THIS ARTICLE IS COMMENTARY AND PUBLISHED IN OUR EDITORIAL SECTION.
Incumbent offers lengthy explanation for absence
By Randy Arrington, publisher
LURAY, Oct. 11 — Today, Page Valley News is publishing the fourth and final recorded discussion among candidates in contested races in Page County on its new YouTube channel. This “debate turned discussion” focuses on the race for Sheriff of Page County. Independent challenger, Captain Aaron Cubbage of the Stanley Police Department, was the only attendee for the Oct. 4 recording at Laurel Ridge Community College’s Jenkins Hall in Luray.
Incumbent Chad Cubbage offered a lengthy explanation for his decision to not attend the debate last week.
“I truly appreciate your patience over the past weeks regarding my decision whether or not to participate in Wednesday’s debate. After much thought, discussion and prayer, I have decided to honor my initial concern and decline a debate,” Sheriff Cubbage stated in an email. “As I expressed to you earlier, the Sheriff’s race is a highly contentious race impacting many people particularly employees and family.”
“I respect debates/forums if they stay on topic and actually inform the candidates, but typically, the important issues get sidelined by interruptions and mudslinging,” the sheriff’s email continued. “Understandably, some can’t fully appreciate the potential fallout from a heated debate among our local officers and law enforcement agencies. This would not be a concern if my candidate were employed by an out of county agency!”
The Republican incumbent felt strongly that appearing at the debate would cause friction and create a divide among law enforcement agencies — while also acknowledging that both already exist.
“One of my most important roles as Sheriff is to foster strong and professional relationships among all LEA’s [law enforcement agencies] within the county – not divide. As you may have witnessed on social media, Stanley PD [Police Department] and PCSO [Page County Sheriff’s Office] (along with those agencies’ officers) have been dragged into the political arena and it has exacerbated an already tense working relationship,” the sheriff’s email to PVN stated.
“With all of that being said, it’s evident a debate between two county residents and LEOs [law enforcement officers] is not conducive to a healthy or unified community or policing,” the email stated. “I am hopeful that my three-part interview will answer questions, offer insight, and further inform the voters of the great strides and positive direction the Page County Sheriff’s Office is leading. The community knows that I am available and happy to answer any questions or address any concerns. My cell number is listed on my campaign website and Facebook page. In addition, I am happy to meet!”
“As always, Randy, I appreciate your reaching out to me. My decision was truly made, in what I consider to be, the best interest of the community and our law enforcement agencies. I do feel serving for the past eight years provides much information on my performance and goals. Thank, you, again, for your journalistic contribution to our community,” the email concludes.
Below are direct answers to tough questions delivered by Captain Cubbage in-person during the Oct. 4 recording of this “debate turned discussion” from the conference room on the second floor of Jenkins Hall. The discussion flows from budget overages and staffing losses, to addressing the growing drug issue and housing a growing inmate population — as well as hiring procedures, transparency, school safety and communication with county officials, the media and the public.
This is our fourth and final “debate” event for this election cycle. The purpose of these events was to inform the public; nothing more, nothing less. PVN did not solicit sponsorship and earned no revenue during the process. However, we offer a cautionary tale to all future candidates for local offices in the Page Valley — this platform is not going away.
It’s up to each individual voter, as to how much weight they will place on a candidate’s decision to participate or to not participate in these debates, or the decision to participate or not in the Sept. 7 public forum held at Trackside Theater, or both…but we know a lot of people are considering these factors.
We firmly believe that candidates for public office should be subject to public questioning about their intentions, their agendas and their motivations for seeking public office.
Those who run from that opportunity, simply generate more questions than answers.
Our YouTube channel only has a few videos at this time,
but we intend to grow the offerings in the near future…possibly starting next Wednesday, Oct. 18.
You can reach our YouTube channel by clicking the YouTube icon in the upper right of the Home page, and then please remember to hit the “Subscribe” button on our YouTube channel.