How we elect candidates

For many, voting is the path of least resistance — strictly along Party and tribal lines. Meanwhile, conscientious voters are busy following Jim Hogan’s advice in his October 5th letter, to “find outwhat [candidates] really stand for,” starting with going to their web pages.

Something Tammy Purcell touched upon in her September 28th letter, saying that Republican John McGuire (56th) offers nothing but “lofty platitudes” and “scant insight into policy positions.” A lack of substance which becomes even more pronounced on his Facebook page; where absolutely no effort is made to let voters know where he will be in Louisa County, or anywhere else for that matter.

Filled with images of him hobnobbing with the wealthy minded, strutting around like bantam rooster lest he be exposed as an astroturfed fraud.  Perhaps why the head of the Louisa Republican party isn’t putting up his banners, and reportedly would rather “talk to a teapot”.

Take the upcoming candidates meet and greet on the 24th at the VFW, sponsored by the Louisa Chamber of Commerce, where McGuire hasn’t bothered to respond if he would be attending.  And unlike the recently concluded Celebrating Democracy Days at Louisa High School, where students were required to participate and ask questions, this promises to be attended by the local faithful who will have little if any interest in stepping out of their echo chamber.

In-actions which make a mockery of Regina Cook, the chamber’s executive director earlier remarks about their May forum that “You don’t want to be too critical with your questions, and …. We wanted it to be collegial.” And that was after she reportedly proposed to water this event down from a debate to a meet and greet.

And they are actions which reflect the Chambers and local conservative’s attitudes and deference towards authority figures. Meanwhile their obeisance to respecting said “authoritah ” dovetails effortlessly with another prevailing local attitude; getting along to go along, and it is precisely why this promises to be an uninformative event, at least on the Republican side of things.

And while her comments last month, that “most constituents are largely unaware of the [candidates]” are true, it’s also highly misleading. Because it’s not the Chamber’s problem, it’s the candidate’s responsibility to get that information out.

Nor is this attitude limited to this event, as the previously dormant Mineral Industrial Development Corporation is sponsoring an October 19th candidate debate at Louisa High School. And in their letter to the candidates they gave all the candidates a September 26th deadline to respond.

When Willie Harper, who previously held the Mineral district Supervisor seat and is one of the organizers of this debate was asked if they would be extending that deadline for McGuire, he responded with “We’d like to have as many candidates as possible.”

Perhaps, but such flexibility doesn’t instill much confidence in their claims to be primarily interested in informing the people of Louisa County about the candidates. In many respects, it seems more like an attempt to support preferred candidates; such as Duane Adams the only “candidate with an R by his name” while pretending to inform the people.

It that respect it’s much closer like the Tea Party sponsored debate last June in Goochland, an attempt to create the perception of widespread support with “just –in-time candidate exposure.”

And since the Central Virginian declined to cover this earlier debate, perhaps they will do a better job of informing their readers as they moderate this debate featuring supervisor candidates from the Mineral and Green Springs Districts along with 56th District House of Delegate’s candidate Melissa Dart.

Who show up to take your questions and will represent you in the General Assembly, and deserves your vote in November.

Jon Taylor

Editor’s note: This is an expanded version of a letter submitted to Louisa County’s paper of record, the Central Virginian, and is only available on-line to paying subscribers, or here.

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