As the date of the Virginia election looms closer, opponents increase campaigning efforts
In the Nov. 5 general elections, Lynchburg residents will vote for candidates for several local offices, including commissioner of the revenue, treasurer, commonwealth’s attorney and sheriff.
The office of sheriff is the only office with more than one candidate running for election. The incumbents who hold the offices of commissioner of the revenue, treasurer and commonwealth’s attorney are all running unopposed.
For the first time in more than 10 years, the incumbent, Sheriff Ron Gillispie, is being challenged for the office.
According to an article on the The News & Advance’s website, newsadvance.com, the sheriff’s office is not primarily a law enforcement agency. The sheriff’s office is responsible for a variety of other criminal justice services, including courtroom security, serving court documents, inmate transports, evictions, juror summons and funeral escorts, according to lynchburgsheriff.org.
Gillispie, the Republican candidate, has held the position of sheriff of the City of Lynchburg since January of 2002. He defeated three other candidates in the race and has not faced a single opponent as an incumbent, according to newsadvance.com.
Gillispie’s campaign is focused on his experience.
“I think experience is very important, especially in a job of this nature,” Gillispie said to The News & Advance.
Gillispie has worked in law enforcement for more than 43 years, according to newsadvance.com. He has served at both the Lynchburg Police Department (LPD) and the Liberty University Police Department (LUPD) prior to becoming sheriff, according to Gillispie’s official campaign website. At LPD, Gillispie was a patrol officer for more than 20 years and also worked as a vice and narcotics investigator. In his time with LUPD, Gillispie was the lieutenant in charge of investigations and an advisor to the chief of police.
Gillispie, 67, is also promoting the positive changes he has made since taking office in 2002.
According to his website, Gillispie started Lynchburg Project Lifesaver, a program that searches for missing residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other mental disorders, during April of 2002, only four months after his original inauguration as sheriff. Lynchburg Project Lifesaver has conducted more than 47 successful searches for missing residents since 2002.
Also under Gillispie’s leadership, the City of Lynchburg Sheriff’s Office received Virginia state accreditation in 2006 and was reaccredited again in 2010, according to Gillispie’s website.
Gillispie has “100 percent support for re-election” from 45 Lynchburg Sheriff’s Office deputies and staff, according to his website. He is also endorsed by the CEO and founder of Project Lifesaver International, more than 10 former LPD and LUPD officers and several Lynchburg government officials.
Gillispie will appear on the ballot with first-time candidate for Lynchburg sheriff Kevin Chapman, who is 30 years Gillispie’s junior, according to newsadvance.com.
Chapman, who is running as an Independent, officially began his campaign Sept. 20, according to newsadvance.com.
“I’m basically approaching this with a new, fresh perspective,” Chapman said. “I’ve built my life on honesty and integrity. I feel like the office of sheriff should definitely have someone who is a very honest person … I think if the city allows me to be the sheriff, you’ll see positive changes.”
According to newsadvance.com, Chapman has no law enforcement experience, but has a criminal justice degree from Liberty University.
Chapman is also the owner of Chapman Investigations Inc., a private investigations firm that also offers security services. The firm also specializes in serving court papers for local lawyers. Chapman is a registered Virginia armed private investigator and has owned his firm for more than 10 years, according to Chapman’s official campaign website.
The first-time candidate said he wants to use his experience with serving court papers to improve the process that is currently in place in the sheriff’s office. Chapman hopes to do more to ensure the intended recipients receive the papers, according to newsadvance.com. Chapman would place deputies on different shifts so those serving papers have more opportunity to get papers to the correct people.
According to Chapman’s campaign website, he intends to “develop a strong, positive work environment (in the sheriff’s office) that facilitates the respect of all personnel.” Chapman promised to create a process for handling employee grievances and an anti-nepotism rule, according to newsadvance.com.
Chapman is endorsed by five local attorneys, as well as a few former employees of the sheriff’s office, according to his website.
For more information about the candidates or their campaigns, visit rongillispieforsheriff.com and chapmanforsheriff.org.
Commissioner of the Revenue
According to lynchburgva.gov, the commissioner of the revenue is responsible for the administration of all local tax programs. The commissioner of the revenue is in charge of the taxes on personal property, vehicle license, business personal property, machinery and tools, business license, meals, lodging, state income and amusement. The office also handles real estate tax relief and exemptions.
Commissioner of the Revenue Mitchell W. Nuckles is the Republican running for re-election.
“As commissioner, I strive to ensure all taxes are assessed in a fair and equitable manner,” Nuckles said on the official Lynchburg, Va., commissioner of the revenue Web page on lynchburgva.gov.
Lynchburg’s Treasurer’s Office works closely with the commissioner of the revenue regarding taxes. The treasurer oversees and collects state tax payments for the City of Lynchburg, according to lynchburgva.gov.
As is the case with commissioner of the revenue, the City of Lynchburg’s incumbent treasurer David C. Thurman is running unopposed. Thurman is also a Republican candidate.
According to the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s official website, ocalynchburg.com, the commonwealth’s attorney is responsible for the enforcement of the laws of Virginia in Lynchburg. The attorney also handles the prosecution of all felony and misdemeanor offenses.
The current Commonwealth Attorney Michael R. Doucette is running for re-election without any competition. Doucette is running as an Independent candidate.
According to ocalynchburg.com, Doucette joined the Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in 1984. Six years later, he became deputy commonwealth’s attorney. In 2002, Doucette became chief deputy commonwealth’s attorney and acting commonwealth’s attorney in March of 2006.
In November of 2006, Doucette was elected without opposition to the Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney. Three years later in the general election, Doucette was re-elected to the office. Once again, he had no competition, according to ocalynchburg.com.