Roger Zurn | Press Conference 1

Loudoun County Treasurer Roger Zurn (R) addressing reporters and supporters at a press conference on June 25.

Loudoun County Treasurer Roger Zurn (R) says he is remaining in office after numerous county leaders have called for him to step down after publishing a racially insensitive social media post.

In mid-June, the county treasurer published and quickly deleted the social media post following an announcement that the Aunt Jemima brand would be discontinued.

Zurn, who is white and has served as county treasurer since 1996, posted on his personal Facebook page June 17: “Wondering if Aunt Jemima will change to Uncle Tom’s?”

“I will not be resigning my position as county treasurer,” Zurn said during a June 25 press conference. “Leaders do not run from their mistakes. They grow from them.”

The Times-Mirror received a screengrab of the post before it was deleted. Zurn called it “an error in judgement.”

Zurn’s post followed Quaker Oats’ announcement on June 17 that Aunt Jemima’s maple syrup and pancake mix will get a new name and image. The image of the “mammy” kerchief was branded on Quaker Oats products for years, and it has been seen as a racist stereotype dating back to slavery.

“Uncle Tom,” meanwhile, is an offensive nickname for someone who desires to serve others aware of the servant’s lower status, otherwise known as a “house negro.” The stereotype was often used in minstrel shows that depicted black people as lazy, clownish and dumb.

About 20 people were in the boardroom during Zurn’s press conference, many of them his supporters.

Zurn apologized for his post “that rightly caused concern among many of our citizens beyond the African American community.”

Zurn said he made a joke and realized his error quickly. He said there was no excuse and no explanation.

He went on to tout his office’s work during his tenure, noting moving the personal property tax deadline by 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic and setting up payment plans. Compared to the same dates in 2019, the personal property collection rate was 4.1 percent higher, he said, and the real estate collections were down by slightly less than 1 percent.

Zurn said his office of 50 people is 80 percent female, with minorities making up 42 percent of the workforce. The two chief deputies are Black and Asian, he said.

“I hope that those who have seen my support and outreach to all communities, regardless of race or faith, know that I am a man of deep faith, and a decent human being that is better than the sum of some very poor jokes posted on my personal Facebook page,” he said.

Zurn said he plans to engage with faith and civil rights leaders “to become more thoughtful” on issues of race and inclusion.

“We are living in extraordinary times, and we will get through them if we give one another grace and have courageous conversations about the things that often seek to divide us,” Zurn said.

Zurn’s Facebook post follows weeks of racial unrest across America following the killing of George Floyd.

Activists and everyday Americans are calling for racial equality and reform after Floyd, a black man, was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last month. The incident, which involved the white officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, has sparked nationwide protests and renewed loud concerns over police brutality.

Loudoun County Supervisor Juli Briskman (D-Algonkian) has called for Zurn to resign, and two of her board colleagues strongly condemned not only the treasurer’s “Aunt Jemima” post, but other instances of insensitivity, as well.

“The residents of Loudoun County deserve better representation from our leaders and should be able to trust that the officer who collects and invests county tax dollars is meeting out his or her duties with integrity and without racial bias,” Briskman, who is white, said in a prepared statement.

The supervisor said this is not the first time Zurn has “engaged in harmful, disrespectful and racially discriminatory” conversation publicly on social media. She questioned whether he can carry out his constitutional duties in a fair and just manner.

Roger Zurn | Press Conference 2

Loudoun County Treasurer Roger Zurn addressing reporters and supporters at a press conference on June 25.

(80) comments

LetsBreal

" I miss the battlefield. Not the burning heat, the ache of heavy armor or the cold darkness of hostile ground. I miss the clarity. We were fighting an enemy, who though often vile, was completely clear on his cause and beliefs. They were willing to live hard and die hard for what they believed in, no matter how misguided.

Most of all I miss Americans. In a war between tribes, religions, sects and ideologies, the enemy often churned, blended, twisted and turned. But Americans were like rocks, Gibraltars in a storm. In the midst of the chaos, Americans were handholds on the cliff, bridges over the abyss of terrorism and treachery.

The battlefield is the great crucible. On our battlefields the one virtue that mattered was an American would stand fast and have your back. The bond and the lifeline in combat were other Americans. The Americans to your left and right had no hyphens. I scanned for NODs and kevlars not faces or skin. In a street or alley, on the side of a mountain or sand berm all I looked for was an American uniform with a shoulder flag.

