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Charles E. Westbrook highlights safety in candidacy for The Plains Town Council

Monday, Apr. 28 | By Jonathan Hunley
Charles E. Westbrook
Charles E. Westbrook is running to make The Plains more of a "walking" town.

The first-time political candidate is one of four hopefuls for three open seats on the Town Council. Incumbents Joyce Heflin Pearson, Lori B. Sisson and Heidi H. Van Voorhis are seeking re-election when voters go to the polls May 6.

Westbrook said Monday that he got into the race because he's concerned about road safety in the municipality.

"I've been distressed by the way traffic treats this small, lovely little town," he said.

He said he's enjoyed living and working in The Plains for the past couple of years and getting to know his neighbors and local businesses.

But he also has noticed that too often commuters and others zoom through town.

So he served on the town's traffic safety committee, and he was pleased to see councilors agree last year to spend $1,800 to have off-duty Fauquier County sheriff's deputies monitor the roads during certain times of the day.

"That's been a success," he said.

Now, Westbrook said, officials needs to add some visual aids to remind drivers that they're not just on a straightaway in the country when they come through The Plains, they're in an incorporated town with pedestrians.

Striping on the roads or signs would be good, he said.

After that, the town could pursue other traffic-calming measures, such as roundabouts.

This is an issue that's close to Westbrook's heart, as he lost a cat to a speeding driver.

As a preservationist and conservationist, Westbrook said he also wants to make sure town residents "save and respect" the past of The Plains. He's the principal at Conservation Exchange LLC, which works on such matters as conservation easements, land trusts and tax credits.

Just pining away for yesteryear, though, isn't the answer, he said: The Plains can have a business climate that suits longtime residents and tourists alike.

Westbrook grew up in the Cleveland area and is a 1985 graduate of Vanderbilt University.

He's lived in this region for the past 17 years and has served on the board of Citizens for Fauquier County. He also was president of the board of the NOVA Manassas Symphony Orchestra from 2007 to 2009.

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