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Pittsylvania County Candidates Make Their Case At Chatham High School Forum As Jennings/Fox/Bowman Race Heats Up – Mike Swanson

Several Pittsylvania County candidates on the ballot in this year’s elections made their case at a forum put on by the Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the Chatham Star-Tribune at Chatham High School last week. All of the candidates for the Chatham-Blairs and Banister District county Board of Supervisors (BOS) seats spoke and so did every single candidate running for Clerk of Circuit Court. You can watch a video of the event here.

Josh Jennings, Frank Fox, and Ken Bowman all made their case on why they believe they deserve the people’s votes for the Chatham-Blairs BOS seat. You can watch the video and get a good idea of what all three stand for and how they are different.

I have been supporting Jennings and Fox. I like Jennings a lot. He is a small business owner who owns the Guns, Gear, and Ammo store on 58 West. Back in June he spoke at a BOS meeting, during the public comment period, and described how just hours after he filed to run in the race Ken Bowman visited him at his store and told him he should drop out. “He asked me,” said Jennings, “he says I want you to step aside let me run, because you’re inexperienced, you don’t have enough background in order to do this. Well, anybody in the county that qualifies in that district has the experience necessary to lead that District as long as they’re willing to listen to the people.”

“Additionally,” said Jennings, “Mr. Bowman stated that why would anybody want to build anything in Axton because there is nothing here. Well, first I’m in Cascade, second Axton’s next door, but they’re both in the Tunstall District. We do not need another Supervisor that cannot look at the whole of the county instead of just one District.”

A few weeks later, after this talk Bowman had with Jennings, the Axton development project hit the news.

Mr. Jennings is a real hard core conservative, who says he will not raise taxes and wants to focus on keeping a lid on county spending. He also has a real desire to see the county grow economically, and has gotten himself involved to help make that happen. He could become a presence in county politics in the coming years, whether he wins or loses this election.

I am putting my efforts, though, at this point, in supporting Frank Fox, because Jennings is a real dark horse in the race. Fox had already built up a lot of support before he got into the race from various groups in the county to make himself a strong candidate to win in November and his momentum is growing. Fox served on the Board of Directors and Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Goodwill Industries, The Arc of Southside, and has represented Pittsylvania County on the West Piedmont Planning District Commission Working Committee since 2010, among other things, after a forty-year business career. He also has the support of a lot of community leaders that I know and have a lot of respect for. Fox spoke to all of this in his speech at the forum.

So, if one wants to beat Bowman, then one must vote Fox, because he has the best chance to do so.

What Mr. Bowman has going for him is the support of the Warren/Scearce “team” and Bowman has welcomed that support. Bowman is running for this seat, after Bob Warren decided not to run for re-election, and Warren endorsed him in the Chatham newspaper the other week, with a headline written as if it was an order to vote for him.

Mr. Bowman also got the support of School Board member George Henderson in an editorial in that week’s paper.

Henderson happens to be Bowman’s brother-in-law.

County politics has become something of a club mentality in the past few years with the Warren/Scearce “team” and their associates.

I can go on and one about them, so I’ll just mention one incident.

Last year, the Warren/Scearce team shut down the public from speaking about what was then an open Bannister BOS seat. They had their own candidate that they wanted to put on the board after Jesse Barksdale resigned to open that seat up and felt like that they needed to prevent the public from speaking about who they wanted.

You can see what happened, and Mr. Warren in action, at a special called meeting for that seat in October of 2022.

The county got thrown into chaos after Barksdale resigned. The Warren/Scearce faction had only Tim Dudley on their side on the board – to make three of them – and they deadlocked the board so that it couldn’t vote who to pick as an interim replacement for Barksdale, forcing that decision to be made by a judge. Their shutdown of this meeting – on incredibly dubious reasoning – was the start of that deadlock. If you watch it you can see Mr. Warren talk as if he were a king at one point – he even said at this event that what the public says means nothing and the only thing that matters is when they vote on election day.

This is just one reason I am against the candidates that the Warren/Scearce team have been supporting this election.

The “clown show” atmosphere they have created is simply bad for the county and now Warren has resorted to publicly berating people at the end of BOS meetings, calling them “little people.” He did that two me twice this year at the end of BOS meetings and to Arlene Creasy, who writes a column in the Chatham Star-Tribune. You can read what she wrote yourself with this link here. All she did was quote what he said at a previous board meeting word-by-word in an editorial and remark on what he said.

Scearce uses his Facebook page to smear people he doesn’t like and constantly calls people names on it. You can look at it yourself and see the endless invective posts over the past two years that he made. Last week, he got angry about Frank Fox mentioning the Danville casino at the forum and how the county gets ZERO tax money from it, while the counties that surround Bristol are getting millions of dollars in tax revenue as a result of its casino – and that means county taxes here will go up more than they would otherwise someday in the future. Like he does whenever someone says something he does not want said, Ron Scearce blamed it on Tunstall District Supervisor Vic Ingram.

Scearce wrote on his Facebook page, “Considering Mr. Fox was not on the board at the time when someone cut the county out of the casino tax revenues (nor was Vic Ingram, for that matter, who has also promoted that LIE), I suppose his style of leadership will be in the same vein as Vic Ingram, LIE when you have an agenda to promote!”

