Archive for the 'Programs' Category

Virginia General Assembly Legislative Report

Sunday, May 13th, 2018

The 2018 Session was very different from other recent Sessions. Topics included the impact of the 2016 Presidential election of Donald Trump on the 2017 legislative elections, in which Democrats came within a hair’s breadth of capturing control of the House of Delegates, and on the 2018 General Assembly Session. Also discussed are the 2018 federal elections, the 2019 General Assembly Session and the 2019 legislative elections.

In this podcast, and the accompanying PowerPoint (click here), you will learn about issues that came before the 2018 General Assembly including: Medicaid expansion and the proposed work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients; the proposed hospital tax to help pay for Virginia’s share of the cost of expanding Medicaid; efforts to reform the redistricting process and end gerrymandering; bills to protect the integrity of our elections; measures to make the criminal-justice system fairer; and, locally, legislation affecting the City-County Revenue-Sharing Agreement and the relocation of the County’s courthouses. The program occurred on May 9, 2018 and was moderated by SSV board member Terry Cooper.

Senator Creigh Deeds (D) represents the 25th Senate District which includes the cities of Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Covington and Lexington, and the counties of Albemarle (part), Alleghany, Bath, Highland, Nelson and Rockbridge.
Delegate David Toscano (D) represents the 57th House of Delegates District which includes Charlottesville and part of Albemarle County.

Program Summary

The 2018 session was initially scheduled to adjourn on March 10, but due to the inability of the legislature to achieve agreement on a budget, the session was extended and reconvened on April 11. The session still had not concluded by the time of the SSV meeting on May 9 (the budget was not adopted until May 30!).

Delegate Toscano utilized a PowerPoint presentation to help convey the actions taken—and not taken—during the session to date. He began with an enumeration of some of the more whimsical bills that were passed: HB 459 – Designated Pseudotriton Ruber as the official state salamander; HB 239/SB 375 – Removed the prohibition on hunting raccoons on Sundays after 2:00 am.; HB 286 – Allows dogs “inside or on the premises of” a winery, brewery or distillery (other companion animals must still drink at home!)…and more.

On the more serious side, the following actions were also taken: HB 1558/SB 966: Utility Rate Reviews (The Dominion Bill); HB 1600: Limiting length of school suspensions to help address the school-to-prison “pipeline”; HB 1249/SB 565: Additions to DNA database sample collections: specific misdemeanors linked to later violent crimes; Felony larceny threshold increased to $500; SB 698 & SB 699: DEQ stop-work orders authorized to protect against adverse impacts on water quality due to land-disturbing pipeline construction activities.

Failure to achieve agreement on a budget remained the most significant aspect of the session at the time of the SSV May 9 meeting. The primary point of contention was related to Medicaid expansion. House committee members, both Republicans and Democrats, insisted on expansion, but the Senate conferees were divided–Republican members would not agree to expand Medicaid.

House budget highlights include: Medicaid expansion: added health care access for 400,000 Virginians AND freed up state monies for education funding increases, education and economic opportunities in high-demand fields (such as cybersecurity) and raises for teachers/ school personnel, law enforcement, state mental health hospital nurses and staff.

Highlights of the Senate budget include: no Medicaid expansion; funding cuts to education, public safety, and more; funded some high-priority mental health initiatives, but others were cut; studies to evaluate safety of biosolid use funded; and the Rainy Day Fund allocation was twice that of the House budget.

Focused Ultrasound — A Medical Breakthrough

Friday, April 13th, 2018

Focused Ultrasound is an early-stage, non-invasive therapeutic technology that could transform the treatment of many medical disorders by serving as an alternative to surgery and radiation.

Jessica Foley and Nora Seilheimer at the SSV meeting at the Senior Center

Jessica Foley, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, and Nora Seilheimer, its director of external affairs, spoke to SSV on April 11, 2018.  They stated that, unfortunately, taking a new therapeutic medical device from concept to standard of care is an extremely slow, complicated and inefficient process. The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is working to provide patients with the focused ultrasound option in the shortest time possible. It has become a model of how donor funding can be used to bridge the gap between laboratory research and widespread patient treatment.  SSV vice president Terry Cooper introduced the speakers and moderated the Q&A after the presentation. In this podcast you will learn about some of their early success stories.

