PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Page Valley News will be publishing profiles of 10 local candidates in four contested county races in this fall’s elections beginning Aug. 14. These Q&As will be published around midday on Mondays and Thursdays over the next five weeks.
Also in September, PVN will be broadcasting pre-recorded debates between the candidates in these four contested races through our new YouTube channel.
- Age: 47
- Education: National Sheriff’s Institute, 2016; Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy, 1994; Page County High School, 1994.
- Work: Sheriff, Page County Sheriff’s Office, 2016-present; Shenandoah Police Department, 2002-2016; Page County Sheriff’s Office, 1994-2002.
- Professional Organizations: Vice Chair of Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force; Chair of Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy; Member, Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute, National Sheriffs’ Institute, Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission.
- Elected Office: Sheriff, Page County Sheriff’s Office, [elected 2015 and 2019, two four-year terms].
- Family: Two daughters, Natalie and Olivia Cubbage.
- Community Service: Page Alliance for Community Action, Page County TRIAD, Page County City Elders, Supporter of Shenandoah, Stanley and Luray Little Leagues.
• Why are you running for public office?
I am seeking re-election for Sheriff because I truly care about the citizens of Page County and have seen, first-hand, that a united community will flourish. Since I was a young boy, I dreamed of becoming Sheriff and I’m so blessed to be living that dream. I began my law enforcement career at 18 years old and have worked throughout the county building relationships and learning about the challenges we face and changes our county needs to grow and prosper.
The past eight years I’ve worked to give Page County a voice on the state and federal levels because our community deserves the same programs and attention the larger, wealthier counties receive. I am an advocate for “the people” and will lead the charge to protect and defend their constitutional rights, seek grants, and provide premium law enforcement service to our community.
• What makes you the best candidate?
I feel I am the best candidate because of my empathy, sound judgement and calm demeanor. Skills can be learned, but personality traits are born in a person. From main streets to back roads, I know our citizens and many of them personally. While the law needs to be applied equally and fairly to each citizen, empathy and good judgement are key traits in a Sheriff who can de-escalate a situation and restore peace.
In addition, I’ve built strong working relationships with law enforcement agencies across the state while serving as Chair on the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force, the Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy, and a member of the National and Virginia Sheriffs’ Institutes.
• What is the most pressing issue facing the Page County Sheriff’s Office?
Hands-down, the drug crisis is the most pressing issue we face. Our drug arrests have more than doubled since I took office, but more work needs to be done. I’ve implemented a full-time Drug Interdiction Team, hired an additional K9 and handler, assisted with the implementation of Drug Court and reinstated DARE. While all of these are vital tools to help combat the drug problem, we need legislation change for stiffer sentences for drug dealers and less bloated bureaucracy for search warrants.
• What is one thing that you would like to change or improve?
We are in dire need of additional inmate housing. With increased arrests come increased inmate housing and medical needs. I proposed to the BOS, during my first term, a jail expansion that would provide long-term costs savings and additional housing for inmates. I’m hoping to revisit this issue, as the PCSO houses approximately 200 inmates daily, with over half of them outsourced to regional jails.
• Briefly describe a decision you have made in a leadership role and tell why you made that decision.
As Sheriff, I am faced with crucial leadership decisions daily. What may appear to be a simple decision typically has a domino effect. Most every decision affects the budget, inmate housing, staffing, and, of course, public opinion. Not all those decisions are popular, but they are within the best interest of the people we serve.
The most recent decision that comes to mind is implementing a Drug Interdiction Team! It’s no secret drugs are rampant, not only in Page County, but everywhere. I knew taking an aggressive stance would hit the budget and inmate housing hard, but the only alternative was to turn a blind eye to the problem and remain content with the status quo. That’s not who I am!!
The citizens elected me to protect and serve the community and I took an oath to do just that. Deciding to implement a Drug Interdiction Team was the best “toughest” decision I’ve made. The PCSO now has two full-time drug interdiction officers on the road. They serve as liaisons between the patrol officers and the drug task force team.
I went into this knowing this would impact the budget, inmate crowding and court services, but I felt it not only necessary, but vital. While we must work within the confines of a budget and operations, public safety should never be compromised.
Early voting starts Sept. 22
For election information visit the Page County Voter Registrar.