Team Caroline Steps Out

What do you get when popular local elected officials work the county fair in a non-election year?  What do you get when you throw in a Virginia Delegate willing to brave the heat for all four days, and a Congressman who can be counted on to shuck corn, ride a camel or two, and eat watermelon?

You get a great opportunity to talk to constituents about issues that not only affect their lives locally, but those that pertain to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the country as well.

It’s also an excellent opportunity to explain why citizens need to be voting in November for Ed Gillespie, Jill Vogel and John Adams for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General.

Clay Forehand was elected (as an Independent) in 2015, and is the first conservative to ever serve from Caroline’s Madison District on the Board of Supervisors.

Hailing from the Port Royal District, Nancy Long, is the second Republican in county history to be elected as a supervisor, and also came to the Board in 2015.  Nancy and Clay sent home 24- and 30-year Democrats.

Elected in 2011, and a true gift from those very same Democrats who insisted (against a citizens committee made up of their own constituents) on the creation of a 6th District, Jeff Black represents Western Caroline and was not exactly what they had in mind to support their tax and spend polices.  Elected as an Independent, Black is a conservative and a huge proponent of bringing business to Caroline.

Black’s election was really the turning point for the county, with the ability to make and second motions in board meetings, with Supervisor Jeff Sili, who was elected as the first Republican to the board in 2008.  Citizens nicknamed the two,  “Jeff Squared,” and four years later turned out to re-elect the two, and to elect Forehand and Long.

Delegate Buddy Fowler from Hanover who represents the majority of Caroline in the 55th District is a faithful visitor to the county, and supports numerous events and special projects here.

Top if off with a Congressman (pictures below) who never misses the watermelon contest with kids at the County Fair, and it’s a recipe for success,  connecting the dots all the way up the chain of government.  Congressman Rob Wittman spends many hours, every year at the Caroline County Fair, answering questions about what’s happening where he works in Washington D.C.

Why should you listen to this crew?

These four supervisors as well as Delegate Fowler and Congressman Wittman are CONNECTED to their community.  Notice I did not say to the Republican Committee, or to the “Conservative this or that,” but to THEIR COMMUNITY.

These supervisors hold regular town hall meetings which are well attended and where matters before the Board of Supervisors are discussed with citizens.  Constituents from all districts are welcomed.  For decades in the past, Caroline supervisors ruled with division, carving up each district into small fiefdoms which resulted in much of the chaos Caroline has seen in growth, education, transportation, and out of control spending.  This began to change with new faces on the Caroline Board of Supervisors, and citizens are well aware of those changes.

While this group does not always agree 100 percent, this team brings consensus and a wealth of talent to the table.  Here are just a few of those things.

– Known perennially as “The Mayor,” Supervisor Long was for many years the Mayor of the Town of Port Royal, an 18th century preserved village on the banks of the Rappahannock River.  Long steered that village to the completion of stellar historic preservation projects, as well as the attraction of half a dozen new businesses, and a renovated water system in the last few years. Nancy is a careful information gatherer and has to know the whole picture before making a decision.

– Clay Forehand, the safety guru for a large electrical firm, has taken on some local projects which have languished for years, but his interest in those will make life better for the kids of Caroline.  His pro-active, hands-on involvement with county recreation has resulted in the upgrade of facilities for children whose parents can’t afford expensive camps and the YMCA for the summer.  Clay is an amazing father to four young children who attend Caroline schools.  It’s a big plus to have a board member with a young family in Caroline for perspective. He and Supervisor Black are also very involved on the public safety front, with a deep interest and concern for fire and rescue.

–  Supervisor Black, a school teacher, brings that much needed perspective to the Caroline Board, but his interests are much more varied. Last year, he rescued a charitable effort, the Polar Bear Plunge, which raised money for heating costs for low income individuals and was on the brink of folding.  Black doubled the donations privately, getting dozens of organizations involved in the effort. He’s expanding his efforts on private fundraising this year to support activities and amenities in Caroline not funded by government.

– Supervisor Jeff Sili is the “budget” guy with his eye on returning Caroline to fiscal stability after years of irresponsible spending.  Sili’s town halls are known best for teaching citizens how local government works, with an emphasis on how tax dollars should be responsibly spent.

– Delegate Buddy Fowler has created almost a second home in Caroline by being available to constituents.  Recently, Delegate Fowler signed on to sponsor an education day for kids in our schools to learn about the history of World War I and World War II, with specifics on Caroline’s role in those wars.  Thanks to Delegate Fowler for his support with this special “history mobile” event.

A huge shout out to journalist, activist, and committee member Steven Brodie Tucker for his hard work for Republican candidates, and to Jacob Neff who proudly represented the Republican Party of Virginia at the Caroline County Fair. Steven and Jacob are pictured here on the right. Thanks to Steven for the picture below of Supervisor Jeff Black challenging Congressman Wittman in the annual watermelon contest.

 

Legendary Caroline Farmer and musician, Robby Caruthers of Triple Crown Produce, and 1st District Congressman Rob Wittman. Caruthers donated the watermelons for Rob’s favorite contest.

People listen to these folks because they have a huge heart for Caroline and  are willing to show it.

So long story short, the message to Ed Gillespie, John Adams, and Jill Vogel is:

ALL SUCCESSFUL statewide politics are local. It’s a philosophy Caroline learned a long time ago from a very familiar name in Virginia, Bill Bolling, who won the Lt. Governorship in spite of a hugely popular Democratic ticket that sent Tim Kaine to the Mansion in 2005. Bolling also won his election in 2009.

Bolling was the architect of the strategy of identifying local leaders who were connected to the community, and a genius at this kind of campaigning. He was willing to travel and do the work necessary to make friends for both himself and the conservative cause. He did it long before the days of social media, and he had a huge crossover percentage of votes without compromising a single principle. No salt fish breakfast and no parade was too small for him to be present.

Find the Nancy Longs, Clay Forehands. and “Jeffs squared” in other parts of Virginia. Pay a visit to every local county fair, and Sunday school picnic in the Commonwealth from now until November.  That percentage to boost you over the finish line and those elusive votes lie not in the choir, or the activists on social media, but in the constituency of everyday Virginians.