Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) wanted the new and returning Loudoun County supervisors to show unity in 2020 by being sworn into office together.
That show of harmony indeed happened Saturday with more than 250 people in attendance at the National Conference Center in Lansdowne.
The nine members were sworn in in the morning, including newcomers Caleb Kershner (R-Catoctin), Sylvia Glass (D-Broad Run), Juli Briskman (D-Algonkian) and Mike Turner (D-Ashburn). Returning to the board are supervisors Matthew Letourneau (R-Dulles), Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge), Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg), Koran Saines (D-Sterling) and Randall.
After taking her oath for a second term, Randall welcomed the new board and shared the importance of local government.
“We are not Congress. We are a county board, and because we are a county board we have the most impact on people's daily lives,” Randall said. “Loudoun County, as chair, I’ve witnessed the response when neighbors are in need. With due respect to Fairfax and Prince Williams County, what I’ve witnessed makes me know for certain: We are the best county in the country.”
Randall’s remarks came two months after voters flipped the board to a 6-3 Democratic majority. The 2016-2019 board carried a 6-3 Republican majority, while the 2012-2015 governing body was all Republicans.
But putting aside political parties is something the previous board hung its hat on.
“I just look forward to doing the things that we have done in the last four years,” Buffington said. “I think we have done a lot of good at putting aside partisan politics and working on things that the people of Loudoun really want us to work on … ”
The previous board worked together on bipartisan measures to combat traffic congestion, improve recreational opportunities and enhance rural Internet.
One by one on Saturday, each supervisor took their oath with family members and friends around them. They thanked various members of the community.
Briskman, who is widely known for flipping off President Donald Trump’s motorcade in Sterling in 2018, said she wants to support public workers, improve affordable housing and help ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which will be taken up in the General Assembly.
"It's a little bit surreal to be standing here today, this afternoon, after nearly two years of planning, evaluating a campaign and at times questioning what we've gotten ourselves into,” Briskman said. “Even so, I believe deep in my bones that I did the exact right thing at the right time, and the last two years have proven that to all of us.”
Kershner, a local attorney, took a moment to talk about the different professions on the board and his eagerness to get to work. He noted his previous work as a sheep shearer, but said he would not “pull the wool” over constituents' eyes – a joke he also made during a debate in the fall.
Turner reflected on his spiritual journey and life lessons leading to his election.
"Public service is giving thanks like giving back," Turner said. “It's about placing the needs of others above our own. It's about doing what's right for others, and in so doing, finding what's right in ourselves. Today, I have a powerful sense all of my life experiences have led me to this moment. It's as though God is saying, 'I give you all these wonderful things. Now do something with them and make me proud.’”
The board’s first business meeting is Tuesday at 5 p.m.
During the meeting, Saines is expected to become the first African American to hold the seat of vice chairman. He became the first African American man to be elected to office in 2015. Randall was the first black county chairwoman the same year.
The board will also be voting on appointments to three committees, including Turner as Transportation and Land Use chair, Umstattd as the Joint School Board/Board of Supervisors chair and Letourneau as finance committee chair. (See a list of proposed appointments below.)
Following the ceremony, an installation gala was held at The National. Randall said any excess revenue from the event will be donated to four Loudoun nonprofits: The Loudoun YMCA, Loudoun Commission on Women and Girls, Loudoun Hunger Relief and Dulles Area Food Pantry.
-Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman - Supervisor Koran Saines (D-Sterling)
Transportation and Land Use (TLUC)
-Mike Turner (D-Ashburn)-Chair
-Phyllis Randall (D-At Large)
-Sylvia Glass (D-Broad Run)
-Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge)
-Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg)
Finance and Government Operations
-Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles)-Chair
-Randall (D-At Large)
-Juli Briskman (D-Sterling)
-Caleb Kershner (R-Catoctin)
-Koran Saines (D-Sterling)
Joint School Board/Board of Supervisors
-Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg)-Chair
-Glass (D-Broad Run)
Council of Governments (COG)
-Randall (D-At Large)
Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA)
-Randall (D-At Large)
Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC)
Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC)
Coalition of Loudoun Towns (COLT)