Floyd County Deputy Sheriff Justin Coleman handily defeated Susan Peters for the Republican nomination for the Indian Valley Board of Supervisors to replace Fred Gerald, who is retiring.
Coleman captured the nomination in an overwhelming victory over Peters, 168 to 38 votes in a GOP mass meeting at Indian Valley Elementary School Saturday afternoon.
With support from Gerald and Locust Grover Supervisor Lauren Yoder, Coleman came into the race as the expected winner. Criticism, however, came not from an Indian Valley resident but in a letter to the editor by former court bailiff and retired State Trooper Jimmy Howery, who lives in Little River District. Howery ran and lost against Brian Craig in the 2015 Sheriff’s race and lost his bailiff’s job following his disparaging public comments about the administration of Shannon Zeman, the sheriff before Craig. Howery claimed a deputy serving on the board of supervisors is a “conflict of interest.” Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Branscom says it is not.
Branscom pointed to a Virginia Supreme Court decision that said deputies can seek local office and serve in their jurisdiction. If he wins in the general election, Coleman will become the second active deputy to serve on a local governing body. Bruce Turner, former chief deputy and now chief investigator, serves on Floyd Town Council.
Coleman would join retired deputy Joe Turman, who is a Supervisor from the Burks Fork Supervisor.
He brings a strong record with the sheriff’s department and is married to an Indian Valley school teacher. The have three children and a small farm in Indian Valley. He outlined his reasons for running and his plans on what he hopes to focus on in an interviewed filmed of him last week.
Indian Valley voters routinely select a Republican as their supervisor. During his long tenure on the board, Gerald ran unopposed several times.