Off to a shaky start this political season, Delegate LaRock is a no-show for the Farm Bureau’s Candidate Forum scheduled for September 19, 6PM, at Harmony Hall at the Hamilton Fire Station; he first committed to participate and then said he wouldn’t.
Mr. LaRock apparently doesn’t want to be in the same room at the same time as his Democratic challenger.
Tia Walbridge is a farmer herself.
By contrast, Mr. LaRock is a builder.
Chris Van Vlack. the President of the Loudoun Farm Bureau, said, “the Candidates Forum is part of our Loudoun Farm Bureau Annual membership meeting.”
Asked if Mr. LaRock said he would appear at the forum, Mr. Van Vlack said, “Initially both Tia [Walbridge] and Dave [Larock] had confirmed their attendance, but after learning that the state AgPAC committee had not solely endorsed him, Del. LaRock had decided to drop out.”
So let’s analyze this. Del. LaRock will only come to the Farm Bureau Forum if he is endorsed and no one else is found worthy to succeed him. But because the Farmer’s Bureau found his opponent Tia Walbridge also worthy to represent the District, Mr. LaRock is a no –show.
As to whether Mr. LaRock may yet attend, Mr. Van Vlack said, “I have left the door open for him [Mr. LaRock] to reconsider after explaining that the neutral stance [by AgPAC] means that both candidates were seen by the committee as worthy of support.”
It is interesting to note, according to Mr. Van Vlack, “In past races with Mr. LaRock, that the AgPAC has remained neutral as well, so we’ll see what happens.”
There’s been a lot of political talk that even Mr. LaRock in a District carefully drawn to assure his election and re-election, you know, gerrymandered, can’t rest easy this go-round.
Of course, incumbents often avoid forums where they have to confront their challengers, believing it gives the opponent an opportunity to make inroads on the incumbent.
On the other hand, candidates really should step up and tell the public what they have in mind.
As for the possibility that Mr. LaRock will show after all, Mr. Van Vlack said, “It’s not impossible he shows up. If he does not, we’ll continue on and ask the questions to Tia Walbridge and then allow a 3-minute closing statement.”
In other words, they are holding the forum despite the fact that Mr. LaRock’s a no-show.
The Farm Bureau that assists farmers with insurance is dedicated to farming and agriculture in Lovettsville, in Western Loudoun, indeed across the entire Loudoun County.
In recent days, the Farm Bureau has been active informing farmers and landowners in Lovettsville and Western Loudoun about increased County assessments for farm buildings and permit fees for chicken coops, and there is some concern that these policies are not just to collect more revenue for farmers but to put them out of business so the farmers will sell to building developers.
The farmers have questions that they want to ask the candidates, that is, where they stand on these crucial matters to farmers and landowners alike?
Mr. Van Vlack said, “The advice we got from our government relations folks was that since they both initially agreed to attend [both Mr. LaRock and Ms. Walbridge], and we had already sent out the invites, we should continue with the forum.”
In order to attend, folks need to be Loudoun Farm Bureau members, which if they aren’t, they can easily join, either by calling 540-751-1111 or going to www.vafb.com/join and making sure they select Loudoun as their county when they sign up.
If they are already a Farm Bureau member all they have to do is call 540-751-1111 to RSVP or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s more on the agenda but the candidate forum is the real draw for the meeting. Isn’t it part of the job description of a Virginia Delegate that he or she meets with the constituents, perhaps especially during an election season.