Brief Candidate Biographies
Stephen Jett is a retired geography professor and former department chair, University of California, Davis. He has been a conservation activist since the 1960s, at the federal, state, and local levels. He has authored several scholarly and semipopular books and hundreds of other writings. He teaches annually at the College for Older Adults. Steve has been a member of a Town of Abingdon board of viewers. As a board member of Friends of Abingdon, he has been much involved with the Meadows issue and with the effort to ensure open and participatory local government, and has been involved in the present and previous Town Council campaigns.
Link Elmore lives in Abingdon with his wife, Karen, and their two middle-school aged boys, James and Ben. He works in the Information Technology department for the City of Johnson City where he manages the City's enterprise geospatial program. Link previously worked for the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy in a similar capacity, focusing on mined land reclamation. As a geographer and information-industry employee, he believes that using computers and data can help decision-makers craft and implement better public policy and increase civic confidence in government through transparency. Link joined WIN in 2015.
Alana Simmons: In February 2017, Alana Simmons joined the ranks of Emory & Henry College as a Project Coordinator for the E&H CARES program. In addition to this role, she also serves as Lecturer in Business in the School of Business & Economics at King University. Alana has more than 10 years of experience as an educator, having worked as a correctional educator in both Georgia and Virginia. Her passion for contributing to her community is evidenced by volunteer commitments with the PUSH Film Festival, Virginia Organizing, Appalachian Peace Education Center, and Abuse Alternatives, Inc., where she serves as President of the Board of Directors. Alana's greatest achievement, however, is the privilege of being a mom to her daughter, Rori.
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Susan Stancill lives in the town of Abingdon after spending many years in Raleigh, NC. She has a JD and BA from the University of NC, Chapel Hill.Her objective is to be an advocate for social justice and equal protection of the law; to have a positive impact on at-risk populations in their pursuit and exercise of civil liberties. Her legal background is in General Civil and Criminal Litigation.She has been a community activist spanning many boards, associations and campaigns, including Moral Mondays, at-risk teens, women's access to healthcare, and Durham Mediation Center."I would love to add my energy to the great progress that WIN has already made in making our government transparent and accountable. Washington County is an amazing place to live and attracting sustainable industry that shares our values should be the highest priority."
Linda Mashburn has served on the Steering Committee of WIN since soon after its founding and has been Vice Chairperson this last year. She was one of WIN's volunteers in Allison May's campaign for Board of Supervisor, organizing mailings, telephoning, and door-to-door visits. She did some of the same volunteering during the campaigns of 2016. Her background is nursing and administration, and she lives in the ElderSpirit community in Abingdon, where she is also an active volunteer. Much of her professional and volunteer work has been founding and working with non-profit community organizations.
Emily Lachneit has lived in Washington County since 2001, when she moved from Michigan. She, her husband Jason, and three daughters, live on a small farm north of Glade Spring. She works as the agroforestry program manager for Appalachian Sustainable Development and serves on the board of her church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Highlands.
Steve Fisher taught for 35 years at Emory & Henry College where he helped create an Appalachian Studies minor, the Appalachian Center for Community Service, and an interdisciplinary service-learning major. He has written extensively on a variety of Appalachian issues and has been active in a number of Appalachian resistance efforts including the Appalachian Land Ownership Study, Appalachian Alliance, and Pittston strike. He was co-founder of and columnist for The Plow, an alternative regional newspaper for southwest Virginia in the late 1970s. He served on the board of the Appalachian Community Fund and the Highlander Center, is an active member of the Appalachian Peace Education Center and Virginia Organizing, and served on Washington County's Planning Commission from 2000-2012. He was one of the founders of WIN and has served on its Steering Committee since 2015. He currently hosts a weekly radio show ("Rise Up Singing") on WEHC 90.7 FM.
Katie Lamb is an artist, designer, entrepreneur and innovative, resourceful individual with a love for community, nature, animals, and the arts. She spent her entire childhood in Damascus and graduated from East Carolina University in 1995, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus in Fabric Design. From 1998 until mid-2008, Katie worked in New York City as a graphic designer creating children's sleepwear. After returning home to her roots, Lamb became a Graphic Design instructor for the Washington County Career & Technical Education Center, from 2011 until 2017, and was elected by her peers as the Career and Technical Teacher of the Year. After winning the 2016 Washington County Business Challenge, Katie focused her career on her business, me and little tree, LLC, and also, the business, Trail Town Tiny Houses, LLC, that she shares with her partner. Katie has recently been appointed as the Chairperson for the Damascus Business Group. It is Lamb's ambition to work with residents, business owners and visitors to collectively create a healthy, lively, cultured destination that continues to attract people from all over the world to experience this region at its full potential.
Emery Reid - Growing up on a farm in the valley between Abingdon, Damascus, and Chilhowie, I've come to appreciate the blessings and the challenges of rural southwest Virginia. My background as a teacher at Washington County schools and as an academic advisor at Virginia Highlands Community College has been an investment in the future of our community that needs to be continued. Every child in the area should have the opportunity to succeed academically, including my own three children Lucy, Lydia, and Graham, who currently attend Washington County Public Schools.
Ben Jenkins - I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2006 with a civil engineering degree and currently work for a local construction firm.
My wife and I are both Washington County natives. I grew up in the Wyndale area where my family owns the old Wyndale school house. We have two children, ages 12 and 15, who attend Wallace Middle School and John Battle High School. We raise chickens, goats and sheep on 20 acres in Bristol, VA. In my spare time I enjoy farming, camping, hunting and fishing.
I chose to become involved with WIN as a way to make sure that Washington County stays true to its agricultural heritage, that our children's education is not compromised and that a truly honest and open governmental system is maintained. By getting fair and knowledgeable people into local government positions, WIN has made, and will continue to make a difference.
Bobby Williams is a 40 year resident of the Wilson District in Washington County. He is a 25 year employee of Central Machine Shop, a locally owned and operated small business in the Wilson District. Bobby is a member of WIN. For the past two years, he was a strong, tireless opponent of the "Sugar Hollow Rock Quarry" proposed in the Wilson District. Bobby is a strong proponent for transparency in government and balanced rights for property owners and land uses.