One of my major complaints during this year’s election cycle has been the constant attacks and misinformation campaigns many Republicans have been using during forums and on the campaign trail in a desperate attempt to divide our community. We’ve seen school board candidates channeling Donald Trump all over Fairfax, Srilekha Palle unable to make it through her opening statement before going after her opponent on taxes and immigration policy, and Jason Remer only able to make it 34 seconds before he started launching attacks at a League of Women Voters forum. That’s why it was somewhat refreshing to see John Whitbeck make it through his entire opening statement talking about his background and goals.
The only problem with that is it’s in direct in direct contrast to what he did during his tenure as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia and doesn’t address his history of furthering divisiveness and extreme policies. As Phyllis Randall said during the debate, Whitbeck likes to point to non-partisan things he did for the community while he was in his 20’s, but wants us to forget the last few years he’s spent actively supporting Donald Trump and how he claimed it was his “duty to support Corey Stewart.”
Randall’s remarks reminded me of what Fairfax County school board candidate Karl Frisch said last weekend at the Arab American Candidates Night Dinner. As the speakers were all discussing diversity, Karl highlighted how there were unfortunately several candidates who were saying one thing in front of diverse crowds while turning around and saying the exact opposite on other platforms.
“We live in an extremely diverse community,” Frisch said. “To see candidates coming before you and talking lip service to those values and then taking to Facebook and other organizations talking about how diversity is a fad. And how One Fairfax is authoritarian. We deserve so much better. You deserve people who will come before you and speak straight to you about their values.”
It’s with that in mind that I was very pleased to see Phyllis Randall use her closing statement to talk about the community coming behind her campaign and her desire to stand up for Loudoun County values. She spoke out against the Trump style politics that Whitbeck would bring to the Board of Supervisors while also passionately reminding people what Loudoun is really all about.
“The truth is this; because we are so close to Washington, DC, we feel that Trump effect,” Phyllis said. “We feel the dysfunction, the craziness, the racist policy, the divisiveness, the obstruction. We feel all that. But you know what would be even worse? It would be even worse not to just feel it, but to experience it on the board. And that is what could happen if you don’t have the right people who serve on the Board of Supervisors.”
“I will tell you, that’s not who we are,” Chair Randall went on to say. “We are not those people who support this president. We are the people who want to support the man who has a part time job but is looking for a full time job and going to work all the time. We are the people support that woman who comes home from work and just feels like she’s just so tired that she just doesn’t know what to do. We are the people who want to get every single person people out of traffic. We are the people who support reasonable, reasonable, gun control laws. We are the people who believe in climate change. We are the people who want to fully our education system. We are the people who want to fully put more money in our mental health program. We are the people who want the board to look like the people they represent.
“We are Loudoun County and that is who we are,” she concluded. “We are the best county in the country and it has been my honor to serve you.”
For those who are interested, here’s the video I shot of Chair Randall’s closing statement.