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From President to City Council, there's a full slate on the ballot

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By John Barnhart

    Tuesday, Nov. 6, is election day and Bedford area voters will make a number of important decisions.

    First, the items that will be on everybody’s ballot.
    All voters will see five candidates seeking election as president of the United States. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, is seeking reelection. He is challenged by Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee. Voters will also see Virgil Goode, running as the Constitution Party candidate, Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate on their ballots.
    Virginia elects a senator this year, replacing Senator Jim Webb who chose not to run for reelection. Two former governors, George Allen, the Republican, and Tim Kaine, the Democrat, are seeking to replace him.
    Everybody   will   also  see  two proposed amendments to the Virginia Constitution. One, an amendment to the Virginia Bill of Rights, deals with eminent domain. The amendment requires that eminent domain can only be exercised when the property taken is for public use, except for utilities and the elimination of a public nuisance. Property may not be taken where the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue or economic development. It also bars taking or damaging more private property than is necessary for public use.
    The second amendment will allow the General Assembly to delay the start of a veto session by one week. The state constitution currently requires the veto session to begin on the sixth Wednesday following the end of a General Assembly session. During a veto session, the General Assembly considers legislation, passed during the regular session, that the governor has either vetoed or sent back with amendments.
    The Bedford area falls into two congressional districts — the 6th District and the 5th District. Voters in the 6th will see incumbent Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican, being challenged by Dr. Andy Schmookler, a Democrat. Those in the 5th will see incumbent Congressman Robert Hurt, a Republican, being challenged by General John Douglass, a Democrat, and Kenneth Hildebrandt, an Independent Green.
    City voters have a city council election on their ballot. Guy Murray, Steve Rush, Skip Tharp and Bob Wandrei are seeking reelection. Stacey Hailey and Michael Schneider are seeking seats on council. Bedford City Councilmen are elected on an at-large basis. Voters will vote for four people and the winners will be the four that get the highest number of votes.
    This will be Bedford’s last city council election. Bedford City Council will be replaced by Bedford Town Council on July 1, assuming reversion of the city to town status is approved, and those seeking seats on the new town council will have to run in an election in May.
    County voters in District 2 and District 3 have special elections for school board seats. Dr. John Hicks and Eric Thompson  are vying to complete the unexpired term of former District 3 school board member Brad Whorley. Dr. Hicks was appointed to fill the seat pending the special election.
    Jason Johnson, Charlotte Maxey and Jennifer Merritt are competing to fill the unexpired term of former school board member David Vaden in District 2. Merritt had been appointed to fill the seat pending the special election.