Given presidential campaigning, the spotlight on the federal government, and national-level policies, it can be easy for local government to get lost in the shuffle. However, this was not the case when Loudoun Country students, faculty, and staff gathered to meet with candidates running for local elections and addressed issues and policies specific to Loudoun County. The event, the Policy Makers VA General Assembly Candidate Forum, included Tatyana Schum and Steve Smith, and a group of Loudoun County students from the Loudoun Honors Program, prospective honors students, and students who are passionate about government and their local community. All were the guests of Loudoun Campus Provost Dr. Julie Leidig.
Arriving at the Belmont Country Club, the guests enjoyed a meet-and-greet over breakfast, had an opportunity to interact and network with candidates running for Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, the Virginia House of Delegates, and the Senate of Virginia. Next, they were able to speak directly with the candidates during the “speed-dating” portion, when the candidates sat briefly at each table to answer individual questions. They engaged in dialogues surrounding everything from Loudoun County’s affordable housing crisis to the teacher shortage, allowing them to discuss issues and policies that impact their daily lives.
All the guests expressed their gratitude to Dr. Leidig for the opportunity. James Cook, a Loudoun honors student, said, “ I enjoyed getting to see the inner workings of government and the electoral process as well as the opportunity to meet a large amount of the local representatives who will then go on to work on my behalf in the local community.”
James Bergloff, another Loudoun honors student, said, “This event taught me more about how the local government operates and what my possible future career might look like.”