Traditionally, the Gazette has offered local candidates for office the opportunity to make an 800-word statement of their candidacy on our pages. This month we present statements from the two White Hall candidates running for the county’s Board of Supervisors, incumbent Ann Mallek and challenger Brad Rykal. The candidates have affirmed on their honor to the Gazette that they composed their statements in their own words and that they are not written by someone else. The Gazette likewise affirms that it has made no editorial alterations.
Early voting in Virginia began on September 22, and Election Day is Tuesday, November 7.
Dear White Hall District Voters,
We have done so many great things together in the White Hall district. We built the Crozet Library and moved 1,000 books hand-to-hand with the book brigade. Hundreds of people participated and we celebrated this achievement on the tenth anniversary of the library opening on Sept 29. The library was built in that location to be a gathering place for the entire community, and as a County-funded catalyst to draw in private investment to downtown Crozet. The transportation and redevelopment process from Crozet Avenue to Parkside Village is underway.
We have improved parks and trails, funded large expansions at Brownsville and Crozet Elementary schools, improved streetscapes and sidewalks on Crozet Ave. and Jarmans Gap, provided paid daytime firefighters at the Crozet Fire Dept. and increased police staffing to bring about neighborhood policing, along with so many other good things that make Crozet the place we enjoy today.
Most recently work is beginning on the 240/250/680 roundabout, which is fully funded, designed by VDOT, and VDOT states work will begin in spring of 2024.
My job as supervisor is to serve the residents of the White Hall district. An effective representative must have strong convictions, an understanding of the community and its history, the willingness to listen and hear, and a record of advocacy on which people can rely.
In addition to legislative decisions on special permits and rezonings, there are many topics with which a supervisor must contend: human services, public safety, natural resources, budget, state and federal obligations; all affect the long-term health and welfare of rural and urban residents. With experience and contacts built before and during my time in office, I make connections and solve problems.
Over just the last month, citizens have asked me and received answers about: broadband delivery, phone service, road maintenance, rural drainage issues, parking requirements in the Downtown Crozet District, mail delivery issues, post office closing, regional transportation projects, speeding, traffic calming, water and sewer capacity, historic markers, economic development, ranked choice voting, support for veterans events, energy efficiency programs, utility scale solar, climate mitigation and adaptation, the improvements for parking and drainage at the Square, the workforce innovation campus opening, PACT Act benefits, landscape contractor facilities, historic house preservation, old Michie Tavern location, the Riparian Buffer Overlay district, transit, Exit 107 park and ride, finance and tax, land use revalidation … the list goes on.
Experience matters but one does not wait to be elected to get experience. A person has to show up and participate. They learn by attending board meetings, volunteering on County committees, declaring a stance on issues, and working to solve them in collaboration with others. Any interested citizen can learn about and contribute to the process. These behaviors establish a pattern of willingness to spend the long hours and do the hard work to find viable solutions. Voters deserve to know that a candidate understands the job and where that candidate stands on the issues.
The White Hall district population is half rural and half in Crozet, and its citizens speak from a wide range of perspectives. I am a representative who cares, listens to all voices, and seeks decisions to benefit the White Hall district and County residents. Success takes many minds working together and four supervisors to agree for any action or decision to occur.
Honesty and transparency are essential. A big challenge to our local success is working together, across imaginary lines and slogans meant to divide us. I welcome citizen input, having hosted almost 90 town halls where people of differing views can have their voices heard before decisions are made. We cannot just decide, on day one, with no information.
I believe in a safety net; safe schools; workforce services; strong local businesses; effective, funded, and well-trained volunteer and paid public safety staff; and environmental protection in all its facets. I believe in planning for land use, financial management, and the future. I believe in careful use of taxpayer dollars and speaking the truth about the process, the money, the tax consequences, and the impacts to all citizens of getting things done.
If you wish to talk or have questions, I would be delighted for the opportunity to speak on the phone or to meet. Please be in touch, or you can visit annmallekforsupervisor.com for detailed issue information. I look forward to hearing from you.
