Banister District Supervisor Jessie Barksdale announced today that he will seek re-election to the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors in November.
Barksdale, 66, was elected in 2011 to succeed former Banister Supervisor William H. Pritchett, who retired after 20 years of service to the county.
Barksdale is wrapping up his first four-year term and served as chairman of the board in 2014.
“It is a privilege to represent the citizens of Pittsylvania County,” he said. “If re-elected, I will continue to work hard to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all citizens.”
So far, Barksdale is the only candidate in the Banister District, which was created to give minorities a majority in one of the county’s seven election districts.
The district sprawls along the entire eastern part of the county.
All seven seats on the board are up for election Nov. 3.
Supervisors serve four years, but will switch to staggered terms with the 2015 election.
Supervisors elected in the Banister, Dan River, and Callands-Gretna districts will serve two-year terms with the remaining board members serving four.
Elections will continue every two years with all members serving four years.
Supervisors’ terms will mirror the school board, which switched to staggered terms in 2011.
Barksdale, Dan River District Supervisor James Snead, and Callands-Gretna District Supervisor Jerry Hagerman all volunteered their districts for the shortened terms.
In addition, county voters will elect four school board members along with a sheriff, commonwealth’s attorney, clerk of court, treasurer, and commissioner of revenue in November.
Voters also will fill seats in the General Assembly. State senators Bill Stanley and Frank Ruff are up for re-election along with delegates Les Adams and Danny Marshall.
The filing deadline is June 9.
Barksdale’s priorities, taken from the board’s strategic planning session last fall, include funding for economic development, preparing a pro-active capital improvements plan, actively supporting workforce development initiatives throughout the region, and promoting agriculture and tourism.
“ It goes without saying that I will always be an advocate for our teachers, law enforcement, and fire and rescue personnel,” he said.
Barksdale, who strongly opposes uranium mining, said supervisors have accomplished some significant milestones in the past three years, but there is more to come.
“As I begin the last year of a four-year term, I am excited about some of the new projects that the board is currently discussing – such as a new animal shelter,” he said.
The board also commissioned feasibility studies on the poultry industry and a new cannery.
“I am optimistic that we will be able to discuss and make final decisions on some of these issues in 2015,” Barksdale said.
Barksdale said he appreciates the strong support he has received from citizens in his district and throughout the region.
“They have put their trust in me to make wise decisions on their behalf, and that is my guiding principle each and every time that I raise my hand to vote,” he said.
Barksdale said he is proud to serve on the board.
“We have some of the best employees that you will find at any level of government,” he said. “I am a retired federal civil servant with over 30 years of government experience, and I have seen no less dedication and commitment from our very own county managers, supervisors, and employees. We are fortunate to have such a reliable county administrator and staff.”
A native of Keeling, Barksdale moved to Trenton, N.J., when he was a teenager. He graduated from high school in New Jersey and earned a two-year degree in business administration from Taylor Business School in Philadelphia, Pa.
He served in the Army and is a Vietnam veteran.
After the Army, Barksdale spent five years in Hawaii as a musician in a USO band before going to work for the Department of the Army in 1980 as a management analyst in Anchorage, Alaska.
After 10 years, he joined the Federal Aviation Administration in Anchorage as a job classifier, civil rights officer and program manager.
Barksdale moved to FFA headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 1995 as a senior manager. He retired in 2003 and moved to Spring Garden.
His wife, Deborah, is a retired financial manager.
While in Alaska, Barksdale learned to fly. He is a mission transport pilot for the Civil Air Patrol.
Noting the learning curve for elected officials is endless, Barksdale said it’s important to be honest and upfront with citizens.
“No matter what it is they are asking or complaining about, they deserve my attention,” he said. “I can’t always do everything they want, but I can listen.”
An important lesson learned from former chairman Marshall Ecker, who died in 2013, was to stand up for what you believe in, Barksdale said.
“That means always casting your vote with the citizens in mind,” he said. “My agenda is the citizens’ agenda. That’s the right thing to do.”