Jessica Foley is a veteran of the ultrasound field and guides the strategy, development and implementation of the Foundation’s scientific and research programs. She holds a B.S.E. from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.



Nora Seilheimer is a graduate of the University of Richmond and is engaged in development work for the foundation.




Program Summary

The program– Medical Breakthroughs in Our Backyard: The Focused Ultrasound Foundation — was presented by Jessica Foley, Ph.D., chief scientific officer for the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. She was accompanied by Nora Seilheimer, the Foundation’s director of external affairs. “Focused ultrasound” (FUS) is an early stage, revolutionary, disruptive non-invasive therapeutic technology that is an alternative or complement to surgery, radiation therapy and drug delivery. It has the potential to transform treatment with improved outcomes and decreased cost.

Founded in Charlottesville in 2006, the Foundation provides unique medical research, education, and advocacy with a global impact. It is tax exempt, entrepreneurial, high impact, market driven, and action and results oriented. In short, a catalyst to accelerate the development and adoption of FUS.

Unfortunately, taking a new therapeutic medical device from concept to standard of care is an extremely slow, complicated and inefficient process. The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is working to provide patients with the focused ultrasound option in the shortest time possible. It has become a model of how donor funding can be used to bridge the gap between laboratory research and widespread patient treatment.

Jessica explained the process of Immunomodulation, the modification of the immune response or the functioning of the immune system. Cancer cells are camouflaged from the immune system, but FUS destroys camouflage and exposes cancer cells. The immune system recognizes and attacks tumors, both primary and metastatic, and enhances effectiveness of immunotherapeutics.

PowerPoint slides were employed in the presentation both to help communicate the very complex information and also to show videos of the incredible patient improvements such as the reversal of crippling Parkinson’s disease.

The comment repeatedly expressed by departing audience members was, “It’s a miracle!”

Criminal Justice Reform

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Pat Nolan speaking at the March SSV meeting

Pat Nolan, director of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform, stated that when violent-crime rates spiked in the 1980s and early 1990s, the response of most states and the federal government was to toughen criminal laws by abolishing parole, legislating lengthy mandatory minimum sentences, reducing “good-time” credits that shortened sentences for inmates who obeyed prison rules, making prison life even more miserable and building more prisons.

The incidence of crime dropped dramatically and rates are now back to where they were before the spike, there are differing views about why this has happened, but the social and economic costs of those lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key laws were enormous. What’s more, the offenders weren’t being diverted from a life of crime.

“Criminal justice reform” is the umbrella term for a wide variety of proposals that attempt to reverse erroneous convictions and also get offenders out of the criminal justice system and into a law-abiding, productive citizenship.

SSV board member Bob McGrath moderated the presentation and Q&A after.  Listen to the hour and 17 minute podcast.

Pat Nolan is a nationally recognized leader in this movement. Pat is the director of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform and a leader in the Right on Crime project, a movement of conservative leaders who advocate for criminal justice reform. Before that Pat served 15 years in the California State Assembly, the lower house of the California legislature. For four of those years he was the Assembly’s Republican Leader.

Pat has personal experience with the criminal justice system. He was prosecuted for a campaign contribution he accepted that turned out to be part of an FBI “sting.” He pled guilty to one count of racketeering and served 29 months in federal custody.

Pat described how some states like Texas have been finding ways to simultaneously reduce prison populations, shrink recidivism and lower costs. There are proposed federal and Virginia legislation with similar goals.

Pat holds bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Southern California. He and his wife Gail reside in Leesburg, Virginia.

Program Summary

Pat Nolan addressed the topic, Criminal Justice Reform: Getting Offenders Onto the Straight and Narrow. Pat served 15 years in the California State Assembly, and for four of those years he was the Assembly’s Republican Leader. Pat has personal experience with the criminal justice system. He was prosecuted for a campaign contribution he accepted that turned out to be part of an FBI “sting.” He pled guilty to one count of racketeering and served 29 months in federal custody.

