Sitting in a towering leather chair on a Leesburg dais where the sparring over population growth is legend, Loudoun County Supervisor Lori Waters last week made her way through the kind of constituent service announcements that can load up the life of a local politician.
Come down to the benefit concerts at a local country club, she said, reading from a list of suburban-circuit rock and disco idols: 38 Special, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, KC and the Sunshine Band, Eddie Money.
She talked about a possible town center development. She offered an update on a bad stretch of road.
Then Waters (R-Broad Run), the former executive director of Phyllis Schlafly's feminist-knocking Eagle Forum, paused.
"Finally, on a personal note," Waters continued, "Loudoun County is growing by one in September, and my husband and I are to blame. So if you haven't realized this, yes, I'm having a baby."
It was a bulletin few would have needed. She is, after all, due in less than two months. But it was an announcement Waters concluded was necessary nevertheless.
She mostly showed the kind of poise she brings to typical board debates on tax and zoning policy, though occasional, uncharacteristic nervous laughter hinted at the unfamiliar ground.
Waters said her pregnancy will allow her to experience . . . the miracle of high-speed Internet connectivity. That's a pet issue of hers. Teleworking specialists have set her up at home, and they have done the same for her assistant at the County Government Center.
"So we're going to be living the broadband future reality of telework and doing as much as we can that way," Waters said.
Waters's public discussion of her maternity plans might reflect a lingering double standard for professional women. What she said next might have as much to do with hard-edged politics and wishful thinking by critics.
"Despite the weird rumors that are out there, I am not resigning," Waters said. "I am not moving to Lovettsville to live with my in-laws. And I am not going to disappear for eight weeks."
Waters was one of two Republican swing votes in the county board's fiery debate last week over whether to pass growth controls. She joined a diverse group voting to support building curbs, irking some GOP power brokers in a fast-growing county where the lines between business and politics can sometimes blur.
Depending on her daughter's sense of timing, Waters said, she might miss a couple of meetings, and she asked for her colleagues' and constituents' "patience and understanding" as she takes on her exciting new title.
"My schedule will now be her schedule, at least in the beginning," Waters said, "until she comes to realize Mommy's needed for land use discussions."