Watson runs for District 7 seat

Published 2:58 pm Friday, October 28, 2022

Cannon Watson was appointed to the Board of Supervisors in July when Jim Wilck vacated the District 701 seat and relocated to Texas.

“I had been on the county planning commission for many years, and my father represented this district from 1993 to 2003, so I had a good idea of what to expect…but it really wasn’t something I had been eager to do before being asked,” said Watson. Now that he is in the role, he says he is enjoying the work and is running for the seat on November 8. “I think I bring something different professionally to the board, as a local business person specializing in financial matters. I get along well with people, and I think we are making real progress in key areas.”

There are some exciting things going on that could be “game-changers” for Prince Edward, said the 31 year veteran Senior Vice President of Davenport & Company on Main Street in Farmville.

“We are empty-nesters now with both of our kids off to college… and now is a great time for me to serve,” he said. “My grandfather was also on the county board until his accidental death in 1950. We love this area so much, and I want to help it reach its full potential.”

Watson cites schools and attracting industry as his main priorities.

“And they are so completely linked. We all know someone who works here but has chosen not to live here. And some of these folks are in big jobs. When you press them… they usually mention schools pretty quickly if they have kids…as the reason they commute into the area,” Watson said. “We simply have to appropriate the necessary funds and work alongside the school board to affect positive change. If your business is struggling…you make changes. If your favorite sports team is struggling…they make changes. Prince Edward has been sending its top students to some of the best universities in the country for years… but the County can do better for those that don’t have the support system at home that the top students typically have. And, unfortunately, that is a lot of people.”

Attracting good and clean industry will lift all boats, says Watson.

“It’s been decades since our community had large industries that paid a living wage and put people of all skill levels on a real career path,” he added. “A service economy can only go so far. And landing a couple of these would increase the tax base and keep us a low tax area. And we can market ourselves as a beautiful two-college community in a safe environment with terrific four-season weather.”

Watson cites the Heartland Innovation and Technology (HIT) Park as a potential economic spark.

“This property is situated nearly perfectly for a data center to be built there. It would create some good jobs, but the revenue it would bring in annually could really move the needle,” he said. “We’ve also received some good interest in a large housing development here. In fitness terms, Prince Edward has a good thin waistline (good balance sheet), but we need to build some strength in order to do well in a competitive environment.

This community is so important to me. I have been a member of the Farmville Rotary Club for 30 years, and a life-long member of the Farmville United Methodist Church, where I currently serve as treasurer. Public service is a part of my family makeup and it’s part of me. Prince Edward County has incredible potential. I simply want to help it live up to that potential,” he said.