Wendell Coleman seeks return to Augusta County Board of Supervisors
“I care greatly about this county. I care greatly about this part of the county. I just couldn’t sit by and watch things happen, that maybe what I was seeing happening didn’t resonate well with me,” said Coleman, who represented the Wayne District seat from 2004-2012.
Coleman, 71, made his candidacy public at a press event on the new Route 636 road that connects U.S. 250 to Augusta Health. During his tenure on the Board of Supervisors, Coleman played an instrumental role in the development of the connector road, which cuts travel times for those trying to access the regional hospital from Staunton and the western half of the county.
Coleman also played a pivotal role in the county’s effort to add to the road infrastructure at and around Exit 91 on Interstate 64, another key feeder to the hospital and the burgeoning medical office growth that has popped up around it.
The current Wayne District supervisor, Jeff Moore, has announced that he will not seek a second term. Moore’s pending departure is one of three from the current Board of Supervisors, with the March resignation of South River Supervisor David Karaffa, and Middle River Supervisor Larry Weeks has also indicated that he will not seek re-election.
Coleman cited “board turnover” and the pending 2016 retirement of long-time County Administrator Patrick Coffield as key factors in his decision to re-enter the political fray.
“The learning curve for a new supervisor is just tremendous. Nobody can imagine how long it can take to get acclimated,” Coleman said. “The fact that I have eight years of experience, I haven’t been gone that long, I know the players. I know the people in VDOT. You’ve got to find to work with VDOT. I know most of the people on Waynesboro City Cuoncil. I know most of the people on Staunton City Council. I know most of the people on the Shenandoah Valley Partnership.
“Not that I’ve cornered the market on that stuff, but there’s got to be something to say for that,” Coleman said.
Coleman is one of four candidates to declare intentions for the Wayne District seat. Two other independents, Larry Weeks and John Graves, and Republican Mary Beth Swemba, have already entered the race.
Coleman touted his ability “to work with people and get things done” as being key to his candidacy.
“I feel like I’ve got a skill set of being able to bring people together and get things done,” Coleman said. “That’s one of the things that bothers me about politics in general, whether it be local politics or state or national politics. The people elected us to go do their business, and I don’t see in a lot of instances a lot of that happening.”
– Story by Chris Graham