It's Time for Closure
It is now time to bring closure to the recent articles in your paper about my support for the reelection of Mrs. Kathleen Seefeldt. The objection expressed by a vocal minority who seemingly think they are the primary representatives of the Republican Party in Prince William County centers on the fact that I am, for all practical purposes, a moderate centrist who represents a district with a widely divergent demographic makeup. Contrary to the claims of the local Republican Committee, I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the Democratic Party. The fact that I pledged to represent all constituents irrespective of their party affiliation seems to rankle some of the limited membership of the county Republican Committee, a group that most in the Dumfries District have abandoned because of its extreme rightist views. That I openly supported the reelection of Mrs. Seefeldt caused them to initiate a resolution within their 8-10 member "Executive Committee" to censure me for doing so, which was introduced by Paul Rucker, a Montclair resident.
Why did I support her reelection? Simply stated, I have worked hand-in-hand with her in making significant accomplishments for the magisterial district I represent, both while serving on the School Board and as a member of the Board of County Supervisors. Among the accomplishments that would not have been possible without her full support and leadership are:
* The installation of lights at Ann Moncure Wall Park.
* The rebuilding of the Graham Park Pool facility.
* The reconstruction of the bridge at Fuller Heights Road.
* The acquisition of 80 acres of land for the construction of Forest Park High School.
* The construction of additional commuter parking near Routes 1 and 234.
* The funding for the Weems-Botts Museum.
* The repair and acceptance into the state system of roads in Graham Park Shores.
* The establishment of the Gen. Joseph Heiser Boys and Girls Club.
* The granting of tax credits for the rehabilitation of the Belleau Woods apartments, which had become run-down and drug-infested.
* The purchase of property on Fuller Heights Road that will become playing fields for our youth in lieu of an additional 100 homes.
* My program for beautification.
* The district pilot program for the removal of blight in our community.
At no time during those years of accomplishment did Mr. [Sean] Connaughton, to my knowledge, attend even one town meeting or participate in any district activity. I actually assumed that he had moved away. I do not state that to be antagonistic, but rather to better explain my decision to support the candidate who had done the most for us in the Dumfries District.
I make no apology, nor do I have any regret, for having supported Mrs. Seefeldt. Now that the election is behind us, I am confident that Mr. Connaughton will grow into his new responsibilities, with the help of the rest of the board, and that he will come to understand that very little of what we do in managing the affairs of the county has partisan overtones.
It is unfortunate, however, that he missed a grand opportunity to open communication between us by calling to tell me that he participated in the Republican Committee Executive Board meeting and that he played a key role in killing the censure motion, a fact that I learned only by speaking with a reporter, who clearly had received leaked information stemming from an alleged closed executive session. Such a call would have allowed me to publicly thank him when responding to a reporter's interview. I certainly hope that we can establish better communications in the future, particularly since he resides in the district I represent. The Republican Committee, by leaking to the press the nonissue of censuring me, is not only divisive and counterproductive, but also represents a new low in county politics.
The statement in your Dec. 1 Prince William Extra states that "Caddigan and Cannaughton have bad blood going back eight years, when Connaughton supported a rival Republican candidate in the primary for Dumfries supervisor." This is just not true! I certainly have no bad blood with Mr. Connaughton, especially since I have not seen him in the past eight years.
Lastly, I would like to express my thanks to the many people who took the time to call or write asking what they can do concerning the situation, or just to say they support me. Those calls have meant a great deal and have reassured me that I am following the right course in representing the people in Dumfries District.
The election is over, and Mr. Connaughton is the new chairman. It is time to move on for the good of the county and keep petty politics out of the board chambers.
MAUREEN S. CADDIGAN
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