SSV board member Bob McGrath introduced the program stating that while Pat had found that the federal prison system was just warehousing inmates—including elderly and disabled persons—some states are finding ways to simultaneous reduce prison population, shrink recidivism, and lower costs. As mentioned at last month’s SSV meeting, part of the mission of SSV is not only to inform, but to do some advocacy. During the course of his presentation, Pat will describe some federal and Virginia initiatives that the SSV might like to become advocates for.

A challenge faced by Pat and others in the leadership seeking criminal justice reform has been to engage conservatives in what has been seen as a liberal cause. Increasingly, conservatives have come to see the flaws, the costs and the lives and families destroyed, and conservatives are joining together with liberals to call for reforms.

Pat presented a brief video entitled, “Unshackled, – America’s Broken Justice System,” produced by the Center for Criminal Justice Reform and featuring such conservative luminaries as Newt Gingrich, Ken Cuccinelli and Grover Norquist. It is a tragedy that we have become the country that has the highest level of incarceration in the world. Twenty-one persons are arrested each minute. Does the punishment fit the crime? What’s happening in our prisons? The system turns mild offenders into hardened criminals. A woman was shackled to her bed while giving birth. Another woman was sent to a Texas prison on a drug-conspiracy conviction, and later was raped by a guard. In her words, “Rape was not part of my sentence.” Innocent persons are locked up. Civil forfeiture is legal theft by government lawyers.

At the conclusion of the program, Bob thanked Pat for educating us on such an important problem, and then he extended an invitation to the membership of SSV: If members would like to get together to study the various bills and other things that are going on in Virginia and at the federal level with regard to criminal justice reform, and then present their findings and recommendations to the group as a whole with the goal of advocacy, please let Bob know and a group can be convened.

Becoming an Age-Friendly Community

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Representatives of the Charlottesville Area Alliance discuss the mission and vision of the Alliance, and how we can become the most age-friendly community in the country.

SSV President Rich DeMong and Charlottesville Area Alliance panel.

The event took place at the Wednesday February 14, 2018 meeting. SSV President Rich DeMong introduced the moderator Marta Keane who then introduced the panel. Watch the slides while  listening to the podcast.

Representing the Alliance are:

Marta Keane has been the CEO of JABA since April 2013. JABA works to help people age in community, by providing a Continuum of Caring for the Continuum of Living.  Her entire career has been on helping seniors achieve the highest quality of life, in the place of their choice.  She believes in creating a community that honors and respects the gifts that seniors have to offer.
Brad Sheffield serves as the executive at JAUNT Inc.  He has been working in the transit industry for 16 years, in both public and private transit planning roles. From January 2014 to December 2017, Brad served on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors representing the Rio Magisterial District. He is passionate about helping communities foster the traditional characteristics that make places great to work, raise a family, and retire.
Sunshine Mathon is the executive director of Piedmont Housing Alliance. Sunshine has lead the development of over 1,200 healthy, efficient homes in Texas and Virginia, including some of the highest ever LEED for Homes communities. He is a nationally-recognized leader in the deep green affordable housing sector. Sunshine holds a Masters in Architecture from the University of Texas
Rebecca Schmidt is the population health manager for the Thomas Jefferson Health District serving the City of Charlottesville and the five surrounding counties. Over the past 15 years, she has worked in health policy, program development, implementation and evaluation for nongovernmental agencies and for local, state, federal and international government.  She holds a B.A. from Boston University and an M.P.A. in Public Administration from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Peter Thompson has served as executive director of the Senior Center Inc. since 1999.  The Senior Center positively impacts the community by creating opportunities for healthy aging through over 100 programs and scores of partnerships.  Peter received his B.A. from UVa and his MPA from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Recent community service includes serving on the Board of Directors of the OLLI at UVa, Chamber of Commerce, and the Center for Nonprofit Excellence.

