Much of Linda DeVito Kuchenbuch’s life has been spent in management and communications and it is that experience that she feels can benefit Floyd County government as a member of the Board of Supervisors from the Little River District.
Kuchenbuch, who is known to many Floyd County residents simply as Linda DeVito, announced this week, more than a year-and-a-half away from the November 2015 elections, that she plans to run for the open supervisor seat.
The Little River seat wasn’t officially open when she made the decision and sat down with Wanda Combs and myself last week to discuss her reasons, but two-term Little River Supervisor Virgel Allen announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election next year.
In a county where supervisor incumbents have run unopposed in recent years, the moves by Allen and Kuchenbuch could turn the Little River Race into a political free-for-all.
Kuchenbuch will run as an independent for the seat on a currently — and traditionally — all Republican board and in a county which usually votes Republican even if most of the rest of the Commonwealth of Virginia goes Democratic — as it did in last year’s governor’s race and the 2012 Presidential contest.
“I’ve been thinking about it for years,” she says of her decision to run adds that decision was driven in part by what she sees as the county’s need for better management of its affairs, including the budget, and better communications with its citizens and various county departments and agencies.
“It’s all about management style,” she says.
Kuchenbuch was general manager of WUVT radio at Virginia Tech, her alma mater, and was the public face of FloydFest for more than 10 years as development director of Across the Way Productions, the festival’s management and production company.
A real-estate agent and free-lance photographer, she also co-owns Maple Spring Tree Farm and serves as announcer for Citizens Television for its coverage of Floyd County High School basketball and other events.
She says education and public safety are two of the most important programs in Floyd County and deserve better attention to details from the Board of Supervisors. The current debate over funding for both agencies this year concerns her.
On the question of taxes, she wants more information on how the county and various agencies are spending their money to make sure that proper management techniques are in place and funding issues are examined year-round and not just at budget time.
A meals tax is a possibility, she says, but other tax considerations need to be studied, including tax breaks for those over 65 and on a fixed income.
Although she has announced, Virginia election laws say Kuchenbuch cannot start active campaigning until the beginning of the year but that won’t stop her from attending more meetings of the current board this year and paying more attention to the operations of various county agencies.
Kuchenbuch’s entry into the race for what will be an open seat could signal the beginning of a wild and wooly campaign season when the fun and games start in 2015.
Two other seats are up for re-election next year — Lauren Yoder’s Locust Grove position and the Burks Fork set that Joe Turman holds. Both are in the first terms.
Fasten your seat belts. It could be an interesting ride.