(The following are Supervisor Reid’s prepared remarks for the Dec. 16 Board of Supervisors meeting, his last)
Thank you very much for the time. Tonight, I will conclude nine consecutive years of elected service as Leesburg District Supervisor since 2012, including my five years as a Town Councilmember in Leesburg (2006 to 2011).
Over the last few weeks, I was thinking about what I would say, and into my mind came this recollection of media interviews given by two people with very, very different career paths.
The first is former Cleveland Browns running back and hall of famer Jim Brown and the other is a man with a very different career path, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Dr. David Kessler, who served from 1990 to 1997 and was key to building the modern science-driven FDA.
I’m sure all of you have heard of Jim Brown, who astonished the sports world in 1966 when he retired from football to pursue a career in acting. He was at the height of his career and gave it all up and he explained it this way: “Too many players stay too long. Too many players rely on the game. I retired because it was time to do other things.”
Sure, I suppose I could have run for re-election and balanced a campaign, with my duties here and my publishing business, which is failing. But I just knew it was going to eat me alive and I felt it was best to move on to something different. Which I have.
In September, I joined a great non-profit in Tyson’s where I am involved with promoting programs for promising high school students and high school science teachers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field. And, I like it a lot. It’s rewarding and interesting – and I get to take our commuter bus and Metro so I can see where we can make improvements.
I consider it an honor and privilege that the voters of Leesburg elected me three times – twice on the council and once to this term of office.
I am very proud of the work I did as Supervisor and Councilman and numerous people have come up to me to thank me for my service and yes, there are those persistent requests for me to run for Mayor of Leesburg next year.
But I am most proud of the work this board did collectively the last four years. We were very productive, and believe our record of accomplishments should have led to more of us in our party getting elected.
We now have a mixed board – Democrats and Republicans – and I sincerely hope there will not be partisan bickering but working collaboratively with the newly elected supervisors. Let’s not forget how the previous board became so fractured, to the point where some supervisors couldn’t even speak to each other.
It’s also the first time we’ve been led in this county by a new face and someone who is untested, but again let’s give the new supervisors a chance and a honeymoon.
I will continue to be involved, as I stated at the November 4 meeting. I really can’t see myself just being a wall flower. And, I will speak out if I see things that are wrong.
I detest petty politics and the failure of some to communicate or to try meet someone half or part way. I truly believe there is a lack of inertia on the town council and failure to address key issues. I am prepared to be light under their tails if need be.
Now, where does David Kessler come into this. First of all, to remind you, I have been an editor writing about the activities of the FDA since 1986, so I covered Kessler in the 1990s, and recall an interview he did with “60 Minutes” where he made a comment about Washington political appointees. He said: “In this town, we rent, we don’t own. We rent.”
And yes, we in elected office rent, too. None of us here owns the seat or is so important to the running of the county or local government that someone else can’t do the job, too. The voters do what they do and we have to respect that. The Founding Fathers never intended for our local, state and national governments to be run by career politicians. They fully intend for churn and that’s why elections are the way they are. Loudoun County is a great place and will survive no matter who is elected to the Board of Supervisors.
But those serving in elected office in the U.S. are a select few. Before I ran for Council in 2006, I took a course in campaigning at the Leadership Institute in Arlington, and our lead-off speaker said that “serving in elected office was one of the highest callings someone can do with one’s life, other than serving in the military or clergy.” I would personally add police, fire and other first responders to that list.
But only 250,000 Americans, according to a recent article, serve in elected office in the U.S. This includes councils, school boards, legislators, Congress, etc. Some 250,000 people oversee the governance for some 319 million people. If you think about it, that’s a small number compared to those serving in the military, the clergy or as first responders, but the difference is, folks in those areas can make a living at it. Very ,very few elected positions in the United States allow one to make a living at it, and more likely, you lose income and family time, as I have.
But again as Dr. Kessler said, none of us owns the office, we rent it. We rent. And none of us is so perfect or important to the running of a local governing body, or state legislature, or congress that someone else can’t do the job. Nobody is perfect, – except the Almighty.
With that, I wish to thank first and foremost my wife Lynn, my twins Jamie and Lara, who join me here tonight. I also wish to pay tribute to the memory of my mother in law, Val Guardiani, who passed away in October and lived with us throughout much of my term in office.
I also wish to thank my Rabbi , Leibel Fajland, and the folks at CHABAD Reston Herndon for helping change my life in a big way, too. I wish to thank God, too.
I wish to thank my aides for being there for me, especially my current chief aide, Ben Svendsen, who needs a job. I wish to thank Mr. Hemstreet and our wonderful staff. I wish to thank my colleagues here and in the general assembly and those who hold constitutional offices.
But most of all the people of Leesburg and Loudoun County for giving me the honor of renting this seat for the past four years on this Board and the renting the previous five on the Leesburg Town Council.