Program Summary

The vision of the Charlottesville Area Alliance is for the greater Charlottesville area to be the most age-friendly community in the country. The mission of the Alliance is to lead the advancement of an age-friendly community. The Charlottesville Area Alliance has requested that the Senior Statesmen of Virginia join its other 17 partners in advocating for an age friendly community, and so it was the purpose of the meeting for SSV members to acquire a full understanding of the objectives and activities of the Alliance, and then for the membership to vote to determine if SSV would become the 18th partner in the Alliance.

During the course of their presentations the five panel members addressed the eight life elements for an age-friendly community: buildings and outdoor spaces; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community support and health systems.

At the conclusion of the presentation, SSV President Rich DeMong called for a vote on the resolution for the SSV to became a partner member of the Charlottesville Area Alliance, and the resolution passed unanimously.

Introducing Our Local Commonwealth’s Attorneys

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

“Commonwealth’s Attorney” is Virginia vernacular for “prosecutor” — the D.A. who goes after the bad guys. There’s a lot more to their job.

Three examples:

• Prosecutors have wide discretion as regards whom they “throw the book at” and to whom they give second chances, as by sending them to “diversion” programs such as substance-abuse treatment versus locking them up. How they exercise that discretion is very important in determining the livability of the locality they serve, as New York City residents found when so-called “minor” crimes were ignored.
• Prosecutors can have a major impact on crime prevention, as by advising groups targeted by criminals about the scams likely to be tried on them.
• Prosecutors are among the best expert witnesses when legislators are considering changes to the criminal code or the process for considering criminal cases.

Our January program provided us an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of our relatively new Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Robert Tracci, and our brand-new City Commonwealth’s Attorney, Joseph Platania. SSV Vice President Terry Cooper moderated the discussion. Listen to the podcast below.

Joe Platania was elected Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney this past November but he has been with that office since 2003. For much of that time he also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, helping to prosecute federal criminal cases. Joe is a graduate of Providence College and the Washington & Lee University School of Law. Before joining the City Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office he was an assistant public defender and an appellate attorney for the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center. Joe is the current president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association.

Robert Tracci was elected Albemarle County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney in November 2015. Before that he had been a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and a Deputy Assistant Attorney General dealing with violations of federal criminal law. Prior to that Robert had been a senior staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, the House committee that deals with criminal law and criminal procedure, voting rights, intellectual property and other areas. Robert is a Phi Beta Kappa alumnus of Ohio Wesleyan University and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law.

Program Summary

Mr. Platania said that when he considered running for office, he wanted to balance two goals: to keep the community safe and to treat people charged with crimes fairly. He described an experience where the city had been experiencing a number of shootings which were unresolved. He participated in a drug investigation which resulted in the arrest and conviction of nine persons who had sold crack and heroine and committed a number of shootings in Charlottesville. By taking these offenders off the streets, the shootings ended making the community safer for everyone.

However, he indicated that these kinds of violent criminals are not the majority he deals with as a prosecutor, but rather persons who have made poor decisions and mistakes. They are not really bad nor evil people for the most part, so how does a prosecutor in the exercise of their discretion treat someone fairly who has made a mistake? There’s a tremendous amount of power that goes with that, and he tells his third-year law students that if they want to become a prosecutor, they should wake up every day terrified with the power they have to affect someone’s life.

Mr. Tracci said that when he was running for the office, he distilled everything into two words: tough and fair. It’s important to be very proactive when holding people accountable, while maintaining the safeguards and civil liberties and the traditions that set our system of justice above all others. The role of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict.

He contrasted the federal system—where the attorneys report up the chain and ultimately to the Attorney General and the President—to the constitutional system in Virginia where elected constitutional officers are accountable to the public. He has been working with Mr. Platania’s office and many community and law enforcement agencies to seek improvements in the criminal justice system. One of the issues is a multi-jurisdictional elder abuse task force, the Jefferson Area Coalition to End Elder Abuse and Exploitation. Since the creation of this task force, there are more referrals, prosecutions and sentences that reflect the severity of the underlying offense.

