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Donald “Don” Phillips has worked for NASA, conducted research at Harvard and taught high school physics.
After a career centered on science, Phillips said he is emphasizing environmental concerns now and into the future as he takes on his next challenge – running for the York County Board of Supervisors.
“I have perspectives on what the issues are and I could effectively contribute to solving them,” Phillips said.
Phillips, 74, said he and his family moved to York County in 1984 and noted the schools, low crime rate and overall pleasantness of the areas as factors in their decision. He is a retired research scientist who worked at the NASA Langley Research Center. He has also taught AP Physics at Walsingham Academy.
He said he decided to run for the District 3 seat after watching Board of Supervisors meetings, researching the issues and offering public comment.
“I finally decided, since the supervisor for this district was stepping down, I would run and see if I could vote on issues, not just comment on them,” Phillips said.
The District 3 seat is being vacated by longtime supervisor Don Wiggins. Phillips is competing against attorney Chad Green to win the seat.
If elected, Phillips said his priorities would include fully supporting the York County School Division and encouraging cooperative efforts to attract new firms that will offer well-paying jobs. He said he would advocate for the Yorktown Power Station, which is set to close in 2016, to be repurposed for a green energy company, potentially one that would manufacture wind mill components.
Phillips said he is concerned about the quality of development, particularly the type and pace, and said zoning details need to be firmed up. He said he would advocate for more green space in development and encourage the construction of small neighborhood parks.
“I feel like we’ve been leaning a little more toward not paying enough attention to what the citizens want and favoring what the developers [want],” Phillips said.
As a leader, Phillips said he has a strong point of view but is willing to compromise and work with people to find the best solution for the whole.
He said he does not believe partisan politics should play a role in local government, but said he would have been unable to run for office if he did not run as a Democrat – knee replacement surgery limited his mobility and, consequently, his ability to collect enough signatures to run as an independent, he said.
Phillips said if he is elected to the Board of Supervisors, he intends to look not only at the county’s current needs but significant environmental concerns coming in the future, such as the effects of sea level rise on public infrastructure and private property.