Incumbent Stafford County Treasurer Laura Rudy ran unopposed in her first two campaigns for re-election. But to win a fourth term in office Nov. 5, she’ll need to defeat a retired corporate executive who served almost three decades with one of the largest publicly traded international oil and gas companies in the world.
Democrat Henry Thomassen grew up in Maplewood, N.J., and earned a master’s degree in finance from Rutgers University. He said he was recruited to Mobil Corp.’s headquarters in New York City “right off the campus” and spent the next 29 years with the company.
After Mobil’s merger with Exxon in 1990, the company and its employees relocated to Fairfax. Thomassen said he “survived seven corporate mergers and restructurings.” Now he said he’s running for office to continue his family’s tradition of giving back to the community.
“I haven’t done enough, I need to do more, and now I have time to do it,” said Thomassen. “It’s time for me to give back.”
Rudy, a Republican who has held the treasurer’s post since 2008, has lived in the county for 37 years and feels she has “the expertise and dedication to continue to serve” as county treasurer. She promises continued fiscal management, responsibility and accountability, citing her “years of experience, leadership and results.”
“We’ve been focusing on the way citizens want to pay taxes and utilities online, so we’ve tried to be responsive and we’re looking at new ways to deliver that service in a more efficient manner,” Rudy said.
The treasurer’s office is primarily responsible for sending out and collecting county tax bills, then disbursing the money to the proper departments in accordance with the county budget.
Thomassen said he thinks he can double the amount of revenue the treasurer’s office takes in through simple measures that he said are being overlooked. He cited an occasion when he paid his taxes, but it took the treasurers’ office four days to process his payment. He said speeding up the process would allow the county to invest the money faster and earn additional interest.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you add that up, you have $680 million coming through the door, that makes a big difference,” Thomassen said.
He also said the county continues to unnecessarily spend taxpayer money on postage and paper by sending tax bills to resident through the U.S. mail instead of electronic notifications.
Rudy said she has been “honored” to serve the county for almost 12 years, adding that “I continue to foster relationships with other departments and agencies to work towards solutions that benefit Stafford citizens.”
Rudy is a member of St. William of York Catholic church and was recently appointed to the church’s parish finance council. She was also a founding board member of the Stafford Education Foundation.
Rudy is a graduate of the Leadership Education and Development Program at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, as well as the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management. She earned an associate degree in business and public management from Northern Virginia Community College.
She has also earned numerous certifications from a variety of associations, councils and organizations, including a master governmental treasurer certification from the Treasurers’ Association of Virginia, where she is an assistant district chair. She is also a past president of the Virginia Association of Local Elected Constitutional Officers.
Rudy said her staff is constantly seeking ways to improve, tighten and streamline operations in the treasurer’s office to be a more productive, cost-effective and efficient.
“I achieve this by executing several technology-driven initiatives to increase revenue collections, including the award-winning myStafford online portal,” said Rudy. “We’re bringing solutions to benefit our citizens and our community. This has been my passion.”