Mediation in Central Virginia

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Richard D. Balnave (left), Edward B. Lowry and Robyn Jackson

On December 13, 2017, Edward B. Lowry, Richard D. Balnave and Robyn Jackson spoke about the mediation process and how it helps resolve differences in a way more effective than that of the court.  Check out their impressive credentials below and listen to a podcast of their presentations and the Q&A afterward.  SSV board member Bonnie Brewer moderated the forum.

Edward B. Lowry engages in a statewide commercial litigation practice. He has been with the law firm of Michie-Hamlett since 1971. His litigation experience includes business torts, construction law, securities arbitration, employment, contract, real estate and banking laws. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American Bar Foundation and the Virginia Law Foundation. He has been president of the Virginia State Bar and the Charlottesville Albemarle Bar Associations. Ed was a member of the Adjunct Faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law where he taught a course in trial advocacy until 2013. Ed has participated in many meditations both as mediator and attorney for parties. He virtually always recommends mediation to his clients as it provides an opportunity for clients to resolve disputes without the uncertainty and expense of litigation.

Richard D. Balnave came to the University of Virginia Law School in 1984 to direct the Family Law Clinic following eight years of practice in Pennsylvania.  An expert in the areas of domestic relations and children’s law, he served on the board of governors of the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar and the Council of Domestic Relations Section of the Virginia Bar Association. He has lectured to Virginia circuit and district court judges and the Virginia Court of Appeals about issues in Virginia domestic relations law. Richard is a past president of the board of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Legal Aid Society and a former board member of the Charlottesville Albemarle Bar Association. He has assisted the Virginia General Assembly studies concerning child support guidelines and  mediation of child custody disputes.

Robyn Jackson is the founder of The Civility School, which teaches social skills, modern manners, and professional etiquette to all ages. The Civility School’s battle cry is “for the comfort and convenience of others.” Cultural awareness, flexibility, and empathetic intention are the keys to its method. Robyn’s background in teaching, counseling, and mediation combine to create a deep treatment of the often superficial world of etiquette. Robyn lives in Charlottesville with her husband, Brian, and their three sons.

Program Summary

“Mediation in Central Virginia” was the topic. Ed Lowry, an attorney with MichieHamlett, virtually always recommends mediation to his clients as it provides an opportunity for clients to resolve disputes without the uncertainty and expense of litigation. Richard Balnave, UVA Law school, an expert in the areas of domestic relations and children’s law, has assisted the Virginia General Assembly studies concerning child support guidelines and mediation of child custody disputes. Robyn Jackson is the founder of The Civility School, which teaches social skills, modern manners, and professional etiquette to all ages. The Civility School’s battle cry is “for the comfort and convenience of others.”

Although mediation is a voluntary process, a judge can order the parties to go to a mediation center to learn about the process, and then after they have learned what mediation is and how it differs from court, they are asked if they choose to stay or would they prefer to go back to court. In mediation, the participants sit in a private room with two mediators where what they say remains private, unlike the court situation that is open to the public and law enforcement, and all of their business becomes public information.

The percentage of couples who achieve agreement in mediation is much higher than the percentage of those who achieve agreement prior to the end of a court case. People report that they feel like they were finally able to say what was on their mind, and also they better understand what the concerns were of the other party.

Other major advantages of mediation as compared to the court process relate to time and money. Whereas it may take months or years to resolve an issue through the courts, mediation can provide a resolution in a single day. The impact on costs to the participants is obvious. In earlier times, the only options were court and arbitration. Arbitration is litigation on a private basis. You hire an arbitrator and that person makes the decision, but this process—like court—is horribly expensive. There are at least three costs to litigation. The economic cost can be withering if it is long and complicated litigation. The second is opportunity costs—the parties are spending hours and hours with their lawyers and others when they could be spending their time on things they want to do. The third are the emotional costs—it is very trying and exhausting to go through litigation.

