,607. She has raised $6,757, which includes a $4,000 loan from herself and money from 16 donors, with two in-kind contributions.
As of Sept. 30, campaign reports show she has $2,235 on hand, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
Meanwhile, Schieber has received four contributions totaling $2,975.
He has spent $410 on this campaign, in stark contrast to the nearly $16,000 he spent on last year’s special election for the seat. He was appointed to fill the Garrisonville seat in January 2012 after Dudenhefer was elected as a state delegate.
Aquia Supervisor Paul Milde is nearing the end of this second term and hopes to remain in the seat for four more years.
And though it’s a quiet campaign thus far—something Milde is thankful for after the previous ones centered on attacks—the 46-year-old business owner said he’s taking his opponent, Democrat Mara Sealock, seriously.
Preserving open space is at the top of his priority list, and he said the new board’s biggest challenge will be “managing and controlling growth to the extent we can.”
He touts the implementation of transportation impact fees as a way development will pay for itself, and says he’ll continue to push for land-conservation programs. Promoting fiscally conservative policies and maintaining business-friendly policies are also part of Milde’s mission.
Milde has lived in Stafford for 24 years and owns Closet Interiors Plus. He’s enrolled at the University of Mary Washington and is involved with other groups in the county.
Based on the dollars in contributions, Milde remains the popular choice throughout the region.
Over the course of his second term in office, and the four-year campaign period, Milde has raised $155,300 and spent $78,200, through Sept. 30.
He said the spending traces back to his first “high-paced” race when he fought back from attacks. Since then, he regularly uses donations for mailings and other ways of communicating with constituents during nonelection times.
“I have this great breadth of supporters,” Milde said. “I’m blessed to have so many people that want to help me.”
Sealock, 21, is running a minimal campaign. She has held no meet-and-greet events and didn’t attend the recent NAACP candidates forum, the only public event for all local candidates.
Sealock holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Marymount University, where she was a class senator. She hopes to attend the University of Mary Washington for a master’s in education.
She works at Wings To Go and Nissan of Stafford.
Sealock could not be reached for comment this week. In a questionnaire sent to all candidates, Sealock said the important issues in the race are support for Stafford schools, transparency in government and stopping developer giveaways.
She has received $550—of which $500 is from the Stafford Democratic Committee. She reported spending $393 through the end of September.
Just this year, 175 donations to Milde’s campaign have added up to $43,499, which includes three in-kind donations for his annual summer fundraising event at Hope Springs Marina. He has reported spending $27,805.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975