van Vulpen vy­ing to re­place Hunter on county coun­cil

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - NEWS - BY DAR­RELL COLE dar­rell.cole@tc.tc Twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

The race to re­place Keith Hunter has its first can­di­date.

With the war­den of Cum­ber­land County an­nounc­ing he will not re­of­fer in Cum­ber­land County’s Dis­trict 3 in Oc­to­ber, Joe van Vulpen has de­cided he will run to re­place the long­time coun­cilor.

“Hav­ing spent my whole life in Cum­ber­land County and the last 35 in War­ren, the op­por­tu­nity to give back to the com­mu­nity and the county is some­thing I want to do,” said van Vulpen. “I have many ac­quain­tances in Dis­trict 3, worked side by side with com­mu­nity groups, been a long­time mem­ber of the True­manville Fire De­part­ment, sup­ported my chil­dren in 4-H and lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties. I would like to work within coun­cil to fur­ther my sup­port for these ini­tia­tives and many more.”

Van Vulpen, who for­merly op­er­ated Jo­mar Farms in War­ren, said land use is some­thing that’s very im­por­tant to him. He has worked with the county and the Cum­ber­land County Fed­er­a­tion of Agri­cul­ture on lan­duse by­laws and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

He would like to see the county work to make it eas­ier for farm­ers to rekin­dle ac­tiv­ity on much of the farm­land that has been aban­doned over the years.

“We have an abun­dance of avail­able farm­land, yet we see more and more roads with land that’s no longer be­ing farmed, grow­ing weeks and alders,” he said. “It’s sad to see the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of what’s very us­able land. We need to work with var­i­ous farm or­ga­ni­za­tions and govern­ments to re­verse this trend.”

Land that can’t be saved, or is too far from ac­tive farm­ing ar­eas, could be planted as tim­ber plots to strengthen the lum­ber in­dus­try for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

And while amal­ga­ma­tion is a word that’s likely to come up dur­ing the cam­paign, van Vulpen said he doesn’t have an opin­ion on a po­lit­i­cal union with Amherst. He wants to see the two mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties look for ways to share ser­vices to stream­line costs.

“While this has been ad­dressed in a cou­ple of com­mu­ni­ties, we must move for­ward to con­tinue the process for the ben­e­fit of the tax­pay­ers of the county,” he said. “It may be in fur­ther shar­ing of ser­vices or a fu­ture look at fur­ther amal­gam- ation pro­ce­dures. Stud­ies are re­quired to search out whether this can be done with other towns, when it can be done and how it should be done in the best in­ter­ests of all con­cerned.” He also wants to see Amherst and the county work more closely to­gether on eco­nomic and in­dus­trial devel­op­ment, say­ing that’s good for one is good for the other. He also sup­ports green energy whether it be tidal devel­op­ment, wind gen­er­a­tion or so­lar power.

Van Vulpen also be­lieves play­grounds, school gyms and ac­tiv­ity ar­eas should be en­cour­aged in all parts of the county along with sup­port for or­ga­ni­za­tions like 4-H, soccer fields and play­ground com­mit­tees. Se­niors re­cre­ation pro­grams should also be fur­ther de­vel­oped in the more ru­ral ar­eas of the county.

He said the county has done a good job up­grad­ing its fire in­fra­struc­ture in re­cent years with new equip­ment and sev­eral new fire halls. He hopes to see this con­tin­ued through the county’s fire safety co-or­di­na­tor while work­ing to re­cruit new mem­bers for each of the ru­ral de­part­ments.

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