Key Economic Policy Issues: A Guide for Investors and Voters

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Nicholas Sargen talks about the Republican proposal for corporate and personal tax cuts which is estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the US budget deficit over the next ten years. Sargen argues the case for personal tax cuts to boost the economy is less compelling, especially as the unemployment rate nears 4%.  SSV Board Vice President Rich DeMong moderated the forum. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. A pdf version of the presentation can be download, and then listen to the podcast.

Nicholas Sargen is an international economist turned global money manager.  He has been involved in international financial markets since the early 1970s when he began his career at the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.  He subsequently worked on Wall Street for 25 years holding senior positions with Morgan Guaranty Trust (VP International Economics Department), Salomon Brothers Inc. (Director of Bond Market Research), Prudential Insurance (CIO for Global Fixed Income Advisors) and J.P. Morgan Private Bank (Chief Investment Strategist).  In 2003 he became chief investment officer for the Western & Southern Financial Group and its affiliate, Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc., where he now serves as chief economist.

Sargen has written extensively on international financial markets, and he recently authored a book, Global Shocks: An Investment Guide for Turbulent Markets. He appeared frequently on business television programs throughout his career on Wall Street and was a regular panelist on Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street Week.  He was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and received a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University.  He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and he has recently relocated to Keswick, Virginia.

Program Summary

Nicholas P. Sargen began by stating that the roots of his presentation go back one year, to the time of the general election. With regard to political affiliation, he described himself as an independent, one who could be persuaded by arguments.

The following is just a sampling of the points included in Sargen’s comprehensive presentation. He identified five key issues in the Trump era: (1) How to cope with an aging population; (2) What to do with entitlement programs; (3) How to pay for them and still have room for tax cuts; (4) How to deal with globalization and growing income inequality; and (5) How to position your retirement and investment portfolios.

He presented four views of what’s ailing the economy: debt hangover from the global financial crisis; “secular stagnation”; supply side constraints; and too much government interference.  It’s a global phenomenon!

How to restore economic growth? The Republican approach is via tax policy changes and deregulation. The President and congressional leaders, however, are divided between tax cuts and tax reform. The case for corporate tax cuts is more compelling than for personal tax cuts. The issue for investors to decide is whether we can afford tax cuts.

Healthcare is much more difficult to fix than Social Security. Social Security can extend the retirement age to receive full benefits. Medical costs in the United States have been rising much faster than inflation, and medical expenses in our country are also the highest in the world. The key players in the medical arena do not agree on a solution.

What are the pros and cons related to the impact of globalization? The good: corporate profits have surged. The bad: workers have been hurt by foreign competition. The ugly: income inequality has increased. One consequence is the rise of populism.

What to do? Although the winning strategy has been to take risk, a market correction is overdue. Sargen does not foresee a bubble or bear market, yet you need to have realistic return expectations.

Candidates Forum: Albemarle County Board of Supervisors & Albemarle County School Board

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Candidates for contested Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and School Board seats shared their views and responded to questions from the audience at this Senior Statesmen of Virginia sponsored forum.

First SSV Board Member Terry Cooper moderated the Board of Supervisors forum. Then SSV Vice President Rich DeMong moderated the School Board forum (shown above).  Listen to the event via podcast.

The following candidate information is excerpted from the candidates’ campaign websites.

Candidates For Albemarle County Board Of Supervisors Samuel Miller District

John Lowry (R) lives in North Garden. His background is in financial management. He is also a former chair of the Albemarle County Economic Development Authority. John is a runner and a member of the Albemarle Pipes and Drums Corps.

Liz Palmer (D), the incumbent supervisor seeking a second term, lives in Ivy. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech and the Auburn University Veterinary School. She served as chair of the Board in 2016. She operates a veterinary hospice for companion animals.

Candidates For Albemarle County School Board Rio District

Katrina Callsen is a graduate of Yale, the Boston University School of Education and U.Va. Law. She is a former teacher with Teach for America. She volunteers with Kids Give Back.


