Mr. Goodson: Politics in Shadow of Jamestown

(Foreword: We recently came across an editorial in the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press in which the newspaper strongly endorsed Bruce Goodson in his quest to be James City County’s new Commissioner of Revenue.

The election is Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011.

The Covert Letter is proud of Cousin Bruce Goodson’s accomplishments in business and in civic service on the Lower Virginia Peninsula, but especially on behalf of James City County. We endorse his candidacy with enthusiasm.

The birth of the New World’s first representative form of government at Jamestown some 400 years ago is  manifested today in Mr. Goodson, a descendant of Jamestown soldier of fortune Robert Beheathland.

You can follow Bruce Goodson on his campaign Facebook page: or his website:

Commissioner of Revenue Candidate Bruce Goodson and wife Kathryn. (Courtesy Photo)

We received the following dispatch from a colleague in Williamsburg after inquiring about the status of Mr. Goodson’s campaign. – Norman M. Covert)

(Special to The Covert Letter)

Williamsburg, Va. – An interesting political race is taking place in James City County, Va., where County Supervisor Bruce Goodson is challenging incumbent Richard Bradshaw for the Commissioner of the Revenue office.

Change is hard but Rick Batten, one of Bruce Goodson’s supporters, wrote recently in the Virginia Gazette:

In the best-selling book First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, the authors make a powerful statement:

“If it ain’t broke…break it.” It is exactly this rationale which causes me to throw my support behind Commissioner of the Revenue candidate Bruce Goodson.

Unfortunately, this Constitutional Officer position is relatively unknown by most citizens, which creates a damaging unintended consequence. Voters tend to return incumbents year after year, not knowing that doing so enables the incumbent to become both “comfortable in” and “entitled to” the position. When this happens, the result is a lack of efficiency, a cavalier attitude toward innovation, and a comfort with the status quo.

Mr. Goodson flanked by endorsers Commonwealth's Attorney Nate Green (left) and Sheriff Bob Deeds. (Courtesy Photo)

Bruce Goodson understands this natural phenomenon and is running for the office to “break all the rules” in this context. He brings a fresh business experience, innovative solutions, and a clear vision which is badly needed, to this office. Bruce Goodson proposes such innovative solutions as cross-training workers to become multi-skilled in the various required duties, avoiding the “that’s not my job” attitude within the office, adding DMV services at the government centers, and offering web-based solutions that replace arcane “go-stand-in-that-long-line” service windows. Why do we as James City County citizens want sub-standard services when updated models of efficiency are available? Isn’t this effectiveness-based approach what we demand from our elected officials?

Republican Congressman Rob Wittman endorsing Mr. Goodson (Courtesy Photo)

I ask you to join me in breaking up the status quo and electing Bruce Goodson to the Commissioner of the Revenue position on November 8th.

Constitutional offices are rarely challenged in Virginia and even rarer is for a constitutional officer to lose reelection absent some type of scandal or controversy. Without viable opposition there is no oversight of these important government positions like Commissioner of the Revenue, Treasurer and Clerk of the Court.

Bruce Goodson has served on the local governing body for the past twelve years and has identified real process reforms that are needed in this important county department.

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Bruce Goodson is Vice Chairman of the James City County Board of Supervisors, serving his third term representing Roberts District. He was county chairman in 2004, 2006 and 2008. He represents James City County on the Hampton Roads Alliance for Economic Development and Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Bruce also serves on the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization and has served as chairman of each.

He is a past member of the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail Authority Board of Directors, Peninsula Workforce Development Consortium, board liaison to the Jamestown 2007 Host Committee, and the WJCC School Liaison Subcommittee.

He is active in the Virginia Municipal League serving as chairman of the Transportation Steering Committee and member of the Legislative Committee. With the Virginia Association of Counties, Bruce serves on the Community Development and Planning Steering Committee and Nominating Committee. He is active in the National Association of Counties and National Association of Republican County Officials.
Bruce is a Certified Local Government Official VEOLA.

A longtime member of Rotary International, he was President of the Virginia Peninsula Rotary Club 1992-93, and is a member of the Williamsburg Rotary. In 1994, he served as Vice Chairman for the Governor’s Commission on Welfare Reform and was appointed to Virginia’s Industrial Development Advisory Board. He has served as Chairman of the Regional Issues Committee and as Chairman of the James City Service Authority. Bruce has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Williamsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
He has played an active role in a number of Republican Party candidates’ campaigns.

Bruce was awarded the 2009 Lead Hampton Roads 4WARD Local Elected Official Award and 2010 Virginia Wesleyan College Alumni Association Service Award.

Professionally, he is President of Diamond/Goodson Equipment Corporation, a regional industrial equipment dealer with locations in Norfolk and Richmond.

He attended Walsingham Academy and earned his B.A. degree from Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk. He is married to Kathryn Penoyer Goodson, a project manager with ADP. He is the father of 3 children, Elizabeth Goodson of Richmond, Catherine Goodson, who attends Thomas Nelson Community College, and Clifford, a freshman at Radford University. – ©Norman M. Covert 2011.

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