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February 12, 2020

Heather Sutphin campaigns for Warrenton council

Heather Sutphin
She always puts the community first . . . a great people person.
— Jennifer Puffenbarger
Heather Grimsley Sutphin
• Age: 51

• Home: White Oak Court

• Office sought: Ward 1 seat, Warrenton Town Council, May 5 election.

• Work: Marketing and events director, Peak Roofing Contractors Inc., Warrenton, December 2019-present.

• Experience: Advertising sales, The Fauquier Times and The Fauquier Citizen; Realtor (still licensed); former Fauquier sheriff’s deputy.

• Education: Fauquier High School, 1987; Loudoun County Criminal Justice Academy, 1998.

• Organizations: Treasurer/board member, Fauquier Historical Society; citizen member, Warrenton Town Council Transportation Safety Committee; Habitat for Humanity Women Build; Fauquier Chamber of Commerce Membership Committee.

• Hobbies: Antiques, painting furniture and walking.

• Family: Husband, Wendell Sutphin.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
The marketing professional and active community volunteer will campaign for the Ward 1 seat in the Warrenton Town Council election May 5.

“I’ve always been very passionate about my community,” Heather Grimsley Sutphin said in an interview Friday. “My slogan is, ‘Living our history, building our future’.”

Ms. Sutphin, 51, hopes to succeed Jerry Wood, who will not run again after six years on the council. Mr. Wood won appointment to the vacant seat in 2014 and re-election two years later.

She identified transportation as a major challenge facing the town.

“I remember when the Eastern Bypass wasn’t there and Route 17 had only two lanes coming into town” from the north, Ms. Sutphin said. “I see where traffic is an issue, and everybody’s aware of that. The walkability of the town is also important.

“I really want to be a part of figuring out the best solutions.”

> Planning commission member Ali Zarabi running for Ward 1 seat

Ms. Sutphin last year got appointed as a citizen member of the town council’s Transportation Safety Committee and has participated in discussions of different options for moving around Warrenton.

She also wants to help ensure the town’s businesses prosper and says her experience in local advertising sales could assist in that effort.

“I understand how merchants on Broadview (Avenue) and in Old Town worry about their futures,” Ms. Sutphin said. “I’m very good friends with Mr. (James) Rankin and his family.

“I plan to go to everyone and talk with them to come up with some ideas that might help.”

She agrees with the concept of “Urban Development Areas” in Warrenton’s draft comprehensive plan that would encourage denser, mixed-use construction in selected places.

“I like the idea of making it a little more attractive to younger families,” Ms. Sutphin said. “I think condos are a good idea. Developed the right way, it could be really classy. But, it doesn’t need to be so concentrated that we’re falling over each other . . . . Growth is inevitable.”

She laments the loss of the bowling alley and the lack of a movie theater and hopes new development will provide more entertainment options in Warrenton for people of all ages.

Ms. Sutphin admitted she lacks enough information to comment on a major issue the next town council could face: Boundary adjustments or annexation. The town continues to study whether to seek incorporation of the commercial strip that includes four vehicle dealerships and the Outback Steakhouse just north of town. The study also includes mostly vacant land between the Eastern Bypass and Meetze Road.

“My first instinct is I’m not opposed to it, but I really would have to look at the pros and cons” of expanding the town, she said.

But, she said: “I’ve been really happy with the town council, the way everybody seems to be working together and the effort for Warrenton to rebrand itself.”

Why did she decide to run for office?

“I’m very active in my community; I volunteer a lot,” Ms. Sutphin said. “I’ve been talking about the possibility for three years or so. Then, my husband Wendell had a lung transplant (in October 2018). I wanted to make sure he had recovered and that he’s OK with it.

“He’s doing very, very well. And, he was a little apprehensive (about her candidacy), but he was the first person who signed my petition” to get on the ballot.

In recent years, she has volunteered for the campaigns of Town Councilman Sean Polster (At-large), Sheriff Bob Mosier, Commissioner of Revenue Eric Maybach and Del. Michael Webert.

“That has taught me a lot,” Ms. Sutphin said. “I plan to work the neighborhoods, talk to people one-on-one and find out what’s important to them.”

She also admitted a bit of concern about jumping fully into the public domain.

“So many people tend to get on Facebook and be negative. If you really want to help, be part of the solution. I know people are going to say negative things and second-guess me” if on the council, Ms. Sutphin said. “I look at the poor people on the school board; somebody’s always unhappy.

“I would be honest and work to get things done. I would just do my best.”

Her neighbor Jennifer Puffenbarger thinks Ms. Sutphin would do well as a member of the town council.

“She’s very involved,” Ms. Puffenbarger said. “She always puts the community first . . . a great people person.”

All five council ward seats will be on the May ballot. Warrenton voters will elect the two at-large council members and the mayor in 2022.

This year’s candidates must file documents by March 3 to appear on the ballot. Those elected will take office July 1.

Contact Editor “Lou” Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-1845.

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