(Time for a post of local significance. My readers from beyond Loudoun County should pardon me for a moment while I talk to the locals.)
As specified in our charter, the Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) will dissolve in a couple of months to be re-formed for another 2 years under (potentially) new leadership. It is at this time that new candidates for our Chairman position will campaign for the seat and for the other offices in the executive leadership. This year will definitely see new leadership in the Chair owing to the decision by outgoing Chairman Glen Caroline not to run for re-election. At present, there are 2 announced candidates for the seat, Candace Strother and Mark Sell.
Two years ago when Glen was campaigning for the seat I got a chance to meet with him to get a sense of where he wanted to go and what his priorities would be. I came away from that meeting with the firm belief that he was the man for the job. So many other LCRC members felt the same way that no other candidate rose to challenge and Glen was elected to the Chair virtually by acclamation. Since I, personally, didn’t know Candace Strother at all I concluded that before making any decision on the matter I should meet with her as I did Glen. She accepted that invitation and I had the chance to meet with her this week.
Let me state up front that I came away from that meeting as impressed with her as I was with Glen two years ago and I as firmly support her candidacy for the Chairman’s office.
We touched on a number of subjects during our conversation and I was pleased to see that she has a firm grasp on many of the concerns I and other members have about our future. (Specifically that we don’t want it to include a return to some past fractures and animosities.) The one overriding theme that appears to define her vision is the perspective that we are, and should be, part of a greater whole. There are matters of local concern, to be sure, and 2011 will certainly bring those to the front as we deal with the elections of our county Board of Supervisors. What we must remember is that we in Loudoun are not an island unto ourselves; we are part of a region, a Commonwealth, and a nation. While those matters of local concern are important, we are equally affected by matters addressed in the State House and in DC. We must remain aware and engaged on those fronts as well, especially this year and in 2012.
In that light, it becomes critical to think about what the role of a Chairman actually is. Like a CEO in business or a general in the military, the Chairman’s role is not to be one of the “boots on the ground” although there are times when that will happen. The Chairman’s role is to be watchful of the bigger picture, the strategy and not the tactics. It is the Chairman’s job to direct the local committee, yes, but to also connect us and maintain our contact with other components of the larger Republican machine – regionally with our direct county neighbors, statewide, and at the national level. Glen Caroline was recognized above all other chairmen in the Commonwealth and that speaks to his efforts to keep Loudoun connected with other components in the State during the critical 2009 elections. Keeping that level of visibility and interoperability will be the job of the next Chairman.
The skills and experience to do that are quite different than those required to handle local activities. Candace Strother’s resume shows that she’s been involved in the kind of strategic, large-scope activities being a Chairman requires. With the federal mid-term elections coming later this year that kind of background will be invaluable. Given the situation this nation is in, these mid-terms could not be more critical. And just as the work Glen has done these past two years has laid the foundation for us going into those mid-terms, the work this next Chairman will perform will define the momentum this party has going into the 2012 elections, elections that are equally critical for Loudoun and America.
We are quite blessed with members and candidates whose ideologies are conservative beyond argument. The issue in this race isn’t whether one person is conservative or not, it’s a matter of leadership and a matter of having the tools necessary to lead with one’s eyes on that big picture, the overall strategy. Candace Strother possesses that leadership quality, has the experience, and demonstrates the vision the LCRC needs in the coming years. I firmly support her candidacy for the Chairman’s seat of the LCRC and I urge you, my fellow Loudoun Republicans, to do the same.