A candidate’s forum conducted by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Tea Party chapter last week continues to resonate beyond the walls of the local restaurant where the meeting was held. While only a small group of citizens gathered to hear the three candidates speak and to ask questions, some of the statements that were made have caught the attention of several Supervisors.
At a Board of Supervisor’s work session on Monday Barbara Byrd (Buckmarsh) said “This is a little motherly advice from someone who has survived five elections. I go to all of the Board of Supervisors meetings and to most of the School Board meetings and most of the Town Council meetings.”
Byrd offered three items of advice that she said this year’s candidates need to think about.
“First of all, you should come to the meetings” Byrd said. “And I don’t mean just one meeting, I mean all of the meetings. You should come to the meetings and not make your judgments only based on what you read in the media.”
“Second thing; Please check on the issues before you take a stand” Byrd continued. “Everything that’s done in these meetings is public knowledge. You can go in and check on it, study it and see what goes on behind the decisions that were made. The County’s staff do a lot of research work before we make a decision. If you completely ignore all of this research work then you’re not doing your duty as a candidate.”
“Do your homework before you take a stand” Byrd implored.
“The third thing is, most importantly, go out and visit your constituents. Go out and knock on their doors and listen to them. Don’t just spout at them. Make those door to door visits. Don’t just think that one letter, or a couple of posters or a bumper sticker is going to do the job.”
“It just upsets me that some of the candidates are going about this thing the wrong way” Byrd said.
Byrd then turned to the other three supervisors at the work session (David Weiss – Buckmarsh Supervisor – was absent) and asked what advice they would give the candidates regardless if the candidate was Republican, Democrat, Independent or some other political party affiliation.
“I’ve been around a long time and I want to be careful not to preach what’s right or wrong here and I think that I’ll just leave it at that” said Supervisor Pete Dunning (White Post). “Every candidate and every district is different. I think that the bulk of what you said is legitimate. It depends on the people and how much time they have.”
“Well, if you’re going to be in public office you better make the time” Byrd replied.
“How about you John?”
“I think that you learn a lot by how someone campaigns and if they want to campaign in a stupid way then the citizens will notice it and they won’t get elected” said Supervisor John Staelin (Millwood). “And if they campaign well, then they’ll do well.”
Staelin said that voters can learn a tremendous amount by just observing a candidate’s actions.
“I think that you can learn a tremendous amount [from observing] if they do do the things that you say Barbara” Staelin continued. “If they don’t go out and research things then that says a lot.”
Byrd asked Supervisor Chairman Michael Hobert (Berryville) for his comment on the topic however, Hobert did not respond.
“I appreciate your comments but my job is to move this meeting along” Hobert said.
“I’m just thinking about the future of Clarke County” Byrd concluded.
No specific candidates were mentioned by name during the discussion.
Asked after the meeting why she had decided to speak out on election tactics Byrd said “I’m concerned because there are statements being made that have no basis in fact.”
Written facts regarding candidate positions on the issues, at least in the White Post Supervisor race, are difficult to come by. While both Democrat Randy Sprouse and Republican Bev McKay have FaceBook pages dedicated to their respective campaigns, neither FaceBook page offers voters any meaningful position information on where either candidate stands on issues like easements, economic development, school funding and other issues important to Clarke County voters.
However, Sprouse’s position statements at the recent Tea Party forum may have begun to break the information vacuum in the White Post Supervisor race. Bev McKay is scheduled to appear before the Tea Party forum in October. (See http://www.clarkedailynews.com/northern-shenandoah-valley-tea-party-meeting-candidates-forum-weiss-and-mckay/24710)
Asked about the lack of position information in the White Post Supervisor race between Byrd said “Voters deserve to know where the candidates stand on the issues.”
CDN Editor: In an earlier version of this story Supervisor Barbara Byrd’s first name was inadvertently omitted. We apologize for the oversight.