FLOYD, VA., OCT. 2 -- If the Phillips brothers carry Floyd County in the November election, politics will become a taboo topic at the dinner table, unless the public and the news media are invited.
Eugene, Thomas and Walter Phillips are running as Democrats for county supervisor against three Republican incumbents.
If the Phillips brothers win, they will make up a majority of the five-member board, and a discussion of county affairs at a family gathering could violate the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Commonwealth's Attorney Robert C. Boswell said.
"They could associate together as long as they don't discuss county business," Boswell said.
Eugene Phillips acknowledged that if he and his brothers win, they will have to be careful about what they say to each other.
"Anytime three politicians get together, the press is supposed to be invited," he said. "If we had Thanksgiving dinner, we'd throw another turkey in the oven and invite 'em all in."
Phillips said the three decided independently to run for office because they were dissatisfied with the job the GOP incumbents were doing. Floyd County, located southwest of Roanoke, has a population of 12,000, with about 6,300 registered voters.
"Everybody's been complaining," Eugene Phillips said.
The brothers, two of them steel mill workers and one a construction contractor, were nominated without opposition at a meeting of county Democrats, he said.
Gino Williams, the county GOP chairman and mayor of the town of Floyd, said he is not worried about the possibility of having three brothers on the board, but he says voters should retain the GOP incumbents, Lowell H. Booth, Reece McPeak Jr. and William Whitlock. Two independents also are running.
"I don't know if I'd want to serve on a board with my brothers," Williams said. "But I think the incumbents are doing a good job and I don't see any reason to remove them."
"I don't see where we'll cause any problems," Eugene Phillips said. "We never get together that much, the three of us."