LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (7News) — A new candidate has jumped in the race for Chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
Current Chair Phyllis Randall has been under fire by some county residents after 7News exposed how she spent tens of thousands of tax dollars on sister city trips to Ghana, Uruguay, India, Germany, China, and South Korea.
Last week, Republican Stephen Karbelk dropped out of the race for Board Chair. Gary Katz is replacing Karbelk on the ballot as the Republican candidate.
Katz’s professional background is in sales and technology. He, his wife, and three kids live in Leesburg.
Katz says he’d like to get rid of the car tax, make Loudoun County more affordable and business-friendly, and he wants to keep the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office as is – versus transforming the office into a police department that would answer to the board of supervisors instead of voters which is currently the case in Fairfax County and Prince William County.
Several categories of crime have increased in Fairfax County and Prince William County in recent years.
“I think that the more accountability that the sheriff has to the voting public, the more you’re going to see better results,” said Katz. “The best check on government is voting. And I would like to see the sheriff’s office remain independent.”
“I would love to lower taxes, especially if those taxes are going to fund vacations for Board of Supervisors members,” Katz added. “But it needs to be done in coordination with county staff. It needs to look at the overall budget. I would prefer to lower taxes. And I would like that to go down so that allows the county to be more affordable for people to live.”
Katz also said he’d also like to improve school safety.
Katz is jumping in the race after 7News exposed how Chair Randall and Supervisors Koran Saines, Sylvia Glass, and Juli Briskman spent more than 100,000 tax dollars on lavish trips to Ghana and Uruguay this year.
“I want to restore faith in government,” said Katz. “That is the first thing I want to do. I want folks to know that there is an honest and transparent governing body that is responsible for county business.”
And Katz says that’s not happening right now.
“Phyllis Randall has failed the county,” said Katz. “She’s failed the taxpayer. She failed her colleagues on the board. Leadership comes from the top. I think that when we lose faith in leadership, it’s time for change. We’ve all been watching the news. We’ve seen the stories, we’ve seen the evasiveness, the lies. We’re paying attention and that requires action.”
Katz said he was appalled when he learned how Chair Randall spent taxpayer money on overseas trips.
“I was appalled,” said Katz. “I was upset. It wasn’t just going on the trip–it was the evasiveness of the answers, the lies, and the response to questions that were being asked. They say the cover-up is worse than the crime. They’re both really bad in this scenario, and you have to have faith in your leadership. You have to be able to expect that your leadership is going to have honesty, integrity, trust, transparency, and accountability. Those are often platitudes that people speak to but in this scenario, the receipts are there. It’s very clear what’s transpired. I also thought about the folks in Loudoun County who are struggling to make ends meet. And they’re seeing their leadership gallivanting across the globe, on the public dime, what message does that send to them? Also, what about the folks who work in Loudoun County but can’t afford to live in Loudoun County and who would like to live in Loudoun County who are seeing how the taxpayer dollars are being spent? What message does that send to them? That is unacceptable. That’s wrong. That is a failure of governance and failure of leadership and it’s affecting the rest of the board.”
On several occasions, 7News offered Randall an interview opportunity to discuss her goals for a third four-year term. She has yet to respond to those requests.
Randall is running with the Loudoun County Democrats’ endorsement.