Debra Parsons Buchanan has filed the necessary paperwork to seek re-election to the Henry County Board of Supervisors representing the Horsepasture District.
She was first elected to the Board in 1996.
Buchanan said that she is proud of the work and progress that has been done in the Horsepasture District and throughout the county.
“It is a great honor and privilege to serve, and I have tried to do the best job possible in representing the Horsepasture District. I have always believed in listening & involving our citizens in moving our community forward. I have held regular Horsepasture District Community meetings for the last 28 years, updating our citizens on what’s going on in our district as well as in Henry County,” she said. “We listen to concerns, answer questions and try to find workable solutions for issues impacting our residents. “I challenged the status quo on reversion and helped lead the effort to provide relevant information on the negative economic impact to our county citizens.
Buchanan has served as chairman of the Fieldale Housing Rehabilitation Board and the Smith River Small Town Collaboration Board. She has been a constant advocate for the Fieldale Recreation Center (Fieldale Y) receiving several grants. In 2022, Henry County obtained a $500,000 ARC grant and a $1 million grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development for renovations to the center.
“I continue to support necessary infrastructure improvements. They are critical to create jobs & grow our economy,” Buchanan said, and added that “Henry County worked to secure a $958,960 grant to construct a pump station and sewer line in the Carver Road community to increase sewer system capacity. Water lines were extended along Preston Road from Pleasant Grove to Marigold Road and several of our side streets, including Eagle Lane and Pine Forest, were connected to PSA.
“For the Horsepasture District to grow, we must meet the needs of potential businesses and provide public water and sewer service up the Route 58W corridor,” she said. “Extending water and sewer service in the Horsepasture District is a priority, and I will continue to push forward to meet the needs.”
Noting that along with the county’s help, the PSA recently received $6.2 million to replace all the water lines in Fieldale.
Buchanan also said the Blue Ridge Airport Expansion “is exciting for the Horsepasture District and our entire region, and I continue to support their growth.”
A champion of the Spencer Penn Centre, which Buchanan describes as “a shining light in our community, “she also continues to support the development of the Mayo River State Park.
In 2022, Buchanan and other supervisor members dedicated & placed Bridge Memorials for our Fallen Police Officers;
secured a $33 million dollar grant for universal broadband coverage for our residents and businesses; purchased a 117-acre tract adjacent to the Smith River Sports Complex for the future Riverview Park additional outdoor recreation;
supported significant salary increases step up for all licensed school staff and provided pay increases across the board for all county employees; supported providing additional salary raises for our deputies, including compression raises, to better align their pay with years of service; supported additional funding for EMS training, supplies and equipment and supported upgrades to Jordan Creek Park.
The Commonwealth Crossing Business Center (CCBC) has consistently proven to be a great asset, Buchanan said. With the announcement of Press Glass (226 jobs), and the excitement of the largest capital investment in Henry County’s history with the construction of Crown Holdings (126 jobs), “we are continuing to create a lot of excitement with this industrial park. Henry County received $22.2 million to grade Lot 2 from 57 over 150 acres. Natural gas was extended to the park, making it a Tier 5 facility (the highest available).
“It will be the only site in Virginia over 100 acres with rail access and all utilities in place,” she said. “We want to continue to diversify and grow our economy as we strive to attract more young people, families and businesses to our community.”
In 1996, Buchanan started the “Coat Drive For Kids” in the Horsepasture District, which has now expanded throughout the county. Since its inception, more than 10,000 coats have been collected and distributed.
In 2000, she began the “Shoes For The Soul” initiative in the Horsepasture District. “Partnering with local churches, we reach out to provide new tennis shoes for children in need,” Buchanan said, adding that she has been a member of the Horsepasture Ruritan Club for 28 years, currently, serves on the Horsepasture Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Workforce Investment boards.
“The next four years will be a pivotal period for Henry County,” Buchanan said. “We have navigated the challenges of the pandemic, using available resources and leveraging outside funds, all while keeping in mind the economic impact it will have on the people we represent.
“The good news is that more people are working now in Henry County than any time since 2003,” Buchanan said. “I am proud to be a part of the accomplishments of Henry County, but there is more to do. My heart is in this community and I am working every day to help make” her district and the county as a whole “a better place to live and work.”