Only one Board of Supervisors seat is being contested this fall in Caroline County. Bowling Green District Supervisor Jeff Sili is being challenged by independent David Upshaw in his bid for a fourth term.
Sili, a Navy veteran who is originally from Ohio, works as a senior systems engineer at Dahlgren. He won his first term as a supervisor in 2007 after previously serving on the School Board. His platform focuses on economic development, smart budgeting and preserving Caroline’s rural charm.
“I have advocated for future planning and a long-term vision by our Board of Supervisors in business development, fiscal responsibility, and rural preservation,” he said.
Sili, 60, said he is seeking another term in the Nov. 5 election so he can continue working on long-term plans. “Our very first bond rating was accomplished last year, as well as the designation of Caroline as a top 10 county in Virginia where citizens receive the most services for their tax dollars,” he said.
Sili said that he has voted for policies to help attract business and supported a nearly million-dollar increase in funding for the county’s schools this year.
“We need to continue the policies which maintain financial health and enable us to be able to do things which benefit all of our citizens,” he said.
This is Upshaw’s first campaign for public office. The 68-year-old retiree said his background as a minister and in teaching inspired him to run for supervisor to bring unity to the Board of Supervisors and School Board.
“I have never run for public office. I am not a politician and I refuse to play political games,” he wrote in an email. “If the voters like the political climate we have right now, they should not vote for me.
“So often our politicians act like 2-year-olds who do not know how to play together. Politics can be a force for good when it brings out the good in us, but when it uses fear, pride, or greed to divide, then it gets dirty.”
Upshaw said there is a spirit of cooperation growing in Caroline among the Department of Social Services, Sheriff’s Office, school administrators and in community groups.
“I do not see it in the Board of Supervisors,” he added. “I hope to bring people together to discuss the needs and concerns of the community and look at creative ways to address them.”
Upshaw said his key issue is support for education, which fuels economic and community growth.
“When leadership makes education a priority, the community will make learning a priority,” he said. “We live in a world of change and if we are not learning, we will be left behind. Education brings economic development, decreases crime, and develops the heart and mind of citizens.”
Caroline’s other supervisors—Floyd Thomas in the Mattaponi District, Jeff Black in Western Caroline, Clay Forehand in the Madison District and Nancy Long in Port Royal—are all unopposed in their bids for reelection.