In the second installment of a weekly series, candidates for the Orange Park Town Council will be profiled. This week, Seat 4 incumbent Virginia Hall is looking for re-election in her race against …
In the second installment of a weekly series, candidates for the Orange Park Town Council will be profiled. This week, Seat 4 incumbent Virginia Hall is looking for re-election in her race against Susana Thompson. Next week, John Hauber, a candidate for Seat 3, will be profiled in his race against Roland Mastandrea.
ORANGE PARK – Virginia Hall was selected by the town council to serve until April, but now she’ll need the town to vote for her if she’s going to stay on the council.
Hall was appointed by the Orange Park Town Council after months of rigorous debate that ended in a stalemate. Hall was eventually selected to serve until the town’s election on April 13.
“It’s been a wonderful experience thus far,” Hall said. “Everybody has been very welcoming and very kind since I’ve been on the council and I hope to continue this for another year. I’m very blessed already to be able to serve.”
This election is a unique one for the town. Former mayor and council member Connie Thomas stepped down to run a campaign for the Board of County Commission, and that created the hole Hall eventually filled. The election is to determine the remainder of Thomas’ term, according to Hall, so if elected, her term would consist of roughly one year.
She said her focus right now is securing this term in April, but that running again after that year is also on the table.
“I’ll serve as long as the people of Orange Park would like for me to serve,” Hall said.
Hall is a fourth-generation resident of Clay County and she’s lived in Orange Park for nine years after living in Green Cove Springs, where she also served on the town council. She moved to Orange Park because that’s where her now-husband has lived for 25 years.
“My husband is living proof of how special of a place Orange Park is,” she said. “He’s been here for 25 years and it’s been my home for nine years. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the town and the community.”
She said the town has a very distinct character as a small town with charm and a wealth of natural resources and amenities. These amenities and resources are very important to her as a council member and she wants to see things like the Rob Bradley Conservation Park expand.
“It’s a beautiful, local gem for our residents to enjoy and we have some things in the budget to continue to make improvements there,” Hall said. “There are some longer-term plans identified there as well for things like kayaking and creating a very passive, natural park. I think it’s going to be lovely and I look forward to working with the council on this.”
Hall is the executive director of JP Hall Children’s Charities, a charity that gives out thousands in college scholarships each year and holds the annual children’s toy drive at the fairgrounds each December. She’s also the president of the Ascension St. Vincent’s Foundation, where she helps bring awareness to the hospital’s mission of serving the poor and vulnerable and to raise funding for free healthcare in five Northeast Florida regions.
“Serving in the place you live is so important to me,” Hall said. “I was brought up to believe that you give back to your community and that can be done in so many different ways. This opportunity for council arose and I just thought, ‘you know what, this is another chance for me to give back and this is important to me.’”
Hall said another thing she looks forward to in a possible election success is moving forward with the town’s extensive visioning plan.
“We have a wonderful visioning plan that our citizens put together and I’d like to have a part in moving a lot of those pieces forward,” Hall said. “I think there are a lot of initiatives in the visioning plan identified that we can move forward with that would really bring about some positive things in our community.”
Hall named the Rob Bradley Conservation Park and the new Clarke House Park playground as key projects.
“It’s important to me to listen and respect and encourage input from our Orange Park residents and neighbors, especially those directly affected by issues happening in the town. I’m very humbled and honored to be able to serve on the town council and I hope to do so beyond April.”