STUART, Va. — With Virginia and the rest of the nation focused on this week’s governor’s election in that state, the settling of dust and clearing of smoke also has revealed the ouster of an incumbent supervisor in Patrick County.
Roger T. Hayden’s re-election bid for a third term as the Dan River District representative on the county board of supervisors was derailed Tuesday by a challenge from Jane Scales Fulk.
Fulk captured 54 percent of the votes across the district that includes the Ararat, Claudville and Willis Gap precincts. Her unofficial total was 516 to 443 for Hayden, who was first elected in 2009.
A resident of Ararat Highway with her husband Mike, Fulk took the Ararat precinct by a margin of 193 votes to 125 for Hayden, and Willis Gap 155-127.
Hayden was the top vote-getter in the Claudville precinct, outdistancing Fulk 179-140. Other votes included in a “central absentee precinct” category totaled 28 for Fulk and 12 for Hayden.
Fulk said Friday that she couldn’t point to any one factor that influenced her election victory over the two-term incumbent.
“I think people were just ready to have a choice — I think that was the main reason,” she said. Fulk also believes she was supported by many female voters in the district.
The supervisor-elect, who will soon turn 65, is a 1978 graduate of Surry Community College and a 1995 graduate of Gardner-Webb University with a B.S. degree in business administration.
Fulk served 35 years as the judicial assistant to the Circuit Court judge of Patrick County in Stuart before retiring in 2014. Her varied work experience also includes time at Renfro Corp., Lowes Foods and Roses, along with serving as co-owner of Ego Hour Beauty Salon. Fulk has said this provides her with “a well-rounded perspective” when it comes to different occupations and people.
Hayden responded to an attempt to contact him Friday for comment on the supervisor’s race by leaving a telephone message, but could not be reached in a return call.
“Lot of issues”
Now that she’s been elected as one of five members of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors (the counterpart to a board of commissioners in North Carolina), much work is facing the group, said Fulk, who is looking forward to getting started.
One item involves the recent closing of Pioneer Community Hospital in Stuart, which has left Patrick County without a hospital for the first time in more than 100 years. Since the closure in September, county government and economic-development officials have been involved in an effort to find a buyer for the facility.
“We need to see what we can do about the hospital situation — that’s a biggie,” Fulk said Friday.
One of the moves taken so far is the assembling of an incentive package to make the facility more attractive to potential buyers.
“We need to work with that — we need to work with the school system,” Fulk added. She also reiterated one of her campaign goals when filing for supervisor in June, trying to recruit new industry to replace jobs that have been lost locally.
Earlier this month, Patrick County learned another industry in Stuart, Shaw Flooring, would be closing at year’s end, putting about 160 people out of work.
“We’ve got a lot of issues right now,” Fulk mentioned.
“It’s not going to be easy; it will be an uphill struggle,” she said of the tasks facing the board of supervisors. “If all of us work together, we can do something.”
Fulk says she is facing a bit of a learning curve as a new supervisor, but believes that her 35 years of previous governmental experience will be a plus in that regard.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.