One of three candidates for the Hampton district seat on the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors has changed her mind this week, and another school board member announced her intention to seek reelection Nov. 3.
Alma Viator of Harris Hollow, in a email this week, said “. . . to do the supervisor’s job with the thoroughness and vigor that it deserves requires more time and attention than I can realistically commit to it at this point . . . .” Viator said she and her husband, Ben Jones, plan to open a “Cooter’s in the Country” museum and store in Sperryville in May, and have other business and travel commitments. “This was a very difficult decision because I deeply love Rappahannock County. I will continue to contribute my voice, my energy and my time to keep it as a place we are all proud to call home.”
Her decision leaves a two-man race for the seat that longtime supervisor Bryant Lee says he’ll give up this year — between current school board chair John Lesinski (whom Lee has endorsed) and real estate agent and farmer Jay Miller (whose late father, J. Newbill Miller, was a longtime supervisor, a mayor of Washington and an early proponent of Rappahannock’s open-land-preservation policies).
The school board’s Jackson district representative, Amy Hitt, said this week she’s decided to seek a second term. “With John [Lesinski] running for supervisor, I feel like we need to have some consistency on the school board to finish what this board’s goals were when we were elected four years ago,” she said. Hitt reportedly had been considering running for supervisor, a seat held for many years by Ron Frazier (who’s said he’ll run again this November). Wakefield district school board representative Chris Ubben has said he’ll seek a second term in November; he has no announced opponents yet, and neither has anyone announced a run for the seat Lesinski is giving up in the Hampton district.
In the Virginia senate’s 26th district (which includes all of Rappahannock, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties, the city of Harrisonburg and part of Rockingham County), Republican incumbent Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg has his first announced Democratic opponent this week. Writer, retired teacher and environmental activist April Moore of Orkney Springs announced her candidacy this week at a press conference in Harrisonburg.
“We need a legislature that puts the people before big money, that functions honestly and openly, free of corruption, and that enacts real solutions to the climate crisis,” she said. “It is how we deal with these three issues that will do most to determine what kind of Virginia, what kind of America, and what kind of planet our grandchildren will inherit from us. On these three issues, I believe that the liberals and conservatives of our district can unite. And Mark Obenshain is on the wrong side on all three of these issues.”
Since his election in 2003, Obenshain has established a conservative record in what is generally considered a conservative senate district — Rappahannock being by far the district’s smallest, if not least conservative, county.