About Us
How long has WIN been around and what have we been doing?
In March of 2015, a small group of citizens met to discuss forming a non-partisan, independent organization to elect a more responsive Board of Supervisors in Washington County.

WIN supports supervisors who really work to support locally-based businesses, fully fund our public schools, develop infrastructure such as broadband, and who value the extraordinarily beautiful natural resources in our county. These common goals are our core values.

WIN continues to grow and has a successful track record. Members remain very much involved in the election of our county supervisors. As issues come up, we always remind our elected officials of WIN's values - shared now by over 550 neighbors.

In addition to our candidate endorsements, we monitor local government meetings and post summaries on our website, We work with elected officials, county staff, and partner with other community organizations.

Membership is open to anyone who supports the WIN mission, agrees with the values, and registers as a supporter of WIN. You can join WIN here.
Steering Committee
Officers & Members
ERNIE BRAGANZA, Chair
(Madison District)
has lived in Washington County for 40 years. He graduated from Emory & Henry College and earned a Master's in Social Work from Radford University. He has held jobs in social work and software development, but he started out working at Bella's making pizzas. He and his wife Karen have 2 children in their twenties.

Ernie joined in the formation of WIN because he wanted to increase citizen awareness and involvement in local government. Local decisions often have the biggest impact on our lives, but get lost in the din of state and national politics. He hopes WIN can play a role in keeping the Board of Supervisors accessible and responsive to residents of Washington County.
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HANNAH INGRAM, Vice Chair
(Harrison District)
is a Yankee transplant to Washington County, having grown up in New York State and moved here from NYC in 2008. Barter Theatre is what initially brought her to this area, and she has proudly been a member of Barter's Resident Acting Company and an active member of the local community here for over a decade. She lives in Abingdon with her husband Matt and her 2 dog children.

Hannah is passionate about citizens actively participating in their own democracy -- she believes staying informed and lending our voices to the civic "conversation" is not just our right, but our responsibility. She has served as leadership for Young Appalachian Patriots (YAP), as a campaign volunteer to elect Anthony Flaccavento to Congress in 2018, and she herself ran for local office on Abingdon's Town Council in 2018. She currently also serves on the Steering Committee for Abingdon Main Street, which supports local downtown small business growth and celebrates what makes Abingdon unique. Each December, she spearheads a silent auction event in which Barter employees and their families raise $3,000+ for United Way of Southwest Virginia. Hannah proudly joined the WIN Steering Committee in 2019, and now serves as a point person for WIN's social media and communication.
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LINDA MASHBURN, Treasurer
(Madison District)
is a nurse with graduate degrees in Religion (Columbia University) and Public Health Administration (UNC-Chapel Hill). She has done 15 years of hospital nursing in India and the U.S., as well as a great deal of community organizing around primary health care. She founded the Hot Springs Health Program in 1971, which now provides all the medical care for Madison County, NC, and she ran a Statesville, NC community health program serving public housing residents. Most recently, she was Executive Director of a non-profit linking U.S. churches (Protestant & Catholic) with communities of faith in Central America.

As a result of numerous trips to Central America, and personally knowing victims of torture, mass killings, etc., Linda became passionate about closing Columbus, GA's School of the Americas that had trained so many military perpetrators. For a number of years, she did civil disobedience at the gates of Fort Benning, which led to a 3-month prison sentence, which she served in 2006 at the federal women's prison in Alderson, WV.

Linda and her husband were among the founding members of Abingdon's ElderSpirit community, but didn't move here until 2014. She became a founding member of WIN in 2015, and has served as Vice-Chair and now as Treasurer. She has 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren, all of whom live in North Carolina.
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BEN JENKINS, Co-Secretary
(Tyler District)
is currently 38 years old and a native of Washington County. He lives on a small farm with his wife and 2 children where they raise a little bit of everything.

Ben's community involvement dates back to the proposed rock quarry on Boardwine Road in the Wilson District, where he worked with the adjacent landowners in opposition. He attended the initial Board of Supervisors meeting where this quarry was on the agenda and was shocked by the lack of competency of several of the Supervisors. After Ben spent a couple years assisting in organizing efforts against the quarry, the Board eventually denied the proposal -- granted, there were a couple different Supervisors than when the process began. However, he feels certain the quarry will be brought before the Board again in the near future.