Mary McIntyre is an alumna of UNC — Greensboro who holds master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Hawaii — Manoa. She has taught in North Carolina, Virginia and Hawaii and volunteered at a school in Tanzania.


Candidates For Albemarle County School Board Samuel Miller District

Graham Paige, the incumbent seeking his first full term, resides in Esmont. He is a graduate of Hampton University with a master’s degree from the University of Virginia. He is a retired Albemarle County teacher. He is a trustee, adult Sunday-School teacher and organist at New Green Mountain Baptist Church.


Julian Waters is a 2017 graduate of Western Albemarle making his first run for elective office. He is active in education-policy issues and a regular blood donor who founded the Model Aviations and Drone Club at Western Albemarle.


The event took place on Wednesday October 11, 2017 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Program Summary

This is the third time Board of Supervisors hopeful John Lowry, a Republican, and incumbent Democrat Liz Palmer have faced off at a campaign forum this election cycle. Lowry said that he “was chair of the airport board when the new airport was being built and was chair of the economic development authority for 12 years.” “I am running for office because I believe I can better represent the constituents’ interests in the Samuel Miller District.”

“I’m having such a good time and feel we’ve done a good job and I want to continue,” Palmer said. “When I moved here I was struck by the condition of our water infrastructure, which is where our built environment meets the natural environment.”

After about 45 minutes, the event shifted over to the two contested School Board races.

Katrina Callsen and Mary McIntyre met for the first time in a campaign forum in their race to succeed Pam Moynihan for the Rio District’s School Board seat.

Graham Paige, the incumbent School Board member for the Samuel Miller District, answered questions alongside challenger Julian Waters, a 2017 graduate of Western Albemarle High School.

Virginia House of Delegates 25th and 58th Districts Candidates Forum

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Candidates for the contested House of Delegates seats representing Albemarle and Charlottesville shared their positions and responded to questions from the audience.  The program was moderated by SSV board member Terry Cooper. A podcast of the presentations can be heard by clicking below.

Steve Landes and Angela Lynn with Terry Cooper moderating

The following candidate information is excerpted from the candidates’ campaign websites.

Steve Landes (R): Serving his eleventh term, Steve has been an able steward of taxpayer resources in the House of Delegates. During his tenure, he has focused on promoting economic development, fostering education innovations, and increasing healthcare choice, access and affordability. He has been a steady voice of reason heard above the noise that all too often clouds our political discourse. Steve serves as a House Budget Conferee. He is a Member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates, representing the House of Delegates, serves on the Education Commission of the States; and serves on the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. He is also Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Future of Public Elementary and Secondary Education; and on the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia.

Angela Lynn (D): This is a decisive moment in our Commonwealth. We need assertive leadership with the courage to stand up to entrenched interests in Richmond and do what is right for Virginia. I’m running for the General Assembly because I believe I can provide that leadership. As our government today gerrymanders the state to ensure their own power, and education and health care are at risk for our most vulnerable, we need representatives in government who understand our needs and will fight for the interests of the community. My family have been proud Virginians since the 1700s. After my husband’s career in the military, he and I moved here 25 years ago to raise our five children. I’ve worked as a higher education administrator and led efforts to improve our community. I’m running for the General Assembly to support and protect my home state.

Rob Bell (R): grew up in a Navy family.  He attended the University of Virginia on scholarship, and graduated with honors from both the college and law school.  Rob served as a state prosecutor in Orange County for five years, where he prosecuted over 2,400 cases, working with the police and crime victims to bring criminals to justice. Since his election as a Republican to the Virginia General Assembly, Rob has written laws that crack down on repeat-offense drunk driving and keep sex offenders off school property. He has also worked to close loopholes in Virginia’s mental health laws after the shooting at Virginia Tech.  More recently, he wrote laws to expand Virginia’s protective orders and to require life in prison for those convicted of raping children. In 2015 he wrote the law to address sexual assaults on on college campuses, and in 2016 expanded Virginia’s stalking laws.

