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By CHRISTOPHER BROOKE
StaffHILLSVILLE — A choice between two candidates in the Pipers Gap District is the only contested race for the Carroll Board of Supervisors this fall.
Republican incumbent Tom Littrell will face a challenge from independent Robert “Robbie” McCraw on Nov. 5 in the first election after Carroll County implemented staggered terms.
The fall general election also features two incumbent supervisors who are running unopposed in their districts — Joshua Hendrick in Laurel Fork and Phil McCraw in Fancy Gap.
Robbie McCraw believes that the people of Pipers Gap want a change in their representation on the Carroll Board of Supervisors, and he felt led to offer himself as a candidate.
As a person who is involved with Blue Ridge Chapel Baptist Church as a deacon, is active with the Carroll High School wrestling club, works as a volunteer with a non-profit that helps with housing (the Fuller Center of Greater Carroll County) and who has worked at Lowes Home Center for 15 years, McCraw said he has a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and experience about the needs of the people.
“I’m a firm believer in helping the community,” he told The Gazette. “Helping the community starts in the community.”
McCraw says the board of supervisors should make decisions that put the citizens first.
His platform includes not only the importance of attracting jobs to the area, but also the importance of Carroll County having an open government and treating people fairly.
The people need a good county board to go along with the good quality of life in the Twin Counties.
As a parent with a son and daughter who both still live here, McCraw hopes that county officials can provide enough jobs that their children can continue living here, too, reversing a disturbing trend.
“The Twin County area is the best place in the world to raise a family,” McCraw said. But, “to quote a former school administrator with Carroll County, one of Carroll County’s greatest exports is our kids, and I would love to keep our kids in this area.”
The only way to do that is to provide more opportunities for them.
In terms of fairness by the supervisors, McCraw referred to an ongoing issue in which the county board in July expressed a need to vacate a site plan granted by the planning commission to the Agape Motorcoach Retreat. While supervisors say the site plan was approved improperly, Agape developer Stephen Gregson disagrees.
“I don’t understand how they can go back and void something approved by a board-appointed group,” McCraw said. “I believe fairness for everyone is a big thing.”
Putting his work and his leadership experiences — including assistant service manager at Pike Electric — to work to help the people is his ultimate goal, if elected to office.
“You’ve got to have a servant’s heart — that’s what we say in the church — you’ve got to have a servant’s heart to truly serve the people,” he said. “We deserve open government. We’re due better, I think. All of us are due better representation toward the county administration and the county as a whole.”
With six years of prior experience on the Carroll County Board of Supervisors, plus a history of small business success and community service, Tom Littrell decided to run for re-election as the Pipers Gap supervisor to continue to help his community.
“I have experience, common sense, integrity and a desire to help Carroll County progress,” Littrell said. “I have been on the board for almost six years, chair in 2011. I have run a successful small business for 41 years,” he told The Gazette.
“Both of these have prepared me to make wise decisions for Carroll County to continue with a stable and sound fiscal policy.”
His community service includes being an Eagle scout and scout master of Troop 188 for 40 years, a member and treasurer of Oakland United Methodist Church and a member of Oakland Ruritan Club for 30 years.
Littrell served as a captain in the Air Force from 1970 to 1972 and represents Carroll County on the Twin County Airport Commission.
Economic development remains on the forefront of the agenda. At the same time, Littrell — who lives on a farm — wants to preserve the natural beauty of the land and promote the agricultural pursuits that are so prevalent here.
One area that the county officials have been able to address is providing water and sewer service to more citizens in Carroll through the Public Service Authority, on which Littrell also represents Pipers Gap and serves as chairman.
“While on the Public Service Authority, water and sewer service has been expanded to areas with desperate needs,” he noted. That includes all Interstate 77 exits and the Wildwood Commerce Park area.
Work must be done to retain jobs and create new ones, too, he added.
“I think one of the critical areas we face in Carroll County is the possible future closing of the Southwestern Virginia Training Center, and I along with others are trying to reverse that decision,” Littrell said. “If it does close, I think it will take a facility away that the residents feel safe in…”
Littrell said he wants to “encourage economic development by helping existing companies to expand and enticing new businesses to locate in Carroll County. The public school system should be reasonably funded and recreational opportunities expanded.”