Saying he hopes to make a difference, Robert W. “Bob” Warren of Mount Hermon announced today that he will run for the Chatham-Blairs District seat on the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors in November.
Warren, 54, is the owner and president of R.J. Baldwin Agency Inc., which markets and sells insurance and financial products.
He is vice president of the Danville-Pittsylvania County Community Services Board, a past president of Boys and Girls Club of Danville, and former member of the board of directors of Chatham Cares Inc., which manages the Community Center at Chatham.
“I really feel humbled and blessed about where I am in life,” Warren said. “This community has really supported me. I’d like to give something back and see if I can make a difference.”
Warren, who is making his first bid for public office, said he is a good listener and likes to hear all sides.
“I’ve always been able to listen to different voices and different sides and come to a reasonable conclusion to bring people together. Sometimes being able to listen gives you the opportunity to create unity,” he said.
Warren hopes to succeed Chatham-Blairs District Supervisor Brenda Bowman, the board’s chairman, who announced last week that she will not run for a second term.
All seven supervisors’ seats 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.
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.
Born and raised in Danville, Warren graduated from George Washington High School in 1978. After receiving a two-year degree from Danville Community College, he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Virginia Tech in 1982.
Warren is a former president of the Danville Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and Tuscarora Country Club, and trustee and deacon at Shermont Baptist Church.
He and his wife, Tammy, have two sons. Nathan is a welder and Colby, a recent law school graduate, plans to practice law in Danville.
“I’m a strong believer in the youth of the community,” Warren said. “I think we need to tap into that resource. We need to offer opportunities back here professionally.”
Warren said the county needs to market its precision machine technology partnership with Danville Community College and do more in economic development to create good-paying jobs.
“There are just not enough opportunities to draw the majority of our young people back. I’d like to see us change that,” he said.
Warren said the county’s new youth commission, which Bowman championed, is a good start.
“We’ve got to change our attitude. It starts with us,” he said.
Warren would like to see supervisors provide more funding for schools, but understands the county’s budget constraints.
He cited the new STEM Academy as a “real positive” for the county.
Warren supports recreation and law enforcement, and thinks the county should build a new, modern animal shelter.
He also said the board needs to development a long-range capital improvements plan.
“You’ve got to have more than one-year tunnel vision,” he said. “You’ve got to look down the road to anticipate things that are coming.”
A self-described fiscal conservative, Warren said he is progressive, but isn’t interested in raising taxes and believes in living within the county’s means.
Warren said his background in finance could benefit the board, especially during budget time.
“I want to look ahead to what we need and how we can pay for it. Let’s make sure we can pay for it before buying it. I hate debt,” he said.
According to Warren, the county needs to shift the tax burden to industry rather than relying mostly on real estate owners.
He also would like to see county managers and board members receive more feedback from employees and the public.
“If I’m elected, I would like to think I could make a positive impact on the county as a whole,” Warren said.
“ I’d like to look back and say I made a difference in the budgeting process — that we used every dollar wisely.”