On The Ballot: Hamilton, Round Hill Elections Feature 9 Candidate Choices

Elections for the towns of Hamilton and Round Hill will be held next Tuesday, May 19 with eight Town Council seats and one mayoral post on the ballot. While Hamilton has a contested council race, Round Hill will rely on write-in votes to fill one of its council seats.

In the past month and a half, the coronavirus pandemic has led to financial issues that have trumped any other challenges Loudoun towns were previously experiencing. While the crisis has presented a similar set of problems in both communities, they still face a unique set of challenges that their candidates intend to tackle in different ways.

Hamilton

In Hamilton, the terms of Vice Mayor Kenneth Wine and Councilmen Matthew Clark and John Unger will expire in June. Running for those three seats are:

Town Council—term ending June 30, 2024 (vote for 3)

Elizabeth Gaucher.

Elizabeth Gaucher

Age: 52

Neighborhood:ColonialHighway

Occupation: Editor/writer, Longridge Review

Experience: Three-year Hamilton resident,parentof a HamiltonElementarySchool student, trackrecord of public service in federal and state government workingdirectly for elected officials and serving constituents, also experience in private business.

Town’s Biggest Challenge(s):Balancing what makes us uniquewith whatcould make usstronger. Weshould maintain our elements of tradition while stayingopento the needs of new residents and families, like becoming morepedestrian-friendly, beingsensitive to the culture of new business, and caring for public spaces.

Top Priority:Staying on top of environmental issues, like access to clean water, for town residents. It’s not exciting, but it’s essential.


Sofia Kesari.

Sofia Kesari

Age: 20

Neighborhood: East side of Hamilton

Occupation: Customer service representative at Dulles Airport

Experience: From going to Harmony Methodist preschool to Graduating from Loudoun Valley I have spent my entire life in Hamilton. I know our town, both the good and the not so good, I come with a unique perspective about Hamilton.

Town’s Biggest Challenge(s):The most important issue for Hamilton is our Sewer and Water. We need to support and improve our current facilities and not spend money frivolously.

Top Priority:I want to keep taxes low while making sure vital services and infrastructure is taken care of.


Greg Wilmoth.

Greg Wilmoth

Age: 59

Neighborhood: In-town

Occupation: Utility Operator

Experience: Town Council 10+ years; mayor four years; employee of town in maintenance and utilities five years.

Town’s Biggest Challenge(s):I feel the utilities, both water and sewer, are the town’s biggest challenges. The infrastructure is aging and in need of repair. The town has been working on the utility systems, but there is much more work to be done.

Top Priority:Utility system work.


Kenneth Wine.

Kenneth Wine (incumbent)

Age: 60

Neighborhood: Hamilton

Occupation: Carpenter

Experience: Served three terms as town council member. Currently serving as vice mayor. Longtime resident of Hamilton. Owned and operated carpentry business for 35+ years.

Town’s Biggest Challenge(s): Infrastructure – improvement of town water and sewer systems.

Top Priority: Continue working with mayor and council members for the betterment of the town.


Town Council Special Election—term ending June 30, 2022 (vote for 1)

Catherine Salter.

Catherine Salter (incumbent)

Age:52

Neighborhood:Hamilton Meadows

Occupation: Attendance secretary, Loudoun County Public School

Experience:My family and I moved to Hamilton in 2013 and really fell in love with the quaintness of this small town. Before living in Hamilton, I had never really considered running for an office. After a couple of years in the town I decided I wanted to try and help keep Hamilton agreat place to live. I applied for and was appointed to the HamiltonPlanning Commission where I served from 2016 to 2019. I really enjoyed what I did on the commission and learned so much. When an opening on the town council became available last year, I thought it could be a great opportunity for me to make a larger impact on our community. I applied and was appointed in July 2019. I am enjoying being a part of the council and hope to be elected to fulfill this seat’s term and beyond. I am currently the president of the Hamilton Meadows Homeowners Association. I also have held offices of leadership in other civic organizationsI have belonged to. We previously lived in Ashburn Farms and as a support to the Homeowners Association I was part of a team that researched and replaced all the playgrounds in the community to make them safer for our children. I have spent most of my career, prior to working forLCPS, working for nonprofits that advance the opportunitiesfor people with significant disabilities. I have most enjoyed supporting our veterans in my career and continue that passion by volunteering at Boulder Crest right here in western Loudoun.

Town’s Biggest Challenge(s):Properly managing our resources to ensure our town residents have the necessities they need.

Top Priority:Keep Hamilton a place that encourages our residents to start and sustain small businesses and give back to their community.


Projects in Hamilton

Mayor Dave Simpson’s term does not expire until June 2022. Hamilton is the only Loudoun town with a mayoral term of four years. All others are two-year terms.

If Kesari wins a spot at the meeting table, she’ll become the county’s youngest Town Council member, replacing the county’s longest serving council member in the process—Unger, who has served as councilman for 36 years.

The Town of Hamilton is working to round out its $770,000 sidewalk project, which is installing about 1,200 feet of sidewalk along Colonial Highway from Laycock Street to St. Paul Street. The town is also looking at improvements to its aging water and sewer systems.


Round Hill

In Round Hill, the terms of 10-year Mayor Scott Ramsey, Vice Mayor Mary Anne Graham, Councilwoman Melissa Hoffmann and Councilman Mike Hummel expire in June. Running for those three seats are:

Mayor—term ending June 30, 2022 (vote for 1)

Scott Ramsey.