The camouflage and combat literally and figuratively melted everything else together. No race, no religion, no politics, just Americans. There is clarity and a physical purity in that. Today at home, in the United States, I miss the battlefield. "

- From Jim Lechner, Army Ranger

Bye Don 2020

Life is a lot simpler when it's just kill or be killed. Not something many would be nostalgic for but it takes all kinds, I guess.

LeesburgFan

When an elected official acts publicly with such stupidity, it's clear he will not be re-elected. If an elected official desires to have a Facebook account, they need to keep it to show pics of their grand kids and that is about all. Zurn has used TERRIBLE judgment on several documented posts. Of course, this is NOT relevant to whether he is qualified to be the County Treasurer. However, STUPIDITY and racist jokes will never be rewarded at the ballot box. His career is done....but I guess he still has 3 years left in his term.

Lawman

He only won because no one really knew him. They know him now. Democrats will have that office after the next election.

romano

farcical to read the phony outrage from the social justice snowflakes in light of their silence on the governor's racist antics. Good for Mr. Zurn...finally someone standing up to these bullies.

LoudounClear

Many (assuming all these names on comments are different people--I doubt it) who regularly post racist or race-baiting comments on other stories have rushed to the aid of Mr. Zurn. A rare instance where the rats swim toward a sinking ship

Loudooun independent

Such an arrogant a..

jke

Roger for Chairman, 2023.

RandomName2019

The track of the GOP, and the Loudoun Republican Committee, pretty much ensures that Democrats will control most, if not all, of the positions up for the next local election.

TedAndrew

Mr. Zurn, you keep being you and speaking your mind. If people don’t like it, they can vote at the election booth. I’ll be voting for you in November.

Voltaire

TedAndrew--if the people of this county, other than you, don't like Zurn conducting himself improperly, then they will attempt to recall him in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Code of Virginia. If a sitting Circuit Court judge of the Circuit Court of Loudoun County agrees with the merits of the petition, then Zurn could be forced out earlier than November and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

RandomName2019

No you won't. He just started a four year term.

Harvardmustang

Governor Blackface Northam or is it Governor KKK Northam & Attorney General Blackface Herring haven't resigned for something much more racially charged. Where is the local NAACP demanding these two racist politicians resign???

Voltaire

Harvardmustang--It is Governor Ralph Northam. It is not "Coonman", "Blackface", or a new variant "KKK". As for the Virginia Attorney General, it is Mark Herring, not "Blackface". Now, for the umpteenth plus time, these two individuals did NOT commit these incidents while they held office and shouldn't be recalled/removed. Zurn, while in office DID. Now, if the people of this county want to remove Zurn, they can generate a petition and get the required number of signatures and go to the Circuit Court of Loudoun County and let a sitting Circuit Court judge determine the legal merit of the petition. As to the question of the NAACP, I believe that they did as well as some national level politicians. However, at least 2 independent inquiries were done, and the results were inconclusive.

RoundHillGuy

Typical Dem, defending racism when it suits their cause. Turning a blind eye when it's their side perpetrating the racism .

Voltaire

RHG--I am an Independent, not a Democrat but hey don't let that stop you from making baseless assumptions...

factchecker66

Stop using these childish names for our Governor and AG. There are many, many names for your hero donald trump. Shall I start a list?

Voltaire

Factchecker--I totally agree with you on this point. However, please don't aggravate the problem with launching off on Donald Trump.

Loudoun4Trump

As he should.....until next election....

Voltaire

L4T--unless, in accordance with the Code of Virginia, the people of this county generate a petition, obtain the required number of signatures, and present it to the Circuit Court of Loudoun County. Then, if a sitting Circuit Court judge finds the merits are there, then Zurn would have to leave office. But, if that approach fails, then you are correct.

Loudoun4Trump

Anyone who goes through that process is a leftist and takes the people out of the process in electing their representatives....Im sure this exists, and why no one has taken gov. klansman on this is beyond me (I realize statewide)....only an Obama (I realize a VA judge) judge would find merit in this and that is part of the problem...the judicial system seems to want to legislate instead of doing their job...