Through all of this, Ben thought regularly about how easily County issues can go unnoticed to most residents. Fortunately, he was asked to join the WIN Steering Committee during the quarry issue, and he's found a great group of folks that share the same vigilance he feels is needed for our County. Ben has been a Steering Committee member ever since and is proud to be a WIN member.
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KATIE GIFFORD, Co-Secretary
(Harrison District)
has lived in Abingdon for over 30 years, where she and her husband have raised their 2 now-adult sons. Professionally, Katie is a social worker and has held a variety of jobs, including as a foster care worker and work at a shelter for women and children. Currently, she is employed as a state employee to inspect and license child care providers.

Over the years, Katie has been involved in the community as a volunteer with political campaigns, local arts groups, and organizations that support children and families, such as the Children's Advocacy Center.
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CLARA BRISTOL
(Harrison District)
has a motto: "A caring heart is a helping hand!" Born in New York City but raised in Abingdon, Clara has made a difference all over the world —college in Knoxville, 14 years in Germany, chairing outreach and mission work at her church in Florida, then back home to Abingdon for Business Administration studies with Abingdon Manpower. Clara served as Chair of the Enlisted Spouses Association for 7 years, and is a widow after 26 years with her beloved service veteran. Clara is a mother of 3, grandmother of 16, great-grandmother of 15, and great-great-grandmother of 5. She has spent 25 years as a foster parent, has served as a home healthcare worker, and has worked with many homeless organizations, just to mention a few of her community-building outreach activities. ______________________________________________________________________
STEVE FISHER
(Monroe District)
lives in Emory and taught at Emory & Henry College for 35 years. While there, he created the Appalachian Center for Community Service and developed a public policy and service learning major, designed to help students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to stay and work in our area. He has written extensively on a variety of Appalachian issues and has been active in a number of Appalachian resistance efforts.

Locally, Steve has been a long-time member of the Appalachian Peace Education Center (APEC) and was a co-founder of both Virginia Organizing and WIN. He was active in the battle to stop a truck stop from being built right next to the Meadowview Elementary School, and served on the Washington County Planning Commission for 12 years.

Steve and his wife, Nancy Garretson, a weaver and co-founder of the Arts Depot in Abingdon, live in a passive solar home designed by Nancy herself. Steve hosts a live radio music show (Rise Up Singing) that is broadcast weekly on WEHC. 90.7 FM on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.
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TOBY JORDAN
(Wilson District)
is a native of Washington County and has lived most of her years in the Wilson District. She is married and mother to 2 grown children and grandmother to 3 young boys. Toby is a graduate of John S. Battle High School and has taken classes through Virginia Highlands Community College. Currently retired, she has worked with various community and health organizations.

Toby's community involvement started years ago as a volunteer for the Head Start Program through People Inc. Community awareness and supporting those within is her greatest focus and WIN is a catalyst and opportunity to enhance that focus. Her involvement with WIN began as she fought against the proposed "Sugar Hollow Quarry," as it was planned to be right beside her home, ruining the community she has known her entire lifetime. This journey continues to teach her: believe your voice will be heard -- if you just speak up!
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SHELLEY KOCH
(Monroe District)
is a native of the Great Plains, having grown up and mostly settled in Nebraska and Kansas until moving to SWVA 10 years ago to take on the position as assistant professor in sociology at Emory & Henry College. Even though she misses the wide-open skies and the beautiful sunsets of the Plains, she is committed to this community and this beautiful area. Her spouse and she live in Meadowview and both her kids went through the Washington County school system. Shelley researches and teaches about systems of inequality and the environment, and she is especially interested in food systems as they intersect with paid and unpaid labor.
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DIANA PINO
(Wilson District)
is an 18-year old, first generation, Mexican-American Smyth County native. After graduating from Chilhowie High School, Diana moved to Washington County with hopes of bettering their new loved community. Translating for Spanish speakers from the age of six, Diana has always been involved in helping others around them. Due to this reason, Diana began to work as an intern at the age of 17 for Virginia Organizing, a statewide nonprofit organization. Their work as an intern heavily involved the Fund Our Schools Coalition, which strives to give every child in Virginia an equitable education. Along with a passion for education, Diana has a passion for the inclusivity of LatinX people, people of color, LGBTQ people, and low-income individuals in the community.

