The Nov. 20 article in The Star, “Graber threatens legal action against deputy over Election Day incident,” spotlights events that took place outside Senseny Road School, which I attempted to bring to the attention of the Board of Supervisors at its Nov. 10 meeting. Unfortunately, when I began speaking during the public comment period at the end of the meeting, I was immediately ordered to stop, with no explanation. Interestingly, Graber was later given unlimited time to present his side of these events.
Now that the matter has been raised again by Graber’s threat against a Sheriff’s deputy, I feel it is appropriate to summarize the remarks I was prepared to deliver at the Board meeting — particularly since I was present when the Sheriff’s deputy was interviewing those involved in the incident at Senseny.
First, I can affirm that the responding deputy was calm, even-handed, and acted in a thoroughly professional manner. The Star has done a public service by posting the deputy’s body camera video of the entire incident. If anyone questions his professionalism under tense conditions, I refer you to the video. I also commend Sheriff Millholland for strongly and correctly defending his officer.
Second, as I was attempting to say at the meeting, I believe we should expect better and more civil behavior at the polls — particularly by our elected officials. I have worked for years outside Frederick County polling locations, on behalf of Democratic candidates. I’ve had some great conversations during these times with my Republican counterparts, talking not about politics but about family, jobs, travel, pets … everything that people generally talk about with neighbors and friends.
It is unfortunate that these experiences are now so confrontational and unpleasant. They don’t have to be that way, but it seems that elections are becoming nastier, and that Frederick County is losing its reputation as a haven of cordiality and good manners where residents respect one another regardless of their politics.
I also want to call attention to the remarks at the end of the Nov. 10 meeting by one of Graber’s Republican colleagues on the Board. According to Supervisor Dave Stegmaier, flyers identified as “Republican Sample Ballots” — identifying one of his opponents as the “Republican” school board candidate — were distributed in the Shawnee District, despite Virginia law that school board candidates must be listed on ballots as non-partisan. Other such deceptive incidents were also cited by Mr. Stegmaier, whose full comments are archived on the Board of Supervisors website. If Mr. Graber plans to refer supposed Election Day mischief to the incoming Attorney General for the Commonwealth, I hope he does not neglect these shenanigans.
As to why Graber has chosen to attack the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and one of its outstanding deputies, his Nov. 20 public statement suggests a motive: “I would invite you to reach out to me,” he writes, “as I will be exploring my own run for Sheriff of Frederick County in 2023.” The campaign, it seems, is on.
Cary Kimble is a resident of Frederick County.