BOS honors last remaining ‘Goochland Revolution’ architects

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Call it the end of an era.

At the opening of the Goochland County Board of Supervisors meeting on Dec. 5, chairman Neil Spoonhower was joined by District 4 supervisor Charlie Vaughters, Sheriff Steven Creasey and several other county officials and residents in celebrating the service of District 1’s Susan Lascolette, District 5’s Ken Peterson and District 3’s John Lumpkins.

All three will conclude their service on the board at the end of this month.

It wasn’t, to be sure, a typical retirement celebration. In bidding farewell to the trio—a sendoff that included three individual proclamations honoring their service—talk turned repeatedly to the start of their journey together as elected officials back in 2012, when Lascolette and Peterson were both new to the board and Lumpkins had just been elected to the first of two terms on the Goochland County School Board.

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Back then they were part of what has since been referred to by many as the Goochland Revolution, an almost entirely new slate of leaders tasked with righting a ship that had been drifting dangerously off course.

As Lascolette, Peterson and Lumpkins recalled last week, they knew from the start that they had their work cut out for them. There was no shortage of problems to solve, including a looming Tuckahoe Creek Service District debt crisis, slumping real estate assessments and a general feeling that the County was headed in the wrong direction.

It wasn’t easy, all agreed, but as Lascolette explained, they knew they had been elected by the citizens to do a job. Joining District 3 supervisor Ned Creasey, who was then beginning his second term, and county administrator Rebecca Dickson, Lascolette, Peterson, Robert Minnick and Manuel Alvarez quickly got to work. Twelve years later, as the resolutions read on Dec. 5 made clear, their accomplishments are plain to see.

Not only did the county manage to achieve three AAA bond ratings over the course of their tenure—making it the smallest county in the nation to do so—but the group also doubled down on commitments made to improve public safety and support education.

They refinanced the Tuckahoe Creek Service District debt, kicked off an ambitious broadband internet project and built a new fire station in Hadensville and a new Emergency Operations and Communications Center in the Courthouse Village. They also attended countless meetings and workshops, hosted dozens of town halls and attended scores of ribbon-cuttings, county celebrations and other special events.

Perhaps one predictor of their success, several of those in attendance last week pointed out, was how well the board worked together even when they didn’t necessarily agree.

“I’ve worked on teams my entire life,” said Spoonhower, who was elected in 2019 after Alvarez declined to seek another term. “And this is one of the best teams I’ve ever worked on.”

Lascolette said she was proud of what she and her fellow board members, including the late Don Sharpe, have been able to accomplish, and also what she was able to learn along the way.

“Twelve years has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and diversity of this county,” she said, “and also for the beauty and diversity of the people in this county. It’s been my personal joy to support the priorities of this county, which are education and public safety.”

Peterson thanked the community “for putting their faith in me.”

“Maybe we didn’t change the whole world,” he said, “but we did manage to change our corner of it for the better.”

Peterson said he will miss the relationships with his fellow board members, and added that he is particularly proud of the legacy they are leaving behind.

“We set very high standards and I think we inspired others by demonstrating the art of the possible—if we can do it, perhaps others can as well.”

Lumpkins, who was elected to the board in 2018 after the passing of Ned Creasey and will begin his new role as Goochland’s Commonwealth’s Attorney in January, said he has come to appreciate just how far the changes that began 12 years ago Goochland have echoed across the region and even the state.

“We set the example for literally all the cities and counties in the Commonwealth with the way we worked together,” Lumpkins said. “It’s been a privilege to serve alongside of you.”

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