Scott Ramsey (incumbent)

Age: 49

Neighborhood: In-town

Occupation: Engineer

Experience: 20-year resident, 10 years as mayor, six years on council. Along with my fellow council members and previous mayors, we have pursued a course of building a professional staff, being conservative in our fiscal and tax policies, and encouraging a consensus approach to town governance. I am proud to have served as part of the team which has provided Round Hill the lowest water rates of all Loudoun towns except Leesburg, the lowest real estate tax rate of all Loudoun towns, and no general fund debt while adding several new parks (including opening Sleeter Lake to the public), pursuing a major sidewalk and trail upgrade, and continuing the necessary investments our massive utility system demands.

Town’s Biggest Challenge(s):(1) Executing the Main Street sidewalk and stormwater improvements along with Franklin Park Trail. This will require close attention to traffic management and impacts to local residents during construction. (2) We have a long list of active utility projects including a new water tower, an upgraded office building, a new well, a new water treatment facility, and many other upgrades to reliability and quality. (3) We need to expand town boundaries so that we have a larger pool of volunteers and candidates and so that we better represent the area we serve.

Top Priority: Continue our forward momentum on the large number of active projects. There are so many that no single project can dominate our attention, but the Main Street/Franklin Park Trail upgrades will pose the biggest challenge and have the most visibility to residents. Long term, we have to expand town boundaries to continue to effectively serve this population.


Town Council—term ending June 30, 2024 (vote for 3)

Mike Hummel.

Michael Hummel (incumbent)

Age: Not given

Neighborhood: In-town

Occupation: Principal, H2 Land Company

Experience: Town Council member since January 2017

Town’s Biggest Challenge(s): Not given

Top Priorities: Not given


Mary Anne Graham.

Mary Anne K. Graham (incumbent)

Age: 74

Neighborhood: Main Street

Occupation: Retired

Experience: I have served on the Town Council for over 30 years, so I have the job knowledge to bring to the position. Many of those years I have served as vice mayor. I have been actively involved in all aspects of being a council member, including budget preparations, writing ordinances, and meeting with consultants and Loudoun County staff. I work regularly with Round Hill staff on numerous issues, providing support and guidance, if needed. I have also responded to citizen complaints in a timely manner. I have worked with the Planning Commission and am involved in the Hometown Festival and Appalachian Trail Festival committees.

Town’s Biggest Challenge(s): The immediate challenge is to maintain water/sewer and office service to those Round Hill serves during the pandemic crisis. The town administrator has put in place successful systems so that employees rotate between actively engaged in responsibilities and being on call if needed while continuing to meet citizens’ needs.

Another challenge is to provide adequate parking for businesses located in downtown Round Hill. The Planning Commission will be addressing this issue. It will require creative thinking and planning by the Planning Commission and the Town Council.

Top Priorities: Once the pandemic ceases to be a major issue, the Town needs to continue working with Loudoun County to complete the Franklin Park Trail and the Main Street projects. I will continue to monitor the projects’ progress and provide support where necessary. As chair of the Utility Committee, another priority is ensure pending utility projects are addressed as soon as possible once normalcy is restored.

The Council has been looking at bringing additional, neighboring properties into the town. Progress has lagged into review of feasibility by both the town government and citizens living in these areas. The Town Council needs to re-connect with these neighborhoods and bring annexation into reality if desired.


Town Council Special Election—term ending June 30, 2022 (vote for 1)

Paula James.

Paula James (incumbent)

Age:59

Neighborhood:Round Hill resident for 31 years

Occupation:DoD Civilian Employee with 28 years of governmentservice

Experience:I am new to public service and was appointed to the Round HillTown Council in November2019 to fill a vacancy.

Town’s Biggest Challenge(s):Volunteerism, I truly believe my community contribution is overdue and eager to participate with our wonderful town and help in any way possible.

Top Priority:Support the mayor, learn from my fellowTown Council membersandtown staff,and support our manytown projects.I’meager to support the Franklin Park Trail projectand happy to be involvedwith the Appalachian Trail Community.

One of the most heavily anticipated projects in Round Hill is the town’s drive to eventually increase its size via a boundary line adjustment. The main goal is to expand the town’s corporate limits and increase its population so that it has more revenue to help pay for non-utility projects and more residents eligible to run for public office—a need seen in this year’s town elections, where only two Town Council candidates are running for three seats at the meeting table.

The town also is set for work to begin on the Main Street and Franklin Park Trail projects, which the county government will oversee and will link the town’s with Purcellville’s Franklin Park via sidewalks and trails. The project will also bring the installation of transportation upgrades, aesthetic street enhancements and storm water improvements in the downtown area.

The town is also set for the design and construction of a new water tower and water line to the wastewater treatment plant, and for the construction of a new administrative building for the utility staff. That building should begin construction sometime in Fiscal Year 2022, which begins July 1 next year.


Absentee Voting

The Loudoun County Office of Elections and Voter Registration has encouraged voters to vote absentee in the May 19 elections. The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail was Tuesday.

As of Monday, 39 of the 90 requested absentee ballots in Hamilton had been returned, while 16 of the 41 requested in Round Hill had been returned. In the 2018 town elections, only 66 Hamilton voters and 67 Round Hill voters cast ballots in all.

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