Debbie P. Donehey
Background: Since 2002 I have owned and operated the Griffin Tavern in Flint Hill. Before that, from 1994 to 2001, I worked at Capital One in Telecommunications Technology as Group Manager, Infrastructure Planning and Development; and early on during Capital One Days I was selected to be President of the Witness Systems User Group, an international customer care tool. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Tourism, Parks & Recreation Management from Virginia Commonwealth University.
RappNews: What’s the most urgent issue facing the county now?
Donehey: We are civility-challenged. It is unpleasant and discourages participation in government, but it also hinders fact development and factbased decision making. Social media aggravates the problem. Because this issue cuts across all issues, I believe it urgently needs to be addressed, so we can get to the real issues and resolve them through in-depth factual discussion, not emotion.
RN: What in your background and experience would help address that?
Donehey: Starting at age 17, I was an umpire for adult softball. Although I was young and charged with calling balls and strikes, even throwing players out for misconduct, I maintained player respect and friendships. That taught me it's about the facts, the rules, fairness, and mutual respect. I have taken that lesson with me through my professional career and to my current business. It works.
RN: What do you see as the responsibilities of being a county supervisor?
Donehey: Representing my constituents well. Being present and well prepared. Exercising fiscal responsibility with taxpayer funds. Hearing from diverse viewpoints to get to the right result. Being open, to ensure the public understands how and why specific decisions are made. Planning for the future, so plans can be well-thought-out, not made in haste when problems are imminent.
RN: Why do you want to be a supervisor?
Donehey: I believe I can help. My experience here in Rappahannock County will be an asset. I know—and count as friends—people from every segment of this community. I hope that gives me some insights into differing points of view, as well as an understanding that we are all bound together by the goal of keeping this county the unique, wonderful place that it is through the changes that will inevitably come. If I can help achieve that, while giving every voice the dignity it deserves, I will feel successful.
RN: What would you like to accomplish on the Board of Supervisors?
Donehey: There is no reason we cannot work on several important issues simultaneously, including: (1) communications access; (2) zoning code review—whether or not we need changes, we need to recognize the importance of this issue for the future and make a record that we are thoughtful about it; and (3) strategic planning. Ideally, we should create a five-year plan, resolving questions about issues like the future of fire and rescue; and assessing the effect of county pay levels on employee retention in the schools, the sheriff 's office, etc. to determine whether we would save money by increasing pay scales to competitive levels to retain personnel vs constantly training new entrants. We should at least know what factors to monitor and what the benefits and downsides are of the various options, including budget impact.