In Augusta County, Experience and Integrity Pitted Against a ‘Blank Page’

The News Leader endorsed a “blank page.” That’s not for me.

I’m for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Tracy Pyles who is up for reelection for Pastures District in Augusta County. He has served well for 22 years, working closely with residents on the issues that are important to them.

We are a rural district west of Staunton with wide swaths of farmland, large tracts of hunting land, and the George Washington National Forest dissecting the district, isolating the Deerfield and Bells Valleys from other areas of Pastures.

Swoope has long-time family farms that are bordered by the North Mountain range of the Appalachian Mountains. The views are breathtaking, and the isolation is real. Out here you can get lost in the beauty of the surroundings. In the midst of this area that those in the more populated eastern side of the county and the city of Staunton don’t even begin to understand is a man who understands the people. The reason is because he grew up here. He intimately knows the land, the people, and the issues they face.

I wasn’t the only constituent who was insulted by the Staunton News Leader’s endorsement of Tracy’s opponent whom they called a “blank page.” They have a problem with Tracy’s get-‘er-done personality so, although none of the three men on the editorial board live in the district, their choice was to have us trade in dependable, and endure a supervisor who would not have a clue what she was doing.

Some folks in Staunton got their feathers ruffled because Tracy stood up to them, and so did the lumber guy on the other side of the county. Money buys a lot. Flash a little green (or a lot) and you can get just about anything.

Sunday’s News Leader featured five letters to the editor endorsing Tracy — other candidates only had one or two — and an ad bought by Tracy that expressed his love of the district.

His opponent’s VPAP page lists a number of donations from realtors which begs the question of what are they after. Her signs began littering the rural roadways months ago, not only in Pastures but the city — the folks who can’t vote for her.

Tracy didn’t have any fundraisers but people went to him with donations. He didn’t begin distributing yard signs until after Labor Day in September. Folks, after all, get tired of mowing around and seeing them for so long.

To save money, Tracy printed his own flyers. As his yard signs mysteriously disappeared from along the roadways, he reordered. He walked neighborhoods and mailed fliers to other areas. He was all over his district, from Churchville to Deerfield to Craigsville.

Letters to the editor in Sunday’s newspaper were from the people who live in Tracy’s district. Many know him personally. He is always accessible. Everyone knows where he lives. His phone number is readily available.

He spends hours crunching numbers for budgets and trying to save money for the county — not just Pastures District, but for everyone.

In 2009 he joined up with Chester Farms owner Francis Chester when real estate assessments went through the roof when the bubble burst and real estate values plummeted. He stood up with his constituents as they circulated petitions and hundreds turned out to the government center, and succeeded in keeping the real estate taxes low.

Public water, paved roads, new parks, school renovations, hiring new paid firefighters and emergency workers … Tracy has done it all and much, much more.

On Tuesday I will be voting for integrity, experience, and determination. A blank page? Please, News Leader, don’t insult the residents of western Augusta County.

Tracy Pyles … a public servant, not a politician.