Yes, Virginia, the election cycle begins.
Meet the Candidates is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will sit down with each candidate in our local election and discuss issues that are important to all of us. In this Meet the Candidates session, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Robert Hupman.
The Senate of Virginia consists of 40 members who each represent approximately 215,000 Virginians. Senators serve four-year terms. All 40 seats will be on the ballot in November 2023.
More about Robert Hupman
A farmer, entrepreneur, martial artist, community servant, and outdoorsman, Robert Byron Hupman was born, raised, and educated in Warren County, Virginia, in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.
Robert grew up on his family farm, where his family has been farming since the early 1800s. Robert has continued farming his family land (over 500 acres) along the South Fork of the Shenandoah River where he, his wife Margarita, and their beautiful daughter “Shenandoah” continue to reside, growing up to 70,000 turkeys a year, and reporting around 3 million dollars of product annually.
As the owner of Hazard Mill Farms, Robert has helped raise over $50,000.00 for local charities last year, by offering his farm as an event venue, with the Shenandoah River on one side, and the glorious Blue Ridge mountains on the other.
Some of the non-profits Robert regularly helps raise funds for through the use of his property, time, and genuine humanitarian spirit include:
- Warren County Human Society
- Thermal (Homeless) Shelter
- Habitat for Humanity
- House of Hope (Men’s Shelter)
- Reaching Out Now (a weekly program to help feed local families in poverty)
- Area Food Pantries
- The Black American Outdoorsman annual Youth Hunt
When Robert learned that the residents at our local thermal shelter did not have a place to shower, Robert found a trailer, purchased and helped retrofit it. As a result, around 40 of our local homeless neighbors have the dignity of a warm shower at night.
Robert is a 4-H All-Star, as well as a proud Paul Harris Fellow, through the Rotary Club of Warren County, where Robert is an active member, helping with even more local, regional, and global humanitarian work.
Passionate about his community since birth, Robert is ready and prepared to take his love of service to the next level by serving as Virginia State Senator for District One.
Robert looks forward to using his experience as a businessman by working with all Virginia Senators, to put in place programs that will generate streams of tax revenue, create or support infrastructure projects, long-overdue mental health services, education/trade schools, and demand that basic life skills be taught in our public schools.
Robert will take the conservative common sense and firm resolve he has been taught, through the centuries of leadership and ethical business practices he has gleaned from generations of family success here in his beloved Shenandoah Valley to Richmond. Robert Hupman says he is ready to “GET IT DONE!”
Meet the Candidates: A conversation with Wayne Sealock, candidate for Front Royal Town Council
Meet the Candidates is a series on the Royal Examiner where we sit down with each candidate in our local election and discuss important issues. In this Meet the Candidates session, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Wayne Sealock.
Wayne is running for Town Council in a Special Election (two-year term) for the seat vacated by Scott Lloyd. Also running in the Special Election is Gene Kilby.
Wayne says, “I was born and raised in Front Royal. I think I can bring new ideas to the table. I want to save our taxpayers money. I served on the Board of Zoning Appeals for 17 years and as chairman for the last 15 years. I am all about hiring local people that know our town. ”
He continued, “As your councilman, I want to make our community as safe and secure as possible. A good place for our children to live, learn and grow. I want our children, young adults, middle age adults, and our seniors to feel safe so they can go out for an evening walk. I will work to get us another grocery store in town. I want to promote Front Royal to attract tourists to our town. This will increase revenue by purchasing food, gas, and hotel rooms. I will strive to equip our police department with the equipment and personnel needed to protect our citizens. Lastly, I will strive to keep our taxpayers informed where their tax dollars are being spent, with them having a say in public hearings.”
Front Royal Town Council Candidates Forum held at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
The Front Royal Catholic Civic Education Group sponsored the Town Council Candidates Forum held at the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Front Royal on September 16, 2022.
The Front Royal Catholic Civic Education Group wants the community to be able to make informed choices regarding the November election, so they asked all Front Royal Town Council candidates to this Candidates’ Forum.
Approximately 200 people filled the parish hall below the Church. The format was typical for such events. Everyone was given time for opening and closing remarks. The moderator was Wayne White, from Lake Frederick, who asked each candidate to respond to the same questions on subjects relating to the office sought.
