Tom Joyce Staff Reporter
October 30, 2013
Name: Roger Hayden
Address: Cox Ridge Road, Claudville
Occupation: School bus driver
Education: Has an associate degree in science and technology.
Previous Political Experience: Is completing his first term on the Patrick County Board of Supervisors and has held no other offices (“I’m not a politician”).
Family: He and wife Mabel have resided on Cox Ridge Road for 45 years. They have a son, Bruce, an assistant dean at Virginia Tech, and a daughter, Lisa, a teacher in Kennesaw, Ga., with 20 years’ experience.
Question: Why do you want to serve as a county supervisor?
Answer: I’ve served four years on the board of supervisors, this is my fourth year, and basically there are a lot of problems that face the county and I want to help solve those problems. I want to do my best to work for the people of the county and at least resolve some of the issues. I ran for the board of supervisors (in 2009) because I felt that we were taxing and spending too much at a time when unemployment is up and the cost of living is increasing and jobs that pay above the minimum wage are hard to come by. I’ve been addressing those problems and we’re making progress, and I want to continue that.
Question: What do you offer the citizens of the Dan River District and county?
Answer: What I can offer the people of Patrick County is I will work for them — I have no agenda of my own. I’m elected to represent the people of the Dan River District and the county, and I’m a person who does not rubber-stamp everything that comes before the board. I act based on facts, not hype, and I will research all the issues before making a decision.
Question: What would be your top goal if re-elected?
Answer: My top goal is to hold the line on taxes and to reduce spending.
Question: Other than jobs, what do you see as the biggest need in Patrick County?
Answer: There are many mandates that are sent down from the state and federal governments to the citizens of Patrick County which have the potential to infringe on our property rights and development potential. What I would like to concentrate on is increasing development and our tax base, more homes, getting more people into the county. Our population has decreased 5 percent since 2000 and I’d like to reverse those numbers, where we stop losing people and bring them into the county. One way to do this is make the county more business-friendly by keeping tax rates low and the development rules lenient.
Question: Local voters also will decide in this election whether a 4 percent meals tax should be imposed countywide. What is your position on this?
Answer: My position is, let’s let the people decide, and at least the people have an opportunity this time to decide — unlike bonds that were borrowed in the past without a referendum, for school improvements and to build the jail, without the public voting on the bond packages.
Question: In politics, there is often an over-emphasis on the negative. What do you consider the best thing about Patrick County and how can the local government enhance or maintain that?
Answer: I think Patrick County has a real good educational program — our schools are doing well, but they do have some internal issues that need to be dealt with. I’d like to get those issues resolved and get back to what our schools are for, which is to teach our children. A good example has not been set by our school system recently, and I think it’s taken away from the educational experience of our children. And that’s very unfavorable to our county.
Question: What is the main thing you would like voters to keep in mind when they make their choice for Dan River District supervisor?
Answer: I’d like for them to keep in mind that I will work for the people of the Dan River District and the people of Patrick County — not for special-interest groups, but the majority of the county. I will do due-diligence and research items that come before the board and make my decisions on facts. And again, we must hold the line on taxes — people are not willing or able to pay higher personal property and real estate taxes. Their personal income also has decreased and taxes and fees and the cost of living have increased, so basically they can’t afford to pay any more taxes. We’ve got to take the pressure off the real estate and personal property taxes.
I’ve kept my promises to the people of Patrick County that I made four years ago, not to raise taxes and to improve telecommunications. Twenty percent of the county was then on high-speed Internet and it’s now at 95 percent, on the way to my goal of 100 percent.