Voltaire

L4T—No, your argument doesn’t hold water here. The process of recall of a local officer identified in the Code of Virginia, allows for ANYONE, not just “leftists” to recall individuals who meet the criteria for recall. If we went with your premise, then you couldn’t remove anyone from office which does not provide relief in an instance that merits it. That is not how the system works. As I have said for the one millionth time, Governor Ralph Northam, no matter how much you and other posters on this site detest the man, has done NOTHING wrong while he has been the official Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Your and other posters obsession with “Coonman” and “Blackface” is amusing but does not impact the Governor’s ability to stay in office as that incident occurred before he was elected to office and that recall process identified in the Code of Virginia does NOT apply here. Again, you had your opportunity to judge the merits of the individual at the ballot box and the people elected Ralph Northam over Ed Gillespie. That fact is proven by the electoral record. Furthermore, Circuit Court judges in the Circuit Court of Loudoun County are state appointments and those appointments are made by the General Assembly after recommendation by the Governor. President Barack Obama had NOTHING to do with the appointment of a state court judge. The judiciary does not want to legislate. Courts apply the law to specific controversies brought before them. They resolve disputes between people, companies and units of government. Often, courts are called on to uphold limitations on the government. They protect against abuses by all branches of government. They protect minorities of all types from the majority, and protect the rights of people who can't protect themselves. They also embody notions of equal treatment and fair play.

Loudoun4Trump

Voltaire - completely disagree....Governor klansman is an embarrassment to the state and Virginians....just like the raiders mascot of the HS....He is a complete embarrassment and businesses realize this.....is there a way to recall school board members? There is a way to remove any politician -- it is called the election!!!! or if involved in criminal activity should be jail!!!

Voltaire

L4T--no, that is wrong. According to recent poll data, Governor Northam has a relatively good approval rating. No, the Code of Virginia begs to differ with you in that it allows for a recall of a local officer if the conditions are met. If you don't like that, then you should go down to Capitol Square in Richmond and tell the General Assembly that you want that section changed. Nobody is disputing that a proper election is the normal way to remove a politician. Further, nobody is arguing that if the individual has engaged in criminal activity, then they should be arrested/prosecuted by the applicable authorities. This isn't really this difficult to grasp....

I will not stop

I will be moving my company out of Loundon County and I will urge my colleagues and neighbors to do the same. This guy is a racist.

workhardgetahead

May as well move it out of VA because so is the Governor

Voltaire

Workhardgetahead--OK, can you actually PROVE that Governor Northam is STILL or was a racist? No. He acted pretty stupid in medical school with the "blackface" incident. But there is no way that you can come to the conclusion that he is currently a racist as there is zero evidence to prove that contention. It is conjecture, at best.

workhardgetahead

As you cant prove Zurn is a racist.

Voltaire

Workhardgetahead--actually, no, you CAN prove Zurn is racist. There are several posts that he made (one is the Aunt Jemima quip and the other is the "2 names of Chinese who had COVID-19). The press has both of them. They have been identified in various press reports about this topic.

workhardgetahead

Making a joke about Aunt Jemima and 2 Chinese does not make one racist. Are people who make jokes about white people racist?

Lighten up Voltaire

RandomName2019

Well that's just silly. The Treasurer said some racist stuff. Why wouldn't you just work to vote him out?

My guess is that you don't even live in Loudoun County given your inability to spell it.

Voltaire

RandomName2019--why is it silly? Maybe the individual is tired of paying high taxes and getting little in return in the form of services from the County Government. Zurn's incident might have been the catalyst that person needed to make that decision. Nothing wrong with that perspective.

RandomName2019

It's silly because the act of moving a business out of Loudoun means that you're incurring expenses that you hope will be offset by lower costs (either in taxes or general overhead) while also leaving one of the fastest growing markets and wealthiest locations in the country. It's a short-sighted knee jerk reaction to an individual who has little to no impact on anyone's daily lives. The Treasurer doesn't set tax rates, doesn't assess property, doesn't pass ordinances. He collects money and spends it.

So, silly.

Voltaire

RandomName2019--it may be "silly" to you but maybe not to him/her. As I said, there may be other variables that directly impact him/her and this was the catalyst that triggered it. It is his/her decision after all.

Pac1010

Goodbye. Don't let the door hit you on the way out

Voltaire

Well, I am certainly glad to see that Loudoun County is "business friendly" and welcomes "diverse opinions."

Loudoun4Trump

Please do -- good bye and don't let the door hit you in the bottom....

