The Mirror was able to take a few moments to catch up with Rob Stubbs, Northampton Candidate for District 1 Supervisor, and ask a few questions about why he is running, and why he should be representing you in District 1.
Why have you decided to run, and what aspect of working in local government is most important to you?
Local Government is where individuals can make the most impact! I want to serve the Citizens of my District and bring their voices to the meetings of the Board of Supervisors. I also want to bring more of a common-sense approach to decisions made for our future. The most important work of local government is to bring about a better future and look out for their best interests.
What are the most important challenges facing our county and how do you propose to address them?
Debt! The debt load that the County has is a concern for the future. Most citizens cannot afford much of a tax increase in addition to all of the inflation that they are experiencing now. We need a plan to address issues that will greatly affect us yet a strong thought process for future tax rates.
What life experiences have you had that have led you to feel you are the right person?
I have been in local government and in the business realm so I have a unique outlook or perspective on local government. I have lived on the Shore since 2002. Even though I have not lived here my whole life I do love the Shore and want it to succeed. I also have an outlook for listening to the citizens and bringing forth their voices the entire term of service.
How will you work to increase job opportunities for your constituents?
I will work to bring my experience and ideas to my quest to bring a great future to Northampton County. I will work to preserve our County yet bring in jobs that work with the Shore and drive a tax base for our future. We can be an area that is nature-oriented yet has jobs and businesses.
How do you feel about how the county is doing, and do you see any problems with how it is being run now?
I think that the County is healthy, yet we are not addressing all the needs of our citizens. Funding is a huge issue with our current and future needs. We need to continue to try to give better service at all levels. We need to fund the areas of need yet answer to our citizens with the accountability of government. I think we do many things well, that being said I do believe there are areas of improvement that can happen. That all comes from the top down. The Board of Supervisors needs to set the example and standard and let that flow down through all levels. A positive attitude and a focus on great service to our citizens can help make a great future.
If you could change one thing in our zoning code, what would it be and why?
The way we look at the entire process. I had a large landowner in Northampton County tell me that they would not build in Northampton County because the answer is “no” before you even ask the question. This is a perception and again it starts at the top and filters down. I am not saying that any employee of the County is at fault, I am saying we need to set the example at the Board of Supervisors level and move forward. We need to go out of the way in the future to help with working with our zoning code and helping citizens find what they can do and how to do it.
This is specific more to the Eastern Shore. Housing is a big issue for low- and median-income people, for a lot of reasons, it is hard for many of our workers, county workers, teachers trying to find affordable housing- What policies to think could help the Shore help us to get more affordable housing—is it building new homes and commercial space or rehabbing older homes, how do you see that issue?
I think we need workforce housing. This is housing that houses people that are working in our County now with the jobs we currently have. Teachers, Hospitality Industry, and retail jobs that are here now and likely to grow are the people that need a place to live. The workforce must be able to live in the area and afford to stay. That is the issue so there are long-term answers yet we need also some short-term answers for immediate needs. We need to have some development for housing that takes years to plan and build. We also need short-term answers like finished rooms or apartments over a garage.
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in our town?
Holding constituent meetings throughout the entire term and being accessible to the citizens. I plan to hold regular meetings and seek out citizens that might want a voice but may not seek me out to bring it forward.
What are your top priorities for small businesses if you are elected?
We need to attract small businesses to Northampton. We need to devise plans to make it easier for them to open or relocate here. We need to look at potential tax incentives to attract new businesses.
Why should small-business owners support your campaign?
I have run several small businesses and know what it takes and some of the challenges to succeed. I will fight for them to the end. That is why.
How do you feel about the transportation options currently available in our county? Do we have enough options? If not, what will you do to increase those?
Transportation will be a constant ever-changing need and challenge. We need more options and we need to attract future options for our citizens and travelers visiting and driving through our County. We will have to help fund some options in the future so we need to have ideas for the future.
What do you see that we can do to bolster our schools and help our teachers, and more importantly, support our students?
We have to fund education. That is a must and we probably need to increase that funding. We are doing some things now to increase that, like building a new school or renovating it. There will need to be other operational increases to address and we need to commit to the needed funding. We need to find a way to make sure we can do it yet require accountability in the process and the School Board.
How do you see faith-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, with the county working together to help fight extreme poverty? How can citizens play a role?
We need to take an approach that allows a good line of communication with those entities. We need to embrace the help that is available. Citizens should be encouraged to help and come up with ideas to address those issues.
This is a national issue as much as it is anything else, but it comes up on the Eastern Shore, people are on both sides of it, do you support laws that require voters to show official identification before being allowed to vote?
I support voter identification. We need to ensure voting integrity and that is the best way to do it. You have to have an ID to drive or to do business, why is it a problem to have that to vote? The answer is it is not.
This is the Cape Charles Mirror, and we’re really focused more than anything on all things Cape Charles.
While Coastal Precast Concrete is an asset to the town and county, the majority of the tax revenue goes to the county. Given that Cape Charles hosts the plant, and bears the brunt of any perceived issues such as noise and dust, would you be in favor of a more equitable cut of the tax revenue coming back to the town?
I think that Northampton County needs to ensure that they take care of the Citizens in all areas of the County. That being said, Cape Charles provides a huge portion of the tax revenue for the County. The Board of Supervisors needs to remember that and bring reasonable portions of those funds back to that immediate area. So yes I am in favor of a more equitable portion of funds flowing back to that area which is part of my district.
What is your general impression about how Cape Charles is growing, and if you have a favorite place that you like in Cape Charles, what is it?
I think Cape Charles is booming. The likely hood is that they continue that boom for the foreseeable future. I like what Mason Avenue is becoming and the development there. I love Bay Creek and the development.