Weiss: Continued Focus on Healthcare, Broadband

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By Staff Reports

In his reelection bid for the Blue Ridge District seat on the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, Karl Weiss said he has two primary objectives: 24-hour healthcare and broadband upgrades.

“My main objectives for the next 4 year term is to bring 21st century healthcare of some type to Patrick County. Broadband is high on my list of priorities, and we’re in the process of upgrading broadband in the entire county,” said Weiss, 62.

Weiss, who is being opposed by Clyde DeLoach, a retired pastor and educator, said his other priorities include “finding some way to bring outside money into Patrick County, whether by the meals tax or some form of outside money,” he said, adding he would continue “to work hard on Patrick County so people have a better quality of life.” That includes work on parks and trails.

In terms of the move to provide 24-hour healthcare, Weiss said the Patrick County Economic Development Authority (EDA) had formed a healthcare committee healthcare to “study how to get grants.”

After learning the West Piedmont Health District and its Population Manager Nancy Bell, had a similar effort established, Weiss said “we decided to partner with her. Rather than stepping on each other’s toes, the EDA partnered with her.” Bell, he said, “has already started applying for grants for Patrick County.”

He said “I’ve never made the statement that I’ve give up on the hospital, and I will not make that statement. I think that (hospital) is always an option. The only one who ever made a statement that our hospital had stagnated was one of our EDA members gave an interview. … He didn’t say it was dead. He said the moon and stars would have to align” before the hospital property was purchased.

“People interpreted that as we had stopped working on hospital, but that’s the furthest thing from truth,” Weiss said. “The EDA has been working hard on getting the hospital on the right track.”

In terms of broadband, Weiss said the county is contracting with a company in Stokes County, N.C. “to bring broadband to all of Patrick County, and I’m constantly trying to find ways of bringing revenue in other than real estate taxes.”

He said another locality is using additional fuel tax proceeds to facilitate improvements to Interstate 81. “I don’t see why we can’t do that in Patrick County” and use the proceeds for needs in the county, he said.

He welcomes involvement from residents. “The best ideas that I’ve saw while on the board has come from the public. I wish we had more public input at our meetings. We certainly need to think about the pubic being able to vote on more items. We represent the people, and we need to involve them in a lot more” areas, Weiss said.

In terms of transparency, “I have been on the board, November I think will make 12 years. I’ve returned every single phone call I’ve gotten in 12 years. That’s transparency. When you respond to everybody that’s called you, and I’ve gotten as many as 20 phone calls in a 24-hour period,” Weiss said.

“A lot of times, you get caught up in this transparency thing. Just like the EDA just recently formed this healthcare committee. The board of supervisors knew nothing about it. We were not informed, not told about it, and knew nothing about it,” Weiss said. “I found out about it after I made statement that I was 100 percent on board with Lock Boyce … putting the hospital (reopening) on the front burner,” Weiss said.

“Relaying information back and forth is something I would work on for my constituents,” he said. “When any committee makes decisions, the first people that should be notified is the press, the people and the supervisors. We’ve all got to work together as a county and the county is the people and they need to know as soon as a decision is made.”

During his 12-year tenure on the board, Weiss said “every school has been upgraded and remodeled. We’ve built a new school at Meadows of Dan, every single park in our county now has a stream of revenue – which never happened before.”

He said he also spearheaded an effort to redistrict fire districts, to give more residents a break on insurance costs, and “brought, along with others, 24-hours, 7 days a week emergency (medical) care to Patrick County. I started working on 24-hour ambulance service well before it happened. “I am for the working class people. I’ll stand up for you against the rich, against the money people.”

Weiss said that he has lived in the county about 58 years. After graduating from high school, he served in the Air Force, married Vickie Carter Weiss when he returned. He said both of the couple’s children – daughter, Stephanie and son, Jason — were born in the local hospital. He also has four grandchildren.

“I have participated PTOs PTAs, coached some type of sports during my children’s entire career,” Weiss said, adding he also was a member of the Booster Club. “In some form or another, I’ve been serving Patrick County for 40 years.”