Break The Wheel has recently reached out to all Aquia Supervisor candidates in an effort to learn more about them and why they have entered the race. Today, BTW is posting the responses of Republican candidate Cindy Shelton. She will be on the ballot on June 13th in the Republican Primary. Learn more about Cindy on her website or her FB page. Find Sharon Foley's responses HERE. Jason Pelt has not responded to our questions.
Break The Wheel: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with BTW, Cindy. Tell us about yourself
Cindy Shelton: I have lived in Stafford County since 2011. I am a 5th generation Texan but I left because I felt like I had no roots. When I came to Stafford County, I just loved it because there is so much history here. I am retired military, like 35 percent of Stafford county. I left the government, frankly, just to do this particular job because I am done with politicians and the divisiveness within the Republican party, within all the parties. This is not the world that I planned. I am a person who cares deeply, I probably wear my feelings a bit too much on my sleeve because I do care so deeply. Some have expressed that I may not have a thick enough skin but yet on the other hand I think we need a little sensitivity in politics. My background is in Project Management and it's serendipitous that it so applies to what is being done on the Board of Supervisors
Break the Wheel: What drove your decision to enter the Aquia Board of Supervisor Race?
Cindy Shelton: When I found out that Paul Milde was leaving, I asked many of my friends who I respect to run but I couldn't get them to. At the end of the day, when I look at this world we have today I could blame all of these other people but I have to look in the mirror. Then I realized, I'm going to have to do this. I really wanted to run because I want to start a new brand of politicians, people that communicate effectively and communicate in multi-modal ways. To be able to be in touch constantly with their constituents, constantly listening to them and finding ways to keep that pulse [of the community.] With that [level] of transparency, you are able to be held accountable. I am absolutely sure I am going to make some mistakes and that people will point those out to me and I am totally cool with that because that is how we learn. I just don't want to do anything in a vacuum.
My personal passion has to do with special needs adults. (Ed Note:Cindy has a special needs adult son still living in Texas) . After they leave school they go back into the woodwork and they sit in their family's house because their parents don't know what to do with them. When their parents die, they have always stayed at home and have never been exposed to anything. What happens then? Some end up on the streets, some end up in jail and some end up dead. I want to do something about this.
Break the Wheel: What do you think you bring to the table that others may lack?
Cindy Shelton: One of the things I bring is a passion to keep the political world clean, with integrity and without all of the negative rhetoric that goes on. I don't think we need to have that ever. That is one thing that I bring that I don't see. The other thing that I bring is all of my experience with project management, which is exactly what the Board of Supervisors does. They do all of the planning and that was literally my profession. How cool is that?
The reason that is important, that you need the expertise is that when someone is blowing smoke up your skirt, you know it. If you don't, then you have to depend on what others are saying and this is taxpayer dollars. They deserve expertise in this area.
Break the Wheel: What are the most pressing issues that you feel face Stafford County?
Cindy Shelton: Growth and congestion. Unplanned growth has happened for years and years and now we are stuck with it. We have to quit whining about it, draw a line in the sand and move on. That's what I wanted to participate in is the planning of what that looks like and it's hard. If it was easy, they would already be doing it. There is no silver bullet here. I definitely understand Smart Scale and I understand portfolio management which will be a huge advantage as we go forward. I was recently at a Regional Transit discussion at the Chamber of Commerce and I was surprised that an area board chairman (not Stafford) said, when asked what could be done, he said nothing can be done. We can't tell people nothing can be done because there are things that can be done. Just because I don' know or you don't know, there is an answer. I am going to have a maniacal focus on finding that answer. I am expecting to have a plan and then have that communication with everyone so that we all know what that looks like. People will come up with things that are wrong with it and that's really important. Frankly, if you think about it, that is what the Board of Supervisors should have always done, but I just don't know where we got off into "Now, we are going to be politicians" instead of representing the people. My "agenda" is that I want to leave Stafford County a better place.
I don't think that the PDR (Purchase of Development Rights) program is a good answer. I think that is a shell game. I know that Stafford County has figures and amounts that they are supposed to be able to allocate based upon certain [housing] developments but we never get those funds. I would like us to do what the regulations say we are supposed to do. So, when I build a development and I am required to give x amount of money, then give that. Some of the things that have happened in the past, I believe and I could find out something totally different, we have been allowing developers to underfund our infrastructure and that makes no sense to me. For example with PDR, every project is a "good" project, every project has merit but is it the number one priority that needs to be done first? So with Winding Creek, (a proposed 97 home development to be voted on by the BoS later this month) if I am taking money away from the schools that has no benefit or value to that group, why would I do that? It puts us where we are now where we are constantly trying to catch up.
Break the Wheel: Are you willing to work hand in hand with the School Board to deal head on with some of the major problems others have left for you to clean up?
Cindy Shelton: I don't know how you can operate without doing that, it's impossible. I am completely supportive of the merge of the two portfolios (the Capitol Improvement Programs.) I wasn't at first because of some issues but the benefits of merging the two far outweigh the drawbacks. Some of the things you worry about are the real high priority things that will sometimes get lost. But you set up weighted values to keep that from happening, I am not going to let that happen. I also feel like citizens should have some say in that. I'm not sure how that will work but there should be some inject from citizens as to how important a certain project is. I'm pretty excited about it. Every place where I have implemented this, government or San Bernadino County, has been different. I didn't really think about that when I started that it would be fun to do, but it is exciting. The conversation that has to occur that I haven't seen is efficiency. I absolutely know that the schools systems are incredibly inefficient. It's not just about we need to give the schools more money, I want to know what the return on investments are. What are you doing with the money you have been given, where have you used it, what's that value stream? But I am hesitant to be critical and say "I am going to go fix this!" unless I have really had a conversation with them about their reasoning. Every single time I do that, I find out there is something I didn't understand and it changes my point of view. THAT is why communication is so critical.
Thanks so much, Cindy! To contact Cindy Shelton, go to her website at CindyShelton.org or on her Facebook page.