Voltaire

L4T--again, it is good to see that Loudoun County is a "business friendly" community. So, you, and other posters, want people and enterprises, who don't agree about Zurn's views, to leave and take their enterprises and go elsewhere. Correct? Well, has anyone considered the economic impact of this "well thought out idea"? Apparently not. You see, these employers employ people in this county and pay tax revenues. They leave and you get higher unemployment and lower tax base for county operations. That's basic economics and applies to just for this one enterprise. What are you going to do when major employers follow this person's lead? You want them to go too because they don't agree with you? They may have built infrastructure here but they certainly do NOT have to stay here if they feel that this environment is hostile. Think about that.

RoundHillGuy

by felicia

Voltaire

RHG--I see we have another member of the Loudoun County community that supports a "business friendly" environment with "diverse viewpoints".

Voltaire

I will not stop--that is your choice and yours alone to make.

LoudounPulse

Zurn says you all are gonna call me "Massah", cause I control several Billion dollars of your money.

RandomName2019

That's the thing, he doesn't really control it. He collects it and spends it as directed by the Board of Supervisors.

LoudounPulse

You could say the same thing about the US Treasury Secretary. They simply do the bidding of the Congress.

Voltaire

LP—That is wrong. You cannot compare the functions of the Loudoun County Treasurer with that of the Secretary of the Treasury. The Loudoun County Treasurer does the following activities: (1) billing and collecting taxes and (2) investing, safeguarding, and disbursing all county revenue. Now, the Secretary of the Treasury, unlike the Loudoun County Treasurer, has more responsibilities including the following: (1) making recommendations about domestic and global economic and tax policy; (2) formulating broad fiscal policies that impact the economy; (3) manage the public debt; (4) overseeing the manufacture of U.S. coins and currency and managing the amount of cash that is available to markets; (5) some responsibility for the credit rate of the United States. As shown, the Secretary of the Treasury does more than “just the bidding of Congress”

RandomName2019

The Loudoun Treasurer doesn't even bill the taxes, the Commissioner's office does. That's why when you have a question about your bill they transfer you.

Voltaire

RandomName2019--if you are so concerned about who does the billing vs. collection of taxes, then you should contact the Treasurer's Office as I got that information DIRECTLY from their website page that tells what their office does.

RoundHillGuy

Northam didn't quit , Herring didn't quit. Zurn should not quit. How soon we forget. Oh and what about #metoo, every victim should be believed Lt Gov Fairfax? such hypocrisy asking this man to resign.

RandomName2019

again with the false equivalency. You know, not being able to discuss anything with any nuance must be exhausting. Zurn did this last week, as a 65 year old man in today's climate. That doesn't make anything that others have done okay, but it also doesn't make them equivalent.

RoundHillGuy

Ignoring a clear double standard must be equally exhausting.

Voltaire

RHG--neither Northam or Herring has done anything WHILE in office to justify their removal. The allegations against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax are just that allegations, they have NOT be proven in a court of law and until they do cannot be used as a basis for removal from office. As for Zurn, he DID do those items when he was in office. There are two ways to deal with Zurn's conduct. Option One is the people of this county generate a petition, get the required number of signatures, per the Code of Virginia, and submit that to the Circuit Court of Loudoun County. If a sitting Circuit Court judge finds that the petition meets the requirements and has the legal merit, then Zurn will be forced to be removed per the Code of Virginia. If Option 1 is not used, then Option 2 would be that the voters of this county can weigh the merits of Zurn's conduct at the ballot box in November and can remove him through the election of another person for the post of Loudoun County Treasurer.

Duncan Idaho

Governor Blackface lowered the bar for everyone, amiright?

countyresident

Yes, and so did the sloppy supervisor who flipped a finger and was rewarded with a seat on the board. Fun times

Duncan Idaho

Well, she did lose her other job.

RandomName2019

Rewarded? I think you mean earned. Also, it helped that Volpe irritated just about everyone who came into contact with her. It was a very low bar.

Voltaire

RandomName2019--I totally agree with your point about Suzanne Volpe.

countyresident

Agree about Volpe. However, no one ever heard of the sloppy supervisor except for that infamous gesture.

Voltaire

Countyresident--that doesn't mean that the residents of Volpe's district may have voted for Brinkman out of protest to Volpe. Whether they heard of Julie Brinkman or give a toss about her political views, it dosn't matter as long as she was not Suzanne Volpe. Not uncommon in the political world.

Voltaire

Duncan Idaho--the official name for the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia is Ralph Northam. We don't have a Governor Blackface.

