Vice-Mayor Reid Takes Rural Voice To State Capitol

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, December 17, 2013

FARMVILLE — Vice-Mayor Armstead D. “Chuckie” Reid has taken the voice of the Town of Farmville, Prince Edward County and rural Virginia into Governor-elect McAuliffe’s inner circle.

At the governor-elect’s invitation.

Reid was invited to serve as a member of McAuliffe’s Transition Council on Local Government, a group that is advising the overall Transition Team on issues relating to local government.

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Transition Team member, Carter Hutchinson, said the council on which Reid is a member will be “helping us map out a set of goals, challenges, and opportunities over the next four years.”

The Transition Council on Local Government met for the first time last Thursday in the capitol and Farmville’s vice-mayor came away impressed with how seriously Governor-elect McAuliffe—who attended the meeting—is taking the group’s input as his administration lays the groundwork for its strategic policy initiatives.

“It’s an opportunity to share ideas with the governor’s transition team and the governor, who was there yesterday,” Reid said during a Friday interview. “We talked about certain items and things that affected each town area.”

The Town is among dozens of Virginia municipalities that fear the consequences of any tinkering with the Business Professional and Occupational License (BPOL) tax and Reid said that issue was definitely a point of focus by the council.

“He listened,” Reid said of governor-elect McAuliffe. “…He was willing to stand up for what we discussed, like the BPOL tax and educational funding and fire department funding. A lot of things were discussed.”

The BPOL tax took a front and center stage during the meeting last week and the message to the incoming administration was to leave the BPOL tax alone.

“That’s what everybody was talking about at the meeting yesterday. Everybody was really against (abolishing) BPOL because then you’d have to have more taxes (to make up for lost revenue) and everything else, and we don’t need that, especially here in Farmville.”

Governor-elect McAuliffe’s Transition Team will be part of the council’s meetings so it can be directly informed and participate in discussions with Vice-Mayor Reid and his fellow members.

Through his presence, Reid said, Farmville is one of the smaller towns participating, with many representatives from Northern Virginia.

But Reid is conscious of the county’s needs, as well.

“I really feel like I represent Prince Edward County, too, and this part of Virginia,” he stressed. “A lot of representation isn’t there (for rural Virginia).”

In fact, items on the agenda last week included issues affecting counties. One major discussion point was financing K-12 public education, with these sub-topics listed as significant issues: rethinking policies adopted during the Great Recession, narrowing the achievement gap among Virginia’s schools, and funding the Standards of Quality.

In addition to speaking from this community’s perspective in Richmond, as Vice-Mayor, Reid said he will also bring back everything of importance he hears in the capitol to the Town of Farmville.

Reid acknowledges that it is an honor being asked to serve but feels the opportunity to bring Farmville’s perspectives directly to the governor-elect and his administration-building staff is critically important.

“He told us yesterday he’s got an open door policy, to call him (and key staff),” Reid said of McAuliffe.

Reid won’t be shy about walking through the doorway or making those calls.