Better Neighborhood Planning, Bigger Retail Base Keys to Sellers’ Campaign for Stafford Board of Supervisors
Laura Sellers is the Democratic candidate running for the Garrisonville seat of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, and she is no stranger to the political scene. She first ran for the Board of Supervisors in 2009 and is currently a member of the Stafford Democratic Committee. She says she is determined to bring the board a new perspective.
“I was not happy with the county,” says Sellers. “With a young child, I have to think about what I want the county to look like as I raise him here. This wasn’t really it.”
Sellers says her expectations are in line with many of the views of families she’s spoken to within her district. She says she doesn’t feel that her opponent, Ty Schieber, has effectively represented the Garrisonville district.
“We need elected officials to staff the planning commission with someone who can help plan for our future. We need elected officials who represent our district and who stand for something,” says Sellers. “My ideas are centered on the belief that you can’t build a community 100 percent reliant upon defense contracts because those contracts go away.”
Sellers refers to the construction centering around the residential subdivision, Embrey Mill.
“Embrey Mill is being built in a district where our schools are over capacity,” she says. “Furthermore, the two fire departments in the area are under staffed and aren’t a real facility.”
“That is a representation of poor representation. Our supervisor should’ve known that the infrastructure needs upgrading before more residential homes are built.”
Sellers has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in social work. She says that through her studies, she’s been able to pinpoint what it takes to be a respectable elected official.
“Compassion I think is the biggest (component),” says Sellers. “When you’re making decisions about people’s lives and you realize your decisions are affecting people lives, you need to be compassionate and empathic with your decisions.”
She says the other element is called reflective listening, a communication strategy used to identify the expectations of the speaker(s) and work to develop successful solutions to the problems people are facing.
“We need a focus. We need a plan. And we need to emphasize the importance of character as we plan for the future.”
“As a member of the Board of Supervisors, you have to let the school board function independently,” says Sellers. “I will advocate for the schools and work with them and if they want me to do something. But as far as what I personally think (the schools) should look like, I think that should be left up to the schools.”
She adds: “I do think that teachers should get paid better and classrooms should be smaller, but that has to be a priority of the school board and if they choose to make it a priority, then they will have my support.”
Sellers says she has spent the last four years studying economic development. She says she believes Stafford has a great potential to increase its revenue base in creative ways.
“I have a great respect for the fact that if you want to fund something, you have to fund it without always going to the tax payers,” says Sellers. “
Sellers says her plan is called “Targeted Economic Development” and she will focus on two areas: law enforcement and government, and increasing the retail base.
“I am really going to start stressing and supporting the idea of bringing in a GSA certified firing range, so we can have more local and state law enforcement use this area to get certified,” says Sellers. “(The firing range) would create a revenue source for jobs, but also a revenue source for the Sheriff’s Department, so that way they can have a little bit more money and it’s not directly on the backs of the tax payers.”
Sellers also seeks to increase local retail bases with specialty stores and restaurants.
“I’ve been doing research and looking at Wall Street Journal reports, where it shows the trends in what industries are going to make money over the next five to 10 years,” says Sellers. “It’s really going to be those professions that support people and so I’d like to really bring some of those to Stafford.”
Women’s Issues and Healthcare
Sellers attended a Meet and Greet event on Sept. 7 in Fredericksburg, which focused on advocating women’s issues. Other speakers included Kathleen O’Halloran, candidate for the 88th Virginia House District, and speakers from the National Organization for Women and the Virginia Democratic Women’s Caucus.
“I have a 13-month-old child and when I was pregnant, because I’m an independent contractor, my company does not give me benefits or maternity leave,” says Sellers. “I’ve paid my own healthcare for seven years and when I was pregnant, the doctor told me they don’t have to cover maternity care.”
Sellers says under Virginia state law, her health insurance did not have to pay for her maternity care, and since she is an independent contractor, neither would the company she works for. She ended up with medical costs about $30,000.
“To me, women’s issues have transformed from just about choice to (include the support) of a female worker and her family,” says Sellers.