Brinn looks for common ground

Published 8:06 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gary Brinn, one of seven candidates for the Republican nominations in the race for a seat on the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, wants to bring a spirit of cooperation to the county’s governing board.

“We need to get the job done for the people of Beaufort County,” he said. “There’s got to be common ground somewhere. … The most important thing is to make sure the decisions we make are the best decisions for Beaufort County.”

Brinn said he and other GOP commissioners should not abandon their core “Republican values” simply in the spirit of getting along.

Brinn is one of 13 candidates — including two incumbents and two former members of the board — in the race for four positions available on the board in this year’s election cycle.

Brinn said that, if elected, he would work to lower taxes and promote economic growth in Beaufort County, primarily by fighting “needless rules and regulations that stop a person from doing business in Beaufort County.”

As a professional landscaper, Brinn said, he has encountered new regulations placed on that industry in recent years. But these regulations — requiring certification for those who use pesticides or install irrigation systems — are useful in protecting the environment and those who work in the industry, he said.

Brinn said some new rules are often duplicates of existing ones or overly burdensome on business and industry.

Fees that are charged along with some of those rules can be difficult for business owners to pay, he said.

“There are lists of rules and regulations that don’t mean anything,” he said. “They need to be narrowed to the point that we only have the ones that are really important for our safety.”

In addition to Brinn, the other Republican candidates who have filed to earn their party’s nomination are incumbents Jay McRoy and Hood Richardson and challengers Larry Britt, Donald Dixon, Rick Gagliano and Tony “T.J.” Keech.

Incumbent Jerry Langley and challengers Lloyd Ballance, Robert Belcher, former Commissioner Mickey Cochran, former Commissioner Carolyn W. Harding and Wayne Sawyer have filed to seek the Democratic Party’s nominations in May to face the slate of successful Republican candidates in November.

Brinn said that, if elected, he would also work to ensure that the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has sufficient resources to combat illegal immigration in the county.

“I support immigration as long as it’s legal,” he said. “But anyone who is here illegally should be arrested and deported. Our immigration laws are what they are, and we should abide by them.”

Brinn said he wants to study the need for a new jail, but he is not yet prepared to support its construction until decisions are made as to how to pay for it.

“Jails are built on tax dollars,” he said. “Before we decide to build one, I want to know where the money will come (from) to build it.”

Brinn said he would work to ensure that the upcoming property revaluation is revenue-neutral and ensure the county board does a better job overseeing county business.

Brinn said he also would work to improve oversight of county department heads and ensure that those department heads obtain proper approval from the board for any activities that cost the taxpayers.

He also said he would work to “restore respect” to the board.

Brinn, 66, has operated an area landscaping business for 35 years, most recently alongside his son, Sam.

A native of Beaufort County, Brinn attended public schools in Bath and Virginia Beach, Va. He attended Roanoke Bible College. He is a past president of the Washington Optimist Club. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington Yacht & Country Club.

Brinn and his wife, Kay Jordan, have two children and live in the Washington area.