by Audrey Thomasson
LANCASTER—Two long and distinguished careers leading Lancaster government drew to a close Monday night as Butch Jenkins and Wally Beauchamp attended their final meeting as members of the Lancaster board of supervisors.
Jenkins, who weathered some hard fought battles over the years to retain his position in District 1, served for 24 years, beginning January 1, 1994. He served as board chairman for eight years in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001-02, 2005-06 and 2013.
Jenkins was well known for his conservative fiscal positions and ability to hold down property taxes while maintaining a solid financial position for the county. He also stood up for disadvantaged and lower income families and supported industries important to the economy, such as fishing and agriculture. He is the “go-to expert” on local history, including Mary Ball Washington.
Beauchamp represented District 5 for 20 years beginning January 1, 1998. He served as board chairman for the years 2000, 2011-12, and 2014. His service also was recognized by the Virginia Association of Counties.
Beauchamp’s votes always favored preservation of the historical and rural integrity of Lancaster. He was an active participant in the Northern Neck Planning District Commission and headed the county’s Emergency Management Services department, adding paid EMS professionals to the staff.
During major weather events, he was always on duty 24/7, leading operations to keep citizens safe and provide services as needed. Residents could find him on county roads with a sheriff’s deputy monitoring road conditions and closures immediately following a storm.
Many residents across the county now have energy efficient homes and indoor plumbing as a result of the leadership of Jenkins and Beauchamp in obtaining federal and state grants.