DANVILLE — Ronald S. Scearce, a fiscal conservative who hopes to bring accountability to local government, said this week he will run for the Westover District seat on the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors.
Scearce, 51, is retired from the Air Force and lives on Stony Mill Road.
He is running to replace long-time Westover Supervisor Coy Harville, who has prostate cancer and will retire in December.
Scearce, a cancer survivor too, is a big admirer of Harville, 71, who has served on the board 20 years.
“His leadership, loyalty, dedication, and certainly his efforts for the Westover District are to be commended,” said Scearce. “He’s been a fantastic supervisor. Everything he’s done for the district I’ve always approved of.”
Scearce, who had peritoneal mesothelioma, said he is a “walking miracle.”
“As a cancer survivor, I am acutely aware of the challenges he (Harville) is currently facing, and I hope everyone will keep Coy in their prayers,” he said.
All seven supervisors’ seats on the board are up for election in November. The filing deadline is June 9.
Earlier this year, Randee Brown, a parks and recreation supervisor in Danville, announced plans to run in Westover, but withdrew last week citing personal obligations.
So far, Scearce has no opposition. He is running as an independent.
New supervisors will take office Jan. 1, 2016, and serve four years.
A native of Danville, Scearce graduated from George Washington High School and spent 22 years in the Air Force working in satellite communications.
He retired in 2004 and returned to the Danville area in 2005. This is his first bid for public office.
Now semi-retired, he worked for DRS Technologies as a government contractor until 2013. He earned an associate degree in electronic systems technologies in 2001.
As chairman of the Danville Tea Party and a member of Pittsylvania County Republican Committee, Scearce has campaigned and raised money for local, state, and national candidates and served as delegate at GOP conventions and primaries.
A life member of the National Rifle Association, he participates in the Danville Friends of NRA Foundation and is a member of the committee that raises money to support shooting sports, youth firearm safety, education programs, hunter education, and wildlife conservation.
Scearce and his wife, Alisa, have a son, Aleksandr, 21, who is a student at Danville Community College. Their daughter, Adryenne, 19, is a graduate of Tunstall High School, and daughter, Anna, 16, is homeschooled.
The family attends White Oak Worship Center in Blairs.
Scearce said his campaign can be summed up by the Air Force’s core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence.
“After 22 years of faithful service, those core values have been ingrained into my nature,” he said. “If I am elected, they will be a guiding force in fulfilling my obligations to the residents of the Westover District.”
Scearce said he is concerned about where the county is going, and underscored the need for more accountability to taxpayers.
“Being a fiscal conservative, my main concerns will be accountability in our government, looking out for the interests of the taxpayers of the Westover District and Pittsylvania County,” he said.
The candidate is especially concerned about the county’s $36 million surplus, or “slush fund,” as he described it.
“Instead of taking money and putting it on the school bonds, it just continues to grow,” he said.
Scearce voted for school construction bonds, and thinks the county has good schools, but criticized supervisors for not paying down debt.
Taxes have been raised “multiple times,” he said, but the county still has more than $100 million debt.
“If we can’t get control of our finances at the local level, how can we expect the state or federal government to control spending?” Scearce said.
Scearce also opposes the board’s 4-3 decision last week to allow Treasurer Kate Berger to put some of the county’s surplus in an investment pool operated by the Virginia Association of Counties and Virginia Municipal League.
Harville voted against joining the pool.
“I’m not against investment. I’m against no accountability,” Scearce said.
Scearce supports the county’s economic development efforts, noting the Berry Hill Mega Park and I-73 corridor are “keys” to growth.
“It is important these projects move forward,” he said. “I intend to be a positive influence for not only the small business owners in the county, making it easier for them to pursue their livelihood, but to also actively seek corporations that can bring this area back to life.”
Scearce supports supervisors’ stand on prayer.
He opposes uranium mining. “I don’t want to see that happen in the county,” he said.
He admires state Sen. Bill Stanley and Del. Les Adams.
“They both have impressed me with their hard work and support for Southside Virginia, and I hope I can prove to be as dedicated to solving the problems of our area,” he said.
“With any issue, I can take the pros and cons and use common sense to make decisions,” said Scearce. “I think a lot of people out there are hurting and somebody has got to look out for them.”