Candidates for the Town Council special election to fill the vacant seat of Scott Lloyd include Gene Kilby and Wayne Sealock.
Candidates Josh Ingram, Zack Jackson, Amber Poe, and Bruce Rappaport are running for the three open seats on Town Council in the November election. Lori Cockrell is the lone candidate for Mayor.
Watch the Candidates Forum on this exclusive Royal Examiner video.
Questions were provided to the candidates as they arrived at the forum, and no questions were taken from the audience.
Questions for the candidates:
- Warren Public Schools. Over the past two years, parents’ concerns over COVID restrictions, school curricula, and discipline have contributed to a decline in public school attendance. In fact, public records show that 23 % of school-age children in Warren County are no longer attending public schools. Would you, as a member of the Town Council, support a town property tax credit of some form for town residents who choose to send their children to private schools or who homeschool, since their children are currently not attending public schools, which saves the taxpayers approximately $15,000 per student per year? Why or why not?
- Front Royal Economic Development Authority: Data Centers. The Front Royal Economic Development Authority (FREDA) has recommended bringing data centers to Front Royal. The Town Council has been asked to approve a zoning change to facilitate that proposal. Data Centers have environmental and infrastructure as well as financial issues associated with them. Do you believe that before the Council makes its zoning decision, FREDA should hold public hearings to address community concerns? What oversite mechanisms would you recommend for the Council to put in place to ensure transparency of a project of this magnitude?
- Economic Development of Front Royal. Many say Front Royal has untapped economic development potential. What would you do to attract more businesses to this community with better-paying jobs? Please give us some examples of those businesses that you believe would be a good fit for our community.
- Derelict Buildings in Front Royal. Many citizens are concerned about derelict buildings that reflect poorly on the town. Some argue that the Town has limited options to correct these problems. However, research suggests a possible approach to reducing derelict buildings would be to tax assessments that reflect the actual property market value. For example, the derelict building at Commerce Avenue and 6th Street is zoned commercial use and is in a high-traffic area. In 2021, the building was assessed and taxed at $140,000, and this year it was assessed at $147,000. However, in August of this year, the building was listed at $275,000. In other words, it was only assessed at just about half of its commercial real estate value. If derelict buildings were assessed and taxed at their true market value, owners may be less likely to leave them idle and or have them repaired. Real estate assessment is the responsibility of the Warren County government. If you are elected, what would you do to resolve the under-assessment value of derelict buildings with the County to remove or improve these facilities?
- Future of Main Street. We understand that people have different opinions as to making Main Street a pedestrian-only mall between Chester Avenue and Royal Avenue. Where do you stand on the idea of such a change, and why?
Questions for the Front Royal Mayoral Candidate.
Along with the five questions above, two additional questions were asked of the mayor candidate.
- As a member of the Front Royal Town Council for two years and now as a candidate for Mayor, looking back, is there anything that you would have done differently during your tenure on the Council? If so, please provide some specifics on the issues and how a different position would have benefitted the Town.
- In the Front Royal Town Code, the Mayor has responsibility for the operation and conduct of the Front Royal Police. As Mayor, would you be in favor of a Citizen Advisory Council to assist the police with police/citizen conflicts? Please explain why or why not you would consider a group like that to assist in resolving such issues.
Local Republican James Bergida enters race for Virginia Senate District 1
Grassroots community leader and college professor James Bergida today announced his candidacy for the newly drawn Virginia Senate District 1. A campaign launch event will be announced soon.
“As a lifelong Virginian, a guy from a family of overcomers, a man of faith, and an educator, I passionately hold that now is the time to invest in our beautiful Valley and Commonwealth’s future.
I believe that Virginia and our Shenandoah Valley can continue to be the land of opportunity, a place where all our residents don’t just get by but thrive. I have what it takes to stand firm for the freedoms and conservative values that Virginians know and love. I look forward to representing the constituents of Senate District 1 and working with members in both the Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates to expand opportunities for all Virginians and protect our God-given rights. Let’s work together to achieve the future that Virginian families deserve.”
Bergida interned at the U.S. Department of Justice, worked in real estate and agriculture, and currently serves as the Chairman of the Northern Valley Young Republicans. In 2021, he led a grassroots team of staff and volunteers to flip the City of Chesapeake for Glenn Youngkin.
