Winning Lunenburg supervisors talk about goals for county

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, November 8, 2023

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Voters went to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 7, to elect candidates to represent Lunenburg County in many offices. For some Lunenburg supervisors, it was easier than others, as they ran virtually unopposed.

Although incumbent Mike Hankins did have a write-in candidate seeking his seat, Hankins said in an interview on Monday that, assuming he was re-elected, he had several plans for the county. With all but absentee and early voting ballots to count, Hankins holds a 262 to 218 lead. 

“In the past three years, I have been actively involved in bringing major investments into Lunenburg,” Hankins said. “In 2021, I helped bring $249,056; in 2022, it was $5,052,000; and in 2023, it was $1,211,788, with another $4,966,725 shared with six other counties. For the region in this time frame, I brought in $38,125,512. I hope to do at least this well if re-elected.”

With solar developers moving into the county over the past few years, Hankins said he could see no reason to vote for a tax increase over the next four years. 

“With the additional money coming in, teachers and other county employees should be able to receive reasonable pay increases without an added tax on people in the county,” Hankins said. 

“Finally, I would also like to see more services for our older citizens in Lunenburg.”

A question of solar farming

Hankins did say that even though he supports reasonable solar farm development, he would not support solar farming in all cases. “I do support landowner’s rights, growth of renewable energy on a reasonable scale, and the environment using sound construction practices,” he said. 

Higher paying jobs are another goal Hankins plans to continue to work towards. 

“I have been working with Longwood University and several other counties to develop a Regional Economic Development Organization for this area,” Hankins said. 

According to the candidate, if this is successful, it could bring not tens of millions but hundreds of millions in the future to the area. 

“This would mean a lot of higher paying jobs for our area. If we get this done, it would be 12 to 24 months before the kick-off. If someone has to replace me, they would be where I started three years ago.” Hankins added. 

Lunenburg supervisor looks ahead

Pennington also ran for his seat unopposed. He finished with 99% of the vote or 587 ballots. 

Pennington, who has been a member of the Board of Supervisors for the past 23 years, works to give back to his community. 

A former town council member and vice mayor in Victoria, Pennington also helps with church and nonprofit projects throughout the area. 

It was because of all this that the Kappa Rho Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority named him as their Local Citizen of the Year earlier in 2023. 

The award is given out each year to someone who performs outstanding contributions to both their community and church. A retired correctional officer with 32 years of dedicated service behind him, Pennington has been recognized with several awards through the years. That includes the Virginia Association of Counties Supervisors Service Award for reliable service to the Lunenburg County Government and a plaque from the Southside Youth Development Corporation. 

Pennington has also served on numerous community boards and belongs to organizations such as the NAACP and the Democratic Party, served as a Youth Mentor, participates in voter registration and gives support to the elderly of the community through various activities. 

Although Pennington did not respond to our questions about his plans for the next four years over the past few years, Pennington has been outspoken on the Board of Supervisors working to eliminate significant truck traffic on Mecklenburg Avenue and says he will push the issue until something is done. 

“Those trucks don’t belong on that road, and this has to stop,” Pennington said during the monthly Board of Supervisors meeting in April 2022. “I have great concerns about this. I’ve been talking about this since last year, and I will continue to talk about it until something happens.” 

Pennington said large trucks, in particular trash trucks going to and from the landfill, and speed is the issue.