Phenix edges out Woodward to take supervisors’ chair, Bailey takes reins as school board chairman

Page News and Courier

LURAY, Nov. 7 ― The county will see new leadership in the coming year, when two top seats see new chairmen.

Dr. Morgan Phenix will take the helm of the Page County Board of Supervisors, while Randy Bailey will take the reins as school board chairman.

In Tuesday's general election, Phenix won the supervisors' chair with about 56 percent of Page County voters throwing their support behind the independent challenger, according to unofficial results by the Virginia Department of Elections.

Two-term supervisors' chairman Johnny Woodward earned 2,768 votes, while Phenix garnered 3,540, winning the most votes in each of the county's five districts.

“A believability and a trust issue is the biggest piece of this,” Phenix said Tuesday night. “I campaigned on a platform of 'make your choice, share your voice.'

“This has been a mandate of trust, and it's a public trust ― so to Page County, I say thank you,” he continued. “I feel humble.”

Phenix, 71, of Stanley, is rounding out the end of his second, four-year term as chairman of the local school board. He attributed his decision to step down from that position and up to a supervisors' seat to a need for change — on both boards.

“I feel affirmed in my belief that it was time for a change,” said Phenix, adding that he feels a changing of the guard is beneficial for any group or organization.

Woodward, 61, of Stanley won his first, four-year term as a Republican in a two-way race for chairman in 2009. He defended his seat as an independent in a three-way race four years later.

“I'd like to thank the people of Page County for the eight years they've had me,” said Woodward. “I think it's a sad year for Page County because they got set back 10 years.”

When asked why he felt the county had been set back, Woodward declined to specify.

“They'll see,” he said. “They'll see. That's all I'm going to say.”

Four-term District 1 school board member Bailey will serve as school board chairman, after making an unopposed bid for the position.

“I look forward to continue serving the constituents of Page County as we move forward,” said Bailey. “I'm pleased that the constituents of District 1 elected me for four terms, and I'm thankful the residents of Page County have the confidence in me to move forward. That's the thing I'm always most grateful for — that people have entrusted me with the job.”

The 64-year-old was first elected as the West Luray representative in 2003. This year will round out Bailey's 14th year of service on the local board, after serving two, two-year terms followed by two, four-year terms.

Political newcomer Tommy Lansberry will take over the District 1 seat after winning a two-way race against Derek Goebel. Lansberry, 71, of Rileyville, secured the seat with 653 votes (about 54 percent), while Goebel, 52, of Rileyville earned 550.

“I will do my best to work for every voter to work hard on the school board and for the children,” said Lansberry, who formerly worked for the school system at its bus garage. “Thank you to the voters.”

The board of supervisors will see a shift in District 5 when a familiar face rejoins the board. Republican nominee Jeff Vaughan, 59, ran unopposed for the Shenandoah Iron Works' seat. He previously served in the position for a single, four-year term after being elected in 2009. He did not seek re-election in 2013, when Dot Pendley won the unopposed seat. She did not seek re-election on Tuesday.

Returning to their unopposed seats are District 1 Supervisor Keith Guzy and District 5 school board member Jackie Sullivan-Smoot.

Sullivan-Smoot, 65, was elected to her first, four-year term in 2009, before defending the seat four years later. Republican nominee Guzy, 42, won his first term in 2013.

While Virginia saw blue in the state election, Page County backed GOP contenders in the three key races, giving about 72 percent of local votes to former Chairman of the Republican National Committee Ed Gillespie, 74 percent of votes to State Sen. Jill Vogel and 73 percent of votes to former Assistant U.S. Attorney John Adams.

Overall, democrats swept the ticket for a second time after all three statewide offices were won by the party in 2013 for the first time in 24 years.

Page County voters on Tuesday also cast ballots for the Virginia House of Delegates. Rep. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock), who has served in the position since 2006, won the uncontested seat.

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