Editor: Purcellville is looking beyond tired slogans for town council leadership.
“Slow Growth.” “Innovative Solutions.” “Small Town Charm.” These are phrases that Purcellville residents have heard often over the past few years. Mayor Kwasi Fraser’s campaign and the town council members who ran with him use these slogans incessantly to convince us that only their agenda can protect us from what they describe is an inevitable fate—being overrun by development and “becoming the next Leesburg or Ashburn.” We are told that there are two conflicting sides to an epic battle being waged for the heart and soul of our town character. To quote a local paper’s op-ed about the upcoming Nov. 2 special election: “Purcellville is fighting for its life.”
As is often the case in campaign messaging, a dramatic narrative is designed to influence voters to cast their ballot for one specific party or individual, establishing or extending their control over decision making. In the case of our town, the story is that if we vote for a candidate whom Fraser does not endorse, Purcellville will be immediately transformed into condos and developments that have been compared to projects in downtown Tysons Corner, Miami Beach, and even the Chrysler Building in New York City (1,064 feet tall). Undoubtedly, this is fear mongering at its silliest. At its most serious, a recent vote cast by councilmember Mary Jane Williams’ was deemed disloyal to Fraser’s “slow growth” slogan-based ideology, resulting in ugly intimidation tactics and name calling.
We are looking for independent thinking, experienced leaders to navigate our cherished small-town community into the future. We are eager for real solutions to the most visibly obvious and important needs of our town—such as keeping residential taxes low while maintaining and improving Purcellville’s infrastructure, pro small business position, and restoring its aesthetic appeal. We’ve grown tired of the current administration’s endless battles to seize more control over new historic overlays and restrict building heights (for the second time in four years); only to stand by as they allow countless existing buildings to sit empty and once-promising businesses to vacate our town limits. We are no longer interested in more wild proposals from municipal contractors and vendors disguised as “innovation”—only to drain our town’s staff resources and result in endless special projects that waste time and taxpayer money. Our shared belief in protecting Purcellville’s small-town charm should not equate to the neglect, absence of vision, and outright contempt for progress of any kind that we have seen and heard from several current members on the council.
In this special election, voters can choose a candidate who has been a resident of Purcellville for years, not months—and whose proven leadership is based on experience and common sense. A candidate whose management style is focused on working alongside our town, county, and state representatives on behalf of our small-town community and putting the real needs of Purcellville residents first—versus a candidate who seems only able to repeat the same tired slogans we’ve all heard now so many times.
Brian and Tamara Dean, Purcellville