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This Week's Topic: Public Servant or Politician?


When running for office, every politician claims to be a "public servant," but are they? All elected public servants are politicians out of necessity, but not all politicians are necessarily public servants. Once elected, too many politicians forget about the voters who elected them and the taxpayers who pay the bills. They continue to raise money, pander to their donors and party, and fail to protect the interests of the community. Let’s consider some real examples here in Chesterfield County:


The Upper Magnolia Megasite


A true public servant would gather community input about a project BEFORE agreeing to "sponsor" it in his/her district. If the community expressed concerns regarding the cost, traffic, environmental impacts, and project justification, a public servant would vote "no" in the interest of the citizens AND work tirelessly to ensure his/her peers voted against the project as well.


A politician would sponsor the project without first seeking community input, lobby the Governor for the project behind the community's back, and tout the project as the answer to sprawl and over-crowded schools--all while knowing the only true beneficiaries of the project were his/her campaign donors who owned the land surrounding the project. Knowing the community opposed the project, a politician would only vote "no" in order to maintain his/her influence and win a re-election.


The Southside Speedway


A public servant would recognize Southside Speedway as a unique venue and longtime part of the community fabric. As a locally-owned business, a public servant would do everything in his/her power to support that business through a pandemic and transition of ownership.


Knowing the community support of the track, a politician would feign support while allowing the unelected Economic Development Authority to purchase and orchestrate the demise of the speedway in favor of costly pet projects.


Schools


When confronted with schools in distress due to overcrowding and barely-adequate teacher compensation, a public servant would prioritize school funding. A public servant would make tough decisions to drive efficiency and root out waste in county government, freeing additional money for school construction and teacher pay.


A politician, on the other hand, would take credit for increases in school funding--neglecting to share that the increase in funding was entirely driven by record inflation. In fact, the portion of the budget allocated to education was 2% (approximately $20M in FY24), less the last two years, than it had been just three years ago.


If elected, I pledge to be a public servant. I will work tirelessly with the BOS to stop funding future development of the Upper Magnolia Megasite. Instead, I would advocate to preserve the land not used for schools as the "Moseley Forest" with public access via Horner Park. The benefit would be twofold: First, it would stop the drain of taxpayer dollars on the flawed project (the estimated cost to make the site "shovel ready" is $1 billion). Second, it would slow the steady sprawl of development west to the county line (our schools and roads can't handle any more growth until we play some catch up).


I would vote with all the Supervisors committed to saving the Southside Speedway and demand the EDA sell the track and do everything in its power to return racing to Chesterfield.


Finally, I would propose and champion a "100 in 100" plan to increase funding for school construction and teacher compensation. The plan would be for County and School administrators to identify $100M in budget savings and cuts in 100 days--all of the $100M to be used for school construction and teacher compensation. There is no more time for politics and business-as-usual in Chesterfield County. We need a plan for sustainable growth--not endless borrowing and debt.


God bless America, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Chesterfield County, and the good people of Matoaca!

-Chip

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