Diana believes that local government decisions often have the most direct effect on individuals and families. Therefore, members of the community must ensure that their representatives are being held accountable. For these reasons, Diana joined WIN, to ensure that the Board of Supervisors are being responsive to the needs of local residents.
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KAREN SHAFFER
(Jefferson District)
is pleased to have been a charter member of WIN. Her family is deeply rooted and branched in Washington County, and she was an instigator against the proposed fracking here by the Board of Supervisors in 2012 because of its potential negative impact on our precious water, air, and forests by a very greedy industry. Aside from that, they weren't paying the landowners diddly in comparison to the rest of the country's leaseholders. Karen formerly served on the board of directors for the Appalachian Independence Center and the Appalachian Women's Alliance, and she has been an advocate for Arts in Education for many years. She is in awe of her 2015 award from the League of Women Voters for Community Activism.

Karen graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Journalism and Public Relations. After writing far too many obituaries for the Knoxville News Sentinel, she moved to NYC to work in major publishing houses, later teaching in the Catskills of upstate NY. A few years later, still shoveling snow in May, she decided it was time to move back south. Karen and her husband, artist Charles Vess, have lived on a 20-acre farm outside the Benhams community for almost 30 years. She loves that WIN has established a dialogue and awareness about and with local government leaders, embracing the importance of transparency and being responsive to citizens.
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REES SHEARER
(Monroe District)
is a co-founder and former Chair of WIN, serving in that office for 5 years. He's a former batik artist and a retired WCPS elementary school counselor. His wife Kathy was his partner in batik craft and is author of numerous books chronicling local oral history. They have one son Daniel, who lives in Vermont with his wife Jen and daughter Artemis Grace. Rees and Kathy live in a passive-solar house they built in Emory and are proud owners of a 5.7 kW solar array. Rees is passionate about solar, environmental, peace, and justice political issues.

Rees has provided leadership and passionate volunteer labor to numerous local non-profit and citizen organizations and political efforts for over 50 years, supporting local artisans, offender reintegration, regional transportation improvement, and advocating for local and global peace, justice, environmental protection, and renewable energy development organizations and causes.
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SUSAN STANCILL
(Madison District)
is originally from North Carolina and moved to Southwest Virginia in 2016 to be with her partner, Rema Keen, who is from Buchanan County. Susan was Anthony Flaccavento's Deputy Campaign Manager and Finance Director. In that role, she raised over $1 million, which had never been done in the 9th District Congressional race. Susan is the Southwest Organizer for Virginia Organizing, a statewide, non-partisan grassroots-organizing nonprofit, and is based here in Abingdon. She is also the 9th District representative on the Women's Caucus of DPVA.

By way of background, Susan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for both undergrad and law school. She has 2 grown children who reside in NC and also graduated from Carolina.
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JAMES WICHT (on 2021 leave of absence)
(Wilson District)
is a native of Washington County and a graduate of Patrick Henry High School and Limestone College in Gaffney, SC. After living in several other parts of the country, he returned in 2012 and currently works as a Technology Sales Analyst for Office Depot. James is also a director at the Abingdon Bridge Club and an ACBL-certified teacher and Life Master, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and a trustee of both the Emory United Methodist Church and VFW Auxiliary Post 1994. James lives alone.

James' roles as trustees serves his desire to be a steward of the community and help maintain our financial, physical, and natural assets so that future Washington County residents can prosper in and enjoy life here as he has. James' goals with WIN include ensuring that the future educational needs of our children and adults are met, and keeping our area employers while attracting new ones with a skilled workforce without the need to give out-sized financial incentives to businesses. He will work to ensure county political leaders and other stakeholders follow a path of responsible, targeted, and limited development so our County can continue to provide services to its residents while preserving undeveloped area for recreational use and ecological stabilization.
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