Editor: I was honored to appear on all five of the Town Council members’ lists for appointment to the vacant seat. When the vote on July 28 resulted in a tie, I was puzzled. That evening, I barely slept.
As I was looking for inspiration, I came across a quote that demonstrated true leadership.
“I never lose, I only win and learn.” When I saw this, I reflected on the man who said these words. Nelson Mandela. I thought to myself, how would he handle this? Mandela would not see it as a defeat, but an opportunity to learn, which is what I have done.
Since that sleepless night, I have learned about the influence the AFL-CIO, Laborers International Union, and Sheet Metal Workers Union have on Councilman Martinez and Mayor Burk. These Unions have been funders of their various political campaigns.
I have learned these special interests do not want me on council. Let me be clear: Reliable sources have told me these lawmakers reversed course because of my employment at the Associated Builders and Contractors, a pro-merit shop, inclusive organization hated by union lobbyists.
I applied for this appointment because residents and business leaders asked me to. They knew I could be a fresh and objective voice of reason on council throughout the remaining term. They knew my leadership could help bring this council together and deliver to taxpayers the transparency, accountability and effectiveness they deserve from government.
After learning that my appointment was blocked by union lobbyists, it is clear, Leesburg voters need an independent voice on council free of control from special interests.
I have learned why the unions were interested in blocking my confirmation. They were concerned I would expose that Project Labor Agreements and Prevailing Wages Laws, which are policy schemes supported by unions and will be discussed in future Leesburg capital improvement budgets, do not benefit the workers in the Commonwealth of Virginia or Leesburg.
Most importantly, these schemes do not benefit the taxpayers. They benefit the union bosses who signed the checks that funded Burk, Martinez and the current majority in the General Assembly. Lawmakers who support anti-competitive policies that steer taxpayer-funded public works contracts to unionized political donors should be ashamed for not putting taxpayers first.
In conclusion, I have learned that if we do not shed light and fight back against these special interest schemes, the very principals that have made Virginia and Loudoun County the best place to do business will disappear. Whether on council or as a citizen, I will continue to fight corruption and give a voice to the entire community.
Nick Clemente, Leesburg