The Roanoke County Commissioner of Revenue position comes up for election once every four years and this year Republican challenger Carla Bream seems to be upping the ante more than in years past in an effort to unseat Current Commissioner Nancy Horn on November 8. Horn has been in the job since 2001 when a special election was held to replace longtime commissioner Wayne Compton, who passed away.
Bream, who said that “until my candidacy there has been no real opposition,” has been campaigning door to door “getting my name out.” She has been a fixture at local football games and back to school nights as well as speaking at luncheons, dinner groups and civic league meetings.
A resident of Roanoke County since “the first grade,” Bream has an AS in Business and a BS in public administration from Virginia Tech. She and husband Mike have one grown son, Andrew. She has also been an occasional contributor to this newspaper.
Bream supporters held a brunch fundraiser at the Commonwealth Ballroom 109 Kirk last month, which drew several area and state Republican politicians and candidates who spoke in support of Bream’s campaign, including Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Sheriff Octavia Johnson, State Senate candidate Dave Nutter and House of Delegates candidate Chris Head.
Beginning with Young Republicans at Cave Spring High School, followed by College Republicans at Virginia Tech, Bream has been involved in politics for decades. She says “I wanted to stay involved to see if I could make a difference.” She is currently on the executive board and is a magisterial chairperson on the Roanoke County Republican Committee. She is also serving her second term as president of the Roanoke Valley Republican Women, and is a member of both the Virginia and National Federation of Republican Women.
Those positions might have been sufficient had Bream not encountered difficulty getting an answer about her state tax return. She recounts a sequence of events; “last year my state income tax return, which was prepared by an accountant, did not match what the accountant had calculated. I called and went through the endless voicemail tree and left a message. I waited three days and no one called.” Bream said she called again and waited three more days before going to the office in person.
She was told by an office worker that it was “fine now” but according to Bream “she couldn’t tell me what happened, other than it was ‘fine now.’” From that point on, Bream began to question procedures at the Commissioner of Revenue office and concluded she can improve upon the ways business is done.
Bream has specific items on her agenda, beginning with “bringing back good old-fashioned customer service,” which she claims is “sorely lacking.” Bream says that the “endless voice mail tree” even goes so far as to refer people to two other numbers. She wants to implement “phone filing … because there are a lot of people who don’t have internet access and [that] is disenfranchising people; there are a lot of senior citizens and poor people who do not have internet access from their home.”
Regarding the progress of the campaign, Bream says “it’s wonderful; I’m getting so much support from people I don’t even know.” She points out that “you have to run as a party, but it’s not a political party job. You have to follow the code of Virginia. You either do it right or you do it wrong.” She also points to a prized endorsement by former treasurer Fred Anderson, who says … “The office of the Commissioner of the Revenue desperately needs Carla’s help…”
Bream adds, “I’m running my campaign like this is my job interview and I want the citizens of Roanoke County to hire me and I think they will.”