Franklin says she knows Fluvanna County

I have been more than a mere spectator to county government, however. In 2006, I proposed and led FTA’s initiative to develop a first-ever fiscal chapter for the Comprehensive Plan. That effort led to the “Financial Sustainability” chapter that is now part of the plan. Never before had a group of citizens contributed an entire chapter to the Comprehensive Plan. I have led annual “Taxpayer’s Tour of the Budget” sessions for citizens and reported on numerous tax-impact issues in FTA’s newsletter. I also served on the Planning Commission’s recent A-1 Zoning Task Force, which developed recommendations for land use likely to go before the Board of Supervisors in calendar 2014. In addition, I served on Fluvanna Friends of Rural Preservation’s executive board and am a graduate of the county’s Leadership Development Program.
As a member of Fluvanna’s Citizens’ Water Committee in 2010, I proposed cost/analysis and fiscal objectives that fueled the discovery that the Fluvanna-Louisa pipeline deal approved by supervisors would cost Fluvanna taxpayers $11 million more than a pipeline sized for our county’s needs alone. I organized and moderated a “Which Way Water” forum where the public could view all the CWC water proposals, including nine proposed by citizens. I also am one of the few citizens to have attended meetings of the James River Water Authority since its inception in 2009.
In addition, I have organized and moderated two “Taxpayers Talk with School Leaders” sessions and am a “graduate” of Fluvanna Schools Finance Director Ed Breslauer’s “School Finance 101” series of sessions last year. Earlier this year, I also co-led FTA’s “8-County Total Education Costs” research project that compared how Fluvanna taxpayers stack up in their total financial support for schools.
County government presents a steep learning curve to new supervisors. I am the only candidate who has climbed much of that hill already (if you don’t count unopposed incumbent Don Weaver). Because of that, I am the only candidate prepared to hit the ground running.
Even though you may not hold a position now on the FTA, your name has become synonymous with the group. How do you plan to convince people who don’t agree with the FTA stance on issues that you will represent them?
I resigned my post as co-chairman of FTA and gave up my leadership seat because the organization is nonpartisan. However, I continue to strongly support FTA and remain proud of its accomplishments under my leadership.
To those who do not agree with FTA positions I can say only that we advocate for taxpayers and the ordinary citizens of our county. I’ve always been amazed that some folks consider it controversial to stand up for the pocketbooks of people who have the most to lose from county policy and spending decisions – taxpayers. The public cookie jar is a tempting thing and I’ll always stick up for citizens who hand over their hard-earned dollars to the county and hope that county decisions do not enrich others at their expense.
Why should people vote for you?
I’ll bring my business savvy to the Board of Supervisors. For the past 27 years, I have owned a successful small business based in Texas, where I was named “Woman Business Owner of the Year” by the Association of Women Entrepreneurs. A former department head with Procter & Gamble, I also have been a newspaper editor with dailies including The Detroit News and The Dallas Morning News, America’s eighth-largest newspaper in circulation.
I also have empathy for people across the whole spectrum of needs, wants and opinions. Born in Kentucky, from a family of coal miners and farmers, I am the product of public education and was the first university graduate in my family. I know well the value of an education. My mother got only as far as the eighth grade, but she instilled in us a fierce ambition and love of learning. My brothers and I would be nowhere without public education and the public library. We grew up on welfare in public housing, so we know what it’s like to desperately seek a way out and succeed. I just wish my mother had known the better life we have. She would think Fluvanna was heaven.
Because of my background, I have mentored welfare mothers, including a woman and her family who occupied in the 90s the very flat in the projects where my family I lived decades earlier. Today that woman who used to be on welfare is just shy of a college degree, has a job and we’re like sisters.
In your opinion, what are Fluvanna’s top three strengths?
I traded millions of people for millions of trees when I moved here from Dallas. In that city and other places like it, so many things have already been decided. But that’s not true here. Fluvanna is this wonderful Petri dish of democracy where we are just embarking on a journey and making decisions that could change us forever. Our county is just enough behind the curve that we have a great opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others and to do things really right as we go forward. What if we could be the county that finds the formula that has eluded so many others – that allows us to adapt but preserves the wonderful rural character and affordability we all moved here for or grew up here knowing? There is a formula. Let’s figure it out. That’s what I want to do as supervisor. As for other strengths, there are the terrific people I’ve met here from whom I’ve learned so much. There’s wonderful little E.W. Thomas. There’s lovely Roseberry Farm. There’s the Rivanna and the James. There’s Ed Knight who came by and plowed me out of a snowstorm so I could get to the airport. And there’s the heart-catching, lyrical sound of the wood thrush in June that I never ever heard before moving here.
The 2013 budget cycle had an energizing yet polarizing effect on Fluvanna citizens. If elected, how will you approach budget negotiations?
Input and information will be fundamental. I’ll find out what people care most about and I’ll get the facts about possible alternatives relating to both revenues and expenses. I’ll especially look for opportunities to eliminate unnecessary costs and put our money where it is needed most.
What do you think is the most important role of a supervisor?
Not making dumb decisions and not spending money other people don’t have.

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