The nation watched in horror as Trump-supporting rioters stormed U.S. Capitol Building, strolled around the Senate floor, and ransacked offices of lawmakers.
It was the first time the Capitol building had been stormed since 1814, when British troops set fire to the building, which was still under construction, during the War of 1812. Leesburg became the temporary seat of the U.S. government, and documents including the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were saved because they had been spirited away to Leesburg.
And while Congress finished the work of certifying the 2020 presidential election results, the events of Jan. 6 killed five people including U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, set off new political fights, launched a second Trump impeachment—and sent shockwaves all the way into local politics in Loudoun.
State Del. Dave A. LaRock (R-33) in particular is facing calls to resign from Democratic county supervisors, the Loudoun NAACP, and the Leesburg Town Council. LaRock took part in the protest, as well as encouraging constituents to participate, and has continued to push conspiracy theories about the insurrection and the 2020 presidential election.
He has also been removed from one of his committee assignments, the House of Delegates Transportation Committee, in a year when the legislature is considering a bill to fight Greenway toll increases has unprecedented support among Loudoun’s state delegation. Now, Del. David A. Reid (D-32)—who has introduced a different Greenway bill—is Loudoun’s only representative on that committee.
Supervisor Caleb A. Kershner (R-Catoctin), who represents LaRock both as his county district supervisor and as his legal counsel in a pending misdemeanor case, declined to comment on LaRock’s censure or the validity of his claims about the election.
“All I’m going to tell you is I came to represent the people of Catoctin, and that’s what I do,” Kershner said. “I do it with very ounce of energy I can give to them to make sure they get the services, and the community needs are met.”
One person who saw the riot’s effects firsthand from DC to Leesburg was Loudoun County Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge), who works for U.S. Capitol Police.
While he keeps his professional and elected lives separated, he acknowledged he knew Sicknick, and said he was a “good guy.”
Buffington said he does not expect to be at county board’s Jan. 19 meeting when supervisors will be asked to vote on a resolution proposed by Supervisor Juli E. Briskman (D-Algonkian) and Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) calling for LaRock to resign. With the presidential inauguration planned Jan. 20, he said he will likely be busy with his day job. But he said if he were at the county dais that night, he would likely abstain from voting on that resolution.
“I normally think that we should stay in our lane, and not be so involved in what’s happening at the state and federal level,” Buffington said. “I probably would abstain on that on just because I don’t think it’s really our lane. If the people of Del. LaRock’s district don’t think he should be in office, then I think that’s an action they should take through recalling him or at the next election.”
In 2019, LaRock, whose district covers northwestern Loudoun, northern Clarke County and northeastern Frederick County, won handily over his Democratic challenger, bringing in 56.8% of the vote to her 43.1%. His current term expires Dec. 31.
Buffington said, “generally speaking, I have never really joined up with anyone in my campaigning, I’ve always campaigned by myself and done my own things. I’ve never really involved a party. Because for me, it’s not about I’m running because I’m a Republican, I’m running because I care about these local issues.”
But, he said, “I wouldn’t join up with anybody or work with anybody that I thought was an extremist on either side of the aisle, because I don’t want to be seen as an extremist. I’m a middle-of-the road, moderate Republican.”
As to the events of Jan. 6: “It was a sad day for America, and I hope we’re able to come together in the coming days and in the future and focus more on the positive, and focus more on finding common ground, and focus less on partisan politics, because we as a country need that right now,” Buffington said.