On Wednesday night, the League of Women Voters (LWV) held one of its Board of Supervisors' candidate forums, at which the candidates gave brief opening remarks, and then spent nearly two hours answering questions from the press and citizens. Representatives of the Loudoun Times-Mirror, Leesburg Today and the Purcellville Gazette were on-hand to ask the press questions. The moderator was Patricia Morrisey of the LWV. Patricia has a background in national security and government, and did an excellent job of keeping the forum generally civil and to the schedule.
The local papers have covered this forum in detail (The Loudoun Times-Mirror, for example), but it is interesting to note some specific quotes from the event.
"These people" - This was the term Jim Clem used to refer to the Leesburg Town Council in response to a question about the disconnect between the Board of Supervisors and the Town.
"A fortune" - Supervisor Clem's professional opinion of the actual costs of illegal immigration in response to a question from the Purcellville Gazette about whether the County should arrest and detain undocumented migrants, disregarding the costs of doing so. There has yet to be any definitive analysis or factual estimation of the costs of migration in Loudoun County, so Supervisor Clem's position is speculative.
Supervisor Clem went on to tell the audience how difficult is to handle a Mexican funeral. Apparently, it involves sending forms back and forth from various government entities. It was unclear from his response why the convenience of the funeral home operator should take precedence over the needs of mourning families forced to provide a funeral service for their loved ones while in a foreign land. Apparently funeral homes serve a purpose other than taking on such complicated and difficult responsibilities on behalf of the mourning family in exchange for money.
"How can you disregard cost?" - Councilmember Kelly Burk's response to the Purcellville Gazette question. This is the key factor when discussion the false issue of immigration in Loudoun County: you cannot disregard cost. Kelly Burk demonstrated that she is focused on the good stewardship of our tax dollars in the face of political expediency.
"There has never been a hostile environment between the School Board and the County." - Supervisor Clem's response to a question from the Loudoun Times-Mirror about sites for Western Loudoun Schools. If this is truly the case then why did a reporter ask a question about cooperation between the two Boards? And furthermore, why are so many candidates running on platforms of improving the relationship between the Boards? It is unclear as to whether Mr. Clem is even aware of one of the key issues of this campaign.
"I can't help." - Supervisor Clem's answer to question from Leesburg Today asking "what is the role of the Leesburg Supervisor." Specifically, Mr. Clem blamed the Town for many problems, and asserted he was unable to help on them. It remains unclear how the Leesburg Supervisor cannot help a Leesburg constituent with a Leesburg problem, unless there is a lack of interest in cooperation with the Town on the part of that Supervisor.
"We have people who are treated like slaves!" - Supervisor Clem (Note: Yes, this is an actual quote.) in an extended response to a question from the Purcellville Gazette as to whether Supervisor should be a full-time job. Mr. Clem responded to the question, in part, by noting that there were people in the County, though not in his district, who did not have indoor plumbing, which is the context in which this quote was said.
"I don't intend to rebut Ms. Kurtz, but I don't know what she's been reading, or smoking." - Jim Clem. Regardless of context, such an assertion about the character of a fellow Supervisor is inappropriate and rude.
"They will have their babies at home, where they should be having them." - Geary Higgins, in a discussion about immigration. Apparently Mr. Higgins doesn't understand that all babies born in America are U.S. Citizens, and as such are already home. (It's unclear why Republicans have such a disdain for children.)
"If the town had stepped up to the plate, I wouldn't have had to put pressure on them." - Jim Clem, admitting that he purposefully inhibited the interests of the Town in County matters in an effort to advance his own agenda in a discussion of Crosstrail.
"I have a clear vision." - Jim Clem, in his closing remarks. At no point did he identify what he saw, what his vision entailed, or what specific actions would be taken other than "working hard."