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Shady Pay-for-Play Politics: National to Local Orange County Virginia

Pictured: The Orange High School Fighting Hornets, who play right behind my residence, prepping an offensive play.

"How can ANY candidate in Orange County vote for something like that development that only 13% of voters want?”

This was just one example of the shock many voters have expressed as I knocked on doors in my rural home area of Orange County a month before we vote in elections which will determine which not only party controls the legislature, but where our Board of Supervisors will side on the potential Wilderness Crossing mega-development.

Alongside these efforts, a colleague received hundreds of responses to a text we sent to these same voters, with one voter summarizing the overall atmosphere on this issue with this:

“Everyone hates this proposal EXCEPT the people in power."

As l look from my front yard at the Orange Fighting Hornets football field, I remember something said by the President of TBOR Action, who covered Hornets football games against nearby teams in the Battlefield District for years as a local reporter. When myself and fellow Orange County residents wanted to organize Save Our Orange County to stop us from being overrun by the potential Wilderness Crossing mega-development, he expressed the whole organization's support and gave me this guidance:

"Remember when Steve Hilton introduced me on Fox News by saying TBOR Action was working to stop shady pay-for-play politics? People think it's only national politics but it's much worse when developers and out-of-state corporations find just a few friends in a county they can use to intimidate everyone else. They will try to intimidate any local residents who stand up for the majority trying to go about their day working, farming and taking care of children or animals by threatening them even with legal or ethics charges to silence our Democratic Republic."

For TBOR Action, we know and have seen numerous cases where just a little logistical support from local residents willing to fight for their home county gives them the tools to win at the local level. Whether they are fighting to stop poorly planned traffic, protect historic landmarks from those who want to erase history, or protect dwindling farmland, ranches and wildlife areas without which Americans will one day learn what it is like to be hungry - all politics are local.

I feel so lucky that our group of local residents benefits from lawyers to review the information we want to get to local residents to make sure we don't leave the deep-pocketed opposition from using a "gotcha" rule to silence anyone who dares getting in the way of the millions in profit they want to make as long as the politicians side with them and not with their constituents. What about the hundreds of other places like Orange County where local residents are outraged that "their" elected officials blindly approve proposals that only 13% of their voters agree with, but when residents try to speak out, they are silenced?

Virginia, like most of our Republic, are divided 50-50 on if they want Republicans or Democrats to win when I vote in Orange County in a few weeks, but the one thing almost all agree on is that, starting with local government, we need elected officials to side with the majority of voters they are elected to represent - and not special interests who want to profit off them.


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