This Q&A is part of a series interviewing candidates for various political offices around the Roanoke Valley. In order to help personalize the process, the questions begin with some background information and then move to issue-related questions. Today’s Q&A is with Nancy Horn (D), at 78 running for re-election to keep serving as Roanoke County’s Commissioner of the Revenue. Horn is now the last Democrat officeholder in Roanoke County.
The Roanoke Star: Tell us about your family – are you married? Number of children or grandchildren?
Ms. Horn: Divorced. One son Jake and daughter Kim Horn, Partner and love of my life Coach John Shotwell. Blessed with one beautiful Granddaughter, Kaelyn. A recent graduate of Alabama University and employed with American Express in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Roanoke Star: How many years have you served as Commissioner of the Revenue so far?
Ms. Horn: 22 years
The Roanoke Star: What special abilities or background do you think would make you the best person for this job going forward?
Ms. Horn: I have earned the Master Commissioner of the Revenue Certification by attending classes and earning points as required by Weldon Cooper Center at UVA. Attend all quarterly Southwest District Meetings and Annual Conference. Attend Legislative meetings and discuss all changes by our State Legislatures.
The Roanoke Star: What is your favorite book?
Ms. Horn: The Bible and The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Most books I read are self-help.
The Roanoke Star: What do you think are the 3 biggest crises/challenges facing Roanoke County today, and are there any specific steps as Commissioner of the Revenue you will take to solve them?
Ms. Horn: I enforce Title 581 and Title 46 portions dealing with personal property and the Virginia Constitution. I verify State Income Taxes for accuracy and send the funds to the State Tax Department. I process and collect excise taxes, process and collect business license taxes with no red tape, oversee recordation of Real Estate Taxes, Business Personal Property and personal property assessments as provided by JD Power. There is Tax Relief for the Elderly. The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors sets the rate. Short answer: “I don’t govern Roanoke County.”
The Roanoke Star: What are some changes you have made to the Commissioner of the Revenue office within the past five years that have improved customer satisfaction and ease of use?
Ms. Horn: Online filing saves the taxpayer time and money by eliminating trips to my office and that process has been in use for approximately the last ten years. We also import the DMV file to save the taxpayer time when they purchase a new vehicle to issue a new property bill. Residents can file the Transient tax online. There are no lines in my office during personal property annual renewals, and no red tape issuing a Business License. I have implemented cross-trained staff to ensure all taxpayers are assisted quickly. I have trained my Master Deputies and recertified with the process as required by Weldon Cooper at UVA.
The Roanoke Star: Currently you are the sole Democrat office holder in Roanoke County. How would you explain the dwindling number of Democrat office holders over the recent few years?
Ms. Horn: My office is not a political office. I serve my [sic] taxpayer when they call on the phone or come into my office. There is no power in my office as I merely enforce the Code of Virginia.
The Roanoke Star: Please write one positive comment about your opponent in this race that you appreciate and respect.
Ms. Horn: Personally I don’t know my opponent very well. I have no positive or certainly no negative comments.
The next Q&A will feature Jason Peters (R), running for Roanoke County Commissioner of Revenue.