In a crowded field of 10 candidates vying for four seats, Janie Schmidt is the only woman running for Culpeper Town Council in the November election.
The retired electric utility executive recently released a six-minute campaign video on YouTube that highlights her platform, which she submitted to the Star-Exponent.
“I’m not a politician and I’m not seeking power or popularity, but rather I feel drawn to participate to make wise, constructive, responsible decisions for the growth, safety and prosperity of our vibrant and charming town and for all its citizens, particularly in these difficult and divisive times in our country,” said Schmidt, a 25-year resident of Culpeper, in the video.
One of four town council candidates formally endorsed by the local Republican Committee which held a forum for the ticket in June, Schmidt, who also participated in an NAACP forum last month, said she believes the town can work together.
“Regardless of your political party preference, regardless of your nationality, or your culture or your color, regardless of your faith, age or your gender, we need to show Culpeper can work cohesively as a community that if and when some new crisis such as a pandemic, gas shortage an earthquake or other situation presents itself in our area or in our nation Culpeper will be strong, prepared and united,” she said. “I would like to see us model this posture for our children and instill that sense of camaraderie and equity.”
If elected, Schmidt said, her votes on council, as much as possible, would be for solutions and resolutions that will not divide the community.
Speaking about the $19.5 million the town will receive over two years through the latest federal pandemic bailout, the candidate said the “once in-a-lifetime windfall” should be used to boost new business development or expansion, water, sewer and broadband infrastructure investments, enhancing cyber security, healthcare services improvements, fire and rescue and homelessness.
Schmidt supported elimination of the town personal property tax, opportunities and incentives for law enforcement and promotion of activities and new venues for youth and families. She said she has been hearing a lot of complaints about town water quality.
“This needs to be resolved,” Schmidt said in her campaign video.
Further, the town council candidates advocated for more sidewalks and streetlights where needed in residential areas and upgrades to the town electric system for fewer outages.
“We need to ensure the prevention of voter fraud while maintaining the right of all citizens to vote,” Schmidt added.
The issue she said she has heard the most immediate and intense reaction to relates to U.S. history “and the current drive to remove historic monuments and to rename landmarks.”
She added,” Virginia and our town of Culpeper are the very sites of the founding, fighting and growth of our nation. All of our history is represented here—the good, the band and the awfully ugly.”
People come from all over to visit Virginia and Culpeper historic sites, Schmidt said.
“To see the places and learn about the people, their decisions and the struggles our citizens have experienced in the refinement and growth of our democracy. There are notable citizens and heroes that have been neglected or lost by history,” she added.
“Their stories are finally being discovered and told. Let’s continue augmenting our shared history so we have the full story, and let’s not cancel our history. Let’s learn from it all.”
Schmidt previously owned and operated a consultant business and traveled around the country working for electric utilities, transportation system and municipal water departments. She currently works part-time in memory care at The Culpeper retirement village.
The town council candidate said voters should pick her at the polls this fall for her “knowledge, experience and good judgement to reach intelligent and appropriate solutions to serve Culpeper well.”
“I am a hardworking, sensible, grounded, practical person and I would welcome the opportunity to work with our citizens, our mayor and fellow council members and the local government departments for the good of our town,” Schmidt said.