Purcell is making his second run for supervisor. He first served on the board from 2003 to 2007. He was chairman of the Louisa County Planning Commission from 2013 to 2017. Purcell works at Louisa Land and Timber, a real estate agency.
Below are answers Purcell provided to questions about his campaign:
Why do you want to be supervisor? Give us a little information about your qualifications for the role.
Because of my previous time serving on the board, I think I have a good feel for how to do the job properly. At the same time, having spent time away from the board has afforded me the opportunity to see the effects both good and bad of different policy decisions in the real world, and how they affect the people. So, because of this, I think I have something to offer and I can hit the ground running. Also, Louisa is my home. I was born and raised here, and one day I will die here. I want to do the very best job I can to represent the people of the Louisa district, and hopefully along the way, do my part to help the county.
How has your perspective changed since your first term on the board?
Obviously, being older always changes your perspective, especially now that I have a family with a son growing up in the county. Hopefully, I’ve still held on to the core values that make me the person I am and have always been. I’ve had time to witness the effects of policies that have been enacted by our county government. I’ve also spent a lot of time talking to people in the Louisa district and with people outside of the district as well. There are things that our County has been doing that the people are okay with, but there are several things that they are not happy about right now. I have taken notes. And hopefully, I can represent the citizens of the Louisa district well. The other obvious change over the last 12 to 13 years is how fast the world moves now. And even though we like to think of Louisa as a nice, small, country town, we are not immune to the rapid pace of our changing society. I am looking forward to doing my part to take advantage of the positive aspects of change, while hopefully minimizing the negative aspects so that Louisa can remain the wonderful place to live, work and play that we all love.
You were not a fan, at least initially, of the county buying the land it bought for the Shannon Hill Business Park. If you’re supervisor, what direction do you want the board to take with regard to the park?
Anyone who knows me or has followed my record knows that I have been a tremendous supporter of business in the business community. I appreciate a good business deal. On the other hand, a poorly conceived or executed business deal can get you in a lot of trouble very quickly. Real estate is an area where you have to be particularly careful. The more I found out as information trickled out about the park, I became more concerned. First, there was no business lined up to go there. Therefore, by definition the project was speculative and the county was speculating on real estate with taxpayer money. Next, there are many steps that have to be gone through before property is purchased. You have to look at issues like topography, soil type, how much engineering work is needed and what the cost of that will be in order to get the property in the form you eventually want it to be in, just to name a few. As I said during the hearings, I felt the proper due diligence had not been done and there was a rush to exercise options which I did not understand. It may work out, but it’s a big gamble, especially with our well-documented problems getting water from the James. I have not yet heard of any business beating down our doors to locate there. I will be able to ascertain further the status come January.
There is a faction on the supervisors now that is strongly against raising tax rates. Do you share that position, or does the board need to at least be willing to discuss raising rates from time to time to provide essential services such as fire and rescue?
Being a fiscal conservative, I’m philosophically against raising taxes. I’m also against expanding government just for the sake of expanding government. Long before tax increases are considered, we need to look at the efficiency and efficacy of what we are doing with the tax revenue we are already bringing in. I will say that tax rates are only one aspect of being fiscally conservative, in my opinion. You also have to look at how the money has been used and how successful our projects have been, especially the big ones.
What other issues do you anticipate will be your priorities as a board member once you’re elected?
My campaign has been based on two principles: listening to the people—truly listening to the people; and government accountability. As we approach the end of the campaign season, I’m very aware of the fact that the work is just beginning. I’m of the opinion that we have several issues already on the plate that if not handled properly could put Louisa in a deep hole. I plan to work hard and do everything I possibly can to represent the people and their concerns, and try to mitigate any potential problems which may be on the horizon.