Washington Co., Virginia Sheriff Candidates speak at forum

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ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL)- A major change in law enforcement leadership is on the way for Washington County, Virginia.

After almost 20 years, the county’s sheriff, Fred Newman is retiring. Four candidates are running to take his place.

Tuesday night’s forum for the Washington County Constitutional Offices brought a packed house at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education center in Abingdon. It was hosted by the League of Women Voters of Washington County, Virginia.

“I think its important for all the voters to understand the issues that are critical to our community- nothing has been in writing we haven’t seen any substance regarding their positions,” says voter Sherry Johnson

From the candidates – high praise for the current state of the sheriff’s office.

“I consider Washington county sheriff’s office a model agency for Southwest Virginia. Since the sheriff’s first term in office, watching the agency progress,” said Greg Hogston (D).

The candidates answered questions ranging from road patrol…

“Of speed enforcement- I believe in the marked and the unmarked cars- because in the unmarked you get texting and driving which is a huge problem also on our roadways,” said Blake Andis (R).

-to drug issues…

“We need to be able to direct these people which way to go, we need to [partner] with recoveries, we need to [partner] with mental health,” said Marty Berry (I).

-and transparency.

“If it comes to the issue that there is a video that has not been released- for whatever reason, if it is in the middle of the investigation, I understand we may have to hold that for a little while. But, we’ve seen agencies across this nation release videos within 24 hours- why should it be different here?” said Rex Carter (I).

The forum also featured candidates in the Commonwealth Attorney and Commissioner of Revenue races in Washington Co., Virginia.

You can watch the forum in its entirety on the League of Women Voters of Washington County, Virginia’s Facebook page.

Those elections will be on Tuesday, November 5th.

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