The Score: Brexit Questions, Child Care, Court Clerks, First Anniversary

This week on The Score – Can the British Parliament agree on a Brexit strategy? What does the Clerk of Circuit Court do? Will the federal government devise a child care policy for America’s families? Plus: an anniversary.


It’s hard to believe, but it has been exactly one year since I succeeded Scott Lee as host and producer of The Score. The first episode under my supervision was posted March 17, 2018. Since then we have welcomed about 200 individual guests (not counting interview subjects drawn from the archives) who have addressed dozens of public policy issues, political matters, economics, culture, and more. Our guests have included Members of Congress and the Virginia General Assembly, political candidates, experts and authors, professors and citizen activists, and a number of “young voices.”

The Score has a big tent: we’ve talked to Democrats, Libertarians, Republicans, and those unaffiliated with any political party. We’ve had native-born Americans and those from other countries. My basic rule for inviting guests on The Score: Do they know more than I do about a subject, and will I learn something from our conversation? What I put on the show is what I would like to hear if I were listening to the radio. Admitting that there have been hits and misses, I hope I have succeeded in making The Score interesting, engaging, informative, and entertaining.

And now, on with the show…

Clerk of the Court
Llezelle Dugger Charlottesville clerk circuit courtThis week we look at international news, asking an expert about Brexit’s future. We look at national news, to explore the Trump administration’s proposal on pre-school child care. And we dig deep at the local level, talking to a current Clerk of the Circuit Court and a candidate running for that job.

First up, in the first part of an interview that we will continue next week, I ask Llezelle Dugger, Clerk of the Circuit Court in the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, what the duties of a clerk of the court are. Dugger was first elected to her current post in 2011 and she announced this week that she is running for re-election this year.

The circuit court house in Charlottesville is undergoing renovations, so I spoke to Dugger in her temporary offices a few blocks away.

Next week, Charlottesville’s Dugger will explain to The Score what it’s like to have a court house besieged by news media from around the world when a local trial is the focus of worldwide attention (e.g., George Huguely or James Alex Fields). She will also pull back the veil on jury selection.

Llezelle Dugger tweets as @ClerkLlezelle.

Child Care Policy
Prompted by First Daughter Ivanka Trump, with the support of conservative former Senator Rick Santorum, the Trump administration this week included a proposal for expanding pre-school child care in its budget for Fiscal Year 2020.

Ryan Bourne Cato Institute child careI went to the Cato Institute in Washington to ask economist Ryan Bourne, who has written extensively on this topic, to describe what’s in the proposal and whether it can help American families. Bourne’s articles include “Are Child-Care Subsidies Actually ‘Good For The Economy’?’, published February 21; “Elizabeth Warren’s Universal Child-Care Proposal: The Starting Point For A Government Takeover Of The Sector,” published February 19; and “The Regressive Effects of Child-Care Regulations” [PDF], published in the Fall 2018 issue of the journal, Regulation.

I spoke to Ryan Bourne on Wednesday, two days after the administration unveiled its budget. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrRBourne.

Will Brexit Happen?
Alexander Hammond Young Voices BrexitThis week there was much commotion among members of the British Parliament as their country edges closer and closer to a March 29 deadline for leaving the European Union on terms acceptable not just to the United Kingdom but the other 27 EU member states.

All this may be just a bit confusing and obscure for American observers, so I asked a British political analyst for an explanation and background information.

Alexander Hammond is a Young Voices contributor and, as you will hear from his voice, a native Briton with strong views on the subject of Brexit. His recent articles include “The trade deal that could kick-start Africa’s industrial revolution” and “Venezuela is a tragic reminder of why property rights matter.” He is on Twitter as @AlexanderHammo.

We met on Wednesday in Washington, before some of the many parliamentary votes on Brexit scheduled for this week had taken place.

A future for Landes
Steve Landes Augusta County clerkSpeaking of exits, Steve Landes has represented the 25th House of Delegates district since 1996. After more than twenty years in office, he has decided to step away from the General Assembly and seek another position. He announced last week that he is running in a special election for Clerk of the Circuit Court in Augusta County, where he lives.

I spoke with Delegate Landes by telephone on Thursday to find out why he chose to retire from the legislature and seek another elective office. We also discuss the most recent General Assembly session and the success of one piece of legislation he patroned to provide more resources for counselors in government schools.

You can follow Delegate Landes at @Steve_Landes.

Be sure to come back next week for the rest of our conversation with Charlottesville’s Clerk of Court Llezelle Dugger and for more news, reviews, and interviews – including some fresh takes from the 2019 Virginia Festival of the Book, which starts on March 20 with almost five full days of panel discussions and other events featuring authors and critics.  (For background, check out my interview with festival director Jane Kulow from the January 26 episode of The Score.)

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