Marla Coleman ‘disappointed’ in HCBOS action

I was not reappointed to the Hanover County School Board for a second term. As you can imagine, there are lots of questions regarding my reaction to being denied reappointment.

I certainly can confirm that I am disappointed. I was encouraged by several Hanover County leaders not to pursue reappointment, but I have too much respect for the importance of the position to believe that the best strategy for me is to avoid the unpleasantness.

As a reality, however, my term will shortly end (the letter was submitted on Friday, June 28) and the position will soon be held by the new appointee (effective July 1).

I am very pleased that I had this opportunity to serve our schools, families, and youth. Serving on a school board is a very special honor that demands the best effort from the board member. It is certainly a challenging assignment and not to be taken lightly.

I was fortunate to serve with a great educational team under Dr. Michael Gill and to work with fellow Hanover County School Board members to provide important, visionary leadership to Hanover County Public Schools.

I have been inspired by our amazing, creative educators and support personnel. And, without a doubt, our students remain our daily, joyful focus.

One of the most memorable days in the past years was the day I shadowed a high school student as she moved through her very challenging day.

I know from experience just how important putting boots on the ground can be for a member of a school board.

Even though I have a lifetime in education, each and every day was new and informative. I was always more than willing to study the issues, respond to each, and make informed decisions on these issues. It has been an amazing, inspiring experience.

My comments here reflect, I hope, my sincerest and deepest affection for our schools and those who lead and teach. It has truly been one of the best experiences I could imagine.

I am deeply grateful to all who guided me along the way and helped me to grow into the role.

I will take with me wonderful memories of the great educators who work here in Hanover and the inspiring students who learn here.

It was a rare opportunity, a lot of fun, and a ton of work.

I place great value on the amazing opportunity I had to serve our exceptionally outstanding Hanover County schools.

Marla Coleman


Broadband Task Force brings officials to table

I was invited by U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman’s office to attend the third in a series of meetings of what he’s calling his “Broadband Task Force” on June 24. This meeting occurred at the Beale Annex Building in Tappahannock.

I’d like to share with your readers what was discussed and how we can move Hanover County toward expanding access to this vital utility.

The purpose of this meeting of the Task Force was to have representatives from both the state and federal government explain the process for accessing funds that have been appropriated in their budgets for the next couple of years to expand broadband internet access to rural communities. Representatives from a few local governments and private internet service providers also were in attendance.

By the government’s calculations, roughly 40% of Hanover’s residents currently live in areas that are defined as “rural”. We join other localities in Congressman Wittman’s district that have a large rural population – places like Caroline County, the Northern Neck, etc. – and I appreciate him working on this issue because it affects so much of our daily lives.

Some of the attendees told stories of their school-aged children having to drive 20 to 30 minutes, each way, to find a location that had the internet access speed to accommodate the homework they were working on. They usually found it at a fast food restaurant or coffee shop.

Access to high speed internet is crucial for the future of any community and Hanover is no different. We need to take the necessary steps to start applying for the funds that the state and federal government is making available.

Locally, Powhatan County has submitted an application to be considered with others from around the country for the federal grant funds, New Kent County has approved funds to perform a study to expand access, and King William County is working on their initiative with Del. Chris Peace and the state’s broadband officer. It’s past time for Hanover County to address this critical issue.

James Doran


What about emergency services?

Lake District vote deferred? [The Mechanicsville Local, June 26, 2019, page 11.]

Nowhere in Attorney Jeffrey Geiger’s communications, nor developer Boyd Homes’ presentations, have I yet seen this developer even offering to provide a sheriff substation and a fire-EMS station to the Hanover County government, at no cost to us Hanover County taxpayers.

Chief Donald E. White


Sanders: thanks for support for Henry seat

I want to start out by thanking all those who sent an email or contacted a supervisor on my behalf in regard to the Henry District position on the Hanover County School Board.

I think we in a slight way made the process more transparent and responsive to the people.

I am humbled by your support. If politics is a bug, maybe I am not cured yet!

But I was thrilled to hear about George Sutton with a glowing testimony of Christian service in his church by his pastor. He seemed like a solid person of integrity and honor who would do well.

So when I heard the news that I did not get selected, let me tell you, defeat is a bummer!

But I was pleased to hear that Mr. Sutton did get the nod, I got his number and called him. I promised to pray.

I encourage those in the county to try to pray more often for our local officials and bring concerns and compliments to them.

Let’s rally around George as he assumes his responsibilities for the next four years.

Thank you again for the wonderful community paper, The Mechanicsville Local. It is useful and much needed and I usually look it over from front to back.

Elwood Earl “Sandy” Sanders Jr.


Reader explains Republicans’ primary process

(Editor’s note: The following was submitted before incumbent Del. Chris Peace announced he would not pursue any further action in the 97th District House of Delegates race.)

With respect to your article on June 26 about the Delegate Primary race in the 97th District, there may be some confusion in the district about the contest between Del. Chris Peace and Scott Wyatt, who represents the Cold Harbor District on the Hanover County Board of Supervisors, who was endorsed by three levels of the Republican Party in Virginia.

Despite contentions to the contrary, there was nothing “contrived” about the primary process. Here’s why:

A couple of years ago a new law in effect took the type of primary away from incumbents in Virginia and put how to have a primary into the hands of local districts. Thus, voters have more choices now, and you have begun to see conventions emerge as opposed to primaries.

Remember, in Virginia primaries are open to all voters no matter their party affiliation.

In the 97th District early this year the Republican Party voted to have a convention and not an open primary.

This was done fully in accord with the State Republican Party Rules and Regulations, and both Chris and Scott knew exactly that. No secret there.

Naturally, as an incumbent, Chris preferred an Open Primary because of his name recognition and 97th Democrats could cross over and vote for him based on his more liberal voting record in the past couple of years.

Like most all Republicans, I voted for Chris every time he ran, almost always without competition, in the 97th. We all did.

But, what changed this year was when House Speaker Kirk Cox sided with the Democrat governor and party, along with a handful of Republicans, including Chris, to pass the Obama Care Medicaid for All in Virginia.

As a delegate of the most consistently conservative Republican district in Virginia, Chris should have, in my opinion, told Cox “No thanks, I’ll pass on that this time.” But, he didn’t and the ground was laid for a big “Blow back.” Result: early fireworks.

Chris fully participated in the convention process at first and actually won in King William and New Kent.

I attended two mass meetings and several committee meetings and met him.

But, when it became evident that he might lose in Hanover he suddenly pulled out of the convention and tried to have a late Firehouse Primary, open to all voters in either party.

For those who carefully followed the whole chain of events, it was no surprise the three levels of the Republican Party in Virginia held that the convention process was legal, the Fire House Primary was not, and submitted Scott’s name to the State Board of Elections -- an easy call.

What’s next? For the sake of the Republican Party in the 97th, I believe Chris should get with Scott -- they know each other fairly well -- “bury the hatchet and smoke the old peace pipe.” That’s for the good of the 97th Republican voters.

And, that’s my opinion.

Hope this helps.

Bill Todd


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