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Vinton District GOP Primary For County Supervisor: Tammy Shepherd Candidate Q & A

In keeping with the mission of The Roanoke to help contribute to an informed and active citizenry, below is a candidate Q&A for the Roanoke County’s Vinton District GOP primary. Each of Roanoke County’s five districts is home to about 19,200 people. Early voting began May 3 and the final day to vote will be June 18.

Like dominoes, one event has triggered a chain-reaction. Jason Peters (R) long represented the Vinton District on the Board of Supervisors, but when he ran for Commissioner of the Revenue last fall and made history by defeating the last Democrat office holder in the County, that opened the Vinton seat. As reported here, after interviewing candidates, the other four Supervisors appointed Tammy Shepherd to serve in that position for 2024, the third-year of Peters’ remaining term.

The other candidate seeking the GOP nomination is Tim Greenway.

This primary will determine who will be the Republican nominee on the November ballot, to serve for 2025, the fourth and final year of Peters’ unfinished term. Then, in 2025, the seat will be up for grabs again for a new, four-year term.

The Roanoke Star sent the following questions to both Mr. Greenway and Mrs. Shepherd. Mrs. Shepherd’s responses are below.

The Roanoke Star:  Tell us about your family – are you married? Number of children or grandchildren?

Mrs. Shepherd: I am married to my husband Robert for 33 years.   We have 4 children (Autumn, Hunter, Dalton & Macy) and 2 grandsons (Gunner & Rhett)

The Roanoke Star: Who is your current employer and what is your current title/position there?

Mrs. Shepherd: Self employed. I own a real estate business that I started 6 years ago in Vinton

The Roanoke Star: What is your favorite book?

Mrs. Shepherd:The Bible, but outside of that I don’t know if I have one favorite book because I love to read.

The Roanoke Star: What is your primary motivation to run for this office, especially since it’s only for a one year term?

Mrs. Shepherd: To serve the community that has given me and my family so much. I was born and raised right here in Vinton. I went to Hardy Road Elementary & William Byrd Middle & High School.   I started my family and business here. We have  a great  community that I am proud to call home!

The Roanoke Star: What special abilities or background do you think would make you the best person for this job going forward?

Mrs. Shepherd: Because of my background in real estate I know the issues of assessments and how it affects our constituents. I am involved in a lot of community activities and I know what our community needs.  That’s why I am asking for your vote on Tuesday June 18th at your regular polling location.

The Roanoke Star:  A source has alleged the renovation blueprints for Roanoke County’s W. E. Cundiff Elementary School on Hardy Road in Vinton call for the new bathrooms to have unisex toilet stalls, and the school will no longer have designated, separate boys’ and girls’ bathrooms. Is that claim true or false?  Moreover, what is your position on protecting privacy and safe spaces for girls in County schools and other County-owned properties?

Mrs. Shepherd: The Roanoke County School Board has complete control over this issue and since I do not serve on that I do not have the ability to know this information or make a decision on it.  However, I do believe that our girls should feel safe and protected

The Roanoke Star: As explained here, soaring tax assessments are driving up real estate taxes.

Unlike many surrounding localities, at least Roanoke County has dropped its real estate tax rate: from $1.09 to $1.06 in April 2023, and then to $1.04 in April 2024. However, that recent two-cent cut is only a 1.89% reduction, and rising assessments are driving up tax bills. And as both you and your opponent pointed out, that has given the County an approximately $9.5 million windfall. If elected, will you follow the example of Governor Youngkin and issue rebate checks to all County taxpayers, to return part or all of that surplus to the taxpayers?

Mrs. Shepherd: Roanoke County is always focused on our citizens.  We are always looking for ways to give back to our citizens.  In fact, the Board of Supervisors has had a focus on giving back to citizens over the last several years.  Since FY2023 we have cut the real estate tax rate $.05 cents, cut the personal property tax rate $.10 cents, reduced the machinery and tools tax $.05 cents, and changed the threshold for business license. Additionally, Roanoke County increased the credit to citizens for personal property bills. Total tax relief to citizens total over $22 million.

This year I voted to reduce the real estate tax by $.02 cents. And next week I will vote on a budget that prioritizes Roanoke County Public Schools and Public Safety while maintaining services for our citizens.

If elected, I will continue to look for ways to give back to the citizens of Roanoke County. In fact, we will soon be meeting to review the tax relief program for the elderly and disabled and look for ways we may expand this program. I think previous actions demonstrates the Boards commitment to giving back and cutting taxes for our citizens.

Also, the Board and I will always be eyeing ways to save our citizens money.  One additional way is the personal property motor vehicle license fee.  Next year we will be considering lowering or eliminating this fee.  This is approximately $20 per car.

The Roanoke Star: If so, approximately how much would that amount be? Moreover, would you work to reduce the rate lower than the current $1.04, and if so, how low?

Mrs. Shepherd: I believe that the less money the government is taxing families, business, and entrepreneurs the better off we are. As long as we have the money necessary to provide our services then we should be wise on how much the tax rate would be or  save it in a rainy day fund in case the economy goes south.

The Roanoke Star: The Vinton War Memorial was opened in 1948, to celebrate the Allied victory in World War II, which had ended in 1945. As explained in, “In 2011, the community unveiled the Vinton/Roanoke County Veterans Monument, called High Ground, an octagonal outdoor structure that features a bronze American flag in its center. It honors members of the military who were killed in action, as well as those currently serving, with names carved in granite.” There is a growing movement across America to maintain the honor, dignity and original purpose of war memorials, to display only official US, state, or military flags on such properties. If elected, would you work to maintain the dignity and decorum of the Vinton War Memorial in this way?

Mrs. Shepherd: Yes. The Vinton War Memorial is a source of pride for our community. There are a lot of generational memories that happened there. It provides for a lot of different community events.  I want to thank any veteran who is reading this article for their service to our Country.   Memorial such as this is a reflection of the men/women that served in these wars including my grandfather who served in WWII

The Roanoke Star: What do you think are the 3 biggest crises/challenges facing Roanoke County today, and are there any specific steps as the Vinton District representative on the Board of Supervisors you would take to address them?

Mrs. Shepherd: Generally, things are good and a lot of great Economic Development.

We have really good talent at the County and all levels of Roanoke County. Our challenge will be to continue to be the employer of choice and retain the talent that we have to continue to provide the best services for our citizens.

Additionally, we have aging facilities and infrastructure (i.e fire stations) so a lot of capital needs with rising inflation and capital costs.

Strong need for more housing across the entire valley.

The Roanoke Star: You and your opponent are both lifelong Vinton residents with wide name recognition. Why do you think Vinton District voters should vote for you instead of your opponent?

Because I have the trust and respect of my fellow board members. You can’t be effective for Vinton families by attacking your colleagues or disrespecting them on social media. Governing is a big responsibility and you can’t make outlandish promises like suggesting this one district tax dollars can’t go here or there. That is simply not how budgeting works.  My friend Mr. Greenway has a good heart and loves our community, but he doesn’t help Vinton families because of his behavior.

The Roanoke Star: What is one positive comment about your opponent in this race that you appreciate and respect.

Tim and I have been friends for a number of years.  Tim is a good man and does love this community, just as I do.   He and I just have different views. I believe in building coalitions and creating a working consensus to get work done, not making bold promises that cannot be solved alone by one supervisor. Serving on the board is different from vocalizing their opinions on social media.


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