West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2024

#151-Interview with Jack Hefestay-Republican Candidate for County Commissioner-Charles Town District

Listen to the Audio Podcast

Candidate website:

Concerns Over New Solar Farms Development
Jack expressed concerns about the development of new solar farms in Jefferson County, highlighting issues such as the impact on farmland, potential environmental damage, and the long-term financial risks for the county. He argued that the initial presentation of the projects as beneficial to the community was misleading, and that the reality of the situation was quite different.
Jack’s Concerns on Jefferson County’s Future
Jack voiced concerns about the current state of affairs in Jefferson County, particularly the negative impact of the Solar Text Amendment and its aftermath. Jack expressed his belief that some commissioners have a hidden agenda, which he suggests is tied to financial gain, and that the situation is causing instability in the county. He also highlighted the problem of the budget and how it is linked to the solar issue, negatively affecting the county’s tourism and agritourism industries.
Solar Panels, Budget Allocation, and Raises
Jack expressed concern about the safety of solar panels in Middle Middleway Fire Department’s jurisdiction, as raised by Fire Chief and County Commission Candidate Michael Mood. He emphasized the need for more information about this issue. Furthermore, Jack discussed the challenges of budget allocation. He also mentioned his belief that the sheriff’s department officers deserve raises. 
Ambulance Services and Election Integrity
Richard and Jack discussed the impact of budget cuts on ambulance services in the Blue Ridge area. Jack expressed his opinion that the consolidation of ambulance services was not the best solution, as it increased response times in many areas, like on the mountain and other outlying areas.  In contrast, response times in other parts of the county were not significantly affected, or improved, such as in Charles Town. They also discussed issues of election integrity. Jack, who has worked as a pollworker for three elections, believed that the voting process in Jefferson County was being run well.  He mentioned that votes could be verified using the paper ballots printed by the voting machines.  However, Richard stated that to have such an audit, the challenging citizen or organization must pay 10’s of thousands of dollars to pay for the audit, which does not make that kind of challenge a viable solution for increasing election integrity.
School Levies and Election Process Discussion
Richard and Jack discussed the issue of school levies and the process of their elections. Richard expressed concern about the high percentage of property taxes allocated to schools and the potential for manipulation of the election process. Jack stated that levy elections should be held alongside general elections to ensure higher turnout and prevent special elections that can be repeatedly failed until passing. Richard planned to verify this information regarding changes to the election process that move school excess levies to the general election cycle.
Property Tax Rates and Impact Fees
Richard and Jack discussed the high property tax rates and impact fees in Jefferson County, with77 percent of the funds going to public schools. Jack believed that the impact fees were lowered to a small amount and should be increased to help the school burden and other public services. However, Richard suggested that the decline in school enrollment might not legally allow raising the impact fees. Richard mentioned that the funds were not being used appropriately, with a significant portion going to administrative staff and not teachers, who only received 2 percent of the excess levy funds.
Jack’s Transparency, Experience, and Stability Proposal
Jack differentiated himself from his opponent by emphasizing his transparency and his experience working with diverse groups of people, including his 25 years in the US Navy and 30 years at Lockheed Martin. He highlighted his ability to build collaborative efforts and listen to various groups before enacting decisions. Jack also expressed his concern about the county’s budget and the numerous administrator turnovers, and proposed to offer stability to the position. He mentioned being endorsed by multiple people in the county for his candidacy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *