Kibler makes first bid for public office and enters race for District 2 seat on board of supervisors

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Paula Kibler

By Randy Arrington

LURAY, Aug. 2 — At just 5 years old, Paula Kibler’s grandfather asked her to ride with him in the Shenandoah firemen’s parade to throw out candy and wave at onlookers. Not only did she enjoy the thrills of giving people candy, but the experience sparked the beginnings of a life-long desire to serve the public. And it’s her grandfather’s influence through those formative years, that she credits with the inspiration to launch her first run for public office.

Ralph Burner served on the Shenandoah Council from 1966 to 1974, and he instilled in his granddaughter a sense of civic pride and community involvement.

“When I left for school in 1979, his only request was that I fill out an absentee ballot,” Kibler said. “He always told me the importance of voting and having a voice.”

Now, Kibler wants to use that voice to represent District 2 on the Page County Board of Supervisors.

“I think we have a wonderful county. I want to make sure our natural resources are being protected, and I want to work hand-in-hand with the school board in education…I think that is where we will have progress, through better education,” she said. “I am also interested in working with law enforcement for the safety of our communities.”

After spending five years as a truancy officer in Page County at the turn of the millennium, Kibler believes the board of supervisors should take a “softer” approach in its oversight of the school system.

“I went from one end of the county to the other, and I saw things that people would be horrified to see…especially since we’re living in the 21st century. School was the best place for them,” she recalls from her home visits. “I feel like we should have more confidence and trust in the people who do this every day…when you have capable, competent employees, you have to trust in the process and that they will make the best decisions with the taxpayer dollars…because they do these jobs every day. I certainly would not be an expert on all things in the school system. However, I feel we have very qualified school personnel, as well as a qualified school board.”

Kibler cited the categorical approval by supervisors of the school system’s annual budget, as a public sign of distrust (and potentially disrespect) for the ability of a publicly elected body to do their jobs responsibly.

“[The board of supervisors] needs to have better communication with, and do a better job of listening to, the needs of the school board. We probably talk more than we listen, most people do…and we need to listen and hear what people are saying,” Kibler said. “I hope to change [categorical approval of the school budget]…with our coffers being well endowed, maybe we could give them more than they are asking for. If you can pay teachers more, you can better attract good teachers and retain good teachers.”

Currently serving as the president of the Luray Downtown Initiative, Kibler also spoke out against plans by the county’s Economic Development and Tourism office to potentially pursue plans to build a new visitors center along Route 211, near or outside the Luray town limits.

“We have an incredibly beautiful Visitor’s Center right in the middle of Luray…why would you spend millions [of dollars] on something that’s not needed?” Kibler asked. “I feel strongly about maintaining the vitality of our downtown [in Luray]. I want to have places to shop; I want places to eat; I am very pro local.”

Living up to her grandfather’s inspiration to be active in the community, Kibler also serves on the board of directors for the Page Valley Fair (previously serving as secretary), previously served as a board member for the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce, and previously served as a board member and executive director of the Page County United Way.

“I am a responder, and not a reactor,” she said. “I think if you can react to things before problems arise, you have a much better outcome.”

Out on the campaign trail, Kibler says the thing that surprised her the most was how little the public seemed to know about what the board of supervisors actually do on a regular basis.

“I think we need to do a better job of communicating what our purpose is and how we go about building a better county,” she said. [When the RV park was approved] “it seemed like things were done so quickly and quietly…we need to use social media or something to better communicate with the towns, the agencies we work with and the public at large…and [the board needs to] be more informed internally.”

Kibler lives in Luray with her kitty “Puffin” and her husband of 28 years, Wayne, who works as a custodian at Luray Middle School. When folks ask her what “Kibler” she married, she always says “the Center Market Kiblers” — a well known spot ran by Wayne’s father and brother, for a while where Gathering Grounds is now, and then longer at the former “yellow” building where a daycare center now resides.

The independent challenger is taking on Republican incumbent Allen Louderback for the District 2 seat. If Kibler is successful, she would become the first female supervisor on the Page County board since Carol Strickler served more than a decade ago.

“I think I will have a different perspective by being a woman,” Kibler said of the all-male makeup of the current board. “…taking a softer touch…but that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of making hard decisions.”

Employed locally by Edward Jones Investments for the past 14 years, Kibler has a wide range of work experience — from her five years as a truancy officer, to a 16-year stint in banking. She also spent some time working with Valley Care Management before landing at Edward Jones.

Growing up in Shenandoah, she graduated from Page County High School in 1979. Other than a few short stints away at school, she has lived her whole life in Page County.

And now, she’s seeking public office to help grow and build her community.

“I have some pretty good common sense, which common sense is not so common these days and times,” Kibler said. “I think you have to have a passion for working to make things better, and when you lack that…you need change. If you continue to do things the same way, you will get the same old results.

“I’m for the people…not myself, and I don’t have any personal agenda.”



Candidates set for 2023 election with six contested races on Page County ballot

Alger becoming new coordinator for non-profits, unopposed for District 1 school board seat

Breeden seeks clerk of the court’s seat as independent, creating three-way race

Overfelt announces bid for District 2 school board seat

Bauserman announces bid to become Page County’s next Commissioner of the Revenue

Cubbage announces bid for District 3 supervisor seat

Gray announces re-election bid for Page County Treasurer

Markowitz seeks second term as clerk of the court

Smith seeks third term as Page County’s commissioner of the revenue

Stanley Police Captain announces 2023 bid for sheriff of Page County

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  1. Wow…as someone who goes to a lot of BOS and other meetings, I am very happy to see a candidate who plans to address such important issues. It is depressing to listen to Allan Lauderback berate the school district and teachers over and over. They do a great job and need public support. Also happy to hear you weigh in on the ill-advised new visitors center. Hope you win and wish I could vote for you!

  2. What a fantastic asset Paula Kibler would be to the Page County Board of Supervisors. Based in reality, experience, knowledge and a commitment to public service she will only prove to be the right person for that seat. She deserves your vote for Page County.

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