“I just want those that made the decision to cut the county out of the casino tax revenues to stop telling LIES. That certainly goes for those that lack the integrity to lead in this county!” – Scearce yelled in this post.

When Danville officials and Delegate Danny Marshall prepared the way for the coming casino back in 2019, Warren and his team members did nothing in cooperation with them. Warren later described himself as “neutral on the issue,” while team member Supervisor Joe Davis opposed the casino and Ron Scearce went on WSET, spreading fear about it, claiming that even if it was approved, he doubted “whether Caesars will be able to hold up their end of the bargain when promising the creation of hundreds of new jobs.” Drive by the site today and you can see it under construction now, on track to open in the Fall of 2024, and the temporary tent employing over 400 people.

As the Danville Register reported in a story with the headline: “In 2019, when questioned about sharing casino revenue, Pittsylvania County wasn’t game

Scearce posits that anyone who questions the wisdom of this decision is a “liar” even though it is all reported in this newspaper story.

I can’t quote the whole article for you, as you should subscribe and support the newspaper, but it contains these key paragraphs:


Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, said that when the casino legislation was drawn up in Richmond, Bristol officials wanted the requirement that their city share their gaming-tax revenues with surrounding localities.

“Nobody else did that, so that’s why Bristol is sharing its money,” he said.

Marshall said he approached county officials in 2019, including the county administrator and board of supervisors’ then-chairman, about the possibility of receiving a share of revenues from a casino in Danville.

The chairman at the time wanted the money but said he would not endorse the idea of a casino, Marshall said. Some of the board members did not support the project, he said.


In a comment to a Facebook post that Henry Hurt made two weeks ago, Jim Scearce, Ron Scearce’s brother, made this claim: “Marshall promised the county would get 1% of Danville’s profits and it was in the original legislation until the city leaders found out about it and raised a fit. Mysteriously when the legislation hit Richmond the 1% for the County had been yanked out. Marshall tells a different story now that the deal is done, he blames it on the former BOS Chairman.”

Due to the Scearce brothers track record of wild exaggerations and hyperbole I believe Danny Marshall’s account on the casino over theirs – and the newspapers too. Marshall went to the Warren team and they turned their back on him, because they refused to endorse the casino.

The current attacks by the Scearce brothers on Republican Delegate Danny Marshall create an “integrity” paradox for them, because they claim that all members of the local Republican Committee, and those that participated in the party’s mass meeting, must honor a pledge they signed and support Republican Party candidates, making this their main campaign issue. Bob Warren brought this up in his closing Supervisor remarks at the August BOS meeting too. Well, Marshall is on the Republican ticket and the Scearce brothers are attacking him so they are not doing what they have been demanding that others do – and calling them names over it.

Like Sheriff Taylor, Delegate Marshall is looked up to by most in area as a political statesman, while Scearce has made himself into a clown, dressing himself like one at a BOS meeting.

Bob Warren sent a letter to the editor in the latest issue of the Chatham paper calling Ron Scearce a “man of morals.”

If you agree with Warren that Scearce is a great leader then vote for Bowman too.

If you want the BOS clown show antics to continue then you vote for the people Warren tells you to vote for and right now Ken Bowman is on the ballot as the Warren/Scearce “team” backed candidate with Warren’s endorsement in the paper.

If you want real change vote for Frank Fox.

Not once has Ken Bowman said that he is against this type of behavior that Warren or Scearce have displayed against members of the public.

When Mr. Bowman spoke at the Chatham chamber forum he touted a long career he had in military service and various county government positions, which including being the county administrator in Camden County, North Carolina and Director of Economic Development in Warren County, North Carolina and Pittsylvania County, when his wife, Brenda Bowman, had the Chatham-Blairs seat on the BOS. Mr. Bowman had that position from 2009 to 2013, until the BOS of Supervisors decided back then to eliminate his job. This Chatham-Blairs campaign is heating up. According to an information card mailed to voters by the Fox campaign, during Bowman’s tenure he “Traveled to China to seek Chinese investment for Pittsylvania County and endorsed a Chinese company. The company signed a performance agreement and then cheated the City and County for a combined nine million dollars they paid out.” Bowman then decided to run in the Republican Primary against Les Adams for the House of Delegates race and got less than 20% of the vote.

Vote Fox for real change.

After the Chatham-Blairs candidates spoke, the three candidates for the Banister seat – Robert Tucker, Kathy Ramsey, and Kell Stone – gave their talks and then the six Clerk of Circuit Court candidates did too. It’s well worth taking the time to watch the whole video to get a feel for all of the different candidates.

Are you registered to vote?

Have you decided when you are going to vote?

For the past fifteen years I have voted early every election, to simply avoid election day crowds, by going to my voting and registration office. Now many people are voting absentee by mail early too.

You can find out if you are registered to vote, check on your polling place, and even request an absentee by mail ballot online at the Citizen Portal at the Virginia Department of Elections website. The Governor is now promoting absentee voting by mail and you can find an application to do so, if you wish, and more info, at the website link here.