I ask for your vote early or on November 7, 2023.
This is the most important election in the history of Crozet. We will feel the impact for the next 20 years. It will affect us, our kids, and our grandkids. I’m Brad Rykal (rhymes with pickle), and I am your Supervisor candidate for Crozet and the White Hall District.
The White Hall Supervisor role is a full-time position that comes with significant responsibilities and a minimum wage paycheck. Anyone who serves in the position deserves our community’s appreciation.
I am from Crozet and am running to represent you. I am focused on building infrastructure, safeguarding our rural farms and environment, and nurturing a thriving business community.
I am an Independent, with campaign supporters from both sides of the aisle. I am not tethered to any candidates in any other races and am excited to begin working with whomever the voters elect. Unlike my opponent, I do not accept campaign donations from special interest groups. I am accountable only to the residents of Crozet and the larger White Hall district.
Supervisor Mallek’s long tenure has equipped her with in-depth knowledge of public policy. While I am not an entrenched bureaucrat, I will learn those details on the job, just as I did in the U.S. Army leading soldiers and as a Chief Operating Officer for a private company in the defense sector. That said, successful leadership is not defined by knowledge alone. Knowledge must be applied to produce measurable and positive results that really matter, something the White Hall district hasn’t experienced in a long time. Knowledge without action is useless.
Crozet’s population has quadrupled since my opponent was first elected. Early successes have been overshadowed by failures that threaten to devastate Crozet and our community. Our once exciting Downtown Crozet Initiative is stagnant, and the blighted site is now known for its graffiti-covered crumbling buildings and piles of trash.
Our streams are more polluted than ever before. Significant sections of Lickinghole Creek and Mechums River are now officially designated as “impaired waterways” by the EPA. The Gazette’s coverage of the Montclair development revealed the inability of Supervisor Mallek to defend our local streams from housing developers; instead, citizens had to step in and carry the water, so to speak. Other environmentally sensitive projects, like Oak Bluff, await. Do you believe our current Supervisor will suddenly rise to these challenges if elected to a fifth and final term?
More recently, our Master Plan has been called into question, particularly regarding whether its promises for key safety projects will ever be kept. For twenty years now, the County failed to construct the most critical roads, sidewalks, and roundabouts we so desperately need. The safety of our community is my highest priority.
The Rt. 240/250/Browns Gap roundabout is five years late and not expected to be finished until late 2027. Who among us hasn’t sat at that intersection at rush hour and thought to themselves, “eventually someone is going to be killed here?” Why didn’t our Supervisor roll up her sleeves and do whatever it took to ensure this project didn’t get lost in the shuffle?
The lack of a sidewalk to Crozet Park risks the lives of our children and joggers just trying to enjoy one of the last remaining open spaces available to them. Do you accept the (false) excuse that it’s VDOT’s problem to solve, or do you expect your Supervisor to insist that the County reinvest in our community with the tax dollars you’ve given them?
No one disputes that Supervisor Mallek listens, but all too often, that’s all that occurs. She has not demonstrated the capacity to lead and act.
Affordable housing is promised as part of all new housing proposals. Developers have built almost three hundred affordable units in Crozet, but were able to sell them at full market price. Why? It was allowed by my opponent, who ignored the County’s broken process for finding needy and qualified buyers.
The 2021 Crozet Master Plan update called for a 60% increase in our population, but without securing the funding necessary to invest in the safety of our community. Crozet residents spoke out against the plan, but my opponent was the first to cast a vote to approve it. Supervisor Mallek’s “yes” vote was nothing short of a betrayal of her own constituents. Will you remember her vote when you cast yours?
Leadership demands action, and I am the candidate with the strength and the will to fight for Crozet. After all, this is my home. I hope to earn your vote in this election and be given the opportunity to serve and represent you.
For more about my background and campaign platform, visit my Facebook page, “Brad Rykal for White Hall Supervisor.”