Conservation Republicans maybe not so Republican after all

by Matt Grove, Warrenton

In the February 4th edition of the Fauquier Times, Mr. Leslie Cheek III authored the Community Voices column, and as usual painted defenders of property rights as “fringe activists”, while portraying himself and those like him as the reasonable Republicans, or as he calls them “Conservation Republicans”.

Having performed due diligence on Mr. Cheek and his associates in the past, I would like to inform readers about what constitutes a “Conservation Republican”.

First let me point out that Mr. Cheek is NOT an at large member of the Fauquier Republican Committee. He was elected during the March canvas in 2014 which has been ruled invalid at both the District and State level. A new election will be conducted at some point, but not until the lawsuit brought by four of these “Conservation Republicans” against the Republican Party has been settled.

Mr. Cheek is in fact the Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, an organization which has donated over $2.6 million to candidates in Virginia; 98 percent of that to Democrats!

In the last gubernatorial election, most of the VLCV money went to the top three candidates on the ticket; McAuliffe, Herring, and Northam in that order. Not one dime was donated to Republican candidates Cuccinelli, Jackson, and Obenshain.

Mr. Cheek is also on the board of Fauquier Conservation Voters, a PAC that he established to fund the campaign of Jim Stone, a Democrat who ran in the best tradition of Fauquier Democrats, as an Independent for Supervisor of Cedar Run District, against Republican Committee member Lee Sherbeyn in the last BoS election.

Mr. Cheek is the largest contributor to this PAC, and all but $300 of the $22,300 donated to candidates by FCV went to Mr. Stone’s campaign. Again, the “Conservation Republicans” that Mr. Cheek touts are demonstrated Democrats.

Mr. Cheek espouses the virtue of Republicans who create agencies like the EPA, which has become nearly as intrusive and punitive as the IRS; regulating things like rain water through thousands of pages of unreadable documents that impose ridiculous restrictions on citizen’s rights in the name of the greater good, all conceived and implemented by unelected bureaucrats.

These “Conservation Republicans” believe that they know better than the average citizen on virtually every issue. They loudly and authoritatively proclaim that only they have the knowledge and wisdom to insure the public safety and welfare, which can only be achieved by regulating every aspect of human behavior, and they do this in the name of “collective rights”.

These “Republicans” must read a different Constitution than I do, for I cannot find a collective right anywhere in my copy; only individual rights, including the right to own and use property as one sees fit.

Don’t misunderstand me; I love the rural nature of Fauquier! That’s why my family settled here in the early 1960s. But I also understand that in order to preserve agriculture and open space we also need to have growth in our Service Districts so we can grow our tax base to pay for county services. This is where Mr. Cheek and his associates disagree with us property rights defenders.

We believe that an individual has the right to do with their property as they wish, including putting it in a conservation easement if they want. Mr. Cheek believes that the citizenry can never be allowed to determine their own future. He and his ilk believe that only through their “wise” regulation of our behavior can we hope to maintain a beautiful Fauquier.

That’s why he’s promoting the status quo.

The voters of Marshall District should realize by now that Mary Leigh McDaniel represents the status quo. If elected, she will be the new standard bearer of the preservationist crowd that is the Piedmont Environmental Council, and Citizens for Fauquier County.

If you are happy with the no growth policies of the past, then Ms. McDaniel, Mr. Granger, and Mr. Trumbo are your candidates. However, if you are tired of being told what you can and can’t do on your own property; if you’re tired of not having the services you desire such as water, sewer, internet, and cell coverage, then there are better choices.

Mr. Cheek and his crowd will no doubt inundate these pages and your email inbox with scary stories of how other candidates will “Pave over Fauquier County” if elected, but I urge each and every voter to contact the candidates and talk with them yourself.

Ask them the tough questions, and I think you may be surprised to find that Mr. Cheek III and his friends are not being truthful in their evaluation of these candidates.



One Response to Conservation Republicans maybe not so Republican after all

  1. Jim Reply

    April 9, 2015 at 10:12 am

    “Mr. Cheek believes that the citizenry can never be allowed to determine their own future.”

    An absurd comment that completely lacks credibility. Every word you write that substitutes your interpretation of that person’s beliefs for their actual stated beliefs reduces your credibility by another degree.

    Obviously, everyone sees this as a balancing test. Your balance is different. Understood. But to go so far as to polarize the discussion with black and white statements such as the above, which is you putting words in Mr. Cheek’s mouth, that crosses a line that disgraces both you and this interesting new publication.

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