Supporters turned out and had a good time in Rockbridge Baths as Buster Lewis declared his candidacy for Walker's Creek Supervisor on Monday, May 21st.
Following a press release where Lewis outlined his platform, the Monday evening celebration included a benediction blessing the campaign by the Rev. Gurney P. Whitely. Campaign director Joe Skovira introduced Lewis saying that he had moved to Rockbridge County in 1972 and established two businesses - Mountain View Farm Greenhouses and Jefferson Florist. "While running two businesses, he has found the time to give to Rockbridge County for the last 35 years," he said.
Lewis said that his inspiration and commitment for community development formed when he was with the Peace Corps in Columbia. "My goal is to make Rockbridge County an even better place to live and to do what you all want done," he said to the gathering. "We need to keep this place as wonderful as it is and to save our family farms. To do that will take courage and purpose to put teeth into our ordinances to stop rampant development. There is no reason that we can't do that and respect the rights of individuals at the same time," he said. "The land use plan passed by the previous board of supervisors included farmer's in its creation but the present board had no time to deal with it," he explained. "It is time to get serious. We need to work with the Rockbridge Partnership to bring good, clean commercial businesses to the County that will produce revenue and give young professional workers jobs so that we can avoid raising property taxes. I'm not in favor of raising taxes."
"We need to support quality education and we need to think out of the box. What about the idea of creating a mortgage pool for young teachers in partnership with the banks to offer lower interest loans for starting teachers so they won't be recruited away from us?"
"We have young farmers with Rockbridge County names that have gone away to get professional degrees and come back - names like McDonald, Hileman and Huger. Some of them are lucky enough to have family land but we need a way to match large landowners who want their property farmed with young farmers wanting to farm."
Lewis has served on public councils and commissions in education and planning and has been active locally in the Lexington-Rockbridge County Chamber of Commerce of which he served as president in 1982, and which named him â€śBusiness Individual of the Yearâ€ť in 2005.
He is also a promoter of the arts and has performed on stage on numerous occasions. He is an active backer of conservation and preservation programs, having served as a board member of the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, as a life member of the Rockbridge Historical Society, and as a current member of the Brownsburg Community Association.
He has been a leader in the horticultural and florist industry in the Commonwealth, where he has served on state boards and was awarded the prestigious national designation, AAF, by the American Academy of Floriculture in 2000.
Prior to settling in Rockbridge with his wife, Signe, an Augusta county native, and son, Jay, to establish their farm, Lewis served a decade with the Peace Corps, first as a volunteer in South America and subsequently on the staff of the Peace Corps in Washington, DC. He is a faithful Episcopalian and member and long-time former warden of R E Lee Memorial Church in Lexington.
Lewis has run an agricultural operation and growing retail business in the county for decades and says, â€śI will support zoning to save our farms; recruit good, clean businesses for our commercial zones; enhance the quality or our schools and run a more efficient county government.â€ť He also says, â€śI must be responsive to citizen input and conduct the Countyâ€™s business openly so every citizen can see its government at work.â€ť â€śWith my experience,â€ť Lewis continues, â€śI believe I will provide the leadership necessary for a well run, cost effective County government.â€ť
|Supporter gathered in Rockbridge Baths to hear Supervisor Candidate Buster Lewis speak as he kicked off his campaign on Monday, May 21st. The celebration included food and music by local musicians. (Photo by Patte Wood)|