In order of appearance:
V.O.I.C.E. Questions and Fairfax County Vice Chair Sharon Bulova’s answers
Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart’s answers:
Arlington County Chairman J. Walter Tejada’s answers followed by Alexandria Mayor William Euille:
Former Governor and 2008 Virginia Senate candidate Mark Warner’s answers:
NOTE: Below is the text of the original thread, written without the advantage of having video.
Thousands met yesterday afternoon at First Mt. Zion Baptist Church near Dumfries for the first meeting of VOICE, the Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement. This group’s goal is to provide more affordable housing, strengthen education for people who want to learn English and provide affordable dental care. Leaders from all over Northern Virginia also attended this gathering in addition to the religious representatives. Our own Corey Stewart attended.
A friend who attended emailed me the following account:
Corey Stewart was so incredibly inappropriate and disrespectful. There was a huge crowd, filling the entire auditorium and an overflow room, blacks, whites, latinos, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Unitarians, probably the largest, most diverse group ever gathered in northern Virginia. After all the inspirational speeches, they asked each elected official to come to the front and say if they would work together with VOICE on each of their 3 goals of securing funding for affordable housing, funding for ESL and citizenship classes, and funding for dental care. Sharon Bulova, vice Chair of Fairfax County went first, and she said Fairfax is committed to working in these issues. Corey went next. Not only did he say No he wouldn’t commit, he did it in such an abrasive way that completely negated the value of all these people who want to work for social justice. He said he knew he was in the lion’s den, and gave a long explanation about the economic crisis in PWC. But even if his county cannot commit at this time to increase funding for these issues, he could have at least acknowledged that the issues are important to the interfaith group. He was speaking as if he enjoyed being contrary and divisive.
Here is the most unbelievable part. At the end, they asked him (as all of the officials) if he would commit to meet with them in January to discuss their progress. He said yes, if they still wanted to talk to him. But he also said one issue that he would be willing to work with them on is ending “the scourge of abortion”, as THAT’s something people need to work on. , It was soooo out of line. There was shocked silence and some booing and hissing. They cut him off, and thanked him for coming, knowing that it must have been hard for him to be there.
Apart from Corey’s bewildering behavior, it was an exciting kickoff for this group, and I hope they keep the momentum going.
By the way, there were at least 4 other PW supervisors there. I wonder what they thought about what Corey Stewart said on behalf of Prince William County.
The MJM article can be found at http://www.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/article/thousands_of_church_members_meet_near_dumfries/22231/