Having attended Shenandoah University and graduated from Christendom College, Bergida received his master’s and doctorate from the University of Oxford. He currently teaches Political Science and Economics at Christendom College.
To learn more about James Bergida and the campaign for Virginia Senate, please visit jamesbergida.com
Meet the Candidates: Delores R. Oates, Virginia House of Delegates, District 31
Meet the Candidates is a series on the Royal Examiner where we sit down with each candidate in our local election and discuss important issues. In this Meet the Candidates session, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Delores R. Oates. Delores has announced her candidacy for the Virginia House of Delegates, District 31, in the November 7, 2023 election.
Delores was born in Front Royal and proudly attended Warren County High School. Delores is active in the community, serving as a mentor to teen mothers and volunteering in various churches, youth athletic organizations, and civic groups. Delores lives with her husband Rob in Warren County and has raised her three children here.
Taking on Taxes & Lowering Democrat Inflation
Hardworking Virginians have been hit hard enough by the Democrat’s rising prices and bloated government. Delores says she will work to cut taxes for Virginians and ensure that your money is working for you because the cure to inflation is through responsible government spending.
Defending Our 2nd Amendment Rights
Our 2nd Amendment rights have secured the survival of our country. Currently, Democrats across the country are using a tragedy as an opportunity to criminalize law-abiding gun owners. As your Delegate, Delores says she will defend our constitutional rights from the liberal gun grabbers.
Safeguarding Our Elections
It is paramount to restore the trust and integrity of our elections because no citizen should question whether their vote has been accurately collected or counted for who or what they voted for. Delores says she will fight to audit future elections and use common sense voter identification protections.
Securing Our Borders
National security is border security, and we cannot continue to exist as a sovereign nation as long as our border isn’t secure. Delores says she will oppose sanctuary city policies, end in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, and restore the rule of law.
Delores is proudly pro-life and in Richmond will take on the infanticide lobby head-on by repealing legislation that legalized third-trimester abortions, and says she will vote to defund Planned Parenthood and restore a culture of life in Virginia.
Meet the Candidates: Merritt Hale, US Congress, 6th District
Meet the Candidates is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will sit down with each candidate and discuss issues that are important to all of us. In this Meet the Candidates session, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Merritt Hale.
Merritt is challenging incumbent Ben Cline for the Republican nomination to represent Virginia’s 6th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. The Republican primary is scheduled for June 21, 2022. The general election will be on November 8, 2022.
Merritt says his core values are God, family, and country. He said, “My dad was a military veteran, and my mom was a schoolteacher who retired in 2016 to take care of my dad full time after he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. In December 2020, my dad went to a nursing home. This experience was incredibly difficult for my family, and it opened my eyes to the burden that healthcare and end-of-life care can be for hard-working families. After going through this trying experience with my dad’s health, I felt compelled to do something to change the system. After much praying and looking at what’s going on in the country, I felt a calling to serve again, this time not in uniform, but as a representative.”
Lance Allen announces candidacy for Virginia’s First Senate District
On April 4, 2022, Frederick County resident, Chairman of the Virginia Project, and U.S. Air Force veteran Lance Allen announced that he is running to represent Virginia’s First Senate District compromised of Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, and Clarke counties as well as the City of Winchester.
“Virginia voters sent a clear message to Richmond last November that they expect their elected representatives to fight for them,” said Allen. “By soundly rejecting the failed Democrat policies of the past, Virginians demanded a new direction. As Senator, I will stand with parents, support our brave police officers, fight for lower taxes, and defend the right to life for the unborn. Together, we can and will build a better future for our Commonwealth by retaking the Senate and stopping Democrats from blocking Governor Youngkin’s family’s first agenda.”
As a conservative Republican, Lance will protect and support Virginia children. He is staunchly pro-life, supports school choice, and wants to increase access to trade skills development in our education system. Lance will also fight for safer communities by standing with our brave police officers and victims of crime by fully funding law enforcement and fashioning a parole board that puts victims and communities ahead of criminals. Lance will help work for Virginia families by lowering taxes. He supports ending the Commonwealth’s personal property tax.
Lance is a husband, father of three, U.S. Air Force veteran, and fierce advocate for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is running to be SD 1’s voice in Richmond, repair the damage done by radical Democrat policies, and support Governor Glenn Youngkin’s vision for a better future for Virginia.