The biggest challenge facing the county is the lack of 24-hour medical care, according to Clyde DeLoach, who is seeking his second term to the Blue Ridge District on the Patrick County Board of Supervisors.
DeLoach, 74, will face challenger Steve Marshall in the race.
“Ideally, it would be great if Foresight follows through,” DeLoach said of the company which purchased the hospital property and announced plans to reopen it.
“We have not received information that they’re not,” DeLoach said, but he’s working on a backup plan in case the agreement falls through.
It’s in the “very, very preliminary stages,” he said, “but I am talking to other people that I’ve met through one of the courses I take, and they’re considering” the possibility. “They’re going to get back with me.”
Since being on the board, DeLoach said he’s helped get the county’s budget in shape.
“I think that’s really important. You know, going from 2019 where they basically were telling us, ‘the state’s going to be coming in here if you don’t get straight’ then we balanced the budget and we’ve kept it balanced and we’ve worked hard,” he said.
He also believes the board has accomplished the day-to-day things including working well together as a board unlike some previous boards that had members shouting and cursing at one another.
DeLoach said he would resist any kind of tax increase.
“I can’t make promises, but I can promise we’ll work as hard as we can not to raise taxes,” and his record reflects that. He is hopeful the board can continue to do as it has, and cut costs.
“Mainly it’s just probably going to be trying to cut some,” he said, adding the board is also constantly looking to bring in more businesses and improve tourism, which he noted is doing a great job of attracting tourists and thus, revenues.
“I think those are the two things we’ll look most to is work with the EDA (Economic Development Authority) director to try to get new businesses, encourage the businesses we have, and tourism,” he said. “As far as taxes, we’ll leave those alone if at all possible.”
The school division is being better helped by the state, DeLoach said, and he believes that has helped the board and the county.
DeLoach said he’d like to see more public involvement in local politics, although he understands that it’s hard for some people to sit through a meeting that might last for hours.
“I restarted a thing where we have made available applications for people to serve on the different committees, which would be a great idea.,” he said.
The new county administrator, Beth Simms, has said she wants to get out and meet people, DeLoach said, and added he would like to restart a regular program – perhaps a question and answer type – that would connect with residents.
He also wants to restart the town hall meetings he was having earlier in his term.
As a Meadows of Dan Ruritan Club member, DeLoach attends monthly meetings to talk to residents there, and tries to talk to as many people as possible in the rest of his district.
DeLoach said he absolutely wants the board to be transparent with the public, but “I think we need to understand that there are some things we can’t talk about. One of them is personnel simply because of the sensitive nature of that and the law, but also, if we’re looking to purchase something or a company is coming to town a lot of times they’ll say, ‘don’t let that out.’”
Overall, he said the county is excelling with tourism and believes a lot of people will agree the board’s done a great job with the budget.
“Keeping the tax raised to one year out of four, and we’ve cut a lot out of the budget from what was there when we came in,” he said. “We’re still always looking and looking at ways that you can become more efficient and thereby save money.”
DeLoach believes the board has lacked clear goals and measurable goals – in part because when he and the others came onto the board “there was just so much wrong that it became sort of a take care of the latest fire sort of thing.”
He hopes clear planning will help the board to know the goals it needs to work towards – both long and short term.
As the second certified supervisor in Patrick County history, (Roger Hayden was the first), DeLoach said the training was important enough that he paid for most of the course himself.
“I’ve also made connections throughout the state and the United States. I have connections all over Virginia, and I have taken advantage of calling them or emailing them and saying I need help on this,” he said.
He also has the knowledge base of having served on the board for four years.
“I’ve learned so much in four years, I think whoever came in there, unless they’ve been on the board four-years themselves, would have to learn it if they’re going to be effective. So, I already have that base of knowledge,” he said.
DeLoach believes he also brings a certain knowledge base to the board because of his experience in education, healthcare, and the clergy.
“All those experiences help me to get along with people and help me to know people, and I think that’s one of the things we do well. I would hope we would continue to work together as a board,” he said.
DeLoach worked as a respiratory therapist for 15 years. He also taught school and currently teaches online at Southern New Hampshire University and Grand Canyon University. He’s also served as a Methodist minister for almost 30 years and is currently the minister at Fieldale United Methodist Church and Mount Bethal United Methodist Church.
A graduate of William and Mary, DeLoach received his M.A. in divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary before getting his PhD in church history at Balor University.
DeLoach has been married to his wife for 29 years. He has three children and three grandchildren.
In his free time, he loves to travel, read, watch sports, and be with his wife.