Voltaire

Duncan--no you are not right. The standard is the SAME for everyone (D), (R), or (I).

ChocolateDinosaur

I am willing to take Zurn at his written word that he will engage with others to deepen his understanding of humanity. It is never too late to learn. Ultimately the voters will make the call on how Zurn handles things moving forward. Deleting Facebook would be a good start.

Loudoun Observer

Northam admitted he did worse and made the exact same announcement. How does that make you feel? LOL

countyresident

LO- nailed it! I hate what Zurn did but glad he's not leaving. [beam]

Voltaire

Countyresident--whether Zurn leaving or not is conditioned on the premise that the residents of this county do not try to recall him, in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Virginia for recall of a local officer. If they do, then he will forced out of office. That determination, if that approach is taken, is for a sitting Circuit Court judge of the Circuit Court of Loudoun County to make.

countyresident

Voltaire, your lecturing is boring and getting old.

Voltaire

Countyresident--I wouldn't have to lecture if people would actually understand what the Code of Virginia says you can do concerning recall and the real difference between Zurn, Northam, Herring. It appears obvious to me that people either can't or don't want to understand what the LAW, not public opinion, will allow. So get over it.

countyresident

Lol you are just another commenter in here who thinks your opinion and lecturing are superior and desperately needed by the rest of us. They are neither and you should really get over yourself.

Voltaire

Countyresident--the same can be applied back to you too.

countyresident

God you're tedious

Voltaire

LO--Answer this simple question. Did Governor Northam do his "blackface" incident while serving as the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia? The answer is NO. He did that as a private citizen. It is a little different in that Zurn did do this while IN office.

Loudoun Observer

Voltaire. Nonsense. Your argument is the same as saying that someone was "off duty" or "not on the clock" when it happened. It's the same person. I assume you were defending Kavanaugh when this BS college age accusation was invented?

Voltaire

LO--my argument is the same because it is the same standard that applies consistently for everyone. Yes, I was defending Kavanaugh as his situation is similar to Northam and Herring. As I have said several thousand times now, I don't give a toss if the person is (D) (R) or (I), what they did in their private lives before entry in public office is a matter for the voter to determine if that person should be elected. Once in office, if they commit that infraction while in office then they should be recalled. However, as Northam and Herring show, they have done NOTHING in the office to justify removal. Zurn, on the other hand, is debatable about whether a recall effort should be performed. That is the question for the residents of Loudoun County collectively to determine.

gtrunner

He will be fine. He will take his licks and keep doing a good job for the people of Loudoun. If anyone thinks racial equality depends on Zurich not having his job, they misunderstand the true pervasiveness of racism through everything from family, to education, to the economy.

Voltaire

Gtrunner--whether Zurn keeps his job after this fiasco will be dependent on whether the people of Loudoun County want to recall him using the recall process. If so, and the requirements of the Code of Virginia is satisfied in the opinion of a sitting Circuit Court judge of the Circuit Court of Loudoun County, then Zurn, whether he or you like it, will be removed.

gtrunner

If the dumb masses put as much energy into helping build and cultivate the black communities and families as they do into canceling people who fly too close to the racist sun or crack a joke, those minority communities would be in a much better place.

Voltaire

Gtrunner--how do you know that they don't do both? You can't make that claim. As to the comment about "....cancelling people who fly too close to the racist sun or crack a joke.." Zurn, as an elected public official who has been in Loudoun County politics for a long time, should have known better and should have respected the office that he holds. It isn't that much to ask for. You certainly don't use social media and you know that, as a public official, you have more scrutiny from the press. You watch what you say in public. Not too hard.

gtrunner

Volatile, let’s not pretend public servants are perfect people. And let’s not also pretend that going after public figures for their comments or blackface has a noticeable affect on improving minority communities. You wish it was that easy. All the monuments could come down, the Kimmels, Zurns and Northams could be fired for questionable past acts, and 75% of black children will still be born into households with no fathers. 95% of black murders will still be at the hands of other blacks and income inequality will still be a problem. It takes more than firing someone to make people successful in life, not murder each other, and be a stand up dad.

Science Can Save Us

That's a good ole' boy. He will weather this storm as he has others. We'll think of him each time we get near a toilet and see that ZURN emblazed on it...

workhardgetahead

I do that for Obama.

Science Can Save Us

I imagine you do

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