– By Andrea Gaines
His campaign website is a sophisticated mix of dramatic color and simple black and white type.
He makes no bones about enjoying “the classics,” traveling with “his beautiful wife,” and “spending time outdoors with his two terriers, Charlie and Wexley.”
And, at 35 and having run a successful business he is “ready to give back,” introducing himself – not just as the first candidate for Mayor of Middleburg to announce – but as the person you will surely see in the mayor’s seat when Mayor Betsy Davis retires next year.
Bataoel and his wife Nelina Loiselle moved to Middleburg in 2010. A well-established policy wonk, he has worked at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Potomac Institute for Neurotechnology Studies, and others. And, both he and Loiselle have degrees from Maharishi University, and other more conventional places. She, from Georgetown University and he, Missouri State.
He and Loiselle are also the creators of an energy conservation business called Above Green, helping private clients get the coveted LEED certification – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – for their buildings. And, behind it all is Bataoel’s interest what I call the “mainstream mystical” – how an individual’s personal approach to health, human potential, consciousness, livelihood and personal relationships can impact government, business and social institutions.
Bataoel currently serves as head of Middleburg’s Economic Development Advisory Committee. But, despite his rather simple and traditional political agenda – keeping Middleburg small, maintaining low utility and tax rates, investing in the town’s historic assets, filling commercial vacancies, and promoting the town’s equestrian community – Bataoel seems to be a different kind of candidate.
First, he wants to maintain Middleburg as a small, vibrant place – bringing in visitor dollars, without functioning strictly as a “tourist town.” This, he says, requires “win-win decisions that are good for both the community and for visitors.” One example – the new oyster bar he helped bring into town. Another – his efforts to attract local investment for vacant and neglected buildings.
On utility rates, said Bataoel, “I believe the major fiscal challenge is our water rate. Our residents pay twice as much as any other municipality in Loudoun or Fauquier. It’s ridiculous. We have to find a way to deliver that service at a better cost to the customer.”
On another issue critical to village folks – their animal friends – Bataoel is right in synch. “Charlie and Wexley love Middleburg,” he says, referring to his own dogs. “They support my candidacy. Their priority is to keep Middleburg a dog friendly Town, and they’d like to see more fire hydrants installed.”
The mayor’s salary is a modest $6,000 a year – just $115 a week. So, the love of this place – and what you see as its future best potential – is obviously the driving force behind Bataoel’s candidacy.
Several Middleburg Town Council members are rumored to be considering a run, joining Bataoel as candidates. But, none have announced, at least yet. So, right now the modest Middleburg stage is all his.
His work on the LEEDS process – which flips the economic table to turn environmentally conscious-development into an asset – and his personal interest in exploring how and individual’s approach to life can influence the social, economic and cultural world around them, will sure make things interesting.
For details go to the Bataoel campaign website, www.middleburg2018.com.