By MELISSA BOUGHTON
The Winchester Star
MILLWOOD —State Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Upperville, says her greatest value is being a good steward — a topic she spoke about Sunday morning at the annual meeting and traditional service at Old Bethel Church.
Vogel was guest speaker at the 19th century structure off Swift Shoals Road, which lacks running water and electricity.
Under strict instructions to steer clear of politics, Vogel took a bipartisan approach in discussing stewardship.
“It’s a nice opportunity to deliver that message of stewardship to a community that really clearly cares about that,” Vogel said.
The speaker is usually the event’s main focus, with each bringing his or her own take on a historical topic of their choice.
Ian Williams, president of The Bethel Memorial Inc., told guests that it was unusual to have a politician as guest speaker, especially during an election year, but an exception was made for Vogel — her topic had to be something “historic from a neutral standpoint.”
“She’s here to prove that she’s the good ole girl from Shenandoah County Central High School in Woodstock,” Williams said as he introduced Vogel.
Vogel has been a lifelong resident of the Shenandoah Valley and the Piedmont area of Virginia and resides in Fauquier County with her husband and children.
She is a managing partner at HoltzmanVogelJosefiak PLLC in Warrenton, where she specializes in ethics, campaign finance and tax exempt organizations.
Vogel was elected to her first term as state senator in 2007 and represents the 27th District, which includes the City of Winchester and Frederick, Clarke, Fauquier and parts of Loudoun counties.
“When I was first elected [stewardship] was not by far a huge piece of what we did, but now it is a huge part of what we do,” she told guests.
Vogel went on to update those in attendance about the budget and where legislators stood as stewards in education, conservation and transportation, among other areas.
She said that particularly in the commonwealth, legislators are leading in conservation and thanked Clarke County in part for that.
“We have locked down more acres and more land than any place in the country,” she said.
Clarke County especially has helped with conservation, she said, and pointed out that it has 8,432 acres in conservation easement, with 78 donations and a tax credit of $19,037,000.
“I think she was very topical in talking about those things that are of great interest to us,” Williams said. “She stayed away from anything to do with adversarial matters, and I thought she was good.
“She has a very breezy, informative style, she seemed very relaxed, she seemed happy to be here and we were glad to have her,” he added.
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