Kellen Squire (D): I’m a husband and a father to three beautiful children.  I’m an emergency room nurse and a proud graduate of the University of Virginia.  I’m a Christian, an avid outdoorsman, and a hard-working, middle-class American who’s fed up with the political system today. We’ve almost killed the working class in this country.  Wages have been stagnant for more than three decades.  Our government seems to work more for lobbyists and special interests than for ordinary people.  The worst kind of toxicity in our politics, pitting some groups of Americans against others, is a disease that threatens the future of our country. That disease is spread by political operatives and career politicians, some of whom have spent decades in office by gerrymandering themselves into comfortable little districts so that they never have to run against a serious opponent.

Program Summary

The following is excerpted from an article written by Michael Bragg which appeared in the September 14, 2017, edition of The Daily Progress. The entire article can be accessed on the Internet at:

With Election Day less than two months away, candidates for the 25th and 58th districts in the Virginia House of Delegates made their case to voters at a Wednesday forum. Del. Steven Landes, R-Weyers Cave, and Democrat Angela Lynn, candidates for the 25th District, went first at the forum, which was hosted by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, and Democrat Kellen Squire, both running for the 58th District, spoke next.

The candidates had a chance to weigh in on subjects such as the Charlottesville-Albemarle County revenue-sharing agreement and voter ID laws. “The whole purpose of the revenue-sharing agreement was so the county would not have more territory annexed by the city,” Landes said. “So, really, it makes no sense. It’s not a logical solution to a problem that was there originally.” But Lynn argued that state politicians getting involved in the agreement is government overreach, saying it’s a local matter. Bell called the agreement a bad deal. Squire said it’s hurting the funding for Albemarle schools, and that the agreement needs to be addressed.

On voter ID laws, both Landes and Bell argued that requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is a great way of preventing voter fraud. But Lynn and Squire both expressed skepticism. Squire said he thinks these types of laws can discourage people from getting out to vote, while Lynn argued that the issue today is not voter fraud but getting people out to vote. “A vote is the one thing that makes us equal,” she said. “It crosses over socio-economic lines, it knows no boundaries with race or gender or any of those things that make us feel that we aren’t as powerful as another person. But if we’re not all capable of being able to do it, then that would be stripping us of a fundamental right and a pillar of our democracy.”

Lieutenant Governor Candidates Forum

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Candidates for Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D) and Jill Vogel (R) discuss issues facing Virginians in the 2017 election.

Jill Vogel and Justin Fairfax at The V. Earl Dickinson Building at Piedmont Virginia Community College

A 1-hour and 25-minute podcast can be heard here.

Justin Fairfax (D) was raised by a single mother and her parents. He is a graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School, Duke University and Columbia Law School, where he was a member of the Columbia Law Review. He later served as a federal prosecutor in Virginia. He currently practices with the Tysons Corner office of the law firm Venable LLP where he focuses on white-collar criminal-defense matters and complex civil litigation.
Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel (R) is serving her third term in the Virginia Senate. She is a graduate of the College of William & Mary and DePaul University School of Law. She is a senior partner in Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky PLLC, a firm that specializes in election and ethics laws. In the Virginia Senate she chairs the Privileges & Elections Committee and is a member of numerous other committees and subcommittees, including the Senate’s “money” (taxation and spending) committee, Senate Finance.
The forum was moderated by Bob Gibson. Mr. Gibson is a long-time political writer, columnist and editor at The Charlottesville Daily Progress. He is now with the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

Program Summary

The candidates spoke at the Wednesday August 9, 2017 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the V. Earl Dickinson Building and in conjunction with  Piedmont Virginia Community College. The candidates responded to questions from the audience written on 3 x 5 cards and posed to the candidates by forum moderator, Bob Gibson. The quality and relevance of the questions submitted by audience members were outstanding, and it was very heartening to witness the thoughtfulness, respect and civility exhibited by both candidates as they responded to the questions and offered forth their positions on the issues.

The forum received extensive coverage from radio, television, Internet and the print media. The following links are provided to see the newspaper coverage in their entirety.

The Daily Progress:

The Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The Washington Post: