Letter: Brenda Bengtson, Hamilton

Editor: It is quite the experience to compare and contrast the views of candidates for the 33rd District House of Delegates.  While I notice policy and endorsements on Mavis Taintor’s Facebook page, I see mostly reactions to constituents on Dave LaRock’s Facebook page. 

How can a constituent feel comfortable meeting at the current delegate’s private home “office” after reading disdainful and discriminatory comments by the delegate and his followers on an official public domain?
Years ago I briefly entertained the idea of going to the delegate’s private home “office” to discuss issues.  Once I heard about others’ experiences, I decided against a visit. So I attended debates and town halls instead, hoping to hear the delegate but he was a “no show.”

Recently I turned to the delegate’s Facebook page – for official background on legislation and policy.  I read a post about an edited video and “haves-and-have-nots,” with approximately 200 comments.  Sadly, my concerns about the use of smear and fear campaign tactics, including name-calling and divisive rhetoric, were reinforced.  When commenters provided socio-economic statistics or asked questions of the delegate, they were treated to disrespectful reactions and slurs.  The commentary was thus described – “…it’s like a Jerry Springer show.”

Another poster says “I must say that I am seriously disappointed in the whole tenor of this post and the comments from my Delegate… The 33rd district is not made up of only wealthy individuals nor is it made up of exclusively poor individuals… instead of being so dismissive of these facts would instead not waste his time with this sort of post designed to promote division among his constituents.” 

Even a supporter responds to the negativity with “I, too, would like to see him run on his own merits, show that he’s bringing people together, and demonstrate that while being one of the wealthiest legislators in Richmond, he hasn’t forgotten his roots. Indeed. The snark does not suit the office. I expect more.” 

Is tribal epistemology the new norm for an official public domain? I can only imagine what’s going on in private Facebook forums.  Does the delegate really speak in snark or is it others who have administrative access to the Facebook account? If this is what the delegate deems “the LaRock way of thinking,” it clearly does not demonstrate a desire to serve all constituents.We hear the delegate say that he works hard for the neighbors in our community yet see the contradictory evidence.  I agree with the current delegate on this – “reminding folks that the future of Virginia is in the balance.”  Mavis Taintor will bring a compassionate and welcoming representation to the office of delegate.  I am resolute in supporting Mavis who is willing to listen to all constituents even though we might think differently, for the future of the 33rd District and Virginia. 

Brenda Bengtson, Hamilton

One thought on “Letter: Brenda Bengtson, Hamilton

  • 2019-10-11 at 10:34 pm

    I share Ms. Bengtson’s concerns about LaRock’s fitness to hold public office. He lacks a sense of what is appropriate concerning delegate/constituent relationships. He is petty and insulting to people he is supposed to serve. I have heard Mavis Taintor speak eloquently about her sincere desire to be responsive and helpful to ALL of her constituents, not just the ones who vote for her.

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